The Great Chupacabra Conspiracy

Robert Sheaffer

For or about the last year, Chile and other South American countries have suffered a veritable blitz of chupacabra attacks, the supposed ferocious “goat suckers” that torment Hispanic farmers and ranchers, but never trouble those from other cultural backgrounds. Joseph Trainor’s UFO Roundup from the U.K. informs us ( that, the newspaper Cronica of Concepcion, Chile, reported that not only were the chupacabras up to their usual tricks, but that they appear to be at the center of a sinister conspiracy. In fact, a whole family of the fierce little devils were reportedly captured-a Daddy Chup, a Mommy Chup, and a tiny little Baby Chup- “and were delivered to agents of the USA’s FBI agency which arrived at Calama from Santiago [where the American federal police have an office in their embassy]. The creatures quietly would have been taken to the USA,” where I suppose they were carried away to Area 51.

In Nicaragua, rancher Jorge Luis Talavera apparently shot one of the elusive chupacabras on August 25, 2000. The wounded creature staggered off, but its remains were discovered three days later and delivered to the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua (UNAN) in Leon. This caused great excitement among cryptozoologists and UFOlogists, only to be deflated when a short time later the university announced that the remains were that of a dog. However, local residents are outraged, insisting that university officials must have switched the genuine chupacabra remains with that of a dog. Dr. Edmundo Torres, vice chancellor and director of scientific research at UNAN-Leon, denies that any such thing was done, but he is assumed to be part of the conspiracy. Talavera claims to have sighted a second chupacabra, but this one is only “about the size of a Pekinese dog,” which would make it all the easier for the scientists-in-cahoots to switch the body of this genuine fierce creature with that of a yappy, spoiled pup .

But some serious-minded investigators seek to initiate a scientific study of chupacabras and raise it above the level of ridicule. With this aim, Dr. Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo of the Miami UFO Center has given the alleged creatures the “scientific name” of “hemo predator.” His Web site at contains details on the recent major sightings. It contains photos of animals that have supposedly been killed by chupacabras, and supposed tracks of the beast. You can even listen to a simulation of the Blood Predator’s fearsome cry. One intriguing hypothesis suggested on the Web site is that the chupacabras may actually be “alien pets.”

But Chupacabras are not the only strange creatures running about that scientists are too closed-minded to accept. According to a recent BBC news story ( 59099.stm) no less a personage than Princess Rangsrinopadorn Yukol of Thailand claims to have seen, and even filmed, long-haired elephants (said to be related to woolly mammoths) that have secreted themselves in a remote part of that country. But Dr. Preecha Puangkam, an expert on elephants, said after viewing the film that it shows only ordinary elephants, and he even identified the herd captured on film. But this has not deterred a band of intrepid explorers, including the Princess, who have set off into the wilderness to stalk the woolly Thai neo-mammoths. We wish them the best of luck.

This column recently reported on the mysterious, fast-moving “flying rods” that are being reported from many places (SI March/April, 2000, p. 20). MUFON’s Eastern Director George A. Filer reports ( that one of these critters was apparently captured and killed with bug spray. According to Filer, Chuck Rogers of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, inadvertently captured a rod in his home, which tried to escape. “Apparently it was caught inside a grocery bag in his sink and started to thrash until it flew swiftly out of the bag. Barely visible, it flew into the next room where his lab is located and hit the foam tile ceiling a few times. Sulfur powder was in the lab and used to control parasites on their dog. He spotted the flying rod and sprayed insect spray at it and didn’t see it for a while. He spotted a diaphanous, transparent, and obviously immobile (dead) object in the sulfur powder. When he touched the object, it disintegrated into the powder.” Since the remains of the c reature in the powder have apparently not been saved, the loss to science is incalculable.

Filer adds, “Periodically we receive reports of flying objects that appear to be something like flying transparent jellyfish, caterpillars, or rods. They have been videotaped and appear to come in various sizes from a few inches long to ten feet or more. They seem to have hundreds of wings that propel them through the sky. Science does not seem aware of them, but we obtain a steady stream of these reports. We urge anyone to attempt to capture them for scientific analysis. Assuming these reports are accurate we may have discovered a new life form. Sometimes they appear to have light-making ability similar to lightning bugs.”

In recent years, UFO proponents have one case they have been touting as the most solid, indisputable proof of the existence of flying craft seen in plain daylight. It is the pair of famous photos taken by the late Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon, on May 11, 1950, and left unresolved by the Condon Committee investigation in 1969. (This is in spite of numerous inconsistencies and implausibilities that have been known for years. See my Web page at Now UFOlogist Joel Carpenter seems to have dealt the Trent photos a major, and possibly fatal, blow.

Carpenter, an enthusiast for restoring old vehicles, noted the similarity of Trent’s supposed UFO to the side mirrors that were used in trucks during the 1920s and 30s. As it happens, the principal reason that the Trent “UFO” is considered anomalous is that the Condon investigation revealed that densitometric measurements of its underside show it to be brighter than expected for a plain, shaded white nearby surface.

However, if the underside of the object is a mirror instead of a diffuse reflector, what we are seeing is not a shaded surface but the reflection of a sunlit patch of ground, and we should hence expect a much higher reading. Carpenter also did a virtual reality reconstruction of the nearby objects seen in the photos, revealing that the camera was much closer to the ground than anyone had previously suspected. Either farmer Trent ran out of the house with his camera, then unexpectedly crouched down near the ground to get photos of a saucer as it flew by, or else he wanted to put as much distance as possible between his camera and the tiny model UFO that he had hung from the overhead wires. Carpenter says, “The overall geometry of the positions and the attributes of the camera suggest that he was attempting to frame a nearby object in such a way as to maximize the amount of sky around it and enhance its apparent altitude.” You can judge for yourself after seeing Carpenter’s pages at m.

Recent research reveals that the alien abductors are not quite as clever as some have thought. In fact, in many cases they can be downright careless and stupid. Veteran researcher Don Worley of the Institute for UFO Research has listed a number of instances in which the UFO aliens abducted someone but brought them back wearing different clothes ([sim]iufor/worley.htm). For example, one woman was apparently abducted wearing a Victoria’s Secret nightgown, but brought back wearing a mans oversized shirt. “What man awakened in the Victoria’s Secret nightgown,” asks Worley, “and what did he tell his wife?” Another woman apparently had her nightgown switched for the T-shirt of a Japanese marathon runner (which is all the more puzzling, given the almost total absence of UFO abduction claims from Japan). A farmer in Illinois moved but apparently failed to inform his regular UFO abductors, who peered in the usual windows and frightened the new tenants out of their wits.

Just because not much has been written lately about the ongoing war on the part of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly reverted to civilized norms (see this column, September/October 1995). If anything, it means that such harassment has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy. In Clearwater, Florida, the location of one of Scientology’s major headquarters, an ongoing battle rages against anti-Scientology protesters and pickets, most of whom are from the Lisa McPherson Trust (named for a young woman who died of neglect and/or mistreatment while in “isolation” in a Scientology “prison” for persons who have broken the rules–see This frequently involves shoving and other physical interference against critics that somehow the Clearwater police are unable to “see.” Many of the Clearwater police officers during their off-duty hours are paid $21 per hour by Scientology to serve as a private security force, and crit ics charge that this makes it impossible for the police to be fair and neutral in the ongoing battle of ideologies.

Critics have filmed Scientologist strong-arm agents physically interfering with protesters and sticking gum on their camera lenses, but Clearwater police are singularly uninterested in the indisputable video evidence of these crimes. In February 2000 some German filmmakers requested to interview one Scientologist at his home. He declined. Shortly afterward, as the filmmakers were walking back onto the street, a man with a hammer ran out from the house threatening them, and hitting their video camera with the hammer. The entire hammer attack was captured on video (you can see the video at, but Clearwater police refused to arrest or prosecute the man, and suggested that it was the filmmakers who were “trespassing” and committing a “felony” by recording the attack without the attacker’s permission. The Scientologist with the hammer, Richard Bernard, was later found to be wanted for skipping bail on a charge of cocaine trafficking, and was arrested and sent to Key West to ser ve a one-year sentence. (Scientology claims to be uncompromisingly anti-drugs, but apparently sees no problem in using drug dealers as their attack dogs.)

Engineer Keith Henson of Palo Alto, California, a free speech advocate and one of Scientology’s most persistent critics, has been driven into personal bankruptcy by the group. He posted on the Internet a letter he wrote to a judge, containing an excerpt from one of Scientology’s secret scriptures about how the group’s “E-meters” (crude devices that are nothing more than simple galvanometers) could be used to diagnose and treat diseases. Henson argued that Scientology was practicing medicine without a license as well as promoting dangerous and unproven medical practices, and hence his revelation and discussion of this act constituted protected free speech on a subject of public interest. But after a series of bizarre rulings against Henson by the judge, Scientology obtained a judgment of $75,000 against him for “copyright infringement.” The amount of money that the organization has spent to crush Henson using top-dollar legal talent dwarfs the amount they could ever hope to collect from him by at least a fact or of ten, and probably much more that that. Such persecution is clearly intended not to protect Scientology’s legitimate interests but to serve as a warning to other would-be activists of the fate awaiting them should they follow Henson’s example.

Now the Scientologists are attempting to have Henson put in jail for allegedly threatening to attack their main headquarters with nuclear cruise missiles (see According to the police report on the incident, “some threats [were] being made against the Church on the Internet newsgroup, alt.Religion.scientology. In the documents, it shows Keith discussing how an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) could be accurate enough to hit the Church of Scientology. [G] also showed me documents that have pictures of the Church in San Jacinto, with satellite coordinates, so that a missile could be accurately launched at the Church.” As far as is known, Henson possesses no nuclear weapons, nor any cruise missiles to deliver them. Nonetheless the case is going to trial in Riverside County, California, charging Henson with making “misdemeanor terrorist threats.”

Robert Sheaffer’s World Wide Web page for UFOs and other skeptical subjects is at

COPYRIGHT 2001 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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