In the late nineties, stories were raging in the American South about a creature that attacked livestock and drank blood. At the time, living in the North, I didn’t worry about it too much. Even though we indeed lived on a livestock farm. Sure the stories were creepy, but I didn’t start putting much weight on them until I moved to the South in my late teen years. And realized the tales of El Chupacabra might not be too far from the truth, after all. Let’s explore the history, origins, and modern sightings of the blood-sucking Chupacabra.
El Chupacabra, when translated, means goat sucker in Spanish. But this isn’t just a person or animal that goes around sucking on goats harmlessly for fun. El Chupacabra is the name given to a creature that’s said to hunt livestock and domestic pets, puncture their skin with its teeth or fangs, and drain them of their blood. When dead livestock is found, eyewitnesses say they have small circular incisions somewhere on their bodies. Probably from which they drink the blood.
Eyewitnesses have seen two different creatures, or at least, their appearance shows some marked differences. Perhaps they’re the same being, though. Some say it’s a grey-scaled, lizard-looking creature that stands on its hind legs and jumps from place to place. And that it stands between 4 and 5 feet tall. Others say it walks on 4 legs and has more of a greenish-tint to it’s skin. Most eyewitnesses agree it has fangs, spines down its back, and claws. Glowing red eyes are sometimes also an added feature. Some say they use their eyes to hypnotize their prey, rendering them unable to run away or fight back. They emit a sulphuric odor and screech when surprised.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to see a creature like this when I look out my window. But that’s exactly what happened to Madelyne Tolentino in the 90s…
According to some sources, the sightings of el chupacabra actually began as early as the 1950’s throughout the United States. Most believe the creature is centered mostly in the Southern U.S. and Central America; however, one of my sources claim it’s been seen all over the United States as far north as New Jersey. Interestingly though, I also found links to the Jersey Devil, so this may just be a case of misidentification between cryptids.
What really started the el chupacabra craze was a Puerto Rican woman’s sighting of the creature in 1995. Madelyne Tolentino heard a noise outside her bedroom window one night. When she peered out, she was confronted with an image that’s been burned in her brain ever since – a monstrous, terrifying goat sucker. I don’t think she realized this scaly red-eyed thing that stood on its hind legs had anything to do with the hundreds of livestock and pets killed in her area recently.
Following her claim, dozens of people came forward with their experiences. I recall people in the southern U.S. were pretty freaked out at this point and were guarding their livestock with care. Hoping the blood-sucking chupacabra wouldn’t come for their goats, cows, dogs and cats next. Since the 1990s, el chupacabra has been sighted and has attacked in Mexico, the Southern U.S. including Texas, Florida, Arizona and New Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Chile.
In 2007, a woman in Texas claimed to have found an animal that had been stalking her property, killing cats and sucking blood from chickens. Since the sighting, Texas has become a sort of chupacabra hotbed of activity. Coincidentally, there have also been numerous chupacabra carcasses found in the lone star state. At least presumed to be the dead bodies of chupacabra. Scientists claim these carcasses are actually the bodies of dead coyotes, sometimes raccoons, with severe cases of mange (more on this later). But for me, I can’t get past the way in which the livestock and pets are killed. The circular incisions or puncture wounds and then the blood being seemingly drained from the bodies. To me, this points to something more unnatural. More sinister.
In doing some research on vampiric creatures in the Americas, I found el chupacabra isn’t the first or the only one. The Chonchon of the Mapuche region is a witch or sorcerer with shapeshifting abilities. He or she chooses to transform into a vampiric, bird-like monster. Often it’s also depicted as the sorcerer’s head separated from its body and transformed with wings. It carries itself around on the wind, searching for ill or sleeping people from which to suck their blood and energy. Similar to the skinwalkers in the American south, also being dark sorcerers with shapeshifting abilities. These abilities give them opportunity to exact their evil will in disguise.
These legends also remind me of the Northern American indigenous stories of the cannibalistic Wendigo. The major difference between the Wendigo and chupacabra is the Wendigo was likely once human, who became a human-eating monster because of misdeeds and misfortune. Whereas the chupacabra isn’t necessarily related back to human beings at all. But a creature in and unto itself. El chupacabra is to the south as sasquatch is to the north. I’m not saying el chupacabra is sasquatch, nor is it a version of the Wendigo or skinwalker. But they do share illusive cryptid qualities.
Vampires are so ingrained in our psyche, there are versions of blood-sucking creatures in nearly every ancient culture. Even surviving in literature and films in modern times. None are exactly evocative of the chupacabra, but all have one thing in common – the craving for human flesh and animal blood.
All those chupacabra carcasses found in Texas and the American South turned out to be something quite normal. They weren’t cryptids with bloodthirst, but coyotes with severe cases of mange. According to the American Kennel Club, severe mange in dogs manifests in one of two forms – sarcoptic mange or demodectic mange. Both are diseases of the skin in which scabies or mites burrow into the skin of the infected animal. With each infection, there are signs and symptoms within days to weeks after contact. Those include:
The symptoms of mange seem to cover the main characteristics of el chupacabra. The “scaly” skin described by eyewitnesses, the spines on the back being leftover hair along the spine, and malnourishment and emaciation leading to coyotes searching for easier prey. Like cows, goats, and other small domesticated animals like cats and chickens. Think about it. If you’re hungry but too weak to chase down your next meal, you’ll pick off the nearest slow calf before running full speed at a feisty rabbit. It all seems to add up…right?
In spite of having scientific explanation for these creepy bloodsuckers, there are those who have seen it live and up close who disagree. How about the people who have watched it walk on its hind legs? How often do coyotes walk on their hind legs truly, and would they have the energy if they were sick with severe mange? Coyotes can indeed stand on their hind legs to reach food up high, like eggs in nests, etc. but they don’t walk long distances on their hind legs. In addition, sources say coyotes play with one another while standing on their hind legs. This is typically called tussling or wrestling. But the issue here is, when eyewitnesses see chupacabra on its hind legs, it’s not playing with a second one or reaching into a tree for a nest.
Other paranormal theorists can’t seem to ignore the similarities between the chupacabra and the grey alien. The scaly, grey skin, glowing red eyes, and the location in which they’re often seen seems to match. Let’s not forget the hypnosis that seems to overtake many alien abductees and eyewitnesses. Doesn’t that remind you of the hypnosis supposedly used by the chupacabra to capture its prey?
Take for instance the alien and UFO sightings in the state of New Mexico. Since the Roswell incident in the 1940s, New Mexico has been a hotbed for alien encounters. According to Stacker.com, per every 100,000 people in the state, at least 79 have had alien encounters. In 1957, multiple people claim an unidentified flying object followed an airforce aircraft through the air for 700 miles, over Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Three more states with infamous chupacabra sightings.
Another wild theory claims NASA was experimenting on different animals and somehow a mutant hybrid escaped the testing facility. Then proceeded to breed with another one of its kind or something else entirely, creating the chupacabra problem people believe we have today. While I believe the government definitely covers things up, I’m not convinced this is the case with this phenomenon. Truthfully, I’m more prone to believing chupacabra is an alien being rather than some blood-sucking, escaped hybrid.
You’d think in this modern day and age people would be less likely to believe in the paranormal. But here’s the truth of the matter, science and technology can’t and doesn’t explain everything. Sometimes people capture creepy things on their cameras outside their homes. Sometimes camera surveillance outside of businesses do too. In 2022, a camera on the Amarillo Zoo premises caught an image that no one has been able to explain yet.
If you’d like to see the image, click here to be taken to KSAT Action news. A figure with bent knees, standing on 2 legs, is seen standing outside the fence of the zoo. Zoo officials confirmed it was not inside the zoo, thankfully, but seeing a creature like this hovering near where other animals are kept is disturbing. Some say it’s a man wearing a funny hat. Others say it’s a coyote on its hind legs. Still others believe it’s a rare photo of el chupacabra, scoping out its prey. Weirdly, it looks like it has a tail, is extremely skinny, and looking directly at the camera. To me, it’s not a man. As of June 2022, no one has been able to explain the creature.
I absolutely adore fantasy movies set in modern times. And even more, I adore movies that play on folkloric and paranormal figures in a friendly and fun way. The new movie CHUPA will be released in 2023 and features our favorite cryptid, El Chupacabra. But this Chupa isn’t scary or vicious, he is cuddly and friendly! Plus, the movie is based in Mexico, where El Chupacabra originates. A must-see for my family this year. If the real chupacabra looks anything like Chupa in the movie, I’m ready to move Southwest and befriend one myself.
It’s midnight. Someone calls your name from down the hall. You peak from your bedroom …September 23, 2023