El Chupacabra: Science Fiction or Undiscovered Species?

Chupacabras will always hold a special place in my heart. They are the namesake of this blog and one of the few cryptozoological critters that supposedly inhabit Florida. Many believe that the emergence of such an entity is a relatively new phenomenon. Yet tales of such cryptids date back to many centuries ago and are shared amongst several different cultures worldwide. In fact, the Ancient Mayans wrote of a monster by the same name in 1400 BCE. 

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Ancient Mayans wrote of a creature that went by the same name.

Chupacabras first entered mainstream attention during the mid-1990s. A farmer in a rural Puerto Rican town discovered eight of his prized sheep dead. Each had three strange triangular puncture wounds on their chests and were completely drained of blood. Throughout the following months several other locals reported similar slaughterings of goats, sheep, chickens and pigs. When the media got a hold of these bizarre stories they dubbed the creature “El Chupacabra,” which is Spanish for the goatsucker.

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Stories of El Chupacabra received mainstream attention after eight sheep were killed mysteriously in Puerto Rico.

These attacks quickly spread to other counties including Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and North America. Witnesses describe the fanged beast as around five feet tall with enormous glowing red eyes. It has a solid build with a reptilian-like appearance and sharp quills running along its back. Some say that the creature is green and hairless while others recall fur covering the body. When El Chupacabra is nearby there is often a foul odor present, similar to many reported Sasquatch sightings.

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Chupacabra sightings occur throughout South America.

One of the most infamous encounters with this legendary animal happened to a Puerto Rican housewife named Madelyne Tolentino. In August of 1995, she saw the being outside of her Canóvanas home. According to the woman, it was a four-foot tall bipedal being that resembled an alien and moved like a kangaroo. Each hand had three clawed fingers. Instead of a snout there were two small air holes and spikes covering its spine. During this confrontation there were three other observers present: Tolentino’s mother, ex-husband and his coworker.

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Madelyne Tolentino’s sketch of what she witnessed outside her window. 

At the time of this incident one hundred and fifty farm animals, including pets, died from mysterious puncture wounds. All of the bodily fluids appeared to have been sucked out. Similar to many cattle mutilation cases, these cuts appeared to be created by something with laser-sharp precision. Even modern-day surgeons would have difficulty replicating such lacerations. UFO sightings frequently occur within close proximity to where the cryptid is spotted. For these reasons some speculate that El Chupacabra is an unknown species of extraterrestrial.

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Are Chupacabras related to extraterrestrials?

Others feel that misidentification is to blame. Predatory cats or mangy coyotes could be responsible for this legendary beast. In the United States, carcasses of alleged Chupacabras received DNA testing. Blood analysis revealed common mammals such as dogs and raccoons to be the perpetrators. Some of these animals have parasitic infections which cause a loss of fur and an odd appearance. Conspiracy theorists believe that our government is to blame and the creature is the result of secret genetic experimentation projects or a biological warfare weapon.

Many supposed sightings are misidentified dogs, raccoons or coyotes.

Despite the FBI completing two thorough Chupacabra investigations, we are still no further to solving this mystery. Possibilities range from an elaborate hoax to a legitimate living breed worthy of scientific merit. With 15,000 to 18,000 new species discovered on Earth each year, it’s entirely plausible that an unidentified carnivorous species might be roaming the jungles of Puerto Rico. Until a definitive answer is found cryptozoologists will continue the pursuit of this legendary animal.

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Missing 411: Hundreds of Strange Disappearances in our National Parks

Each year hundreds of people go missing in United State Parks and National Forests. Most investigations are eventually solved through reasonable causes: foul play, drowning, suicide or an animal attack. Others aren’t quite so easy to dismiss. Many of them are not merely perplexing but outright disturbing. The Missing 411 books take a deeper look into these specific situations which seem to defy all logic.

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Author of the series, David Paulides, is a private investigator who served as a Los Angeles police officer for over twenty years. One day he stumbled upon some shocking information from a park ranger. They informed  Paulides about a series of bizarre missing persons cases happening within the National Parks. According to this source, these individuals go missing under very unusual circumstances. Law enforcement officials and park service management were doing everything in their power to keep these events concealed from the general public.

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Author of the Missing 411 book series, David Paulides.

When Paulides attempted to obtain a list of missing people in Yosemite National Park he hit the first of many roadblocks. He was told that there is no such document because the Department of Interior does not keep any record of missing people within their park systems. To obtain this information would cost him $34,000. A list missing persons for the entire United States park systems was a staggering $1.4 million. Paulides did not oblige and instead filed hundreds of Freedom Information Acts. Some were accepted while others were denied for unknown reasons.

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As the investigation progressed the more mysterious it became. One of the first things that was discovered were the presence of “clusters” throughout the country. These locations are hotspots where individuals disappear at surprisingly high numbers. Concentrated areas are present in many states including California, Colorado, Washington, Georgia, Michigan and Arkansas. Fifty-two clearly defined geographic regions have been identified.

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A map showing the disappearances in the United States. 52 geological clusters have been identified.

After meticulously researching thousands of cases, odd similarities and patterns emerged. Certain baffling parallels were seen repeatedly despite the incidents transpiring thousands of miles from each other. Some of the common links are difficult to rationalize and not easily dismissed. These perplexing characteristics leave far more questions than answers.

  • Search dogs behave strangely. Oftentimes these canines cannot pick up a scent, or simply don’t want to. In other instances they begin tracking only to lay down and stop searching as if the person had vanished into thin air. Cadaver dogs are unable to locate a corpse.
  • The body is found in an area that has searched before. In many instances the missing appears in a location that has been thoroughly searched dozens, if not hundreds, of times. It is not uncommon for the deceased to surface on a main trail that is utilized by hikers on a daily basis.
  • Travel uphill instead of downhill. The missing is often found at high levels of elevation, such as mountain peaks. Frequently the victim will travel an astounding amount of miles through treacherous terrain in a time period which seems humanly impossible.
  • Weather-related phenomenon. Shortly after the individual goes missing the forecast takes a drastic turn. Torrential rain, lightning, fog, sand storms or blizzards occur which delay search parties.
  • Missing clothing. Shoes, pants, shirts and jackets are often removed, even by children who are too young do so themselves. Paradoxical undressing cannot explain why a person would do this in a temperate environment. Clothing that is found is sometimes neatly folded.
  • High amounts of plane crashes. Search planes and helicopters seem to crash at abnormally high rates during these specific cases.
  • Extreme ends of the intellectual scale. On one side there are well educated people such doctors, psychiatrists and physicists. Others have disabilities such as autism or Down Syndrome.
  • German ancestry. Those with German heritage appear to go missing at much higher rates.
  • Boulder fields and granite. A high number of men and women vanish in boulder fields or areas with huge quantities of granite. Yosemite National Park is the largest of all clusters and also happens to be the biggest source of granite on Earth.
  • The victim is retrieved near a body of water. Another common factor is the presence of water. Bodies are often discovered near oceans, lakes, rivers, streams or swamps.
  • Berry picking. Strangely, this is a reoccurring theme shared amongst several cases. Those who are picking berries seem to go missing at higher rates.
  • Not feeling well or being tired. Prior to the disappearance, friends and family state the victim had informed them that they were not feeling well or tired.
  • Being last in line. One of the most recurrent of all traits are those in a group who happen to be the last in line. Others who were with the missing report seeing them mere seconds before and suddenly they had vanished without a trace. No one ever reports hearing any sounds such as a gasp, scream or an animal.

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The NPS employs over 20,000 Americans and brings in an annual revenue $92 billion. If patrons knew what was really happening within the park systems it could have devastating financial consequences. Paulides has never stated who (or what) he believes is responsible for these incidents and merely presents the facts. Readers are left to derive their own conclusions based on the information presented. Theories as to what is taking these park-goers include Bigfoot attacks, alien abduction, thunderbirds, secret underground government bases or cannibalistic wild men. Whatever the source may be, it’s probably best to avoid being last in line the next time you visit a National Park.

Owl-Witches & Werewolves of the Everglades 

Covering nearly 2,000 square miles of southern Florida is a freshwater marsh known as the Everglades. There are tales that this area is home to a number of mysterious cryptids. Supposed inhabitants include Skunk Apes and anacondas so large that they can swallow alligators whole. Indigenous tribes speak of some lesser-known creatures. According to the Seminole, ominous owl-witches and werewolves roam the swampy land. 

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Stigini, also called Ishtikini or Stikini, are sinister shape-shifters which usually resemble a massive great horned owl with dark menacing eyes. During the day they appear as ordinary people but once the sun sets they transform into a nine-foot tall feathered being. The metamorphosis occurs through vomiting their souls and internal organs each evening. By night they hunt for victims so that they can eat mortal’s hearts to take on their appearance. These entities are essentially zombies whose sole existence is the consumption of human flesh. 

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Although the translation of Stigini means horned owl, they can also take on the appearance of other animals. On rare occasions they resemble bear, wolves or coyotes. Certain Seminole groups warn that speaking their name aloud puts you at risk for turning into one. In certain cases only revered tribal elders are permitted to tell these stories. Other communities treat the mysterious lore more casually and even use the fable to frighten children into behaving.

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Similar myths are shared by various cultures around the world. In Mexican folklore the Lechuza is a large and magical bird who seeks revenge on those that have wronged her. West Virginia has legends of Mothman, a mysterious winged humanoid who is said to be an omen of impending doom. Greek mythology spoke of Strige, a wicked vampiric screech owl forced to live in an upside-down world. Other Native Americans believed that Thunderbirds had supernatural strength and powers.

Hatcko-tcapko, also referred to as Long Ears, is a werewolf-like beast. They wander the desolate marshlands by moonlight. Eyewitnesses accounts state that these beings are donkey to ox-sized and has a fusion of both deer and wolf features. As the name may imply, its ears are enormous and pointed. Long thin legs support their oversized hooked paws. At the end of Long Ear’s grey fur covered body is a bushy horse tail.

Those who encounter this creature describe smelling a foul odor when they are within close proximity. Similar to many reported Bigfoot encounters, this putrid scent is a frequent sign of its presence. Seminole were cautious to never get too close to Long Ears because of his ability to infect people with deadly diseases. Despite Hatcko-tcapko’s horrifying appearance and dangerous nature, he is not believed to be malicious.

Florida’s monsters of yesterday have been replaced with viral modern day alternatives: cannibals, zombies and living dinosaurs. Indigenous people could have merely been describing their own bizarre encounters in an era before the internet or cable TV. Roughly 200 species are going extinct each day on Earth. It’s entirely plausible that unknown animals lived in the Everglades centuries ago. What’s even more intriguing is the possibility that some may have survived.


If you’re ever had any strange encounters in rural Southern Florida feel free to share your experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mothman: Legitimate Cryptid or Urban Legend?

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In the world of cryptozoology, Mothman is one of the most mysterious and intriguing creatures. Many described him as an enormous humanoid with massive wings and large red eyes. Although it’s been over fifty years since the first sighting the legend remains just as strong to this day. Recently the unknown entity has had a resurgence of popularity after a number of sightings have been reported out of Chicago. Many wonder that if such a being exists then what exactly is it? Theories range from a misidentified barn own to a paranormal entity or even an extraterrestrial visitor.

Initial Encounters

The first of numerous sightings began on November 12th, 1966 in the small town of Clendenin, West Virginia. On a crisp autumnal night five gravediggers witnessed a man-like figure ascend from a nearby tree. Three days later Roger and Linda Scarberry were out driving with another couple. While traveling down an isolated road known as “TNT Area” they witnessed a seven-foot tall flying creature with glowing red eyes. When Mr. Scarberry sped off the being flew alongside the vehicle before taking off into the darkness. The group immediately went to the authorities. Each person was privately interviewed and all four people had identical stories and matching recollections of the events that had transpired. According to the Deputy who spoke with the group, their eyes were filled with a terror that couldn’t be faked.

The Silver Bridge Tragedy

Just one year after the gravedigger’s encounter occurred, Point Pleasant was struck by tragedy. The Silver Bridge, a main route into the small town, collapsed unexpectedly during rush-hour traffic for unknown reasons. Forty-six people sadly lost their lives after crashing into the river. That morning various locals saw a strange creature perched atop the bridge. Some believe that this entity was trying to warn of the impending doom while others feel that Mothman was responsible for the disaster.

Untimely Deaths

Mary Hyre was a news reporter for the local paper and wrote and column called “Where the Waters Mingle”. She was also very close with author John Keel, author of “The Mothman Prophecies” which would later become inspiration for the highly fictionalized Hollywood film. Hyre felt that her involvement with The Mothman investigation drew interest from the Men in Black. Her first encounter occurred in 1967 when she was working a late night at the office. A man entered the room who she described as having “large hypnotic eyes and not dressed for the weather”. Oddly, the stranger said nothing and simply placed a pen on her desk before exiting the building. After this experience the perplexing stranger began to follow her.

Soon Hyre had yet another run-in. While walking to her car a different man came towards her and instructed her to stop researching the Mothman topic or there would be consequences. Local townspeople also reported being approached by these men who claimed to be friends of Hyre. They wanted to obtain information about their UFO sightings and other paranormal events. On February 15th, 1970 Hyre died suddenly at the age of 54. She believed that the creature was a prophetic figure that had come to warn of upcoming catastrophes.

Many other individuals who researched Mothman had strange and untimely deaths. One such person is Fred Fried who was at the time working on a documentary about the relation of UFOs and Mothman. He died of a heart attack at the age of 53 and his film was never released. Donald North, a Point Pleasant native, witnessed the entity in the same spot as the Scarberrys. Not long after, he died as a result of a car accident. Jim Keith was a conspiracy writer who was studying the connection between Mothman, the CIA and the MIB. During a routine knee surgery Keith died on the operating table at the age of 50. Before this procedure he had said: “I have this feeling that if they put me under I’m not coming back”. To date there are 84 mysterious deaths that appear to be connected to Mothman.

Possible Explanations

There are a multitude of explanations when it comes to this enigmatic being. Since a  number of sightings occurred in the TNT Area some speculate that the region itself may in fact be responsible. During WWII the location was utilized for weapon manufacturing. After the war ended these explosives were stored in bunkers and the 8,000 acres of land were turned into a wildlife conservatory. It wasn’t discovered until the 1980s that the land had been contaminated by explosives byproducts. Given the severity of the situation the TNT Area was added to a federal list of hazardous waste sites. Some theorize that this chemical concoction seepage contributed to the evolution of a mutilated subspecies.

Others wonder if there is a UFO/ alien link to the Mothman. In John Keel’s book he states that eyewitness reports describe glowing orbs, energy fields and lost time. If this is the case it would also explain the Men in Black’s involvement. There are those who feel that creature is paranormal in nature given its ominous warning of approaching death. People who encounter this being describe it having telepathic abilities. Skeptics are convinced that it’s merely an urban legend or an elaborate hoax. However, if this were the case one has to wonder if a person would be capable of such trickery for over five decades.

Until the truth is disclosed everything is ultimately speculation. Perhaps with today’s available technologies there is a better chance of capturing hard evidence. What do you think about Mothman? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Bigfoot: the Most Compelling Evidence

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For more than a century people have had supposed encounters with unidentified species of bipedal hominids. Cultures around the world all share similar legends about these mysterious creatures. While many believe in Bigfoot’s existence others disagree and argue that if such a beast existed then one would have been captured by now. However, studies show that in an average person’s lifetime they will only see about three percent of the surrounding wildlife. It may be possible that intelligent species could be living in rural areas and remaining unseen by the general public. There are several pieces of evidence that have yet to be disputed.

Patterson/ Gimlin Film

Perhaps the most famous and iconic footage is a film that supposedly captures a Sasquatch in motion. In 1967 friends Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin were traveling throughout Northern California on a remote logging road located roughly 38 miles south of Oregon and 18 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. At the time Patterson was shooting both he and Gimlin were riding on horseback. Indigenous tribesmen, hunters and forest rangers all suggest to remain elevated when tracking animals as it eliminates the human scent to provide better odds of a close encounter. The 16mm clip lasts about a minute while an unknown creature is seen walking upright across the frame.

Over the past five decades countless scientists have relentlessly reviewed the footage and none have been able to disprove its authenticity. Firstly, the way the creature moves is very different from a man or woman’s gait. Much of this has to due with the limb ratios. Whatever was recorded in the film has proportionately longer limbs and shorter arms than a human. Every attempt to create a costume and reproduce the same results has failed. Part of this is due to the apparent developed muscles and fat deposits, including breasts which appear to move naturally. If someone were wearing a fur suit it would be impossible to see these subtle physical traits. Patterson died of cancer in 1972 at the young age of thirty-nine. Even through his final days he maintained that what he and Gimlin saw was real.

Sierra Sounds

During the 1970s Al Berry and Ron Morehead went camping in the mountains of Sierra Navada, California. That night, surrounded by vast wilderness, the pair began to hear extremely bizarre and bone-chilling noises. When they returned to the location a second time they decided to string a microphone from a tree branch and record whatever was producing these strange sounds. What followed was a haunting and compelling collection of mysterious vocalizations, which is often called “Samurai Chatter.” These creatures seemed to be conversing with one another and even interacted with Berry and Morehead when they tried to mimic their calls.

Experts were fascinated by the recordings, particularly R. Scott Nelson who was a retired Navy linguist with over 30 years of experience in speech studies. Nelson remains convinced that the audio clearly captured an intelligent conversation of a currently undocumented language. A year-long investigation performed by academic experts at the University of Wyoming concluded that whatever produced the sounds was an unknown species of primate. According to their research, it would be impossible for a human to produce similar results due to our lung capacity limits and restricted vocal rages. Other scientists, audio engineers and linguistic specialists have stated that the recording is genuine and shows no signs of being tampered with or edited in any way.

Hair Samples & Castings 

Across the United States many fur samples have been collected which some claim belong to Bigfoot. It appears that the structure of Sasquatch’s medulla, essentially the solid core running down the center of the hair, is so fragmented that DNA cannot be obtained. For this reason the only testable samples are those which still have a follicle attached. Luckily several successful DNA extractions have been performed on these follicles by Doctor Melba Ketchum, a veterinary laboratory professional. She a conducted an intensive five-year-long study with a team of scientists. Their conclusion based on the DNA sequencing was that Bigfoot is “a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species”.

Castings are another crucial piece of physical evidence. Jimmy Chilcutt, a fingerprint technician who worked with the Texas police force, was highly regarded by the FBI and DEA for cracking the toughest cases. Not only is he an expert of human prints but also those of primates. After investigating over 150 castings of potential Bigfoots, Chilcutt was shocked by what he found. The dermal ridges, the foot’s version of a fingerprint, were completely abnormal. Rather than running horizontally (as humans’ do), they ran vertically. Additionally, the ridges were twice the thickness of that of a man. Within the same set of prints was a toe splay with variations that could not be recreated by someone wearing plaster molds strapped to their feet. Both Chilcutt and zoology experts all stated that these castings were authentic and North America is home to an unknown primate.

Each year an astounding 15,000 to 18,000 new species are discovered. Might it be plausible that this sentient creature is simply choosing to remain hidden from mankind’s barbaric ways? What do you think is the best piece of evidence supporting the existence of Bigfoot? Share your thoughts in the comments!