Residence: Scottsdale, AZ
Date of Performance/Collection: March 11, 2008
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s): English
In Northern Mexico the farmers tell the story of a blood-sucking beast known as the Chupacabra. The farmers claim to have found their goats with all of their blood drained from their bodies. The only bite marks present are two, circular, vampire-fang like holes, usually close to the neck. These bite marks are said to be from the Chupacabra. The beast is said to only strike at night, after sundown.
Ryan, my brother, said he first heard this story when he was in elementary school. He heard the story from his Mexican friends who were told the story by their parents. Ryan said that the story also circulated in the rural southern parts of Arizona close to the border, where the communities were predominantly Mexican.
Ryan believes that parents told these stories to their kids to keep them from staying out late at night. Even though he didnt know of any variations that said the Chupacabra would attack kids the thought of a blood-sucking animal was scary enough to keep the kids in at night. Ironically baby goats are called kids, and perhaps the Chupacabra would want the blood of any type of kid, goat or human.
This myth has close similarities to a traditional vampire story often found in eastern Europe. In these stories a vampire can never be seen during the daylight and sucks the blood of his victims by biting their necks. Because goat farming is a common practice in Mexico and goats are necessary to make cheeses and milks used in the diet the loss of a goat could be detrimental to a farming family. My brother said that some people believe the Chupacabra is responsible for the disappearance of livestock in rural areas.
Ryan has spend a lot of time in Spanish speaking countries and has heard differing descriptions of the Chupacabra and says that a form of the myth is found throughout Spanish speaking countries in the Americas but he prefers the story he was first told as opposed a different version of the story. The Chupacabra myth is widespread and therefore has many believers and skeptics.
An online search brought up thousands of websites about the creature as well as videos depicting alleged sightings. On one website I also found unofficial Chupacabra merchandise including t-shirts, street signs and mugs. This popular myth has been exploited to make a profit and provoke questions of its existence, including conspiracy theories. Personally, I agree that it was started as an explanation for missing cattle and a means for parents to keep their children from staying out at night.