Culture

Tales from the Trail: El Chupacabra of Texas

The legendary creature of the southern US and Mexico has been spotted many times, but remains a mystery.

Location: Cameron Park in Waco, TX

Trail: Vortex Trail

Bony, hairless, and blood-sucking, the mysterious chupacabra of Texas and Mexico has reportedly been sighted countless times in since the 90s. This mythical creature drains the blood of cows and goats, according to legend, an act that earned it its name – which is Spanish for “goat-sucker.”

Tales of this urban legend began in the 90s, when Madelyne Tolentino spotted a scary alien-like creature out of her window in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico, where it was later discovered that as many as 150 farm animals and pets were killed by a mysterious predator.

Through the end of 1995, eyewitnesses continued to come forward, describing what they saw as gray skinned with a long snake-like tongue, fangs, standing between four and five feet tall.

In 2007, Phylis Canion of Cuero, Texas discovered the body of a strange-looking animal on her property that she claimed killed numerous cats in the area and sucked the blood from her chickens for a number of years.

A few years later, Doug Ohrt of south Texas claimed he shot and killed a chupacabra on his property after hearing nightly long wailing howls for the past year.

Ben Radford, researcher with the Center for Skeptical Inquiry and author of Tracking the Chupacabra, describes Texas as a “chupacabra factory,” and since that first sighting decades ago, several chupacabra carcasses have popped up in the state.

All of them, including Canion’s, have been DNA tested, and the results have been the same: gaunt, mangy canines mostly closely matching coyotes or dogs.

“The reason these animals get identified as chupacabras is because they’ve lost their hair owing to sarcoptic mange,” Radford explained to BBC.com.

Whether there’s a wandering pack of scrawny, mange-ridden dogs or a scattering of lone, fanged livestock killers, you can find out for yourself in the heart of the chupacabra’s territory at the Chupacabra Trail Run in Waco, Texas taking place, appropriately, on Halloween.