May 1, 2007
In the summer of 2004, me and Jon Downes - the Director of the British-based Center for Fortean Zoology (http://www.cfz.org.uk) - traveled to the island of Puerto Rico on a week-long expedition in search of the deadly, vampire-like Chupacabra.
For the last year or so, Jon has been writing a book on that expedition; and having now read the completed 70,000-words that Jon has written so far, I can safely say that this will be one of the most significant titles on the creature published thus far.
With the working-title of The Island of Paradise: Crash-Retrievals, Chupacabra, and Accelerated Evolution on the Island of Puerto Rico, this is a book that I heartily recommend to anyone and everyone interested in the mystery of the beast of Puerto Rico.
I should stress that Jon still has quite a bit of writing to do on the book; and so it’s probably still going to be a while before it ultimately surfaces in published form; but before then, check out the following extract from The Island of Paradise that Jon has generously allowed you to see in advance:
“One of the most irritating parts of filming is that one spends nearly as much time establishing shots as you do actually filming anything. However, on this occasion the guardian spirits of crypto-investigative methodology were on our side.
“The huge articulated lorry which had been following us all week was stuck somewhere down in the lowlands, and it appeared that – for once – we had plenty of time to actually interview a witness without being impeded by the dull and repetitive business of making a TV documentary. It soon turned out, however, that whatever it was that Norka had seen, and experienced on a number of occasions, it was not the Chupacabra.
“She told us how, about ten years before, she had found that one of her dogs was missing. After sending out a search party, she was horrified when they returned with the corpse of her pet. It was nothing she had ever seen before. All the flesh and the bones had been removed and in her broken English, with plenty of hand gestures, she communicated the sheer horror of the event to us.
“Apparently, neighbors of hers started reporting similar instances; and when, one evening in early summer, she was driving home from Canóvanas, and saw a strange creature in the road before her, she had no doubt that this was what had caused the death of so many pets.
“However, the thing she described was nothing like the Chupacabra that we had grown to know so well, but it was something that Nick and I both immediately recognized. As she told us of the bipedal creature with claw-like feet and red glowing eyes, we looked ateach other; and in a moment which, if it had been scripted, could have come straight out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon, we said to each other, almost immediately: ‘Jesus, man, it’s the bloody Owlman!’
“As Norka told us of the shadowy creature with its covering of grey fur or feathers (she was not sure) my mind went back to another series of events which started off at Easter, 1976 in another monster-haunted woodland half a world away.
“I owe the Owlman a heck of a lot. If it had not been for my ten year quest to solve the mystery of the creature that has been seen again and again in the woods surrounding Mawnan Old Church in southern Cornwall, I would certainly not be in the position I am today.
“My book, The Owlman and Others, has sold more than all my other books put together and pretty well made my reputation. These days, I prefer to hunt flesh and blood animals, and do my best to stay clear of the less tangible denizens of this planet, knowing full well that hunting such things is no good for your spiritual, mental or physical health.
“So I was horrified at the thought that I was, apparently, back on a path that I had sworn never to revisit. However, Norka continued and told us of a series of other sightings, both of the Owlman-type creature and of a more conventional Chupacabra crossing the road in the immediate vicinity of her house.
“It was interesting to note that, when compared to the Owlman-type creature, the spiky animal seemed far more matter of fact and, although with hindsight it is easy to reinterpret events to suit one’s current mindset, I am sure that, whereas Norka was only too aware that the Owlman was no flesh and blood animal, the spiky animal most definitely was.”