There's no doubt that's a controversial question. But, does it have merit to it? Well, let's see. We'll begin with the original Chupacabra of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a place that is as enchanting as it is mysterious. Located in the northeast Caribbean, it is comprised of the main island itself, plus the islands of Mona, Monito, Vieques, Caja De Muertos, Culebra, and a number of other, smaller bodies. Today, Puerto Rico has a population of close to four million people, while its land mass is of roughly 3,500 square miles. It was in the mid-1990s that the phenomenon of the chupacabra exploded all across Puerto Rico. So far as can be determined, the menacing creature first surfaced in March 1995. That was when numerous animals were found slaughtered in the towns of Morovis (located in central Puerto Rico) and Orocovis, which is situated within the aforementioned La Cordillera Central mountain range. Locals were plunged into states of near-hysteria by the attacks, which reportedly left animals dead, with strange marks on their necks, and a distinct lack of blood in their corpses. Since many of the early attacks were on goats, the term, “chupacabra,” was created. It means, in Spanish, goat-sucker.
Vampires were on the loose; monstrous vampires. Reports of strange killings soon began to surface from other parts of the island. The creatures were clearly on the move. The death-rate increased even more. The population was on edge and the media had something new and sensational to report on. It was a turbulent and strange time. But, what, exactly, was responsible for all the killings? Yes, there were plenty of dead animals but, unfortunately, there was no solid, eyewitness testimony relative to the killers themselves. That is, until August 1995, when a woman named Madelyne Tolentino - who lived in Canovanas, which is close to the northeast coast of Puerto Rico - changed everything. Tolentino’s description of the creature she encountered, close to her mother’s home, was disturbing, to say the very least. It was a description eagerly embraced by the island’s media and by investigators of monsters and mysteries.
Tolentino told journalists and researchers that the creature was around three feet in height, bipedal, ran in a weird, hopping fashion, had large black eyes, bony fingers on each hand, overly long arms and legs, and a kind of feathery line running down its back. Or, it appeared to Tolentino to be a feathery line: a young boy employed by Tolentino’s husband claimed that he saw the beast up close and personal and maintained that the feathers were, in reality, sharp spines. The boy also said that the creature possessed a mouthful of vicious-looking fangs. Not only did the people know of the chupacabra and its predations, they also now knew what it looked like: something straight out of their worst nightmares. And a monster was born. Now, let's take a look at the Texas Chupacabra, as it has been named by so many.
Around seventeen miles outside of the city of San Antonio, USA, a chupacabra reared its ugly head. Unlike the sprawling city which is famous for being the home of the legendary Alamo, Elmendorf is small in the extreme. It is currently home to no more than 1,500 people and is less than five square-miles in size. For such a tiny and obscure locale, unbridled, near-worldwide infamy was waiting just around the corner. There was something very unusual about the chupacabra of Elmendorf. The famous moniker aside, it was acutely different, in terms of its physical appearance, to the Puerto Rican original. The creature of the island, as you will have come to appreciate, was bipedal in nature, had a vicious-looking row of spikes running along the back of its head, as well as down the length of its neck and spine. Some people, as you will also now know, even reported that the creature was bat-winged and possessed a pair of bright, glowing red eyes. All of this – and I do mean all of this – was in sharp contrast to the description of the animal that first became known as the Elmendorf beast and then, and forever, the Texas chupacabra. Initial photographs, coupled with Internet chatter and gossip, suggested that an oversized, hairless, rat-like animal was the cause of what turned out to be a few weeks’ worth of terror and mayhem in and around Elmendorf. Careful evaluation of the evidence, however, revealed that the creature was not a giant, bald rodent after all, but something else entirely. What the enigmatic thing really was, and how it became saddled with the name of the Texas chupacabra, is a very strange story – one which I followed carefully, and practically, from day one.
Devin McAnally, the owner of an Elmendorf ranch, was someone who lost somewhere in the region of fifty chickens, to an unknown predator, in the early months of 2004. Always under cover of an overwhelming blanket of darkness, he found himself falling victim to a beast of lethal proportions. It began with the killing of five of his chickens, then twelve, then in excess of thirty, and…well, you get the picture and the progression. There was something downright odd going on, though – I knew that much from the intense media coverage that was occurring. Local newspapers, radio, television, and numerous Internet sites were reporting on just about every aspect of the affair. Soon, the national press was commenting and observing on the controversy. It was big news, everywhere, and was enthusiastically lapped up like a chupacabra lapping blood. The collective story the nation’s media told went like this…
Whatever had killed the chickens made no attempts to devour them. The bodies of the birds were left where they fell, completely untouched – aside from wounds to the neck. Could McAnally’s very own dog have been the culprit? No, it was not. Although, it must be said, his dog did play a role in the affair – an absolutely integral role, as it transpires. It was the barking of his dog, on what turned out to be a fateful day, indeed, that finally revealed the beast to McAnally. And what a beast it was. Racing along the fields was an odd, canid-looking animal. The first thought was that it was a greyhound gone wild. At first glance, at least, this was actually not entirely impossible, since a trio of greyhounds had been dumped, in the area, sometime earlier. The dog theory quickly became less and less likely: it ran in a very strange fashion and its coat appeared to be of a slight blue color. There was something else, too: the presence of both McAnally and his dog seemed to have no effect on the beast. It was apparently fearless to their presence. This, most certainly, was not the typical behavior of the average coyote. Twice more, and in fairly quick procession, the animal appeared on the ranch. There was just one problem: on both occasions McAnally’s rifle was inside his ranch-house. Despite racing to get his weapon, the creature was gone by the time he returned to the fields. Then, McAnally had a brainwave. Next time he was going to be one hundred percent ready. Preparation was the name of the game: he positioned his loaded .22 rifle in a tree-fork and patiently waited for the day when the animal returned. As fate would decree, he did not have to wait long, at all.
Although the animal had developed a reputation born out of both hostility and savagery, its downfall came when it was doing nothing more unusual than feeding on the fruit of a mulberry tree. Certainly not something that the average, self-respecting vampire would ever want to be caught doing! McAnally, who was carrying a couple of buckets of water at the time, knew that this was the time to strike. He carefully and quietly placed the buckets on the ground and made his stealthy way towards the animal. It was a testament to McAnally’s hunting skills that the creature never even knew what hit it: one shot felled the beast in an instant. McAnally walked over to it and was both shocked and puzzled by the horrific sight before him. The thing was hardly muscular. In fact, it was probably barely twenty pounds in weight, and was hairless, aside from what appeared to be a slight mane that extended along its back. It was the skin that was strangest of all, however: it really was of a bluish color. Vicious-looking teeth, far bigger than those of a coyote, dominated the mouth of the beast. Its tail looked like that of some monstrous, goliath-sized rodent. The limbs did not appear to be of normal proportions. It was, then, a definitive enigma. Somewhat concerned by the nature of the animal, McAnally was reluctant to touch it. And who can blame him? So, he did something else, instead: he pumped two more bullets into its body. You know, just in case.
Although McAnally showed the corpse to a number of his neighbors, none of them could offer any kind of explanation for what the animal was. Baffled, he decided to bury the body in red clay – which can help to extend the preservation process – in the event that he might want to dig it up at a later date. Before doing so, however, McAnally took a couple of photos of the creature. It wasn’t long before they reached the Internet – and my eyes - and the phenomenon of the Texas chupacabra was brought to life in spectacular fashion. We're still not done. It's now time to take a look at the Russian Chupacabra. In July 2011, the Moscow News reported: “A blood-sucking creature is preying upon goats near Novosibirsk. As rational explanations run thin on the ground, the specter of the so-called chupacabra raises its demon head. Horrified farmers and smallholders are confronted by the drained corpses of their livestock in the morning, bloodless and bearing puncture marks to the neck but otherwise largely intact. But local cops are reluctant to record apparent vampire attacks, as they await official recertification, leaving the locals up in arms.” Conventional theories for the attacks ranged from packs of wild dogs to occultists. It was, however, the theory that the chupacabra had made its way to Russia that was the firm favorite with the locals. And things didn’t end there.
In April 2006, Russia’s Pravda newspaper told a story that strongly suggested the chupacabra had somehow made its way to the heart of the former Soviet Union. It was a story that, to me – when I dug it out of my old files - suggested there just might be some merit to Ed’s controversial claims. “The worries,” said Pravda, “…began at the end of March 2005 not far from the regional center of Saraktash. On the Sapreka farm two farming families suddenly lost 32 turkeys. The bodies of the birds, found in the morning, had been completely drained of blood. None of the farmers either saw or heard the beast that killed them. Then in the village of Gavrilovka sheep fell victim to the night-time vampire. The unknown animal was also in the hamlets of Vozdvizhenka and Shishma. In the course of the night 3-4 sheep or goats perished. All together the losses in the region amounted to 30 small horned cattle.” A farmer named Erbulat Isbasov, Pravda recorded, got a close look at the creature that was slaughtering his animals: “I heard the sheep start to bleat loudly. I run up to them and see a black shadow. It looked like an enormous dog that had stood up on its hind legs. And jumped like a kangaroo. The beast sensed my presence and ran away. It squeezed through an opening in the panels of the fence.”
Although I kept a careful watch on this particular story, it soon died a death and the killings in Saraktash ended as mysteriously as they had begun. I have to say, though, that the references to “an enormous dog that had stood up on its hind legs;” and which “jumped like a kangaroo,” sounded astonishingly like the physical characteristics of a thylacine. August 2012 saw a dramatic development in the Russian chupacabra saga when a creature, astonishingly like so many found across Texas, popped up in another part of the former Soviet Union, specifically in the Ukraine. It was canid, its limbs were disproportionate, and it was hairless. It would have looked perfectly at home on the property of Devin McAnally or in Phylis Canion’s freezer. The Ukraine was a hell of a long way from Texas, however. “The animal doesn’t look like a fox or a wolf, or a raccoon,” commented Mikhail Ilchenko, the deputy head of the district veterinary service in Mikhailovskoe. He added: “It cannot even be a marten. I have never seen such animal before. But, judging by the fangs, I can definitely say that it is a predator.”
Interestingly, in no time at all rumors surfaced, specifically concerning the creature’s origins and that closely mirrored what I had heard in both Puerto Rico and Texas. The U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper noted claims had been made that “It could be a ‘mutant’ fox poisoned by radiation, while another theory was that it may be a hybrid originating from a Soviet plant conducting tests on animals relating to chemical or biological weapons development. ‘A creature we were not supposed to see has escaped from a secret defense lab,’ said one comment.” Alexander Korotya, of the Zoological Museum of Zaporozhye National University, stated to the press: “I cannot identify what kind of animal it is. For example, its canine teeth are similar to a fox, but smaller in size - like a marten. Yet a marten has a different type of skull. If to compare with an otter's head, then the ears are too small. It has a wide nose and a stretched muzzle. My opinion is that it’s most likely a hybrid animal or a mutant.” Now, to the final, fourth, Chupacabra:
In 2003, the South American country of Chile was hit by a spate of reports of traumatic and terrifying encounters with flying monsters. One particularly fantastic incident occurred on the night of July 23. That was when three boys, Jonathan, Diego, and Carlos were having a sleepover at Diego’s grandfather’s house, which was situated near San Pedro de Atacama. They were woken from their sleep by the sound of scratching against the outside of the door to the yard. Tentatively, the brave trio got out of their beds and tiptoed to the door, carefully and quietly opened it, and peered into the darkness. To their eternal horror, they were confronted by a horrific-looking beast standing at a distance of around fifty feet and staring directly at them. It was humanoid in shape, beaked, and around five feet in height. It had large bat-style wings that extended to a combined length of around eleven feet, and talons instead of toes. And its head was crested. As for its color, it was black and shiny, almost wet-like. It wasn’t a local.
It’s interesting – and probably not coincidental – to note that a few days earlier a man by the name of Juan Acuqa contacted police to tell them of his trauma-filled, late night encounter with a pair of strange animals in the Chilean town of Parral. “They were both dog-faced and had wings,” Acuqa told the responding officers. And it wasn’t just a sighting that Acuqa had: as he walked home, the monsters attacked him out of the sky and out of the blue, something which forced Acuqa to leap into a nearby canal to try and shake them off. Fortunately, it worked; although, he was briefly hospitalized for gashes inflicted by the flying, nightmarish things. Around a month or so later, what were very possibly the same two creatures – along with another pair – were seen by the entire Abbett family, as they drove through Chile’s Pampa Acha region. Such was the sheer weirdness of the appearance of the flying things, the family could only describe them as “dog-faced kangaroos” and as “gargoyles.” Thankfully, the family was not attacked and the creatures swept by, above the road, with barely a glance in their direction. It was, to be sure, a most lucky escape.
It should also be noted that when the details of the 2003 wave in Chile became publicly known, more than a few investigators of strange creatures and paranormal activity suggested that Puerto Rico’s infamous Chupacabra was clearly on the move and had made its way to Chile. It’s not an unreasonable thing to muse upon. After all, some of the initial reports of the Chupacabra – and particularly those seen in the island’s massive El Yunque rainforest - described seeing animals that had monkey-like bodies, that hopped like kangaroos, and which had large, leathery wings. Of course, no-one was able to offer a viable explanation for how the Chupacabras’ had made it from Puerto Rico to Chile. The fact remains, however, that the Chilean monsters and those of Puerto Rico were astonishingly similar in appearance. So, are we looking at four different Chupacabras? Although many have said that's exactly the case, in my view we're looking at four different animals that have been given the "Chupacabra" title. Of course, that still means there are some mysteries to be solved; but as I see things, many of the creatures that have certainly been given the legendary name of Chupacabra have zero to do with the original creatures that roamed (and still roam) around Puerto Rico.