It seems that every few months a chupacabra makes news somewhere. Maybe it’s a bunch of dead goats found on some rural Texas ranch. Maybe it’s a weird, hairless quadruped sighted along Coors. Descriptions of the chupacabra vary widely, and if you find a weird, dead animal in your backyard or on your ranch, how do you know if it’s a chupacabra? Or if you find some chickens, goats—or, God forbid, your beloved Fluffy—stiff as a board and seemingly without a drop of blood, how do you know if it’s something ordinary, or if you’ve been punk’d by our favorite mischievous Hispanic vampire?
To help sort through this confusion, the Alibi asked me, a world-renowned chupacabra expert (and resident weird-things-writer), to develop an important, semi-scientific quiz exclusively for our beloved Alibi readers.
Paranormal investigator Ben Radford examines potential chupacabra droppings in Puerto Rico.
Courtesy of Ben Radford
1) Have you found dead animals near your house or ranch? a) Yes! And OMG I think they were completely drained of blood! b) Yeah, but I think it was probably coyotes. c) No, not yet. But I’m keeping an eye out ...
2) Do you believe in the chupacabra? a) Damn right! I got my chupa-repellent right here! b) Maybe, I dunno. Something weird is out there, right? c) Sure. He’s riding a unicorn on his way to get beers with bigfoot.
3) Have you found any strange footprints nearby? a) Yes! They look like large dog tracks, spattered with goat blood and a hint of oregano. b) I think so, but it could have been one of those Z-CoiL shoes. c) What’s a footprint? I’m surrounded 24/7 by grass, pavement and asphalt.
4) What other creatures of dubious reality do you believe in? a) Bigfoot and/or the Loch Ness monster b) Mothman, the Jersey devil and/or Spring-Heeled Jack c) Republicans who offer solutions instead of obstructions
5) Do you believe in conspiracy theories? a) Why? Who wants to know? Are you recording this? b) Only if they are presented on a cable TV show c) Hells no. I don’t even think bin Laden knew about 9/11.
6) You saw something scary and weird outside: What did it look like? a) About 4 feet tall, with two legs, big alien eyes and spikes down its back b) A mangy, hairless dog with big fangs c) Nick Nolte after a weekend bender
7) If it looked identical to the best-known, original description, what did the monster lack? a) An anus b) A nose c) Table manners
8) What did it smell like? a) Sulfur b) Spicy Thai curry fart c) Old Spice
9) Where did you see this beast? a) Rural Puerto Rico b) Out on the West Mesa c) Costco on Eubank, near the toner cartridges
10) Where do you live? a) In New Mexico, Puerto Rico or Texas b) In a Spanish-speaking country c) Sweden, Norway or anywhere else cold
11) Do you speak Spanish? a) Si, por supesto! b) I picked up some Spanish from Cheech & Chong. c) I can order enchiladas. Does that count?
12) How long do you think the chupacabra has been around? a) It is an ancient evil that cannot die, like Cthulhu. b) It’s been sucking blood out of chickens and goats for at least a few decades, right? c) Since approximately Aug. 10, 1995
13) What do you think the chupacabra might be? a) Clearly another top-secret U.S. government genetics experiment gone wrong. b) Probably an extraterrestrial of some sort, maybe related to the Roswell crash? c) It looks a lot like a monster in a sci-fi/horror movie I saw ...
14) Members of which group have said that the chupacabra supports their beliefs: a) Christian creationists b) 9/11 truthers c) Obama birthers
15) Which tabloid did you read in the 1990s that carried chupacabra stories? a) El Vocero b) National Enquirer c) Modern Goatsucking
16) British researcher Jon Downes believes that which animals were responsible for mysterious predation in Puerto Rico during the 1990s? a) Mongooses b) Feral dogs c) Rhesus monkeys
17) What other Latin American vampires have you heard of? a) Likichiri, the fat-sucking vampire of Peru and Bolivia b) Cucuy, the ghost-monster boogeyman that haunts disobedient children c) Zozobra
18) If you were watching TV in the 1960s, what show might you have heard the word “chupacabra” on? a) “Bonanza” b) “Scooby-Doo” c) “Flipper”
19) Which TV talk show featured the chupacabra in 1996? a) “Cristina” b) “Geraldo” C) “Jerry Springer: Live From San Juan Special”
20) In which U.S. state was the chupacabra supposedly first reported? a) Florida b) Texas c) New Mexico
Mangy dog ... or goatsucking hell beast?
Courtesy of Ben Radford
Mostly A: Your experience is typical of many people who reported encounters with the chupacabra in Puerto Rico around 1996 and in Texas around 2007. It seems likely that you had a brush with the chupacabra, and you know a lot about it. Your best bet is to eat lots of garlic, carry silver bullets and avoid being around goats at night (as per your neighbor’s restraining order).
Mostly B: Your experience is similar in some ways to many chupacabra reports, but hardly definitive. You might have encountered the legendary goatsucker. It’s about 50/50. To be on the safe, side consult your insurance agent to see if your policy covers losses from Hispanic vampire attacks.
Mostly C: It’s unlikely that you had an encounter with a real chupacabra. You’re probably just seeing things. Put the gun away, leave the hall light on and go back to bed. Chupacabras don’t attack skeptics, so you’re safe
Knowledge is power. No matter what your score, it’s important to be informed about el chupacabra in case the subject comes up in a “Jeopardy!” question. Fortunately, I will be doing a few presentations and book signings about the chupacabra over the next few weeks. These presentations are free and open to the public.