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Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck: El Chupacabra

Marty McFly and Doc Brown had the Delorean to go travel through time; We have the Tu Vez Blast-From-The-Past Truck. Every week, we’ll hop in our time traveling machine, gun it to 88 MPH, and go back in time to bring you the best from the good ol’ days. Will it be a clip from an old telenovela? An old school music video? Stick around and find out!

In the summer of 1994, I was visiting some relatives of mine in Miami. My cousins and I were going out to the movies when we were stopped by my great-aunt Olga. She said, deadly serious, that we needed to be very careful because a chupacabra had been seen on Bird Road by the Latin American Cafe. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. Apparently, the local Spanish language news had been reporting on this new creature that was terrorizing Latinos from Puerto Rico to South America. “¿Pero tia, que carajo es un chupacabra?”

For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, chupacabra literally means “goat sucker”. This might sound like one of those underground shows you hear about in Tijuana, but it is not. This creature was first spotted in Puerto Rico, where it attacked and drank the blood of several goats and cows in the countryside. He hopped on a ferry or something and was soon spotted in Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, and California. Before you could say cryptozoology, the chupacabra was all over the Americas. The descriptions vary, but most are of a reptilian creature with a long snout, sharp teeth, and razor sharp claws. In some accounts, he walks on his hind legs like a man. In others he sounds more like an ugly dog with a taste for cabrito. Or, according to the UT fan in the video below, “He looked like a shaved weenie dog, with raccoon feet, a possum tale, and a possum head.” Either way, starting in the mid-90’s up until today, you still hear occasionally about someone having photographed or shot a chupacabra.

There are several videos like the one above on new outlet sites and YouTube. The chupacabra myth has also led to some truly terrible movies, like “Chupacabra: Dark Seas“, whose trailer you can see below. It stars John Rys-Davies as the captain of a cruise ship with a chupacabra on it. Why Salah from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”  and Gimli from “The Lord of the Rings” felt compelled to make this movie is an even greater mystery than the chupacabra itself. There is also a drink called a chupacabra, that is a shot of tequila and a shot of habanero pepper sauce. That’ll shave the hair off your weenie dog! But what is the chupacabra? Most of the chupacabras that look like the one the UT fan discovered, have been found to be coyote-dog hybrids with a severe case of mange and parasites. Still, the myth persists and has become part of our collective Latino culture. The chupacabra is our own bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, or Jersey devil. If this thing does exist, what is it? An alien? A secret government hybrid weapon? A mangy coyote-dog? Who knows? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. It’s a myth, and myths tell us a lot about ourselves. The better question is: What does it say about us that we dreamt up an animal that sucks goat’s blood?

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