Background of informant:
My informant (AG)’s parents moved from Mexico to Los Angeles before her birth. She speaks Spanish to her parents in home and is surrounded by Mexican culture.
AG: “’Chupa’ translates to ‘suck’, and then ‘cabra’ translates to ‘goat’. Chupacabra is a kind of monster. So in Mexican culture, there’re many farmers or just lots of people who raise animals, and there will be this story like a monster came and sucks the blood of their goats. It’s kind of like our version of ‘Big Foot’, kind of.. [laugh]But again I think the purpose of it is like… maybe for kids, to not go out at night. ‘Don’t go out, cause Chupacabra will suck you to dry!’
SH: How did you know about this goat sucker? [laugh]
AG: “This one, I don’t even know, it’s just … maybe… cause I don’t remember my parents ever telling me. I remember my parents tell me about Cucuy and I remember my cousin talked to me about La Llorona, but Chupacabra I don’t really remember growing up with it, it’s just like another Mexican urban legend, that you kind of learned? But I don’t remember how I learned about it. Oh! I probably got this story in elementary school. So I went to this Latino school where 90 percent of kids are Latino and the rest are other races. In school you learned these stories from other kids. But anyway, no one takes Chupacabra that seriously. Cause Chupacabra, even its name is kind of ridiculous and funny when you’re a kid, you don’t take it that seriously. And part of Mexican culture is that we’re kind of superstitious, so we believe in ghost, but Chupacabra is just a ridiculous monster, it’s even not scary! I remember… [laugh] I think I used to watch, do you know, the animation for Jackie Chen? ”
AG: “There is one episode when they went to Mexico and Chupacabra is animated in it.”
SH: What does it look like?
AG: “Just like a wild dog, with the red eyes. When you google it, there’re many versions, but when I think of Chupacabra, it’s like a wild Hyena dog with red eyes. It’s just a big, scary dog, kind of ugly. [laugh]”
Context of the performance:
This is a section of the entire conversation of Mexican’s superstition.
My thoughts about the piece:
AG really emphasized to me the point that Mexican people are superstitious. When I asked her whether she believed in ghost or not, her standpoint is neutral. But regarding to the fact that many ghost stories and monsters are so popular and well-known in Mexican culture, she believes there’s truth behind them.
Also, I include AG’s comment on why Chupacabra is not as scary as La Llorona in the main piece, which I think is really interesting since it reflects on Mexican people’s preference on different types of legends. Comparing to monsters, which are non-human, they are more interested in legends about ghosts and other creatures in human form or related to human.