By Rebecca Schatte
On Sunday, May 12, 1996 I met with a group of five folks from San Antonio to look for the chupacabra. The hunt was carefully planned by Jason Andromalius, who had first notified me by e-mail of a recent report of nine goats being killed near San Antonio.
Jason had found a site near the Medina River that appeared to be public land. The river is about 1 to 2 miles south of the attack site. Of course, looking for the Chupacabra in South Texas after having received only one report of an attack is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
I agreed to meet Jason and the gang in La Coste (pop 1021), a small town southwest of San Antonio. I came armed with a notepad, pen, and tape recorder. Jason was much better prepared, with a night-vision scope, motion detector, binoculars, walkie-talkies, one
shotgun (NOT ENOUGH), gas masks (in case the chupacabra spit some vile poison our way!), infrared film, cameras, tape recorders, and flashlights.
What we needed was beer. Then we would have probably seen a chupacabra. We did hear lots of strange noises, but nothing that came out on the audio tape. Maybe chupacabras are like vampires who can't be seen in the mirror -- they can't be recorded on audio tape. That's my working theory, anyway.
Before the group gathered at 7 p.m., I visited the original site of the goat attack and generally surveyed the area. I spoke to a number of people in the town of La Coste and asked what they knew of the Chupacabra. I found that all the people with whom I spoke in the predominately Hispanic town were familiar with the goatsucker. They talked of the reports they had seen on the Hispanic television stations from San Antonio. However, no one seemed overly concerned, just curious as to what the chupacabra really was. Most believed it was real. Speculation ran from the chupacabra's being some type of government-induced experiment to a new kind of unknown animal. Not one person I spoke to believed it to be a myth.
The site that Jason had selected was a beautiful-tree covered area on the banks of the Medina River. An open field to the north of the river contained an abandoned deer blind (a truck cab on stilts), and this is where Jason and his friend, also named Jason, holed up. Kevin and his girlfriend, Delia, picked a site right on the bank of the river, a little farther upstream. Jason's girlfriend, Yvonne, and I were designated to stay at the base camp, which was also on the river bank but on the south side. All three locations were equipped with walkie-talkies, enabling all of us to communicate what we were seeing and hearing.
And we all heard LOTS of things! Kevin and Delia heard the most interesting sounds. They also got quite a bit of action on the motion detector, but could never see anything, even with the night-vision equipment. "Flapping noises" were heard in the water and the motion detector indicated motion. The flapping noises were described as having been made by something large.
Meanwhile, Jason and Jason were hearing odd things too-- lots of wailing and dogs barking, plus occasional train whistles. Yvonne and I were not without strange sounds, either. We heard a myriad of strange things, from branches rustling to sounds of something moving through the brush. Unfortunately we did not see anything.
Delia and Kevin came back to the base camp because Delia did not like sitting near the river. I can't say that I blame her. It was very spooky being in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. I felt vulnerable. Kevin left Delia with Yvonne and me and returned to his original location on the river.
It was Delia who said: "What's that?" Yvonne and I scrambled for the flashlight and shined it across the road to see a small, strange-looking animal ambling along. At first we thought it was a possum, but with the illumination of the animal we saw that this was no possum! The animal resembled a cat but was bigger than a housecat. It was brown and its eyes reflected that eery "green" that only animal eyes can do when illuminated. The animal had pointed ears resembling a cat in that they stood up on the top of its head and they seemed larger than a cat's ears. The animal did not move in a stealthlike manner one associates with a cat. This animal ambled, more like a possum or an armadillo. Its movement caused Yvonne to remark that the animal was hurt. And that is the way it appeared.
But the interesting thing was that when we caught the animal in the flashlight beam it sat up on its rear haunches and looked right at us. It stared at us for what seemed like an eternity. While we were trying to contact the rest of the gang on the walkie-talkie, the animal made its way to the underbrush. We caught it again in the flashlight beam, and again the animal turned, sat up on its haunches and looked at us before disappearing into the brush, never to be seen again. Perhaps, it was a baby chupacabra! We never thought to get the camera.
Around 1 a.m., the boys made their way back to the base camp, and we all exchanged tales of what we had heard and seen. After packing up the gear, we departed.
So that's it. It was cool, and I want to go back. I wonder if the Fish and Wildlife boys have set a "season" for chupacabras?
Original file name: CNI - Chupa Hunt.R 5.16
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