It stands three to four feet tall, has a flexible row of spines down its back, eyes that glow red and long, sharp fangs... some even say it has wings. This is how eyewitnesses have described the strange, unworldly creature known as El Chupacabra - Spanish for "the goat sucker." The creature, as elusive as Bigfoot and as terrifying as a demon, earned its name from the way it kills its victims (mostly farm animals, including goats) - by sucking the life blood from them.
Chupacabra first made the headlines in 1995, when several attacks were reported in Puerto Rico. The small island still claims the most number of attacks to date, but slaughtered chickens, ducks, goats, cats, dogs and other small animals have been attributed to Chupacabra in Mexico, Central America, South America and even parts of the Southern United States.
During April, May and June of 2000, however, there were reports of a spate of attacks coming out of Chile. The mysterious deaths of farm animals followed the same pattern as those in Puerto Rico and other countries, and descriptions from eyewitnesses who claim to have actually seen the creature in Chile match the hideous features detailed in previous accounts.The stories that came out of Chile - many reported in Chilean newspapers - had an incredible twist. A few of the dreaded creatures, they said, were actually caught and killed... and then their bodies were taken away by representatives of U.S. government agencies. That was the claim, anyway.
The Attack Begins
The recent attacks began in April, and newspapers carried stories of the mysterious deaths of close to 200 goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits in northern Chile. At first the deaths were blamed on packs of wild dogs, but one trademark feature of the killings turned the suspicion on the legendary Chupacabra. The respected Reuters news agency reported that some of the animal victims "had incisions in their throats and their blood had been sucked out." The report also said that "detectives swept the zone with night vision equipment and that blood-curdling sounds were heard in the dark, causing residents not to venture outside."
Victor Espinosa, an investigator for Chile's Ecology Department, was said to take hair samples and footprint castings for examination. "The paw prints do not match those of horses, cows, goats, pigs, felines or wild dogs," Espinosa said. And, according to Dr. Virgilia Sanches-Ocejo of the Miami UFO Center, Espinosa also said that evidence shows that the animal walks on two legs and only attacks hot-blooded animals and not snakes or lizards of the region.
In late May / early June, rumors surfaced that three of the creatures had actually been captured. Reported chiefly by Marcial Campos Maza of the Chile's EFE news service and by Joseph Trainor of UFO Roundup in the U.S. among others, the stories claimed that three of the creatures had been caught in the desert near a mine just north of the town of Calama. In the struggle to capture the Chupacabras, they said, one Chilean soldier had been killed. The Chilean military allegedly would not discuss the matter.More bizarrely, after the little monsters had been held in an army barracks for several hours, a team of NASA representatives arrived by helicopter from the U.S. (closing the local airport, according to one story) and took them away. How it was assumed that these people were from NASA is unclear, as is where the notion came from that NASA - the U.S. space agency - would have jurisdiction over such a matter, if it were a fact.
"Residents of Calama and nearby communities continued to blame NASA for the apparitions and attacks of the mysterious Chupacabras," Maza reported, "which has killed many farm animals in the region and other parts of Chile... their bodies completely exsanguinated and undevoured by the mysterious predator. It was said that the captured animal was kept all day at the regiment's barracks until NASA experts arrived to take it away."
Why NASA? Some residents believe that the deadly Chupacabras are the result of some diabolical genetic experiments gone awry by NASA, or some other U.S. agency. "The gringos had at least three genetic experiments run away from them," one respected Chilean architect was quoted as saying, but it was not disclosed how he came upon such information.
The Chupacabra Strikes Back
It seemed El Chupacabra was not pleased with having a few of its kind carted away. A new rash of animal killings started to occur in early June. In the backyard of a home in the port city of Talcahuano, 14 chickens were mysteriously slaughtered on June 4 - and Chupacabra was blamed. A few days later, the newspaper Diario El Sur ran a story about another attack in the city of Concepcion:
The strange case took place around 4 a.m. while Julio Reyes and his wife, Carmen Andrade, were still asleep. They suddenly heard a loud noise coming from their home's back yard, a kind of small farm in which they have a henhouse and a garden containing tomato, potato, chocla and pepper plants. "The light outside the henhouse was on. I saw the monster flapping his wings fiercely while the hens were crowing - something they never do at this time. That's when I saw the white one running toward the back. At this time, Bobby [the family's dog] came out to take a look, but when he saw the back gate, through which the hens had fled, he refused to follow and remained standing still. He then ran toward the street gate and began barking," explained Carmen, who did not witness the events herself out of fear that the intruder might be a burglar. "Bobby became sort of dopey and turned back. He didn't dare go forward," Julio said. Around 7 a.m., the couple discovered what had transpired. In the very rear of the backyard - which can only be reached by crossing two gates - their three hens and one rooster were found dead, completely torn to shreds, as if they had been ripped open at the chest cavity and scattered in a 10-meter (33-foot) radius. It is worth noting that the house's entrance is a gate covered with chicken wire."
Chile's national police blamed the attack on wild dogs, but Reyes did not accept that explanation. "Based on several paw prints found on the site," the newspaper article continued, "twice the size of Bobby's, the owner was not satisfied with the explanation, given the difficulty a dog would have had in getting into the area." Also, Reyes said he had previous experiences with dogs attacking his chickens, and they took the chickens away one by one to eat them, they did not slaughter them in this manner.
Two days later, another report was called in to a local radio station. The caller, from the city of Antofagasta, claimed to have actually seen the Chupacabra. He said he was awakened by strange noises his cat was making. When he got up to investigate, the creature saw him and "took off at high speed." He claimed that the Chupacabra had virtually destroyed his car by making deep scratches in it with its claws. And it killed the cat.Certainly, this is not the last we'll hear of Chupacabra. The attacks might die down in Chile, but the nasty little creature will surface again somewhere else. It might be a good idea to keep all your goats and chickens securely locked up.