"El Chupacabra" began when goats and chickens started turning up dead in Puerto Rico in the 1990's, drained of blood and with telltale puncture wounds in their necks but otherwise completely intact. Literally translated as "goat sucker" in Spanish, reports of Chupacabra spread from Puerto Rico to Mexico, Chile, Brazil and into the United States, from Texas to Florida, Michigan, Maine and even Oregon. Soon Chupacabra became a worldwide urban legend as news spread far and fast on a wave of Internet enthusiasm, taking hold of imaginations worldwide.
While descriptions of the blood-sucking beast vary greatly, most describe it as a gray, lizard-like creature about 3 to 4 feet tall that walks upright on its muscular hind legs, similar to an archetypical alien. It reportedly has large eyes, fangs and a forked tongue with a row of sharp quills running down its back. However, others describe the monster as looking more like a giant, vicious kangaroo or disfigured coyote.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE? While reports of Chupacabra are relatively new, the phenomenon dates back to the 1970's when Puerto Rican legend tells of El Vampiro de Moca, a supposed livestock-killing vampire in the small town of Moca. Whether Chupacabra exists or not, reports of bloodless murdered livestock persist. And to date, no satisfactory predator has ever been caught.
Others believe it's the result of a NASA experiment gone wrong. Still other conspiracy theorists say it's the source of the HIV/AIDS virus.
But while stories about the mysterious chupacabra have spread far and wide, real information about a curious-looking creature with that name is virtually nonexistent.
As with Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and the other bizarre beasts in urban legends, the tale of the chupacabra thrives on the first-person accounts of people who claim to see it -- and the very active imagination of the public at large.
Now Benjamin Radford, a paranormal investigator and managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, says he can put the story of the chupacabra to rest. After five years of digging, he said he's uncovered the roots of the mystery.