When asked about the legends that his abuelita would tell him during his family visits to Mexico, MS responded:

“She also told us about the chupacabra. It’s one I actually asked about because my brothers and I played this game called Poptropica when we were younger. It had all these islands you could visit and one of them was the ‘Cryptids Island’ where you had to track down these urban legend creatures, like Nessie and Bigfoot, and one of them was the chupacabra, so I wanted to ask her about it. She said that yeah, her parents had told her about it growing up. So, if people found their goats or livestock with these puncture holes in their necks, they blamed it on the chupacabra.”

When asked what he could recall about the chupacabra’s appearance, MS responded:

“So in the game, it looked like this f*cked up looking, blue dog thing with spikes and sh*t. But, I think abuelita said it was more reptile looking.”


MS is a sixteen year old who has grown up in Los Angeles, CA. His abuelita immigrated from Mexico to Sacramento, CA in 1961. She then returned to her hometown in Mexico in the ’90s. Here, MS is recalling legends he had heard from his abuelita when his family visited her in her hometown during vacations.


This entry from MS highlights the role of non-native media in shaping perceptions of folk legends. As MS mentions, his initial interest in the chupacabra stemmed from its portrayal in the popular online children’s game, Poptropica. This brings forth the question of what role non-native media plays in shedding light on this folklore and what responsibilities it has while doing so. In this case, exposure to the legend in the context of a video game spurred his curiosity to explore the origins of the chupacabra further. However, from his description, it is clear that Poptropica’s depiction of the chupacabra adheres more to the North American imagination of what kills livestock: wolves. This visual description is distinct from the versions of the legend that tend to be seen in Puerto Rico and Mexico, where the creature is described as more reptilian. The choice to portray the chupacabra as more dog/wolf-like brings up another question of responsibility: How should Poptropica, an online game that claims to be an educational resource for children, balance its commercial interests with its goal to educate?