New Chupacabra Documentary: More Speculation than Investigation
February 5, 2010As the author of a forthcoming book on the mysterious bloodsucking monster the chupacabra, I was asked by cryptocolleague Loren Coleman to look at and comment on some early footage of a new documentary about the search for the beast in Puerto Rico. The film, titled Island of Blood , features a man named Nick Redfern who recently set about looking for the monster.
Three parts of the film are available on YouTube and at the Cryptomundo Web site . At Loren’s request, I posted the following comments about what I saw, and my thoughts on the quality of the investigation so far"
1) I understand the video is meant as entertainment, but I saw very little investigation, at least not in the parts available so far. Much of Part 1 seemed like tourist mugging and filler. Some people like Nick’s goofing around, “frat-boy-looks-for-monsters” style (as seen in his books, esp, Memoirs of a Monster Hunte r). If that works for him, that’s great, though I personally prefer a more serious approach.
2) In the first minute of Part 2, Nick is told about an alleged chupacabra attack in which 65 pigs were mysteriously killed in a local prison. Nick follows up with:
NR: “Were they attacked like the classic chupacabra attack?”
OP: “They had a hole, a perforation in the armpit.”
NR: “In every one?”
OP: “In every one.”
That concludes the exchange, and Redfern seems like he is satisfied with the answer he got. But he doesn’t seem to notice that his question was never really answered; in fact, if anything, the answer he got suggests it was NOT a chupacabra attack!
The main characteristic of a “classic chupacabra attack” is a loss of blood; a secondary typical characteristic is puncture marks on the victim’s neck. Not only was there no mention of blood sucking, but the marks were on the shoulder instead of the neck! It is baffling to me as an investigator that neither of the two “classic” characteristics of the chupacabra attack were mentioned in this case (or at least in the parts presented in the video), yet Nick doesn’t comment on this and instead asks if “every one” of the pigs died that way. Either he’s assuming that the pigs were drained of blood (assuming facts is not a good idea in scientific investigations), or he was told this off-camera, or for some reason he doesn’t notice that the answer to his question was basically, “No, the pigs attacks were NOT like the classic chupacabra attack.”
He seems to simply assume that what he’s being told is valid and accurate, without doing any research or investigation to confirm it. This case is presented as a chupacabra attack, but it’s all an anecdote. There’s no follow-up, no eyewitnesses interviewed, no nothing.
3) In Part 3, Nick hears one man’s story that Men in Black government agents showed up at a rural farm following an incident in which a machete had been broken supposedly while fending off a chupacabra. These men confiscated the broken machete and took it away, presumably to hide evidence. Nick seems to accept this wild conspiracy story without a shred of evidence other than one man’s story, commenting that “That might suggest that whoever they were, they knew where this creature was that night and a good idea where it had attacked, and what it had attacked.” Again, no effort whatsoever is made to confirm any details, seek any other eyewitnesses, or anything else.
4) Also, in Part 3, I note there’s mention of a 2003 alleged chupa attack in which 3 pigs were killed. One of the speakers (Pla, I believe) states that “they were all dead in a straight line,” as if this is somehow mysterious or significant. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but what’s curious is that they then show a photo of the pigs (at 1:40), which are clearly NOT in “a straight line.” They are facing roughly the same direction, but it’s quite possible that whoever photographed them moved them that way for a better photo. But the “straight line” claim is self-evidently not true, as viewers can see for themselves!
I don’t offer this necessarily as a criticism of Nick (who I have met, and to whom I bear a passing resemblance); I am responding to Loren’s request for a sort of “peer-review” comment on this topic as an expert on the chupacabra. I support anyone who wants to spend their time and money out in the field doing research, and I’m glad that Nick and his friends had fun in Puerto Rico.
I hope his search for the Puerto Rican chupacabra is successful, but from my decade of experience investigating these creatures, solving this mystery will require more investigation and skepticism than I’ve seen so far.
#1 S.Hill on Saturday February 06, 2010 at 7:32am
Well, at the top of the blog Loren says you ought to revise your book. When you comment and disagree with that, he says he _agrees_ with you. This is a kind of a silly game. But you are one of the lucky skeptics that gets a fair hearing on Cryptomundo. Nice job. I would like to see more in depth exchanges between proponents & skeptics.
I truly enjoy reading Nick’s books for entertainment. I buy them, but, I can’t take them all that serious. Ben, I’ve never seen you don a leather jacket and wear a Union Jack on your head, so I’m confident no one can confuse you with NR.
#2 Benjamin Radford on Saturday February 06, 2010 at 9:25am
True enough! No Union Jack banner on my head, and leather jackets aren’t really my thing. I’m handsome enough without them!
#3 JohnnyCrash on Saturday February 06, 2010 at 2:34pm
Mmmuuusst suck blood…
Mmmuuusst blame supernatural myth creature…
I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself! HAHA
Nice article. I also really enjoyed your article trying to get psychics to help find survivors in Haiti. “Convicted Felon Sylvia Browne” - classic!
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