Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/13/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish
“Um, it’s like a Mexican thing, I think. It’s like a little…it like eats little children at night as well as like chickens. It’s like a, what is it, it’s like a half, I don’t know what it is exactly. Chupacabra… Um, wait for it, wait for it. It means in Spanish ‘goatsucker’ and they drink the blood of livestock and if you’re a bad child and go out at night, they’ll eat you. It’s like a little thing. It’s like a little animal, but it’s like a made up, it’s like a, it has some like little animal that eats things. It’s creepy.”
The informant is a student at the University of Southern California. She is originally from northern California, from the San Francisco area. Her father is from England and her other from Switzerland, while she was born in California. She studies Computer Science and Computer Engineering. She enjoys playing in the marching band on campus and playing water polo. Though she has lived in California her whole life, though has taken many trips away from it, including a few to Mexico.
The informant was asked of urban legends she knew of, ones she had heard stories of or perhaps encountered. She thought of the Chupacabra, which she had heard about growing up, seen in a Scooby Doo episode, and had met believers of the legend in Mexico.
The Chupacabra is an urban legend whose renown has spread outside the country of origin. Though few outside Mexico believe it exists in their own countries, many believe it possible it lives in Mexico, or elsewhere in Central or South America. The informant does not believe in it, believes it is a made up story, but despite this disbelief, and likely the disbelief of many of those around her, that has not stopped the story’s popularity.
The urban legend is surprisingly contemporary with the first sighting in Puerto Rico in 1995. Popular media, like Scooby Doo and other conspiracy mediums, ran with the idea. Some claimed supernatural origins, others extraterrestrial.
Descriptions of the creature’s appearance vary widely. The creature is often described as an animal, sometimes as big as or bigger than a man, sometimes as small as the goats it supposedly sucks. Sometimes it is described like a bear with spines on its back, with large eyes (the better to see at night with). It is usually considered “heavy” or dense and muscular. At times, the chupacabra seems more alien than animal.
The one thing all of the sightings agree on is that it kills livestock, particularly goats—its name means “goatsucker” in Spanish. It has been known to kill hundreds of livestock at one time. If the legend is in fact not real, then it was most likely thought up as a way to explain the slaughter of hundreds of animals, either by some animals or even humans themselves. Now, whenever there is an attack of this nature in the Americas, and even elsewhere in the world, the Chupacabra is to blame.
There are some beneficial side effects to this legend. It can now be used to warn off bad children, that if they misbehave, the Chupacabra will come and eat them. This struck the informant the most, saying multiple times that it will eat children, especially children who wander off at night when they should be in bed asleep. The Chupacabra may even start to transform into a tale, with the moral being to never break curfew. This is a nice example of urban legends being used by parents to get their kids to behave in the right way.