While thumbing through one of my paranormal books the other night, I came across a familiar story. A group of sheep farmers were upset because something was attacking and killing their livestock. The creature was not, however, eating the sheep. According to witnesses, it was biting their jugulars and, apparently, draining them of blood. If this sounds familiar to you, hold your assumptions for just a second. The above the story comes not from Puerto Rico in 1995, instead Charle Fort relates the account in his book Lo! (which I of course read in The Book of the Damned) written in 1931. Fort tells readers:
In the month of May, 1810, something appeared at Ennerdale, near the border of England and Scotland, and killed sheep, not devouring them, sometimes seven or eight of them in a night, but biting into the jugular vein and sucking the blood.
As far back as 1810, something was roaming the countryside, draining livestock of blood. Fort goes on to describe how a large “dog” was killed. At which point the killings ceased. That this is anything more than a convenient explanation seems obvious to Fort. He has already spent much of Lo! showing readers how a satisfying answer to a problem, no matter how much data is ignored, is almost always preferable to a real mystery. He tells of more sheep killings in the same manner:
For about four months, in the year 1874, beginning upon January 8th, a killer was abroad, in Ireland. In Land and Water, March 7, 1874, a correspondent writes that he had heard of depredations by a wolf, in Ireland, where the last native wolf had been killed in the year 1712. According to him, a killer was running wild, in Cavan, slaying as many as 30 sheep in one night. There is another account, in Land and Water, March 28. Here, a correspondent writes that, in Cavan, sheep had been killed in a way that led to the belief that the marauder was not a dog.
This correspondent knew of 42 instances, in three townlands, in which sheep had been similarly killed—throats cut and blood sucked, but no flesh eaten. The footprints were like a dog's, but were long and narrow, and showed traces of strong claws. Then, in the issue of April 11th, of Land and Water, came the news that we have been expecting. The killer had been shot. It had been shot by Archdeacon Magenniss, at Lismoreville, and was only a large dog.
Other towns seemed to have encounters with a same, or similar, creature. This time it was a bit different in that no matter how many “dogs”, who were most assuredly the culprit, were shot it did not stop the killings. Fort tells us:
See the Clare Journal, issues up to April 27th—the shooting of the large dog, and no effect upon the depredations—another dog shot, and the relief of the farmers, who believed that this one was the killer—still another dog shot, and supposed to be the killer—the killing of sheep continuing. The depredations were so great as to be described as "terrible losses for poor people." It is not definitely said that something was killing sheep vampirishly, but that "only a piece was bitten off, and no flesh sufficient for a dog ever eaten."
The scene of the killings shifted.
Cavan Weekly News, April 17—that, near Limerick, more than 100 miles from Cavan, "a wolf or something like it" was killing sheep. The writer says that several persons, alleged to have been bitten by this animal, had been taken to the Ennis Insane Asylum, "laboring under strange symptoms of insanity."
It seems that some of the killings were simultaneous near Cavan and near Limerick. At both places, it was not said that finally any animal, known to be the killer, was shot or identified. If these things that may not be dogs be, their disappearances are as mysterious as their appearances.
The creature’s reign of terror was far from over. By 1905, similar attacks were occurring in England. Fort relates:
There was a marauding animal in England, toward the end of the year 1905. London Daily Mail, Nov. 1, 1905—"the sheep-slaying mystery of Badminton." It is said that, in the neighborhood of Badminton, on the border between Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, sheep had been killed. Sergeant Carter, of the Gloucestershire Police, is quoted—"I have seen two of the carcasses, myself, and can say definitely that it is impossible for it to be the work of a dog. Dogs are not vampires, and do not suck the blood of a sheep, and leave the flesh almost untouched."
It’s not hard to see the similarities between the nature of the attacks on these sheep and the later attacks by the ‘Chupacabra’. Is it possible that this could have been done by the same kind of creature? In some of the cases sighted by Fort, the mysterious phenomena went away without the “resolution” of having killed a dog or wolf. Ending as strangely as it began. This habit of mysterious phenomena starting and stopping suddenly is really par for the course. UFOs are often sighted in “Flaps” or “Waves”, so to is Bigfoot. Perhaps we are dealing with some kind of natural phenomena which is cyclical in nature? This idea is certainly not unique to me and in fact I believe I first read it in Keel’s books.
Could the above reports be of an actual Chupacabra in the 19th century? By all accounts it certainly bears a strong resemblance. As with most of this Fortean/Paranormal stuff, we are left only to wonder and marvel at the interesting accounts left to us.