[CNI News has previously reported on the bizarre creature called "El Chupacabras," the Goat Sucker, thought responsible for numerous animal deaths in Puerto Rico (see CNI News 13.3, Dec 11, 1995). In the following story, researcher and journalist Scott Corrales comments on the various theories propounded to explain this phenomenon. Though now living in Pennsylvania, Corrales grew up in Puerto Rico and specializes in Latin American Ufology. CNI News thanks Carole Jarrett for sending this article, and Scott Corrales for sending additional information.]
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR RESPONSE TO THE CHUPACABRAS PHENOMENON?
by Scott Corrales
January 11, 1996
The totally unexpected furor caused by sightings of the strange entity dubbed "el Chupacabras" (the Goatsucker) by residents of rural Puerto Rico raises some serious items for debate. What should be our response, as commonsensical (as opposed to skeptical or prejudiced), educated individuals? The skeptics have dismissed these events as hallucinations or worse. People do not hallucinate the deaths of their pets or their livelihoods (in the case of small animal farmers). The person whose livelihood depends on a computer does not wake up one morning, arrive at the workplace, find his/her computer smashed to bits and say: "I'm probably hallucinating."
There is extensive photographic evidence available to all who care to see it, displaying the thoroughly unnatural means of slaughter employed by this unknown being. These animals died as the result of a single puncture mark, found on some part of the body, which apparently drained them of blood. One particularly graphic photo shows a Siamese cat with a single puncture mark right through its skull. The skeptics' kneejerk reaction to all this has been to blame these deaths on (a) dogs, (b) feral monkeys, (c) vampire bats, (d) other exotic beasts.
Let us examine these possibilities one by one. A plague of single fanged, bloodsucking dogs is probably a more terrifying thought than a carload of Goatsuckers. Nonetheless, veterinarians have stuck to this unlikely possibility, regardless of the fact that dogs rend their prey and eat them, rather than extracting their juices. To date, there are no reports of mastication on any carcass found.
Puerto Rico harbors a number of military animal research laboratories. The Caribbean Primate Research Center's La Parguera facility lost a number of rhesus monkeys in the 1970's, and these fugitive apes have allegedly been spreading throughout the island. Jess Rodriguez, a veterinarian interviewed by the San Juan Star (11/19/95 issue) stated that monkeys are notoriously messy eaters and would have left four holes and scars rather than the single puncture that has become the Chupacabras' trademark.
Local tabloid Vocero echoed the possibility that giant vampire bats had infiltrated the island in cargo shipments proceeding from South America. Eyewitness reports in no way describe a batlike creature, and normal sized bats are fairly common in the Caribbean, so witnesses would have a good point of reference for their descriptions.
The possibility of exotic pets imported by wealthy dilettante zoologists has been dear to many skeptics on the island. However, no one can imagine what kind of reptile, simian, bovine, etc. could fit the bill of a creature answering the Chupacabras' description. Furthermore, the USDA has a very effective control of anything animal or vegetable entering or leaving the island. Tourists to P.R. are familiar with the obligatory USDA inspection at the airport prior to leaving the island.
Skeptics have found it convenient to blame the entire situation on Puerto Rico's particular political status. Neither a state of the U.S. nor a free country, sociologists have long debated that this political limbo has affected people's minds. Prominent politicians have gone on record saying that as 1998 approaches commemorating a century of U.S. occupation of the island the greater mental stress regarding this political status will be experienced.
The fact of the matter is that strange creatures are not exclusive to the island: the U.K. experiences phantom felines and lake monsters; the northwestern U.S. has Bigfoot, et cetera. There is clearly no "political status" question affecting the minds of the citizenry of these countries.
EXTRATERRESTRIAL OR NOT? Here we venture into the truly uncharted waters that cause the biased reactions of many. Puerto Rico is famous for its myriad UFO sightings, as well as encounters with strange presumably alien beings. As Jorge Martin of CEDICOP, the only organization conducting responsible [UFO] research on the island, has stated many times, we can only deal with the human aspect of the phenomenon -- witness testimony -- since the other aspects of the phenomenon are closed to us. For this reason, ufology all over the world is more properly the realm of the social scientist, psychologist, anthropologist, etc. rather than the physicist or the chemist.
Since [some] descriptions given of the Chupacabras portray it as having the head and torso of one of the creatures known as "Greys" in UFO research, one of the working hypotheses has linked it to ufology. Another working hypothesis is: Genetic manipulation by human agencies. TIME magazine recently featured a photo of a mouse with a human ear growing out of its back, showing the advanced development of the genetic sciences at the dawn of the 21st century. It would not be unreasonable to suppose that a level of competence has been achieved that would enable the fabrication of a hybrid being such as the Chupacabras.
PARANORMAL ORIGIN. For many decades, a number of investigators have postulated a "paranormal" origin for beings such as the Chupacabras. The word "paranormal" triggers a number of flags in people's minds, since it has been used to describe everything from Zenner card tests to poltergeists. Suffice it to say that this paranormal theory postulates the entry into our "dimension" or "reality" by creatures that are not native to it, by means of materialization. Recent advances in physics comfortably accept the existence of other dimensions; but whether these dimensions are populated by exotic creatures or not is an entirely different matter. No one should feel "railroaded" into accepting any of these working hypotheses as gospel: we should, however, not slam the door on the witnesses (who stand to gain little or nothing from their stories) by holding our noses and demanding "evidence." Under our system of justice, thousands are convicted on eyewitness testimony. If eyewitnesses are good enough for the courts, why can't their integrity be trusted in this matter?
A danger lies in the proliferation of pseudo UFO research groups which seek to spread panic among the population. One of these irresponsible organizations, calling itself "Nova," has its members going around dressed in black (like the notorious Men In Black who were a staple of early UFO stories) and spreading the news that the Chupacabras heralds the end of humanity, ascribing to it "the origin of the AIDS virus" and the capacity to destroy mankind and all its works without damaging the planet (a kind of "organic" neutron bomb), thus rendering it habitable for alien settlers. This kind of activity is both irresponsible and wrongheaded.
Adding insult to injury, a news crew from the "Inside Edition" tabloid visited Puerto Rico to cover the Chupacabras story. Although "Inside Edition" has covered other unusual situations remarkably well, they chose to mock the Chupacabras witnesses they interviewed and managed to anger Mayor Jose Soto of the city of Canvanas, who has led the only organized effort by an elected official in getting to the bottom of the Chupacabras situation. Perhaps the antics of the "Nova" group led them to believe that it was all a joke.
CONCLUSION: Real animals belonging to real people are being slaughtered by a being which is not native to the Puerto Rican ecosystem. We should restrain ourselves from passing judgement on its nature until we have a better idea of what we're up against. This advice goes for both skeptics and "believers" in UFOs and other unknown quantities. However, we urge the latter to support CEDICOP in its efforts at providing an unbiased answer to the situation, and to disregard the sensationalist hype put forth by other parties. (Jorge Martin and CEDICOP may be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 29516, San Juan, P.R., 00929-0516; or by telephone at (809) 755-4906.)
Original file name: .CNI - Goat Sucker Response
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