[On Wednesday, March 5, 1997, radio personality Jeff Rense interviewed a San Antonio, Texas television newsman concerning the possible capture of a bizarre creature that might resemble the legendary Chupacabras. The capture on a small ranch owned by a Mexican immigrant allegedly took place last November but was only reported to local news media within the last few weeks. The live interview with Antonio Guillen of the Spanish language network Univision was heard on Rense's syndicated program "The End of the Line." CNI News editor Michael Lindemann also participated in the on-air interview. Portions of the interview transcript follow.
CNI News cannot confirm the facts in this story, but Antonio Guillen is an experienced television reporter and producer who states his reasons for believing the story is authentic. One of the photos referred to below is on display at Rense's website, www.endoftheline.com, showing a reptile-like creature with very long spikes on its back. One person who has studied the photo, John Velez, has suggested that it appears doctored in the area of the spikes. At least one claim about the creature seems incompatible with the photo: the Mexican rancher reportedly said that similar creatures nearby were seen to jump 10 feet or more, yet the creature in the photo does not appear to be built for jumping.
CNI News has tried without success to identify the university or institution to which the body of this creature was allegedly taken for examination. We will report further developments if they become available. CNI News thanks Jeff Rense for permission to publish this text.]
Jeff Rense: Tell us how this story first began for you.
Antonio Guillen: Everything started when we received a phone call from a rancher south of San Antonio. When I went to talk with the man, he showed me a couple of pictures. I could see they were original pictures, they were not fakes. What we saw was a very, very strange animal. It was caught in a trap by this rancher because he [was trying] to stop whatever had been killing his livestock.
JR: What kind of animals were being killed?
AG: He had goats, chickens, and even a donkey had been attacked by something.
JR: Was the donkey killed?
AG: No, probably because it was a bigger animal. He told me that the donkey had a wound in the neck area.
JR: What kind of a trap did he set?
AG: He told me he set up a coyote trap. That was his final effort to get whatever was killing his livestock.
JR: This is a "clamp" trap? It snaps shut?
AG: Exactly. And what happened is that one night he woke up to a lot of noise in the corral area. He got up and went out to the corral and turned on the lights of his pickup truck. What he saw laying on the ground trapped in the trap was this animal. According to him, as soon as the animal saw him, [it] tried to attack him, but it was held by the trap and the chain. The rancher said he was really scared because this was something he had never seen before... even though he is a rancher. Then he says that, in the distance, he saw another two of the same animals... kind of running away from there. The thing in the trap was two feet long but the things he saw in the distance were about four feet long. They were a lot larger.
JR: Did they also appear to be the same kind of animal?
AG: Exactly. It was the same thing but larger.
JR: Were these animals running on the ground or were they standing upright?
AG: According to what he said, these other animals were not running. They were taking leaps... jumping anywhere from 10 to 15 feet.
JR: The picture that you were kind enough to share with me is very unusual to say the least. It looks rather like a very large lizard. It has, apparently, front legs, back legs, and a tail, and a long lizard-like body. The head looks very large, disproportionally large for the body. It looks almost like a pit bull's head. It's a large head. On the back of the animal, coming up from the spine, I count 13, at least, long vertical spikes that stick up, my guess would be at least 12 inches off the back of this animal. They're large. The animal has a tongue, or something like a tongue, hanging out of its mouth. It's round, it comes to a point, and it appears to be hanging out of its mouth about 5 to 6 inches. Is that about right?
AG: Exactly. What's unusual about what you just mentioned is the tongue... a spike-like thing that is coming out of its mouth. You know we had several incidents here in San Antonio, on ranches around the area, and... all these animals presented just a puncture, a hole-like wound, in the neck most of the time. But they were not killed like a wild dog or a coyote would do... I showed the picture you saw to a veterinarian, and he says that he's never seen anything like this before. It looks like some type of reptile, but nothing familiar to the native animal population of the San Antonio area or, for that matter, South Texas.
Michael Lindemann: Antonio, what happened to the body?
AG: Let me clarify something: this happened last November. These are just regular kinds of guys, very publicity shy and timid, so they didn't want to notify any authorities or media of what happened. This guy knows somebody that used to work, or was working with a major Texas university. So, it looks like they took the animal there. I talked to the owner of the animal (the rancher) this morning and he assured me that this guy came back to him (from the University) and told him that, according to what they had studied, they couldn't decide what it was, and probably they would be returning the animal back to him in a few days. So I am just waiting, and I'm hoping that they will return this animal back (to the rancher) and we can go in and take a closer look at it.
[NOTE: CNI News followed a tip that the university in question was Texas A & M. We made calls to the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Neither place could give us any information on an unusual reptile-like creature. Dr. L.G. Gayle, head of the lab, said he was quite sure no such animal had been brought in for examination or autopsy during the time in question. - ed]
ML: When did you first hear about this?
AG: I just heard about this two weeks ago (approximately February 19).
ML: Did the rancher call you?
AG: It was a friend of his who originally called me, because the rancher didn't want to do anything with the media. He is not looking for publicity. His friend called me and said, "My friend caught something very strange and I've got pictures to prove it." So I went there and saw the pictures, and I interviewed the man who took the pictures after the animal was already dead. From then on, I developed the story as to how the incident came about. This was second-hand information, but the man was there when the animal was dead and he was the one who took the pictures. My biggest obstacle is the reluctance of the rancher to talk about the issue. This morning [March 5] I was trying to get more information out of the rancher, and he knows we are doing a news story on this incident. So far, he has been reluctant to reveal the names of these people (at the university).
Another interesting thing he told me is that he followed the footprints of the other two larger animals he saw, and these footprints led him to a hole in the ground.
ML: This rancher lost a couple of animals before he set the trap. Has he lost any animals since then?
AG: No, he told me all the activity stopped right away.
ML: You probably know that in the South Texas area last year there were some other possible chupacabra events. Did you cover any of those events yourself?
AG: Yes. I covered those events also. And the similarities everywhere are the same. We had right here, a couple of miles away from San Antonio, at least three or four incidents. Most of these animals were killed. Some of them were still alive, but the ranchers said that probably from the loss of blood they were going to die anyway.
JR: If we are to make any assumptions at all, the smaller creature caught and killed in the trap may have been the offspring of the two larger animals. What actually killed this animal? Was it the trap or did the rancher shoot it or something like that?
AG: I think that probably what happened is that it died because of the loss of blood and vital fluid, because the trap was big compared to the size of this animal. According to the rancher, the animal was still alive at least three days after it was trapped.
ML: Was the rancher aware of the chupacabra idea before he captured this animal? When he first called you, or when his friend called you, did he tell you he had captured a chupacabra? What did he call the animal?
AG: No, he didn't say that. And that has been one of the reasons why we are looking into this, because he is afraid of the idea of other people branding him as a crazy guy or something like that. His friend who took the pictures called to let me know that they had trapped a very, very strange animal that was killing livestock.
ML: They called it a strange animal?
ML: Have you, yourself, talked to any other eyewitnesses in the South Texas area who described a similar creature?
AG: Not here in San Antonio. But last year, when I went to my home town area in the state of Sinaloa on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, there was a lot of activity going on. As a matter of fact, police and army people were searching in little ranches and caves and all that because the killing activity was pretty big. A lot of ranchers were losing livestock. Over there I had the chance to talk to some police officers who told me that they even started shooting at a thing that landed on their windshield during their patrol one night! What they described over there in the press was something similar -- similar in the feet and the spikes they have on the back. These reports came from other eyewitnesses way down in Mexico.
JR: The picture I'm looking at appears to be of something that walks on all fours like a lizard.
ML: Except that it moves by jumping, right?
AG: Exactly. That's why I think that some people, some eyewitnesses, have said that this thing flies. Probably in their confusion they are mistaking a big jump for flying characteristics.
[NOTE: As stated in the introduction, the creature in the photo does not look properly built for exceptional jumping.]
JR: Does the rancher have any idea of how important this story is?
AG: No, I really don't think so, otherwise he would be more cooperative with me in this case.
ML: He may not be aware that there has been an international uproar over these reports for a couple of years now. We understand that he doesn't want his entire life disrupted, but have you thought of going down and cluing him in about what a big deal this is?
AG: Well, two things can happen: the first is that he will become even more scared, or something like that. Or, he may finally decide to let us know exactly what happened that night. I talked to him this morning on the phone and he's still kind of reluctant. I have promised him that we won't reveal his identity if he doesn't want it. And I won't do it, that's for sure. We journalists, the only thing we have is our word with witnesses.
ML: Antonio, as an experienced newsman, you have probably seen many strange stories. Bottom line: Do you think this guy is telling the truth?
AG: I'll tell you why I think this whole thing is real. He never, on his own, called us to let us know about it. He even let these people take this creature away from him (to the university). He doesn't have it right now with him. And it's the pictures, the pictures themselves. I am a photographer myself and when I looked at the pictures, it was amazing. There is no other way to define it: it was a dead animal. It's a very strange animal, but nevertheless it is a real picture.
Original file name: CNI - Chupa in Texas? final
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