Sunday, May 01, 2005


Animal Planet is running a "documentary" called Animal X about the chupacabra. Cryptozoology. For those of you who don't know what a chupacabra is, go here. Animal Planet owes us better than this. I haven't seen a skeptic yet. Even the History Channel's UFO conspiracy has a couple people from CSICOP. Speaking of CSICOP, this is from an article about mass hysteria. Its a great read, and good for laugh.

The Hispanic Goatsucker, 1975 to Present

Between February and March 1975, reports circulated in Puerto Rico of a mysterious creature attacking domestic and farm animals, draining their blood and scooping out chunks of their flesh. Residents claimed that they heard loud screeches and/or flapping wings coinciding with the attacks. Academics and police examined the carcasses, blaming everything from humans to snakes to vampire bats. Locals referred to the attacker as "The Vampire of Moca." This incident may have been spurred by the better known "cattle mutilation mystery" (Ellis 1996, 3). In November 1995, similar attacks were reported on the island. Called chupacabras or goatsucker, (named after a crepuscular bird that steals goat's milk), the bizarre being was described as a "bristly, bulge-eyed rat with the hind legs of a kangaroo, capable of escaping after its crimes in high speed sprints" (Preston 1996). It also exuded a sulfur-like stench. Stories described the bodies of animals disemboweled and drained of blood. One member of a Civil Defense team in a small city in the affected area says he spends half his time responding to chupacabras calls. Some people, he reported, have been so distraught "that they have had to be taken to the hospital" (Navarro 1996). Interest in the creature ran so high in May 1996 that a chupacabras Web site received enough hits to be ranked in the top 5 percent of all Web sites (Ellis 1996, 2). By March 1996, goatsucker stories had spread to Hispanic communities in Florida; by May, accounts of chupacabras attacks began to circulate in Mexico and soon after, to the Mexican-American community in Arizona. The chupacabras flap ended abruptly in mid-1996, and almost nothing has been reported on it since.
This chimera of mythical animals sounds truly frightful. The sort of thing that people might tell their kids to make them be good. A couple years ago, I trained a student from Peurto Rico, and asked her for the low-down on the chupacabra. Boy did she laugh. It turns out that it is just a story to scare children. She also said no one actually believes in them. Of course, she could just be part of the conspiracy. bwuhahaha!

You can write Animal Planet and ask for them to add skeptics to Animal X. It would really make the show better. I mean, it couldn't have been much worse. Really. Wobbly camera work, cheap CGI, poorly introduced segments. They need to look over at Discovery's Mythbusters.

by Robster @ 5/01/2005 10:32:00 PM PERMALink