According to an article in the La Estrella newspaper, Mrs. Ugalde ran out into the darkness to save her poultry farm and face the unknown intruder. “I went to the backyard and I saw it. It was like a large bird, standing about a meter, with the bearing of a dwarf. It has feathers, wings and left footprints like those of a goat. It was looking for food, and I think it must’ve been hungry,” she explained. The entity had already broken the henhouse door and helped itself to the farm animals. Upon being surprised by the woman, it flew off toward the hills.
Seven hens were lost that evening, and the family did not hesitate to place a call to the Carabineros (the Chilean state police) to report the attack. “They told us it was that (the Chupacabras) and that they had never seen anything like it. They were overwhelmed as well,” Mrs. Ugalde added.
When the strange animal passed over the roof and reached the backyard, it broke the henhouse door and extracted the birds one by one, for a total of seven. When he was surprised by the homeowner, the Chupacabras took off, flying toward the hills.
Argentina, Chile’s neighbor on the opposite side of the towering Andes Cordillera, was not free from these strange attacks and sightings. In March 2007, El Ciudadano (www.elciudadano.net) reported on seven mutilated and exsanguinated bulls in Santiago del Estero, decrying the fact that farmers and ranchers had automatically leaped to ascribing responsibility for the killings to the Chupacabras. It is true, however, that there are significant differences between Chupacabras attacks and the “traditional” cattle mutilations, characterized by their fine incisions and the removal of certain internal organs, as was the case in the Santiago del Estero incidents.
A Mystery in Spain
On 23 February 2013 – as this article was being written – news arrived from Spain regarding a bizarre goat mutilation in the northwestern region of Galicia, specifically in the town of Fene. The story, which appeared in La Voz del Ferrol, described the mutilation and exsanguination of the goat as the work of “parties unknown”. The animals owners, understandably irate, ascribed responsibility to a “satanic cult”, stressing that “a number of people must have been needed to carry away all of the goat’s blood.”
No mention of involvement by the Chupacabras, of course, but a reminder of the long and silent history of encounters with the paranormal predator that have occurred in Spain since the ‘80s, resulting in the deaths of thousands of animals. Traditionalists blame wolves, especially in the Pyrenaic region between France and Spain, but reports and investigations carried out by the judicial system invariably mention the presence of aberrant entities, sometimes described as mandrills, baboons, or giant canids.
We must defer to the extensive work carried out by Ramón Nava Osorio and members of his Instituto de Investigaciones y Estudios Exobiológicos (IIEE) whose Chilean branch – spearheaded by Raúl Núñez – has become known to readers of INEXPLICATA over the years.
In March 1996, writes Nava Osorio, a shepherd in northern Spain by the name of Guillermo Miral Cordesa had an unexpected encounter with a strange animal as he led his flock from one mountain slope to another. “That day,” explained Miral, “I had left the flock on high and was headed downhill with two magnificent dogs. I descended quietly and normally and suddenly found myself confronted by an animal I had never seen before, and whose description I’d never heard from other shepherds. It was neither a wolf nor a dog. It looked like a huge dog, an unknown mixture, but it’s an unknown creature in the end. Neither a mastiff nor a wolf….I cannot describe its eyes, but I did focus on the enormous width of its muzzle (describing it as flat and nearly square), and for that reason I can tell you it wasn’t a wolf. It was an unknown animal with large flat ears; its fur was grey and spotted, with abundant short hair. A short tail, large paws and looking like a dog, yet not a dog. It didn’t run. It took two impressive leaps and vanished.”
While clearly a predator, the entity did not growl or bear its teeth. Miral’s own dogs followed the intruder, only turn back after traversing a brief ten meters’ distance.
In his study on the Iberian mutilations phenomenon, Chupacabras: Un Verdadero Expediente X, Miguel Aracil explores the strange simiots which have been a constant feature of Catalan legend since medieval times. The simiots are described as “strange, hairy creatures having semi-human features” and a group of woodsmen were attacked by one such entity a few decades ago: the hairy monster engaged in an orgy of destruction, smashing vehicles and forestry equipment, even hurling logs at the terrified tree-cutters (similar behavior has been reported in cases occurring in suburban Maryland during the 1970’s). Although Spain’s Guardia Civil looked into the matter, they conveniently “cannot remember”, as Aracil notes rather dryly in his treatise. A number of armed posses were formed to explore the environs of Peña Montañesa (Huesca) where the events occurred, but “nothing was ever found, perhaps due to the large number of immense caves in the area, and the rough terrain.” Medieval statues of the simiots depict them as devouring children or being trodden down by the Holy Mother: while he does not offer specifics, the author mentions that these supernatural entities were allegedly responsible for slaying entire herds of animals and on certain occasions were even responsible for some attacks on humans. Could the simiots have cousins across the ocean?
Navia Osorio contributes a “high strangeness” detail to the situation that raises the stakes: the possibility that the anomalous entity (or IEA, the Spanish acronym for “Spontaneous Aggressive Intruder”) had been brought along by a human or humanoid presence, unleashed at selected locations. Also in October 1996, José Miguel Trallero, a member of the IIEE, appeared on a local television program in the town of Barbastro to discuss the mutilation crisis. In the wake of the broadcast, a local woman approached him to tell him about a sighting near Barbastro’s shrine of Pueyo: she had seen two figures, described as “atypical”, with a very strange dog between them. The two figures had “greyish skin” and their arms were longer than usual.
If reality resembled the world of fiction more closely, monsters would be put down with the finality of Lieutenant Ripley purging the hideous alien xenomorph out of an airlock, consigning it to vacuum of space. The sense of finality and justice delivered by a wooden stake through the undead heart of a cinematic vampire imparts catharsis, but we find none of that with the monsters and visions that persistently manifest themselves in our reality. After eighteen months of depredations in West Virginia in 1966-67, the Mothman disappeared into legend and the uneasy dreams of those whose encounters changed the course of their lives. Hunters and scientists emerge from forays after the elusive Bigfoot with little to show for their efforts, save the tell-tale strands of hair and plaster casts that have become a trademark of their avocation.
The same can be said for the Chupacabras. The protean creature manifested for the first time in Puerto Rico in the mid-90s, followed by a rash of sightings throughout Latin America, each time described a little differently than before. Media burnout and the trivialization of the subject by popular culture – the cascade of t-shirts and bumper stickers, rap and ranchero songs, cheap plastic memorabilia sold in marketplaces – resulted in a loss of interest in the creature’s exploits in Brazil and Chile later that decade.
But the Chupacabras keeps coming back like a prize fighter, unmindful of the fatuous pronouncements of skeptics, efforts at fitting it into the UFO totem-pole by researchers bent on seducing the media once more, their prize a conference invitation or the lure of a television show. The demon is triumphant.
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