Chupacabra Attacks In Chile -
Over 800 Animals Now Dead
SANTIAGO, Chile - Last April, dozens of farm animals - sheep, pigs, chickens - began turning up dead in northern Chile, their bodies completely drained of blood and bearing odd vampire-like bite marks.

One of the many images of
the Chupacabra floating around the net
For many Chileans, this could mean only one thing: The mythical "Chupacabras," or "goat-sucker," Latin America's version of Count Dracula, was back in the news.
In the northern desert town of Calama, where the "attacks" first began, locals immediately began to hang crosses in front of their homes.
Jose Ismael Pino, a farm worker near the central city of Concepcion, is among the many Chileans who claim to have had an up-close experience with the Chupacabras.
"It just stood there looking at me," Pino told local newspaper Cronica. "It stood about four feet tall, like a big monkey, with long clawed arms, enormous fangs protruding from its mouth, as well as a pair of wings. "
The Chupacabras legend began in Puerto Rico in 1995, when eight sheep were found dead with the same telltale signs: bloodless corpses with bite marks.
Over the next year, reports of attacks multiplied, with the Chupacabras popping up in Texas, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil. A cultlike " and no doubt profitable " industry has formed around the Chupacabras in Latin America, spawning T-shirts, bumper-stickers, squeaky toys, candies, sandwiches and songs.
Believed at one time to be the remains of a Chupacabra. Never verified.
The myth lost steam after 1996, only to resurface a few months ago in western Nicaragua, northern Mexico and northern Chile.
Since the first attacks in Calama last spring, well over 800 animals of all kinds have been killed in similar incidents in just about every region of Chile.
The monster has been variously described as a large rodent or a mutant kangaroo, while others claim it is a winged, ape-like being that walks in a zig-zag pattern.
Lilliana Romero, a school teacher in Concepcion, Chile, told the local newspaper that she woke up in the middle of the night and saw a Chupacabras.
"I crouched and looked through the window," she told El Sur. "I could see the back of what appeared to be an immense man, standing more than two meters [6 feet, 8 inches] tall. The shoulder blades were split, as if he had wings." The next day, Romero said, she found a completely bloodless dog dead in the alleyway behind her house.
Another wave of hysteria swept Chile in May when rumors spread that three Chupacabras - a male, a female and a cub - were captured by Chilean soldiers near a mine north of Calama. Some locals even claimed that a team of NASA scientists arrived in a black helicopter and took them away.

The most recent purported Chupacabra remains
The popular rumor in Calama these days is that the Chupacabras escaped from a secret NASA experiment in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, where they say the space agency is trying to replicate the conditions of a voyage to the planet Mars.
As for Chilean authorities, they have steadfastly maintained that most of the attacks were caused by packs of feral dogs.
The Chupacabras legend is beginning to take root in Chile for good, said Bernardo Valenzuela, an anthropology professor at the University of Chile.
"These animals, whatever they are, just suck the blood of their victims, without eating their meat - no wonder the popular imagination has generated this legend," Valenzuela told
Fear of the night and fascination with werewolves may have also played a key role in the popularity of the Chupacabras myth, anthropologists say.
The Chupacabras' existence has never been scientifically proven; skeletal cadavers and decomposing remains have been proudly produced by farmers from time to time but have ended up identified as dead dogs or bats.
But in the meantime, the Latin Goat-Sucker continues to inspire the public's imagination, and its legend grows in the Chilean countryside - as well as in thousands of Web pages.
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