This is one of a series of short stories and fictional field reports from a team of globe-trotting paranormal investigators. This entry is written by the character, Lourdes Laguna.
My father exploded through the back door leading to our kitchen and slammed it shut. Pressing his full body weight against it, he locked the door, bolted it, and then shoved our kitchen table up to it. Then he grabbed the machete that he kept tucked in the narrow space between the refrigerator and the wall.
I had never seen my father scared before. He is taller than average, and strong. As a former luchador (Mexican wrestler), he isn’t easily intimidated. But his eyes were opened wide and he was, as I vividly remember, shaken to his core.
Frantic, he told me to get my younger sister, Adriana, and hide. I begged him to tell me what was out there. He gripped the machete in the dim light of our kitchen, and with his eyes peering into the darkness beyond the window, muttered, “un demonio” (a demon). But I never got to see it.
It was a dark September night in 1992, and I was just eight years old. Yet that incident stuck with me my entire life.
It was weeks before I could coax a description from my father about what he saw in our backyard. I also wanted to know more about how all five of our chickens were killed that same night.
They were found the next morning. Their bodies were intact. He would later tell me that they were completely drained of blood. The only injury was a pair of puncture wounds where the neck meets the chest.
Three of our neighbors also lost chickens in the same manner that night, yet only my father saw the creature responsible.
His account goes like this:
He walked out into our backyard to check on our chickens, who were making noise and acting agitated. He told me that he saw a bright white light bouncing around just above the tree tops. He watched it for a few moments until a moving shadow in the bushes caught his eye. What he saw next sent him into a panic.
He described what he saw as a creature unlike anything he had ever seen. It was less than a meter and a half (about four feet) tall and dog-like, but had large glowing, red eyes. It stood up on its hind legs and he could see long, sharp claws on its forelimbs.
He said it had fangs that were at least 10 centimeters long. And while he described it as mostly hairless, with blue-gray, scaly skin, he said it had long tufts of matted fur, or maybe spines, sticking up from its back.
It would be a few more years until the creature that my father saw and named “El Demonio” had an official name, “El Chupacabra”, which terrorized the island of Puerto Rico beginning in 1995.
The Puerto Rican description of el chupacabra was similar to the animal my father saw. Subsequent animal mutilations on the island were consistent with my father’s experience.
A flood of chupacabra sightings later came from Central and South America, Mexico, and later, the southern United States. There were even sightings from Russia and the Philippines, where it is called the Sigbin.
In the years after my father’s chupacabra sighting, I became obsessed with identifying what it was that he really saw.
While both my parents attributed supernatural origins to the creature, I was convinced that it was either a mis-identification of a known predator or maybe some animal that had yet to be described by science.
I read every animal book I could get my hands on. I’d point to pictures of wolves or jaguars or coatis, or sketches that I made that were a composite of various animals, and say “¿es éste, Papá?” He’d just shake his head and implore me to forget the whole thing.
I didn’t believe in “El Demonio”. Despite my traditional Catholic upbringing, I reveled in the delicious rebellion of staunch naturalism, which often distressed by family and lead to arguments in my teen years when I’d refuse to go to Mass.
Even as I shed my religion and embraced agnosticism, ghosts and mysterious creatures elicited such a pull on me that I pursued a degree in zoology, minored in psychology, and then wrote my PhD thesis on parapsychology.
Then I scuttled my academic career aspirations to become a full time cryptozoologist and paranormal investigator.
While they never said so, it was another major disappointment for my parents, I am sure of it. My parents never confronted me with their concerns about my career choice, but they couldn’t hide the disappointment and bewilderment in their eyes.
My father never encountered the chupacabra again. He never came forward, publicly, with his experience either. My sister and I were told to never mention it.
It wasn’t until we emigrated to the United States, and the chupacabra became a cultural phenomenon, that he finally confided in me that he hoped I would one day be credited with discovering it and proving its existence.
In his 2011 book titled Tracking the Chupacabra, author Benjamin Radford exhaustively and meticulously combed through all of the sightings of the chupacabra, even launching an expedition to find the creature, and concluded that the creature does not exist.
The earliest chupacabra sightings that took place in Puerto Rico were likely the result of mass hysteria, as the descriptions of the creature bore a striking resemblance to the character Sil in the science-fiction horror film Species, which came out in 1995 and preceded the first chupacabra sightings in Puerto Rico.
Modern reports of the chupacabra, especially recent reports from northern Mexico and Texas, have been confirmed by biologists as nothing more than coyotes suffering from a parasitic infection that causes hair loss, thickened skin, and abnormal behaviors — such as attacking livestock.
Many cryptozoologists consider the case of the chupacabra solved and closed.
However, my father saw something very unusual in the darkness of our backyard in Mexico in 1992. He is convinced that the chupacabra exists, and doesn’t believe that what he saw that night was a mangy, wild dog lurking in the shadows.
He’s also eased up on his insistence that the creature is a demon, just as I’ve eased up on my staunch naturalism. However, my father and I both have a yearning to find out what he saw on that night so many years ago.
To this day, my father possesses a certain edginess when he is in the yard at night, and I can’t help but keep my eye on the jungles of my homeland for a glimpse of a red-eyed, bipedal canine-like creature that has a penchant for chicken (or goat) blood.
Lourdes Laguna is a senior paranormal investigator for Xpara International. She specializes in cases involving cryptozoological and psychic phenomenon. Read more paranormal investigation field reports.