Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore Paperback – Mar 15 2011
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From the Inside Flap
Combining five years of careful investigation (including information from eyewitness accounts, field research, and forensic analysis) with a close study of the creature's cultural and folkloric significance, Radford's book is the first to fully explore and try to solve the decades-old mystery of the chupacabra.
About the Author
Benjamin Radford is managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the nonprofit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The author of five books and hundreds of articles, he is a regular columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
(sound of gunshot followed by sound of body slumping to floor)
Hey, I won't be a spoiler - get this book & read it!
Of course, the story of a previously unknown beast that was decidedly not a raccoon and, in fact, was said to be a blood sucking monster that fed on goats and chickens, was just starting to take its hold of popular culture at the time. We had all heard the eyewitness accounts of the Chupacabra, seen an artist's sketch, and otherwise just wondered what in the heck this creature was that had seemingly come from out of nowhere. In Benjamin Radford's latest book, "Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore," he aims to answer that very question. And, in my humble opinion, he has done just that.
Granted, I am biased. I count myself as a Ben Radford fan. He is one of a handful of people I regularly credit with having helped turn me from a paranormal true believer to one who exercises much more critical thinking skills when approaching paranormal mysteries I find in my own studies. His case reports have proven valuable enough to me that I can often quickly spot deceptions, or at least equip myself better to test paranormal claims I come across, simply because I have read of various examples in Radford's writings where his problem and solution were similar.
Still, that being said, I think "Tracking the Chupacabra" is a book you will enjoy if you are anything like me and intrigued by mysteries of the paranormal realm. The mystery of the Chupacabra, in particular, was one that has been around for over 20 years, and has baffled people on multiple continents. It is said that, aside from Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra is the most famous monster in the world. What an extraordinary claim for Mr. Radford to make, then, when he claims to solve this mystery in his book. Well, folks, I believe he has done it.
The book starts off with a history of the beast itself, including a brief description of the original sighting in Puerto Rico in 1995. Radford also touches on the fascinating aspect of how descriptions of the monster have changed over the years. He then moves into the folklore of vampires, and discusses how the Chupacabra made such a quick transition from something no one had ever heard of before, to one of the bigger pop culture sensations in paranormal lore.
Never one content to provide mere armchair speculations, Benjamin Radford recounts his own expeditions to Puerto Rico in a sincere effort to track the Chupacabra for himself. Along the way he finds out just how many of the locals take the reports seriously, as well as reports on the anti-American and conspiratorial sentiment expressed by many Puerto Ricans - a key aspect to the solving of this case. It was this latter point that I found quite sobering, at times finding that I had failed to breathe for extended stretches while reading because of the sadness I felt in my heart for the Puerto Rican people.
Some of the more exciting chapters in the book for me were his analysis of a variety of "Texas Chupacabra" style cases, wherein mangy dogs or coyotes were held up as proof positive of the mythical beast's existence. Radford reports on the DNA results, scientifically refutes the claims of the mystery-mongers, and does it all while keeping your eyes darting through page after page, wanting to see what happens next as quickly as possible.
Of course, the conclusion of the book is what people want to hear about the most. How was the mystery solved? What is the Chupacabra, really? Though I do not want to reveal too much and spoil the ending for potential readers, I will say that if you read this book with an open mind, you will finish it with your questions answered. Radford deftly applies elements of psychology and scientific investigation techniques, and breaks down original eyewitness Madelyne Tolentino's own testimony, resulting in a definitive and satisfying end to the mystery.
This book has it all, gang. It has legend and lore. It has case studies. It has science and psychology and, at the end of the day, provides a worthwhile conclusion. If you've ever been interested in the Chupacabra, and want to read for yourself a complete investigation report of how the mystery was solved, you can do no better than to pick up this impeccably researched and terrifically written book by Benjamin Radford.
The Chupacabras (or Chupacabra as Ben Radford puts it) is one of the flashier, better-known cryptids ranking right up there in popularity with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. And it is a fun and exciting mystery-- a reptilian, blood-sucking night creature haunting ranches and farms, killing livestock and family pets with wreckless abandon, leaving blood-drained carcasses in its wake. For me, this is great stuff for my next book.
However, if we are to take this field of study seriously, in order for there to be any true progress and real discovery, then we need to be willing to look into these mysteries in the light of intelligent, scientific study. We have to allow for level-headed researchers to be able to hold any suspected evidence to a high standard that may very well bring about the end of the mystery in question. There are many people who are threatened by that very idea and will oppose the arguments made in books such as this.
Ben Radford has done the kind of research that should be done for all cryptid animals. In the case of the Chupacabras he has left no stone unturned and shown that there is little to the legend beyond folklore and mass hysteria. And that's okay. This is still a fascinating read and anyone with a remote interest in the biology of what makes an animal capable (or incapable) of drinking blood, how some large predators will kill with a single bite to the throat and leave a viable carcass behind without feeding on it, or how the mange can so severely dis-figure a common animal to the point of being unrecognizable will love this book.
In the realm of cryptozoology, this is REAL SCIENCE and needs to be considered as the new standard of practice in all research in this field.
1. Where did the Chupacabra come from?
2. What are all of those four-legged creatures that keep showing up dead in Texas and elsewhere?
3. Are the victims of the Chupacabra really being drained of blood?
4. Could the Chupacabra really be a vampire creature?
All of these questions are considered, thoroughly investigated, and answered in this book.
My favorite chapter, and they were all great, was chapter 4. This chapter details Radford's search for the Chupacabra in Nicaragua. Radford actually sets foot in the jungle to find the vampire beast. How cool is that? This book not only details an investigation, but also details an adventure! Throughout this chapter you feel like you're riding shotgun with Radford as he sets out to find this elusive creature.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! As a budding scientific paranormal investigator myself I hope that I can one day say that I have definitively solved a mystery. Until that time comes, we can definitely say that Ben Radford has definitively solved the mystery of el Chupacabra!
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