Unfortunately, tracking down specifically what the term 'Chupacabra' refers to is difficult. The translation means "goat sucker" but the term has been used loosely for any strange looking animal. The media frequently uses the term as a catchall for any normal animal with mange and has been captured and researchers like to use it for any creature that appears dog-like or gargoyle-like but is extremely unusual for any other classification. For that reason, I generally prefer to avoid the use of the term.
Another problem with the Chupacabra is that many people assume that since the term and media attention came along in 1995, the phenomenon started around that time. That isn't true. Vampiric livestock attacks have a very long history in cryptozoology. The focus of this post is to share a few examples prior to 1995.
- In the months of November and December, 1905, sheep were being massacred on farms around the area of Badminton, England. The police suggested it was an escaped jackal but no such jackals were reported at the time. Huge, black dogs were also seen around the area, some on the same day as attacks.
- Bladenboro, North Carolina had a rash of dog mutilations in 1954. Dogs were frequently found ripped to shreds or cut open with their blood drained. At the same time, shrieks and strange shadowy creatures were seen in the surrounding forests. The media quickly blamed a lynx that was killed as the attacks ceased but law enforcement accused feral dogs.
- The story of the 1970-1971 Chicken Man attacks is a personal favorite of mine. In El Reno, Oklahoma, farmers began to find their chicken coops raided and their birds either missing or ripped open and drained of blood. No culprit was ever seen but huge, ape-like tracks were found at multiple scenes.
- During the 1972 Bigfoot wave in Roachdale, Indiana, a farmer and his family found over 100 of their chickens ripped open and drained of blood. The grisly scene was discovered after they went to investigate a strange sound coming from the coop. As the farmer got closer to the coop, he saw a giant, manlike creature in the doorway and as it walked away, the farmer fired upon the strange intruder.
- Our last case is probably the most famous of this list, but is still stuck in obscurity. An enormous farm known as Bodalog, situated in mid-Wales, was plagued with a supposed vampiric beast from the depths of a nearby river. In 1988 the unseen creature murdered at least 35 sheep with only a small incision-like bite to the sternum. Many have suggested that the creature might have been some unknown species of snake, but since the creature was never seen, the mystery to its origins will remain unsolved.
There is an abundance of cases where livestock, poultry, or pets are killed, mutilated, and sometimes drained of their blood by supposed unknown animals. I have logged close to 150 individual cases simply by looking through the books I own. Unfortunately the subject have been largely ignored or, due to its popularity, the cases have been tainted by the Chupacabra.
Because of this, I have decided to put my previous idea for a book aside for the moment a focus on my research on this diverse subject. I have begun writing a rough draft for a book focusing on these cases and discussing various explanations as to why these things happen.