Chupacabras are vampire-like creatures that during the
1990s were widely reported to attack domestic animals across
Latin America and the Spanish-speaking communities in the
United States. The name ‘‘chupacabra’’ literally translates as
‘‘goat sucker,’’ a reference to its seeming love of goats and its
habit of sucking the blood from its victims. It also refers to a
family of nocturnal Puerto Rican birds that steal milk from
goats. The chupacabras are quite contemporary creatures, the
stories originating suddenly in the mid-1990s in Mexico and
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Chupacabras
Puerto Rico, flowing to adjacent lands through 1995, and peaking
in 1996 and 1997 (the centennial of the appearance of
Dracula.) As described by those who claimed to have seen it,
the creature combines elements of the vampire with that of Big
Foot or the Yeti. It has glowing red eyes, fangs, and long hairy
arms. From the head to the bottom of the back, it has brightcolored
phosphorescent spine-like appendages. Many reported
bat-like wings, and suggested that it might be a cross between
a kangaroo and a bat. It left two deep puncture wounds
on its victims and a sulfur-like stench. The remnants of the chupacabras
attacks were very real and included most frequently
goats and smaller animals that one might find on a farm—
dogs, cats, chickens, ducks. But the creature has also been
known to attack larger animals such as cows and horses. As a
whole it did not attack humans. Most frequently reported were
the penetrating wounds, as if a set of fangs had gone searching
for an artery. Similar to tales of cattle mutilations in the United
States, theories about the nature of chupacabras have been as
widespread as the reports of their attacks. They have ranged
from vampires to aliens, and some have seen the creatures as
the result of a failed scientific experiment. Like the cattle mutilations,
those animals reportedly attacked and then examined
by veterinarians showed no unusual characteristics. They appeared
to have died of common predator attacks. Their major
veins and artery were not targeted and they were not sucked
dry. The chupacabras were quickly dismissed as a modern legend
and by 1997 the reports were being treated as humorous
anecdotes. By the end of the decade, the wave of interest had
died out. While reports continue to emerge, interest has faded.
However, at its peak in 1996, even English-speaking newspapers
were carrying the reports of the more spectacular attacks.
Dresser, Norine. ‘‘Chupacabras A Contemporary Vampire
Invasion.’’ Unpublished paper in the American Religions Collection
at Davidson Library, University of California–Santa
Barbara, 1997.