Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/02/16
Primary Language: English
“So my story… Um… It’s the myth of The Chupacabra by MK. When I was… When I was, let’s say 10 years old, my eldest cousin, one of my elder cousins, um came in one christmas and shared that he had witnessed something in the fog in my grandparents house. Imagine an old red house in the middle of the farm. Outside of their house, which was a quintessential farmhouse out in the country in Corcoran california, which, side note is best known for the Cochran Prison that houses Charles Manson. Charlie Manson? Charles Manson. Anyways, so Cochran. And he went outside and came back in and claimed that he saw lying on the side of the road, a Chupacabra. Now, if anyone is familiar with El Chupacabra knows that it’s basically a mythical creature, um, and he claims in his heart that it wasn’t a wolf, it wasn’t a coyote, it wasn’t a possum. It was all those things put together as one. And he came in and he scared us. We actually went outside to try and find it. And it was miraculously gone. OK? This animal that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. He claims he saw. And it was scary for us because we knew it wasn’t true, but at the same time the myth of The Chupacabra lived on. Because every year, or every time we would be out there, and it was just a little bit foggy and there was a full moon, we would hear this animal that was said not to exist, which was said not to exist, but we knew in our hearts that it did. And I do honestly think it’s true. I think he saw something that wasn’t, it wasn’t, like I said it wasn’t a wolf or a mountain lion, it wasn’t any of those things. In my heart I believe that it was true, because when we went out to go find it, it was gone. This animal that he had seen. So there it is, the myth of The Chupacabra, and we still talk about it to this day.”
Context: When I asked the participant if she had any stories to tell, she told me immediately. “Oh, yeah, but I’m sure you already know about The Chupacabra.” I pressured her a bit more to tell me her version of it, and it ended up being the story above; not on the origin of El Chupacabra, or particularly any action by El Chupacabra, but just a possible sighting. She likes this piece of folklore because she says she “doesn’t generally consider [herself] to believe in this sort of thing, but I do.” And that, if anything it’s a “fun story that shows how crazy my family and I are.”
Personal Analysis: Legend sightings are prevalent throughout the world. Be it alien sightings, ghosts, demons, Bigfoot, Loch Ness, or Leprechauns. What’s interesting about these stories is that the person experiencing the sighting doesn’t often actually interact with the entity; they’re other-worldly both in that they do not take a typical earthly form but also that they can not be interacted with along the same plane as the informant.
Take this story, as an example. The participants cousin saw this animal-like thing through the fog, and it laid motionless on the side of the road. Despite not having interacted with it, he is certain it was El Chupacabra. His certainty also impacted the participant and her family; they believed the story despite never having seen it, simply because her cousin saw it through the fog for a split second.
I believe this is because these legends are constantly reinforced to the point that they create confirmation biases. Everyone in California has heard of El Chupacabra, similar to how everyone in Scotland has heard of the Loch Ness. If one might not have, they probably would not see the objects they see as anything but what they actually are: perhaps roadkill, a rock and a stick, a funny looking shadow. Instead, they take their previously conceived notions about these legends and projected them onto their sightings to confirm them as the creature.