The legend of cipi chupacabra began in about 1992, when Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia began reporting the killings of many different types of animals, such as birds, horses, and as its name implies, goats. However, it is predated by El Vampiro de Moca (The Vampire of Moca), a creature blamed for similar killings that occurred in the small town of Moca in the 1970s. While at first it was suspected that the killings were done randomly by some members of a Satanic cult, eventually these killings spread around the island, and many farms reported loss of animal life. The killings had one pattern in common: Each of the animals found dead had two punctured holes around its neck.
Soon after the animal deaths in Puerto Rico, other animal deaths were reported in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Brazil, the United States and, most notably, Mexico.
Both in Puerto Rico and Mexico, "el chupacabra" gained urban legend status. Chupacabra stories began to be released several times in American and Hispanic newscasts across the United States, and chupacabra merchandise, such as T-shirts and baseball caps, were sold.
The chupacabra is generally treated as a product of mass hysteria, though the animal mutilations are sometimes real. Like many cases of such mutilations, however, it has been argued that they are often not as mysterious as they might first appear, and in fact, a series of tests showcased by the National Geographic Channel in a show about the chupacabra pointed to the obvious conclusion that every single "animal mutilation" can be explained by either people killing them or, more likely, other animals eating them. The loss of blood may be explained by insects drinking it.
Certain South American rain forest natives believe in the "mosquito man", a mythical creature of their folklore that pre-dates modern chupacabra sightings. The mosquito-man sucks the blood from animals through his long nose, like a big mosquito. Some say mosquito-man and the chupacabra are one and the same.[verification needed]
One story states that in September of 2006, a hotel employee named Valerie Pauls of Albuquerque, New Mexico was startled by a hissing noise upon arriving for work at about 7:00 in the morning. She glanced up to the sixth floor roof of the Amerisuites Hotel. She saw two glowing red eyes peering down upon her. The creature resembled a gargoyle, and smelled of sulphur. The creature terrified Ms. Pauls as it continued hissing and flashing neon colors. She became dizzy and disoriented. She managed to return to her vehicle as the alleged Chupacabra descended upon her vehicle. The creature broke the windshield before leaping back up unto the roof of the hotel and vanishing.[verification needed]
Notable sightings in the United States include one reported by multiple eye-witnesses in Calaveras County, California, and at a recent birthday celebration of a Development Team member of a local charity in Houston, Texas. According to these reports, the creature was sighted for the first time in the early to mid 1990s, harming animals of different species. However, it is now thought that the people did this themselves.[verification needed]
In 2005, Isaac Espinoza spent close to $6 million of his own money trying to track down the chupacabra. He lived in the jungles of South America for eight months with a team of researchers, video and print journalists and local guides. During the course of the expedition the team had several close encounters with a creature that the researchers were not able to identify. The team was able to capture several of their encounters with the creature on film and it has all been turned over to the University of Texas for analysis.[verification needed]
Hugo Mata, a professor of cryptozoology at the University of Texas, has said the hair and skin samples submitted by the team do not match any known species for that part of the world.[verification needed]
In July 2004, a rancher near San Antonio, Texas, killed a hairless, dog-like creature which was attacking his livestock. This creature is now known as the Elmendorf Creature. It was later determined to be a canine of some sort, most likely a coyote, with demodectic mange. In October 2004, two animals which closely resemble the Elmendorf Creature were observed in the same area. The first was dead, and a local zoologist who was called to identify the animal noticed the second while she was travelling to the location where the first was found. Specimens were studied by biologists in Texas. The creatures are thought to have been canines of undetermined species with skin problems and facial deformities.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, A 42 year old woman (Rebecca Tuggle) was on the way to her car when she heard a mysterious hissing noise. As she turned around she was terrified to see a creature partially resembling a lizard, a kangaroo, and a bat, with "rainbow-colored" spines running down its back. The creature stood 3-4' tall and grunted at her. The creature's hissing noise nauseated her and she nearly fainted. As with other sightings, the eyes were said to glow red and the animal smelled of a sulfuric substance.
The chupacabra has often been spotted in Michigan. A recent sighting occurred in Grand Haven, when a 42-year-old man claimed he saw it suck the blood out of a cat.[verification needed]
A famous appearance in the city of Varginha, Brazil, (the "Varginha incident") is sometimes attributed to the chupacabra, although cryptozoologists more frequently associate the incident with extraterrestrials. In 1997, an explosion of chupacabra sightings in Brazil was reported in Brazilian newspapers. One report came from a police officer, who claimed to get a nauseous feeling when he saw a dog-like chupacabra in a tree.[verification needed]
Recently, there has been a surge of chupacabra sightings in the United States, specifically in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and outside of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. However, controversy exists whether these chupacabra sightings are legitimate.
In Coleman, Texas, a farmer named Reggie Lagow caught an unknown animal in a trap he set up after the deaths of a number of his chickens and turkeys. The animal appeared to be a mix between a hairless dog, a rat and a kangaroo. The mystery animal was reported to be to Texas Parks and Wildlife in hopes of determining what it was, but Lagow said in a September 17th, 2006 phone interview with John Adolfi, founder of the Lost World Museum, that the "critter was caught on a tuesday and thrown out in thursday's trash."
In April of 2006, MosNews reported that the chupacabra was spotted in Russia for the first time. Reports from Central Russia beginning in March 2005 tell of a beast that kills animals and sucks out their blood. Thirty-two turkeys were killed and drained overnight. Reports later came from neighboring villages when 30 sheep were killed and had their blood drained. Finally eyewitnesses were able to describe the chupacabra. In May of 2006, experts were determined to track the animal down.
In mid-August 2006, Michelle O'Donnell of Turner, Maine, described an "evil looking" dog-like creature with fangs found along side a road, apparently struck by a car, but it was otherwise unidentifiable. Photographs were taken and several witness reports seem to be in relative agreement that the creature was canine in appearance, but unlike any dog or wolf in the area. The carcass was picked clean by vultures before experts could examine it. For years, residents of Maine have reported a mysterious creature and a string of dog maulings.
On September 2006, the Lost World Museum acquired the remains of what may be a Chupacabra. Spotted, hunted and killed in late August 2006, 15 yr. old Geordie Decker and 16 yr. old Josh Underwood of Berkshire, New York handed over the bones of a small fox like beast that hopped, had yellow eyes and an orange strip of hair going down its almost bald gray back, to Museum owner John Adolfi. Its bones are currently on display on the Lost World Museum's web site while further examination and investigation continues.