by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
You may notice my blog is a bit late today. That’s because I spent my morning looking up pictures of El Chupacabra for an article I was writing for someone who is not Paranormal Underground. Yep – I cheat on PUG. What can I say? It’s a living.
So I was assigned to write about El Chupacabra pictures. Already at the outset of the assignment I was feeling a teeny tiny bit lukewarm about it, because my knowledge of El Chupacabra – that old goat sucker – was pretty minimal. I say was, because after a morning of looking up pictures and writing about them, I am an El Chupacabra expert.
Here’s what I learned. There are a lot of people out there who believe that the road kill they find is El Chupacabra. As I looked at the pictures, I sort of had to scratch my head. With the exception of a few rodents, what I saw were some type of canine missing most of its hair.
Imagine my surprise when, with further research, what I found was that many of these lovely menu items from the road kill cafe had been DNA tested (oh what a pleasant task collecting that DNA must have been – getting a sample from an animal carcass that had been baking in the Texas sun for God knows how long – yummy!), and they turned out to be canine. Most likely a coyote, although with a slight DNA variation. The theory for this rash of dead Chupacabra (is there a plural to that? Chupacabrii? Chupacabras? Chupacabros?) in Texas and Oklahoma was that there was some undetermined form of mange spreading throughout the coyote population there. Just what I thought. Hairless coyote.
It’s not that I am a disbeliever in cryptids. I have long understood that a number of animals that were once considered cryptids actually broke on through to the other side and became bona fide animals. The goofy looking platypus comes to mind. Also my childhood neighbor, Mrs. Schwartz, whose presence was merely rumored because of those reflective eye sockets we saw peering from between her drapes until she stepped out onto her front porch wearing glasses one lovely Saturday morning to yell, “YOU KIDS GET OFF OF MY LAWN!”
Heck – I live in a hotbed of reported cryptozoological activity here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve got Bigfoot. We’ve got Batsquatch. We’ve got the tree octopi of the Hoh Rainforest. It’s even rumored that we have professional football and baseball teams called the Seahawks and the Mariners – although frankly I don’t know that I’ve seen any pro-level teams playing in this here neck of the woods. Crypids – the whole lot of them.
So it’s not that I don’t believe in cryptids. I most certainly think that there is a very distinct possibility that they could maybe just almost exist. Some are more credible than others, sure. Or maybe credible isn’t the right word. Maybe I should say that some seem more possible than the others. After all, it’s a big, big world out there. Who knows what exists in the places that we can’t easily get to and observe?
What am I saying? If it looks like a hairless dog, there’s probably a darn good chance that its a coyote with mange. If it looks like a turtle without a shell, it probably is. If it looks like an ape suit in a cooler from the get-go, it seems silly to waste valuable news footage on it unless it is a super slooowww news day. And then you might want to try a headline like “Two Idiots Want Us To Believe an Ape Suit in a Cooler is Bigfoot” as opposed to “Bigfoot Carcass in Cooler!!! News at 11!!!”
Here’s the thing. If there is something legitimate out there like the goofy platypus or cranky Mrs. Schwartz from next door, then claiming that every piece of roadkill you find is a cryptid probably isn’t going to help establish any kind of credibility. Those pictures of road kill on the news, on the Internet and everywhere else you look only serve to diminish the research of the true scientists like Jeff Meldrum or Loren Coleman.
I know that there is a certain level of wanting to believe – cryptozoological creatures are cool. It is a fun area of the paranormal. I’m certainly not saying that there aren’t cryptids out there. We discover new things every day. It’s an amazing universe and an amazing world. At the same time, let cooler heads prevail. That black and white stinky flat thing stuck to your front tire isn’t some famous cryptid. If it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk, I’m guessing that’s what it probably is. No need to post it on the Internet or call the news like we did after fleeing her lawn the day Mrs. Schwartz finally emerged from behind the curtain. Now THAT was a true discovery.