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EL CHUPACABRAS: BLOOD-SUCKING CREATURE FROM THE NETHERWORLD, PART 1

Posted on April 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM

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EL CHUPACABRAS: BLOOD-SUCKING CREATURE FROM THE NETHERWORLD, PART 1


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1, scene 5


August 25, 2002. The full moon rose above the mountain in the cloudless night, shining like a pale yellow lantern into the farmer's bedroom. But that is not what awoke him. It was the chickens. Their panicked cries had awoken him before, and it meant they were under attack. Wild dogs had gotten into the coop, the farmer thought, or perhaps a wolf. He leapt from bed, grabbed his shotgun from the bedroom corner and hurried outside. He checked the gun for cartridges as he jogged barefoot past the long, soft shadows cast by the moonlight toward the chicken coop. The predator will die tonight, he thought, as he pushed open the small door to the coop. He burst in and took aim. But he did not shoot. Instead, he froze, his senses overwhelmed by the sight before him. Several chickens lay dead in the dirt around the clawed feet of a creature the farmer had never seen before. This was no dog, no wolf. It stood on two feet at about the height of a small child. It had dark, scaly skin and a ridge of porcupine-like spines running across its head and down its back. In its short arms ending in sharp claw-like hands, the creature held a chicken to its mouth. It was not eating its prey, but seemed to be sucking the life from it. It turned to face the farmer, its red eyes blazing, and dropped the chicken to the ground. It hissed, baring its large blood-stained fangs. Then it screeched—an unearthly, terrifying noise that drove the farmer backward into the doorway. The creature, with its front claws dangling, hopped like some mutant kangaroo toward the farmer. Dumbstruck, he stumbled backward out of the coop as the creature hopped past him with another deafening shriek. The farmer was knocked to the ground, and he could feel rough, scaly skin of the creature as it passed, and felt the warm, sickening smell of its putrid breath on his face. The creature sprung onto the roof of the coop, spread short, dark, bat-like wings, and with two bounding hops flew away into the darkness. It was only then that the farmer remembered he had his shotgun. He brought it to bear, but it was too late. The creature from hell had disappeared with one last shriek that echoed off the distant mountains.


Although this might sound like some horror story fantasy, it is actually based on the eyewitness accounts and experiences of those who have encountered the enigmatic creature known as el chupacabras—"the goatsucker."


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INTRODUCTION


As I have written previously in these pages, not all the 'creatures' which are reported to me and other researchers around the world are truly flesh and blood in form, nor are they all really animate, at least in the conventional sense of the word. Such "creatures" are known as zooform phenomena and are often reported in conjunction with other, sometimes diverse, paranormal phenomena, including ghosts, poltergeists and UFOs. Consequently, they are often more in the realm of paracryptozoology, which deals with cryptids that don't seem to fit within the animal kingdom as we know it; or cryptids that exhibit "paranormal" attributes. This list includes the Chupacabras—at least with respect to two of the three forms in which it is commonly reported.


The Goat Sucker, El Chupacabra, is one of the most interesting of these "things" (as the legendary UFOlogist Ivan T. Sanderson used to refer to them), a winged phantom—originally of the Hispanic world—which is causing consternation worldwide amongst zoologists, UFOlogists and the farming community alike. It is my intention in this article to focus primarily on those sightings and reported forms which lend themselves to natural rather than supernatural or paranormal explanations.


ORIGINS


THE HISPANIC CONNECTION


Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean to the east of the island of Hispianiola (which contains both the voodoo republic of Haiti, and the slightly less fearsome Dominican Republic). It was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus and has been a self governing "commonwealth" of the United States of America since the Spanish-American war of 1898. Although since 1917 its inhabitants have been U.S citizens, they are predominantly Spanish speakers of Hispanic or mixed race descent. Both politically and geographically, therefore, it is located midway between the Houngan-led, voodoo infested, high strangeness of Haiti and the long established Colonial ethos of the British Virgin and Leeward Islands to the East. This has established a sort of cultural schizophrenia which may be important when investigating the quasi-vampiric events chronicled in this article.


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The "Moca Vampire"


During the 1970s there were a series of mysterious attacks on domestic livestock in the area around the town of Moca, Puerto Rico. Ducks, geese, rabbits and goats were attacked. Writing in The Hispanic magazine during August 1996, Lalo Lopez noted:


"In the 1970's the 'Moca Vampire' myth emerged as mauled carcasses of animals were suddenly being found throughout the countryside near the small town of Moca. The 'vampire' turned out to be real—sort of. Someone had illegally introduced alligators into the delicate Puerto Rico ecosystem. The alligators mauled animals as they approached watering holes. Because alligators weren't native to the island, residents had never seen these types of maulings and a myth regarding the 'vampires' was born".


 

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However, the descriptions of the mutilated animals do not sound like the work of crocodilians. All members of that family crush their prey with their huge jaws, or, conversely rip out chunks of living flesh from larger prey animals.


While at first it was suspected that the killings were done randomly by some members of a Satanic cult, eventually these killings spread around the island, and many farms reported loss of animal life. The killings had one pattern in common: each of the victims of El Vampiro de Moca (The Vampire of Moca) had two puncture holes around its neck.


During the 1975 wave, Salvador Freixedo observed that the smallness of Puerto Rico allowed any investigator to hop into a car and drive to the scene of the events in an hour or two—something that would be difficult to do in his native Spain, much less in the United States. It was this closeness that enabled him to be one of the first people on the scene at Moca. According to Freixedo, "two ducks, three goats, a pair of geese, and a large hog were found slain one morning on a small farm near the town of Moca. The owner was going insane, wondering who in the world could have visited this ruin upon him. The animals betrayed the wounds that have become typical of this kind of attack, and of course, they were all done with incredible precision. I did not doubt for one moment who could have been responsible for the crime... I got in my car and visited the area immediately, and realized what was filling the animals' owner with wonder and fear: there wasn't a trace of blood in any of the animals, and in spite of the fact that the dead geese had snow-white feathers, upon which the slightest speck of blood would have shown up immediately."


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"Over the next few days, the newspapers continued reporting on the growing number of dead animals found in the region. No explanation could be found for these mysterious deaths. During one of my forays, I was able to see a black and white cow spread out in the middle of the field. I got out of the car and tried to reach the cow, which wasn't easy. The dead beast had characteristic wounds on its neck and on its head. Skin had been pulled back on one side of its head, as if by using a scalpel, and the opening to one of its nasal orifices was missing, although there was no indication of rending. In spite of the whiteness of its head, there wasn't a single drop of blood to be seen. The farmer who escorted me could not stop wondering what had caused his cow's death. He related how that very same night he had heard his dogs barking furiously, and that a blind elderly woman who lived on the edge of the field had told him that the cattle, which ordinarily spend the night outdoors, had kept her from getting a good night's sleep due to their frantic, maddened running from one end of the field to another."


THE NAME


As sightings intensified in the 1990s, the chupacabras' appetite seemed to grow. Researchers, investigating UFO sightings in Puerto Rico, stumbled upon reports by local residents of a strange, dog-like creature who would attack its prey and suck the blood dry. In some cases, farmers reported that literally hundreds of their animals were inexplicably slaughtered. Invariably, the animals were not eaten by any predator, but were horribly mutilated or drained of blood—hence the name, "Chupacabra", roughly translated as "goat-sucker." The name derives from its penchant for drawing the blood not only out of goats, but also rabbits, chickens and household pets, through small circular orifices in the animal's body. More often than not, the most important of these wounds is located on the hapless animal's head, where the creature's sucking organ pierces deep into the cerebellum, slaying its victim painlessly before consuming its vital fluids. In 1991, a male dog was found dead, with nothing inside. "It was as if all had been sucked out through the eyes," the report said. "It had empty eye sockets and all the internal organs had disappeared." As the concept of animal mutilations was being investigated at the time—and remains an ongoing mystery—they reported their findings to other researchers back in the US.


Known as both "chupacabras" and "chupacabra" throughout the Americas—with the former probably being the original word, and the latter a better regularization of it—the name can be preceded by the masculine definite article ("el chupacabras"), or the plural masculine article ("los chupacabras"). The term was supposedly coined by Puerto Rican television personality Silverio Pérez, who intended the name to be a joke. The actual meaning of the word "chypacabra" is goat eater.


DESCRIPTIONS


Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Since the first sightings in Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, there have been reports from as far north as the Carolinas and as far south as Chile. Though some argue that the chupacabra may be a real creature, mainstream scientists and experts generally contend that the chupacabra is a legendary creature, or a type of urban legend.


Descriptions of the physical appearance of each specimen can resemble descriptions of other reports, or be completely different from other chupacabra descriptions. Differences in descriptions are too wide to be attributed to differences in the perceptions of the observers, causing cryptozoologists to speculate that chupacabra reports may in fact be attributable to several species. Although they have different appearances, chupacabra descriptions have several common traits. They are typically described as being 3 ft. (1 m) or taller, and roughly humanoid in shape.


Three Forms


Usually, chupacabras are said to appear in three specific forms:


The first and most common form is a lizard-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. This form stands approximately 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m) high, and stands and hops in a similar fashion to a kangaroo. In at least one sighting, the creature hopped 20 feet (6 m). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue protruding from it, large fangs, and to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as leave a sulfuric stench behind. When it screeches, some reports note that the chupacabra's eyes glow an unusual red, then give the witnesses nausea.


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The second variety bears a resemblance to a wallaby or dog standing on its hind legs. It stands and hops as a kangaroo, and it has coarse fur with greyish facial hair. The head is similar to a dog's, and its mouth has large teeth.


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The third form is described as a strange breed of wild dog. This form is mostly hairless, has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, teeth, and claws. This animal is said to be the result of interbreeding between several populations of wild dogs, though enthusiasts claim that it might be an example of a dog-like reptile. The account during the year 2001 in Nicaragua of a chupacabra's corpse being found supports the conclusion that it is simply a strange breed of wild dog. The alleged corpse of the animal was found in Tolapa, Nicaragua, and forensically analyzed at UNAN-Leon. Pathologists at the University found that it was just an unusual-looking dog. There are very striking morphological differences between different breeds of dog, which can easily account for the strange characteristics.


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Some reports claim the chupacabra's red eyes have the ability to hypnotize and paralyze their prey, leaving the prey animal mentally stunned, allowing the chupacabra to suck the animal's blood at its leisure. The effect is similar to the bite of the vampire bat, or of certain snakes or spiders that stun their prey with venom. Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabras sucks all the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes.


Many residents of South America have reported sightings of El Chupacabras, and although divergent, the descriptions share some significant likenesses. Many accounts include the visible inflation of the stomach region after El Chupacabras has been feeding. The appearance of the animal changes when an internal bladder-like organ fills with the blood of its prey. Furthermore, with almost all the sightings witnesses have reported large protruding fangs. These fangs are suspected to be hollow and be the vehicles for the blood on which it feeds.


The chupacabra is generally treated as a product of mass hysteria, though the animal mutilations are frequently real. Like many cases of such mutilations, however, it has been argued that they are often not as mysterious as they might first appear, and in fact, a series of tests showcased by the National Geographic Channel in a show about the chupacabra pointed to the obvious conclusion that every single "animal mutilation" can be explained by either people killing them or, more likely, other animals eating them. The loss of blood may be explained by insects drinking it.


CHUPACABRAS IN PUERTO RICO


Since a still-unexplained subterranean explosion in the Cabo Rojo area during 1987, Puerto Rico has been the site of numerous appearances of El Chupacabras. The legend of cipi chupacabra began in about 1992, when Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia began reporting the killings of many different types of animals, such as birds, horses, and as its name implies, goats. The early months of 1995 brought more sporadic sightings and reports of the Goatsucker.


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A police officer was sent to investigate an animal which had been found mutilated. When he arrived at the scene he discovered a mutilated sheep, and while examining the body, he became aware of something watching him from the shadows. He was staggered to see a creature about five feet tall with dark skin and orange-yellow eyes. When the creature left the scene the police officer chased it only to be quickly overcome with a severe headache and nausea. He soon collapsed.


But the situation did not pick up again until the focus of activity had shifted from the town of Orocovis, deep in the mountains of the island, to the coastal town of Canovanas. Canovanas is a prosperous community that benefits from its location on Route 3, which handles the heavy traffic between San Juan on one end and Fajardo on the other. The majestic, mist-enshrouded peaks of El Yunque are only a stone's throw away, and the excellent beaches of Luquillo attract thousands of local and foreign tourists. Canovanas also boasts the spectacular El Comandante, one of the finest race tracks in the entire world. It was this fortunate piece of real estate that the gargoylesque creature called the Chupacabras would select as its own.


In October 1995, Luis Guadaloupe walked into his local police station in the town of Canovanas. He had an unusual story to report to the police—while going about his normal business for the day, he had a strange experience. Luis had encountered a bizarre creature:


"It was really ugly, like a demon, around four to five feet tall with huge elongated red eyes. It moved like a kangaroo—jumping on its powerful back legs. It had a long pointed tongue which moved in and out of its mouth. It was gray but its back seemed to change colour—it gave off a foul "sulphuric-like stench".


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Lucy Batista, residing in the Alturas de Campo Rico neighborhood, commented on the curious noises associated with the Chupacabras—inhuman screams resembling the combined sounds of a cat yowling and a goat's braying. Not only did it frighten her, it also caused all of her animals to panic. One night, she heard the sound of an animal running behind her house. She thought it was a horse until the terrifying cackle filled the air, causing her to fear for the safety of the children in her household. Other residents of her area refer to the creature jokingly as "The Rabbit" on account of the shape of its hind legs, or "The Kangaroo," for its ability to take prodigious leaps with its powerful legs.


In the light of all the commotion the creature's antics caused in Canovanas, many of the locals were surprised that no agencies aside from elements of the Civil Defense had chosen to look into the matter. "The Department of Natural Resources was called, but no one was sent to investigate. Perhaps they thought this situation was something cooked up by the townsfolk," one local grumbled.


The fact of the matter is that the witnesses were subjected not to the negative influence of MIBs or hostile government agents, but to the scorn of their own peers. A young woman named Mariane, interviewed by Martin, indicated that her husband's co-workers had taken to teasing him by calling him Goatsucker all the time. Other members of their family, who had also expressed their belief in the existence of this creature, or had seen it with their own eyes, had also been subjected to ridicule. "This creature isn't a joke," she said angrily. "I didn't make it up, either. It's real."


Canovanas' Mayor, the Hon. Jose "Chemo" Soto, could not have agreed more with the young woman's assessment of the situation, and decided to take measures aimed at capturing the Goatsucker: together with his band of cammo-clad hunters, a 200-man unarmed militia, the mayor patrolled his municipality at night in hopes of reducing whatever had been slaughtering the area's livestock. Mayor Soto and his cadres used a cage built from welded iron fencing with a goat as bait.


Mayor Soto was clearly pleased at the response elicited by his nocturnal patrols in search of the winged intruder: news of the Chupacabras and its nefarious deeds had made worldwide headlines. According to the mayor, one of his constituents had described the beast as a creature some three feet tall, which could increase its height suddenly, and was endowed with either a crest or horns on its head. It also had large hind legs resembling those of a kangaroo. This matter, stressed Mayor Soto, was a very serious one; his patrols served the added purpose of calming the citizens of Canovanas. His political opponent, Melba Rivera, hoping to unseat Soto in the 1996 elections, went on record saying that the incumbent mayor was doing his level best to discredit the city by his ridiculous antics.


Meanwhile, the Chupacabras' attacks were increasing exponentially. While its regular "beat" still remained Canovanas and the surrounding municipalities, the trail of bloodless animals led to sites on the other side of the island. It was then that people expressed the belief that there surely must be more than a single Goatsucker at work. By November 1995, the situation had reached a fever pitch—not a day went by without the elusive predator making its presence felt, as this chronology attests:


On Wednesday, November 1, 1995 the predatory gargoyle descended upon the community of Sabana Grande. A report filed by police officer Abraham Baez of the Sabana Seca police noted that a Nubian goat belonging to Jose Vega Lugo was found in a lot adjacent to Route 167, which leads to Barrio La Torre. The officer's report states that the animal was found missing an eye and displayed a curious wound on its neck. The carcass gave no indications of having been attacked by dogs, but the goat's innards were outside its body. The animal had also been rendered bloodless by it nameless attacker.


Jose Vega Lugo discovered that his goat had been slain at 3:00 p.m. in a lot near his property. Neighbors found several black hairs entwined in a barbed wire fence.


Lt. Medina, the interim chief of the Sabana Grande district, noted that the wounds inflicted on the hapless goat "were precise and without any rending." Perhaps to keep at bay the more fanciful explanations for the goat's demise, he promptly added that there had been reports concerning the presence of feral monkeys in the area. Three years earlier, an unknown assailant had decimated a flock of sheep belonging to a doctor from the nearby city of Yauco. The dead animals presented the same throat punctures and had inexplicably lost all their blood.


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Mayor Jose "Chemo" Soto's paramilitary antics may have been scorned by his political opponents in Canovanas, but were hailed as pro-active by Carlos De Jesus, manager of "Junker Correa," an auto salvage lot located on the main highway running from Caguas to Rio Piedras. Mr. De Jesus insisted that the course of action taken by the mayor of Canovanas was neither foolish nor futile.


De Jesus' junkyard had just been the Chupacabras' latest lunch stop. Upon opening for business at 7:00 a.m., he was puzzled that the five sheep and four geese he kept on the premises had not come out to greet him, demanding their morning meal. Manuel Correa, the junkyard's proprietor, accompanied De Jesus in search of the animals, only to find they were all dead.


"The Chupacabras is a serious matter, not a cause for levity," De Jesus declared emphatically to reporter Ruben Dario Rodriguez from El Vocero. "The government should pay greater attention to this weird situation. Right now, only farm animals are being killed, but in the future, it could well be our own children or grandchildren."


On Thursday, November 2, 1995 the Goatsucker hit the big time. An Associated Press writer picked up the story and broadcast it on the news wires. This time, it was residents of Ponce who had the dubious pleasure of the visit. The Chupacabras feasted on four cats and five dogs in the Lajes and Bellavista neighborhoods of the city.


Angela Lajes told the press that she woke up in the morning and found that her dog, who had been put outside in perfect health the previous evening, was dead. Aside from a trickle of blood around its anus, the dog was described as being desiccated and with a few viscera exposed. Mrs. Lajes ran to her neighbor, her sister Angela Santiago, who told her that two cats on her property had been found entirely dry, as if they had nothing inside them. "I heard the sounds of a fierce fight last night, but I felt afraid to come outside, but the fact of the matter is that a number of animals have been slain without any explanation whatsoever."


Other reports continued coming in, including that twenty parakeets—hardly containing enough blood for a creature the size of the Goatsucker—had been found slain in the coastal town of Yabucoa, down the road from the prestigious Palmas del Mar resort. Not satisfied with killing the parakeets in their cage, the bloodthirsty creature topped the night off by relieving five goats of their vital fluids.


Mr. William Rodriguez's five goats were inspected by Officers Lozada and Ortiz of the Yabucoa precinct, who noted that the animals had been slain in a manner identical to the other deaths reported all over the island.


Monday, November 6, 1995: So far the victims had only been animals, but the fear behind every single mind on the island was that the Goatsucker would give human hemoglobin a try. Two fishermen who had cast their hooks by the banks of the Canovanas River almost became an entree, according to Obed Betancourt, a writer for El Vocero.


The two men had been fishing buruquenas (a sort of Caribbean shad or sunfish) in the early evening (7:30-8:30 p.m.) in the Barrio Palmasola section of Canovanas, when they suddenly became aware of a sound in the vegetation behind them. Luis Angel Guadalupe and Carlos Carrillo, his brother in law, were convinced that the thing which interrupted their nocturnal fishing was none other than the Chupacabras itself. Guadalupe observed that it was "horrible—like the devil himself," proceeding to describe the creature as a having large ears, luminous oval eyes alternating between orange and red, claws, and wings. The nightmarish intruder stood between four and five feet tall.


This close encounter prompted both men to run faster than either of them had ever run, while the Chupacabras pursued them flying above the treetops. Upon reaching his house after the mad foot race, Guadalupe grabbed a machete and turned to see the Goatsucker, ready to pounce, perched on a nearby hutch. But battle wasn't joined—the gargoyle jumped to the ground, leaving deep prints in the earth, and dashed back into the woods, tearing down the hutch, fences, and other structures in its path. Perhaps it wasn't hungry. It was later learned that earlier that evening, the winged terror had slaughtered fifteen peacocks and a heifer belonging to one Miguel Dominguez.


Mayor Jose "Chemo" Soto and thirty of his "Ramboes"—the militia-like posse of fearless Goatsucker hunters—patrolled the areas in question in search of the creature. Mayor Soto expressed a belief at one point that the Chupacabras prowls the riverbanks to drink water after killing its prey.


The Chupacabras struck again: this time choosing to add a cat to its monotonous goat and lamb diet. Striking at a junkyard, it killed a cat, a sheep, and apparently swallowed an entire lamb, since the third animal being kept by the junkyard owner never turned up again.


The junkyard, known as "Junker Tito", was located on Route 1 between Caguas and Rio Piedras, a heavily-trafficked urban corridor. Perhaps the solitude that reigns over these used auto parts cemeteries is perfect for the creature's depredations, since this was its second strike at a junkyard. "Junker Correa" and the sheep it held were victims to the Goatsucker a few days earlier.


Victor Ortiz, owner of "Junker Tito", had this to say to the press: "We have no idea if it all happened on Sunday night or in the early morning hours of Monday. When we opened for business on Monday morning, we were surprised that the animals hadn't come looking for us as was their custom. A short while later, we found the dead cat, two almost-dead sheep and a missing lamb."


Ortiz went on to add that in spite of the muddiness of the junkyard's terrain, there were no footprints to be found anywhere. However, there were signs that a fierce fight had ensued between the animals and the attacker, who vanquished them in the end. The dead animals had the characteristic circular puncture marks around their necks.


The Chupacabras, now believed to be merely one of many creatures, continued its killing spree throughout the island's central municipalities, this time leaving fifteen guinea hens completely bloodless. The dead birds exhibited bizarre stinger marks, as if they had been attacked by a swarm of bees. This event transpired in the locality of Cidra, at a body shop owned by Juan R. Colon.


A few days earlier, a Cidra mechanic had seen a very strange creature land on a tree branch. Not willing to risk ridicule, he confided his experience to a cousin. The mechanic repeatedly stated that he had never seen anything similar in his life, and believed that he had quite possibly seen the notorious Chupacabras.


The undercurrent of fear caused by the Chupacabras spread throughout the city of Caguas and its outlying suburbs as a result of the mind-bending killing of a large horse and four goats belonging to Efrain Rojas, Jr. The animals, kept at Mr. Rojas' property off Route 183, which links San Lorenzo to Caguas, were found with deep incisions in their chests, one of them leading directly to the heart. No stains of blood spillage were found on the ground, nor was any blood left within the carcasses. Jonathan Rojas, a high school student, claims to have wakened from a deep sleep at 2:30 a.m. after hearing the noise made by the horse kicking the door to its paddock. Upon taking a quick look through his bedroom window, he was amazed to see an odd, pyramidal object some sixteen feet tall by twenty feet wide floating amid the heavy fog.


Rojas added that the object seemed to have a sort of entrance or doorway, and was hovering over a small brook some three hundred feet away from his house, as if supplying itself with water. He fell asleep once more, awakening at five in the morning to see the same object in place. This time he alerted his uncle, who was only able to distinguish an intense glow departing from the area as he looked out the window.


Thursday, November 9, 1995 it was reported that Mrs. Ada Arroyo, identified as the assistant director of the Mount Sion Nursing Home outside Barrio Turabo Arriba in the city of Caguas, fell victim to a nervous breakdown after seeing the infamous Chupacabras. According to the story, the event took place at 7 p.m. Mount Sion is a peaceful and inviting facility, equipped with a large and modern swimming facility.


Mrs. Arroyo was quoted as saying: "I heard screams similar to those made by a lamb being slaughtered. I went out to the patio and managed to see a strange hairy figure, grayish in color, covering its body with a pair of wings. It had a flattened, vulpine face, with enormous red eyes." Mrs. Arroyo added that the creature held her gaze with its mesmerizing eyes before taking off into the air, vanishing from sight immediately. It was later learned that the noises identified by the nursing home director came from a herd of cattle downhill from the place where she spotted the winged oddity. No dead animals were discovered.


Other animals in Rio Piedras weren't so fortunate: two sheep, a goose, and a turkey were found dead the following day. It was rumored that the Chupacabras had been active in the area only days before, when a 150 lb. sheep was found dead and drained of all its blood. No footprints were found around any of the victims.


Word on the streets had it that the Chupacabras was hiding out in the vast natural cave systems that riddle Puerto Rico like a piece of Swiss cheese. Hundreds of residents of the town of Aguas Buenas, famous for being the birthplace of Luis Munoz Marin, the Commonwealth's founder and first governor, believed that the renowned bat-infested caves of their region were providing shelter for the Chupacabras. Mayor Carlos Aponte, taking a page from Mayor Soto's book, decided to organize a posse and go after the creature, which had already left its calling card in Aguas Buenas. The entity appeared in broad daylight and killed a rooster and two hens at a private farm located at Barrio Camino Verde, before being scared away by the screams of local residents who witnessed its deeds. Those self-same residents allegedly saw it enter the gloomy caves. The police, members of the Civil Defense, and dozens of townsfolk headed to the cave area, but none dared venture into them for fear of cornering the creature.


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Gun control is a non-issue in Puerto Rico. Not only is it a citizen's right to bear arms, but it is safe to say that one of every three island residents owns a weapon, registered or not. This freewheeling ownership of sidearms enabled farmer Elliot Feliciano to open fire against a nocturnal predator which turned out to be the hellish Goatsucker. On Saturday, November 11, 1995 it was reported by Feliciano that a large animal jumped the fence surrounding his home, prompting the armed response. While he cannot say for sure if he scored a hit, the farmer believes that the sizable creature may well have been the Chupacabras. He described the beast as being some 3 to 4 feet tall, endowed with large eyes, and with what appeared to be wings. Police report 95-5-050-15435, filed by police officers Gonzalo Tubens and Jose Toro, states that an animal making a noise that the complainant could not identify was shot at on the property. A search by both officers revealed no trace of the Goatsucker.


The El Rosario sector, located between Mayaguez and San German, was gripped by fear since the first sightings of the gargoyle-like creature began, prompting farmers to safeguard their animals. Elements of the local police found an eighty-pound goat which had been killed by means of strange wounds to its throat, and rendered bloodless.


A society raised on "Friday the 13th" movies, the exploits of Freddy Kruger, and splattergore films is usually immune to monster stories. But what happens when a creature that could well be an escapee from one of these celluloid nightmares sticks an arm through an open window?


Ask the wife of Bernardo Gomez, who lives in Caguas. According to a report on Wednesday, November 15, 1995, she saw with her own eyes how a clawed hand belonging to a long, thin, hairy arm entered through her bedroom window just as she was getting ready for bed. The claw seized a teddy bear sitting on a counter top and shredded it in seconds. Mrs. Gomez claimed to have hurled a coffee cup at the sinister appendage, which withdrew immediately. She managed to see a single red eye and the left side of the intruder's face, which promptly vanished into the heavily wooded area behind the house.


These events took place in the city of Caguas, directly south of San Juan. Agents of the police, Civil Defense, and the Municipal Guards responded to the emergency phone call, finding a slimy substance deposited against the torn window, as well as an unidentifiable piece of rancid flesh that had apparently been left behind as the creature beat a retreat. The Technical Services Division of the local CIC agency dusted the window for fingerprints, but were unable to find any. A thorough search of the nearby wilderness failed to reveal any sign of the mysterious intruder.


Thus far, city dwellers had felt safe from the attacks of this elusive creature or creatures. Yet the same evening that Mrs. Gomez underwent her harrowing experience, two hens and their chicks had their blood drained by a Chupacabras-like creature in the heart of San Juan's Puerto Nuevo neighborhood, a heavily built-up area filled with shops, restaurants, and main avenues. The owner of the slain hens had gone to nearby Dorado for the day, and returned to find the hair-raising scene.


This prompted the long-suffering citizenry to fight back. Neither monster, nor alien, nor gargoyle will ever crush the human spirit: the residents of Barrio Cain Alto in the town of San German chased the Chupacabras away as it was poised to kill three fighting roosters belonging to one of the neighbors. This foiled attack took place in the afternoon, when the people of Barrio Cain Alto heard the commotion taking place in the area where the cockfighting roosters were kept. Three of the neighbors ran into the nightmarish attacker, who appeared to hesitate at the sudden appearance of the humans, whose fear was overcome by intense rage: they began throwing stones at the Chupacabras, who rose to its full height and sprang upwards into the air, flying off in the direction of a nearby hill. The three rock-slinging witnesses described the intruder as being a grayish brown simian creature with large, almond-shaped eyes, an oval face, and small hands protruding from its shoulders.


In his regular column on UFOs, Julio Victor Ramirez, who reported most of the UFO incidents taking place during the 1991-92 sightings, observed that area residents did not link the Chupacabras with UFO activity. He pointed out that farmers in Western Puerto Rico linked the Goatsucker with giant vampire bats which may have been introduced deliberately or not from their habitats in South America.


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Ruben Dario Rodriguez observed in a column that elements of the Department of Natural Resources had completed tests on a number of dead rabbits which showed deep puncture marks. They returned a stunning verdict: the wounds on the hapless bunnies could not have been produced by anything native to Puerto Rico. The investigators thought it strange that the dead rabbits had been found outside their cages, which showed no signs of having been forced open. One of the rabbits had punctures in its paws and was covered in a slimy substance (which would later be found at a number of sites). The slime also underwent analysis, but no report on the findings was ever issued.


Coincidentally (but perhaps not), the rabbit killings took place in the town of Gurabo, where the vampire bird had been discovered in 1989.


Reason enough to panic, yet no one did: The Chupacabras' depredations were coming closer to the urban sprawl of San Juan. This time it struck in Carolina, a municipality bordering the island capital. A small mongrel dog belonging to Demetrio Rivera was found dead.


According to Mr. Rivera's testimony, his dog was tied out in the backyard, as was customary, when it suddenly began barking furiously. But the barks soon turned to pitiful moans, as if something were suffocating the small pet. This prompted Demetrio and his daughter Ivette to turn on the patio lights and take a look. They purportedly heard the strong fluttering of a winged thing flying away: their dog, near death, was covered with a strange slime, like the goo found on the Vega Baja cattle. The canine was so terrified by what it had seen and experienced that it refused to let its owners come closer. After a while, the Riveras were able to pour water on their beloved pet and remove the curious slime that covered it.


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Maribel Arroyo, a resident of the same neighborhood as the Riveras, also had a visit. Mrs. Arroyo, who runs a chicken farm, stated that she heard the cries of large birds over her farm. The following day she discovered that thirty of her hens had been slain and rendered bloodless. The unfortunate fowl had puncture marks in their throats and bellies.


According to a report dated Friday, November 24, 1995, the possibility that witchcraft could be at the root of these mysterious killings was aired in the media for the first time, just as a UFO connection to the Chupacabras situation was reinforced by a close encounter near Toa Baja. A resident of this town, less than half an hour from San Juan (in light traffic, that is), told the media that he had a close encounter with a creature about four feet tall.


A slight whiff of high strangeness accompanied this case in Toa Baja: policeman Jose Matos, sent to investigate, found a number of dead heifers lying in a perfect row down the middle of a lonely road in the Hoyos sector of Toa Baja. The oddity was that no heifers of the kind slaughtered can be found anywhere for miles around the area. No one claimed the carcasses, leading to the belief that they were slain elsewhere and deposited in Toa Baja for some reason. The eerie disposition of the carcasses was captured in a photograph taken by Baltazar Vazquez of El Vocero. It led many residents of the area to speculate about the possibility that a warlock or witch was making use of the animal's blood.


By Monday, November 27, 1995, the Chupacabras (whether singular or plural) had appeared once again, this time in Rincon, a small seaside town which may have been Columbus' landing site during his discovery of Puerto Rico in 1493 (an honor disputed by the neighboring cities of Aguadilla and Mayaguez).


Five goats, described as "costly" by reporter Tomas de Jesus Mangal, were found comatose and bloodless out of a flock of 29 such animals. One of the goats died, but as of November 27, the other four remained between life and death. A local veterinary had kept them alive by means of judicious injections of a coagulant known as Azium, which stanched the bleeding caused by the creature's trademark single puncture to the animal's jugular. The owner of the flock, Edwin Lorenzo Feneguez, was beside himself at his considerable loss.


Things took a darker turn when elements of the research group NOVA appeared on the scene. The leader of this organization declared that the remaining goats, the ones that had not been attacked by the Goatsucker, would die anyway. His questionable explanation? They had been injected with a poisonous substance that would bring about death within a matter of days. This hardly comforted Mr. Feneguez. The elements of the NOVA group aired their unfounded theory that the bloodsucking creature was one of twenty which had descended to Earth to conduct experiments with human blood in order to produce blood viruses aimed at eliminating humanity.


An official from the Commonwealth agriculture department, Hector Lopez, visited the Feneguez farm and asked the distraught owner to touch neither the dead goat nor the 4 dying ones until his agency had an opportunity to run a number of tests on them.


Proof of the Goatsucker's existence? Hardly. The papers reported the discovery of a footprint or handprint—the very first found since this rash of animal mutilations began—at the site of an attack near Vega Baja. Photographs showed a splayed, six-fingered (or six-toed?) print in the clay-like ground. More impressive was the viscous slime left around the neck of a wounded cow.


The bloodsucker was only steps away from becoming a victim itself. Police sergeant Jesus Medina Montes regretted not being able to take a few shots against a "being" shaped like a bird, which fluttered while making a loud noise with its mouth. The Chupacabras would have paid dearly for the wounds inflicted upon a number of steers, among them a large Zebu bull. Sergeant Medina told El Vocero that a local landlord, Anselmo Rodriguez, toured the property after the Goatsucker's attack, only to discover that much of his herd was bleeding from their humps. Some of the beasts were covered by a slime that could not be properly described. Irene Mercado and her 9 year-old niece allegedly saw the creature "fly away" from the area that night.


Some researchers have suggested that the Chupacabras are the result of some kind of covert genetic experiment conducted by the military. These points are valid because there is ample evidence of the US military using Puerto Rico for experiments involving illegal weapons and a whole variety of top-secret projects—such as Agent Orange and Thalidomide. Also experiments using "radiation weapons" have been carried out on the island.


Meanwhile Chupacabra events continued to be reported—Juan Collazo, a policeman, shot a Chupacabra at close range with no apparent effect. Jesus Sanchez, resident of Gurabo, discovered the dead bodies of his rabbits in his backyard and decided to mount a vigil, waiting for the creature to return. Several days later Sanchez found himself face to face with a Chupacabra. He dazzled it with a powerful flashlight and gave it two blows with his machete. He remarked "The blows sounded like I had struck a hollow drum". The creature escaped, apparently unharmed.


Update: 1996-1998


Whatever it is, chupacabras' appetite for blood had not been satisfied. From 1996 through 1998, reports of their ghastly attacks continued to make their way into the press. Sightings were made in the Dominican Republic, Tucson, Arizona, and continued on the island of Puerto Rico. Hardly a month goes by without an assault on some helpless animals by the chupacabras:


In November, 1996, a Mexican rancher near San Antonio, Texas, claimed to have captured the chupacabras with a coyote trap—and produced the photographs to prove it. The rancher had set the trap to capture whatever was killing his goats, chickens, and a donkey. What he caught was something he could not recognize. Allegedly, the body of the strange creature was taken to a major Texas university for identification, although this cannot be verified.


In November, 1997, chupacabras was back in its original stomping grounds where it killed two goats, bled another dry, and made off with a small kid from a small farm near Loíza, Puerto Rico. Investigating police believe that attack took place around 2 a.m., about the time a farm hand heard the "flutter of wings" and saw frightened horses and cows running "as if the devil were in pursuit."


Thirty-four hogs were found dead with the trademark puncture marks on November 17, 1997, near Aricibo, Puerto Rico. The pigs were being raised by inmates of the Sabana Hoyos prison who had planned to feast on the animals for Christmas dinner.


Near Hesperia in Southern California, a creature matching the description of the "goat sucker" attacked another pig in December, 1997. "I encountered something trying to get to my pig that was unbelievable," said the owner. "When I came around the corner, it stopped and looked up at me. My dogs seemed to be afraid of it. It then disappeared into the bushes."


On January 26, 1998, chupacabras was blamed for the mutilation of three cats at the home of Melvin Rosado in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. According the report, "one of the cats had its skin separated by a precise, bloodless incision."


It would be easier to discount all of these accounts as peculiar attacks by a variety of different predators if it weren't for the consistent eyewitness descriptions of the chupacabras. Is it just possible that this is some kind of creature, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, that has not yet been classified by science? Or is it just another myth perpetuated by fanciful human imagination?


Epilogue: Government calls for Action


The senseless slaughter of animals of all sizes prompted certain politicians—against the wishes of party leaders and the government currently in office—to call for decisive action to be taken against whatever animal or entity was responsible for the mutilated carcasses. On November 9, 1995, congressmen Jose Nunez Gonzalez and Juan "Kike" Lopez presented a resolution in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives calling for an official investigation into the matter. RC 5012 requested "an in-depth and thorough investigation of the unknown phenomenon and an accounting of the damages visited upon the country's farmers by the so-called Chupacabras." Congressman Lopez voiced his dissatisfaction with the apathy evinced by his colleagues on Jorge Martin's Ovnis Confidencial radio program:


"We're dealing with a situation in which hundreds of animals are turning up mutilated, dead, slaughtered... which is highly uncommon. If we all know that something unusual is going on, why isn't anybody doing anything about it? The government does nothing, the legislature does nothing, federal and local agencies do nothing. The Department of Agriculture has done nothing, the Department of Natural Resources has done nothing, yet this situation has already affected enough farmers who've experienced losses which may be considerable in the end... This cannot be. What are we waiting for?"

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