This article is from the October 1996 The Mexico File newsletter.
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The Chupacabra

by Geri Anderson

Geri Anderson, a travel writer and a Mexicophile, loves the stories and tales of the Mexican people...past and present. Here's an account she shares from her semi-annual visit last spring. Geri's e-mail address is

The Chupacabra first appeared in Mexico a few months before I arrived in late spring of 1996.

News of its arrival spread rapidly throughout the country because of its favorite meal...the blood of goats. Farmers in the central part of Mexico discovered some goats sucked dry of blood. Television broadcasts and newspapers featured stories about a goat-eating monster roaming the countryside. (Chupacabra means "goat eater" in Spanish.) These stories created terror among peasant farmers throughout the country. Farmers, who depend upon goats for milk and meat, feared Chupacabra would wander south or north.

Although there were no first-hand sightings or photographs or Chupacabra, gossip on city streets and rumors in rural villages depicted it as half-man, half-bear. Each lead was dramatized in the media. A cat found dead and bloodless with two vampire-like wounds in its neck spurred speculation that Chupacabra was expanding its menu from goats to other animals. Further investigation revealed the cat apparently had tackled the family's pet snake...and lost.

In cafes and outdoor patios in cities and tourist resorts, bartenders and waiters chatted with travelers about the wild imagination of the country's simple, rural folk. Lacking sophistication and a worldly view, country people in Mexico sometimes turn to supernatural sources to explain the unknown. However, educated and enlightened cityfolk explained Chupacabra's blood feast more pragmatically. They believe government officials invented the man-bear monster to divert people's attention from Mexico's problematic politics and economic hard times. Some said the worst Chupacabra was former president Salinas, who sucked the blood out of all the people.