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Skeptical Sightings: Texas Chupacabra, California Flying Humanoid and British Witches

There are paranormal sightings that make you want to know more in the hopes that they’re truly real. Then there are paranormal sightings that make you go “Really?” These three recent, well-publicized sightings are varying degrees of “Really?” and are presented to show just how hard it’s becoming to prove the existence of cryptids, aliens and otherworldly things while the mass media has discovered the attraction of publicizing highly skeptical events in the name of paranormal reality.

Case One is the alleged Chupacabra sighting in Houston reported by multiple local media outlets. This one was the typical Texas-style Chupacabra – a mangy-looking canine-ish creature staggering through the brush on the west side of this heavily populated and increasingly urbanized city in a manner that suggests a sick animal looking for comfort or a secluded place to suffer in peace – not a blood-sucking, vicious cryptid looking for fresh goats, livestock or pets. (See the picture and coverage here.) This is the same city where a starving pet tiger was found recently in a home living in a filthy cage. So it’s not inconceivable this “Chupacabra” was a mistreated pet. Houston is also the home of numerous recent chemical spills and explosions, so it’s also possible this was a coyote or loose dog suffering from toxic exposure … a possible cause of the Texas version of what Puerto Ricans see as more of a two-legged reptilian creature. Sorry, Houston … the needle is buried in the Highly Skeptical area on our meter.

Better-fed dogs and no chemical spills = less Chupacabras?

“Is that Jesus Christ? Please, oh, Father God.”

Case Two is the alleged “flying humanoid” reported and recorded over Burbank, California, by Pablo Morales, whose inclusion of religious exclamations in the audio surely attracted even more attention to this typical “flying humanoid” sighting on what appeared to be a stormy day – always good for adding to the mood. (Watch the video here.) As usual, the most common of the logical comments on the video was an escaped string of balloons (aren’t we supposed to be suffering from a helium shortage?). With so many Marvel movies out, it seems various fictional superhero characters came in second, while angels of some sort benefited from Pablo’s religious exclamation and finished third. On this dark and stormy nightmare of a balloonish floating ‘something’, the meter is pointing to Very Skeptical.

Finally, we have Case Three – an animal mutilation report from Cornwall that in the U.S. might be blamed on aliens but in England it’s instead linked to witches and pagans. Cornwall Live interviewed Brian Lemin, an animal control official who was contacted by a farmer in the Middle Taphouse area of Dobwalls and arrived there to find two lambs which had their heads cut cleanly from their bodies – heads which were nowhere to be found. (Gross pictures here.) Lemin ruled out any sort of local predator like a fox or dog because the bodies showed no gnaw marks and still had all of their organs. He could have also ruled out Chupacabras or other cryptids because the bodies were still full of blood. Aliens? Cornwall Live says locals would rather blame witches or people who have different religious beliefs that they do – i.e. “pagans.” Richard Blackett, a media officer for the Pagan Federation (pagans have a media department?), responded quickly and angrily.

“This has no part in any practice by Pagan groups. I would say it smacks of antisocial behaviour, cruelty to animals. What has been done to these lambs is gruesome and unpleasant and it is not something those in the Pagan community would ever condone.”

Amen … or whatever Wicca, witchcraft, Druidism and other “land-based religions” say to agree. This actually sounds more like what Jennifer Hobson told Cornwall Live:

“It’s probably nasty little a***holes. Or older nasty a***holes who want to sell the skulls on eBay.”

Nasty a***holes. (Why three asterisks? It’s ‘arse’ in England.) For some reason, that seems to increasingly be the real cause behind many of these alleged paranormal events. While the clean cuts and missing heads in this case warrant further investigation, the needle on this one is still firmly on the skeptical side of the meter.

All together now … Really?


Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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