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Need $250? Take Ben’s Chupa Challenge!

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 26th, 2011

Need a quick $250 for your fieldwork or research fund?

Then take on, meet and defeat Ben Radford’s reward challenge regarding Chupacabras.

Sure it is a publicity stunt waged to get the mainstream media to mention his new book, Tracking the Chupacabra. But there’s nothing wrong with that, if it can send some funds in your direction, right?

Ben Radford feels that Chupacabras, in the form we know it today, came on the scene in 1995, after the “first eyewitness” viewed the film Species.

Is Radford correct? Here is what the editor of the Skeptical Inquirer says about his challenge to Chupacabras researchers:

Just because I didn’t find any references to a vampiric “chupacabra” before 1995 doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’m a pretty thorough researcher, but no one’s perfect, and I might have missed an earlier reference. Surely if a chupacabra was widely known and discussed as far back as the 1950s, there should be plenty of written references in newspapers, magazines, books, folklore journals, etc., dating back decades. It seems there are none….it seems quite possible that people who are certain they grew up hearing tales of the bloodthirsty chupacabra beast may be merely incorrectly remembering the dates and details of when they first heard about it. The irony is, of course, that it was a Puerto Rican eyewitness’s faulty memory that confused a film monster with real life and essentially created the chupacabra.

Mass error, or incomplete research? Let’s find out! I’ll offer a public $250 reward (plus a signed copy of my book Tracking the Chupacabra) for the first verifiable written evidence of a blood-sucking monster called the chupacabra (or chupacabras) that dates before 1990. It must be a published, dated reference; I can be contacted via Discovery News.

Let’s see what turns up!Are Chupacabra Recollections Real?

Ben sends along a private note reinforcing what he has written, at the link above, by saying: “I’m offering a $250 reward (and signed copy of Tracking the Chupacabra) for the first verifiable written evidence of a blood-sucking monster called the chupacabra (or chupacabras) that dates before 1990. It must be a published, dated reference (and not a reference to the whippoorwill bird!). “

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


53 Responses to “Need $250? Take Ben’s Chupa Challenge!”

  1. PhotoExpert responds:

    Well, Ben is dead wrong on this one. My room mate in college was from Puerto Rico. Our first day at college was an orientation type of day. We were walking from the dorm room, down to the cafeteria, when my room mate, Jose, stopped dead in his tracks. There was an audible response of him gasping in air and simultaneously pointing to the ground. I said, “What, what’s wrong?” He was as white as a ghost and just paralyzed in that pointing position.

    I grabbed his arm and said, don’t worry, it’s just a squirrel, they won’t hurt you. After about a minute of gathering himself, he was able to respond. I asked him what he thought the squirrel would do, attack him or did he think it had rabies. He responded by saying he had never seen a squirrel before and that he thought it was a baby chupacabra. I asked, “What is that?”

    He explained it was a type of animal in PR that sucks the blood of animals and humans. I said, “Like a vampire?” He said, “YES” but it kills the animal by draining all of its blood. That was my freshman year, September of 1977!!!

    I have known about chupacabra folklore since that time. Later that same day and on subsequent days, I asked him a lot of questions about the chupacabra. I received a lot of answers. And we joked with Jose quite a bit during the next few years about him being afraid of a grey squirrel, his first day in the states.

    How do I prove that? I’ll take a lie detector test and I bet Jose would too, although I have not spoken to him in years. But that happened well before 1995, 18 years prior to 1995! And from the explanations from Jose, he remembered his uncle and other family members describing the chupacabra when he was a young boy. So the legend of the chupacabra was well established before 1977. How long before, I do not know. But one thing is for certain, the chupacabra was well known around the island of PR, decades before 1995.

    I did eventually go to PR a couple of times. We were visiting at one of Jose’s friends one night. It was outside the city limits and we were hanging out at night, outside that home. There was a rustling in the high grass adjacent to the house. Almost everyone there ran into the house or moved closer to it and were saying it was a chupacabra. I laughed a bit and moved toward the bushes. I think I was very skeptical of its existence or just a naive college kid that thought he knew everything. But when I saw that tall grass and plants rustle again a few feet from me, I ran for the safety of the house too as others screamed–chupacabra! So many people from different families, knew about the chupacabra. It was not as if only one person was scared that night. I knew about the chupacabra too, from my first day of college in September of 1977. So it was a generational belief, passed down to that generation of Puerto Ricans.

    I might have a written journal entry of that account and not the first account, but that too was before 1995. I was in PR for something called JanTerm which was our school break between the fall and spring semester. We received credit for it. I can prove I was there because it is actually in my transcripts from college. And I may be able to prove the existence of the chupacabra being mentioned well before 1995, if I can find that journal.

    Benjamin can keep the $250! He can keep that money in lieu of the cost of a lie detector test.

    I don’t like discussing my personal life on the internet. I stay away from social networking sites. But in this case, I do not mind putting my reputation or personal life on the line, for something that I know to be true. Simply put, Benjamin Radford is incorrect on this one.

    The problem with Ben’s offer here, is that it has as a stipulation that it must be a published reference. So even if I can find the journal from the ’70′s, it was never published. The funny thing, any court in the US would take my word and the other witnesses word as evidence. Any US court would take a journal entry that is dated as evidence. But Ben has placed a stipulation on the proof. Too bad! I could have made good use of that $250 by donating it to charity.

  2. MrInspector responds:

    I remember hearing about Chuppy before that as well, at least as early as the mid 80′s. I don’t recall anything in printed media at the time. It was just stories.

    If I’m not mistaken, and it’s been a while, some of those I heard the stories from weren’t Puerto Rican but Cuban! That doesn’t mean it was a Cuban creature, just that the Cubans were aware of it.

    Now in all fairness to Ben, I don’t recall hearing anything about spines on its back until the 90′s but no one could ever tell me exactly what it actually looked like.

    Here’s a thought Ben, have you actually asked Steve Johnson what the inspiration for the “creature Sil” was? I mean it is entirely possible that you’re making the same mistake UFO debunkers often make when it comes to “Close Encounters.” They claim that after that movie, everyone started seeing little “Greys,” however that effects team actually looked into UFO research and made the aliens based on the collective data. Could it be Johnson had heard of the Chupacabras and took a little creative license?

    Again, just a thought, I’m not trying to convince anyone that Chuppy lives!

  3. mungofoot responds:

    Looking back I have found newspaper reports of “the moca vampire” from 1975.

    It could be a precursor to the chupa but I have found references to chupa reports from the 50′s and 60′s and am trying to track those down now.

  4. mu responds:

    I learned of these creatures in Spanish class in the 1980s.

    Not sure where you’re searching for documentation, but have you checked Latin and Southern America sources, as it seems this is where the story originated. However there are accounts I found easily on line dating as far back (in America) in 1934.

    And see “Informes” for listing of cases.

    Are you just doing your research online? You won’t find accounts from people posting online prior to 1995 because the internet was not available until 1992 and then it wasn’t the user-generated content that it is today.

  5. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hello fellow cryptofolk!

    @PhotoExpert: Yes, your story is only one of many who insist that that you heard it way before 1990. Stories and anecdotes are fine, but science operates on proof and evidence, so, with all due respect, your memories of course won’t be enough to prove anything. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just asking for proof of what you say. Also, you should know that several Puerto Rican eyewitnesses say that you are wrong, for example, one poster at Discovery News wrote:

    “No way that the real chupacabras was around before 1990. Arnaldo Gines and Silverio Perez came up with the name “chupacabras” to identify the creature that could have caused the deaths of the goats. I can testify to this because I was listening to the program that morning. Never before in Puerto Rico had anyone mentioned a chupacabras.”

    This is independent confirmation by a Puerto Rican eyewitness that supports my research and contradicts your memory. What do you make of this?

    Also, you note: “The problem with Ben’s offer here, is that it has as a stipulation that it must be a published reference.” Of course it must be a published reference! What sort of a researcher would I be if I accepted anonymous people’s memories and/or alleged diary entries? Anyone can write something in an old notebook and pre-date it for $250 and some fame.

    Are you really claiming that even though the chupacabra was widely known and discussed in PR in the 1970s, not a single person anywhere published that word until the 1990s? Even in local newspapers, magazines, folklore or UFO journals, etc.? I find that harder to believe than the chupacabra!

  6. Benjamin Radford responds:

    @ Mr.Inspector asked “Have you actually asked Steve Johnson what the inspiration for the “creature Sil” was? I mean it is entirely possible that you’re making the same mistake UFO debunkers often make when it comes to “Close Encounters.” They claim that after that movie, everyone started seeing little “Greys,” however that effects team actually looked into UFO research and made the aliens based on the collective data. Could it be Johnson had heard of the Chupacabras and took a little creative license.”

    Yes, I know exactly what the inspiration for Sil was; I’ve read copies of the original MGM production notes, I interviewed a production coordinator that worked with H.R. Giger and Steve Johnson and Dick Edlund on that film. I also have several magazines and books about Species creature design. I devote about half a chapter in my book to this question. You ask a fair question, but yes, I covered this in detail in Tracking the Chupacabra.

    >@ Mu: “Are you just doing your research online? You won’t find accounts from people posting online prior to 1995 because the internet was not available until 1992 and then it wasn’t the user-generated content that it is today.”

    Nope, the research is not just online but also in newspaper archives, where available. And there’s vast amounts of information pre-dating 1990 available online, including magazine, newspaper, journal, and other archives. In my research I often find references dating back decades online. Of course online user postings would be interesting, but not as reliable as a published citation; there should be hundreds, or thousands, of published examples of a vampiric “chupacabra” on the record.

    Anyone here who is absolutely convinced that the chupacabra vampire dates before 1990 has a great chance to prove me wrong and collect $250….

  7. Benjamin Radford responds:

    FYI,

    I was just contacted by another person who spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico, Kitty Mervine: “We vacationed every winter for 10 years in the Ceiba area of Puerto Rico and always hiked the rain forest. We heard NO mention of the chupcabra BEFORE 1996.”

    If, as PhotoExpert claims, I’m “dead wrong” on this, then a lot of other people are too, including people who lived in Puerto Rico in the 1980s and 1990s. Then again, as we all know, eyewitnesses and their memories can be mistaken, right? :-)

  8. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Well I’m pretty sure I was reading about the chupacabras and its most popular folkloric description prior to 1995, in the pre-Internet BBS and news groups back when I was in college.

    And mungofoot raises an interesting conundrum: the fact that prior to the 1990s there might have been accounts of mysterious slaughterings of animals in Puerto Rico that were found to be exanguinated, but that the press reported without using the term ‘chupacabras’, because it hadn’t been coined yet –just like there are reports of “wild men” in Canada prior to the coining of the term “Bigfoot” by the media, or reports of strange disks or cigar-shaped objects seen in the sky prior to the coining of the term “flying saucer” in 1947.

    So, what happens if someone finds a written reference of a strange creature in PR with similar characteristics to the popular description of the chupacabras, but without having been named that way by the reporter? Does that still count as valid?

  9. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hello red pill junkie:

    You make a good point, but no one is claiming that stories of vampiric entities didn’t exist in PR (and elsewhere) before 1990. Sure, there were blood sucking beasts in myth and folklore all around the world, as I discuss at some length in the book.

    But notice that people are NOT just saying “I heard about some weird blood-draining monster,” (which could be said by people around the world for centuries) but that they had heard about the “chupacabra” specifically in the context of the mysterious attacks (which could only be said by people in the Southwest or Latin America in the past few decades).

    So if someone finds a written reference of a strange creature in PR with similar characteristics to the popular description of the chupacabras, but without having been named that way by the reporter (certainly before 1995), I would be very interested to hear about it, and that would raise questions about my conclusions, but that would not necessarily support what PhotoExpert and others are claiming, because they are categorically claiming it was called the “chupacabra” (and not just some generic vampire).

  10. DWA responds:

    I vote that written references count and that if PE has one, he wins.

  11. PhotoExpert responds:

    Ben, although I tend to agree with you from time to time, you are dead wrong here! Sorry about that, but they are the facts. In fact, there was one time I defended you in a post here and you congratulated me on my critical thinking and my mind. With that being said, now you find my memory and critical thinking flawed? I think not, unless you are now a hypocrite! Was I wrong then and right now? Or was I right then and wrong now? Ben, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am correct on both counts. My critical thinking and my memory have not failed me. But your quick dismissal of facts could fail you in the end.

    By the way Ben, as Loren could attest to, I am a very successful business person. I don’t put my reputation on the line needlessly. As for fame, I have had enough of that in my lifetime as well and am not drawn to it. I don’t even have a FaceBook account for that very reason. I am not one to draw attention to myself. I could care less about material things including money, especially a mere sum of $250. I have given Christmas gifts to total strangers that were larger than that amount. Just ask Loren if you don’t believe me. I only say that because you require proof of everything and he could prove that statement. As for money, I have plenty of that too. A mere $250, I would not sell out for to anyone. That’s pocket change to me! If you want to go down that road, you will certainly run out of road very quickly. That is why I said I would donate the money to charity in the first place.

    But I do enjoy your skepticism, so I will indulge you for a moment. Let’s address some of the other things you posted. I have already addressed the fame (LOL) and monetary issues. As a researcher, don’t take my word for it, ask Loren for an objective opinion. Now on to some of your other erroneous statements you made in your post. I’ll bite!

    You stated my memories will not be enough to prove anything. I agree with you on that, if in fact, they were only my memories. However, Jose remembers this too, as well as our entire dorm building, because it was a big joke around campus for four years. It was not just my sole memory, but the memory of many others. We call those people witnesses. I believe that is what researchers call them too. So you are discounting eyewitness testimony to an event that did occur. Sorry, all of our memories are not incorrect. But discounting that amount of eyewitnesses is not good research technique.

    You stated that several people in PR say I am wrong. Well, I could come up with several more people in PR, eyewitnesses, that say you are wrong. The fact remains, being objective, just because your eyewitnesses never heard of the chupacabra before 1995, does not mean the usage of the word did not happen. I know of people today who never heard of 9-11, but most people know about it. Does that make the people who don’t know about 9-11 incorrect? Of course not Ben! Just like your eyewitnesses, they never heard of it, but it did in fact happen. So your argument there is just invalid.

    As for your argument of Gines and Perez taking credit for the term chupacabra, they might have been the first to do so on public record. Of course that does not mean that other people in PR were not using the term prior to their “coinage of that term”. I am sure someone used the name Sasquatch long before it was coined in a book in print somewhere. Wouldn’t you agree with that? The same applies here. It was probably a term used by many and Gines and Perez coined it as theirs. Or would you just throw out the many eyewitnesses and stories passed down by Native Americans in verbal stories? Would you proclaim that since the word “Sasquatch” never appeared in print prior to the early twentieth century, that Native Americans never used that term? Enough said there!

    You asked me the question: “This is independent confirmation by a Puerto Rican eyewitness that supports my research and contradicts your memory. What do you make of this?”

    First of all, just look at my answer above. That about explains it away thoroughly. Secondly, your so called eyewitness does not contradict my memory in the very least. I remember the exact time it happened both here and in PR. Both of those events were witnessed by multiple eyewitnesses. I believe my multiple eyewitnesses trump your one supporter. What I am saying is yes, you researched the use of the word “chupacabra”, but you did not research it’s usage thoroughly enough. If you had, you could have found many eyewitnesses that have heard and used the word prior to 1995 living in PR. You just were not thorough enough in your research. And as a skeptic, that would objectively skew your data. My point is, you did not have a big enough sample group or your sample group was biased. Just because they never heard the word chupacabra being used prior to 1995, does not mean it was not used, as I contest it most certainly was. And if you are truly an objective skeptic, you would have to agree with me on that point. That is what I think of it, to answer your question.

    You stated of course it must be a published report. Yes, I can see why you would say that. And I would not argue too much with you about that. Afterall, you can’t try to disprove everyone that disagrees with you. And there are people out there who would sell their souls for a mere $250 and some pseudo-fame. I get that!

    However, what I am saying is, that if in fact I can find that journal, I could prove it. Of course the bet would have to be much higher than a mere $250 and the proceeds given to a charity of our choosing. Ironically enough, there is a way to date a personal journal, especially a hand-written one. The FBI lab does this kind of thing all the time. They analyze the paper and the oxidation level of the ink. I am sure there are independent labs that do this as well. Of course, the expense would be enormous, but it can be done. Are you objective enough to include handwritten journals that may prove you wrong? The FBI uses this type of testing to prove cases in courts of law throughout the US. Police agencies use eyewitness testimony all the time as evidence and proof. Are you saying that eyewitnesses and a journal that is independently dated by a lab, prior to 1995 is not evidence? I mean, if it is good enough for any court of law, it should be good enough for Benjamin Radford. Or are you better than US courts and US judges, who would accept my evidence? C’mon Ben, tell us the truth.

    I am not going to say if the chupacabra is real or not. I am an objective skeptic. However, I will say that I KNOW FOR A FACT, that the use of the word chupacabra happened in PR prior to 1995. Perhaps there is no documentation of that event, but I assure you it did occur. Unless you want to throw out my eyewitness testimony and subjectively use your sources who back your statements.

    Ben, I hope I did not come off as being too antagonistic in my reply post here. I am merely trying to point out that indeed, you could be very wrong about this one. I base that on the reasons above. Frankly, I like your skepticism. I think that is a healthy thing. But you should not be so skeptical that is skews your thinking or your research. If you told me you had fried eggs for breakfast 32 years ago on such and such a birthday, I would not argue that point. I would trust your recollection of that event. I am sure there would be people who state you had scrambled eggs and some may say they remember you having french toast. I am sure many other people would not even remember you having breakfast. But I certainly would not question your memory. I would also not ask you for proof.

    My point is, I remember that September day in 1977 vividly because it was important to me. I also remember my trips to PR. However, publishing my journal at that time would have been like you publishing you had fried eggs for breakfast on an important birthday 34 years ago. You certainly would not do that, just as I would not publish my college room mate from PR saw a squirrel and thought it was a chupacabra! Get it?

    I am certainly not going to spend a large sum of money to an independent lab to prove what I already know to be true. However, I might be willing to do that, if I am proven correct, that you would reimburse me for the lab fee as well as a donation to my favorite charity. Any interest in that?

    Anyway Ben, I enjoy reading your posts and your skeptical point of view. And I am thick skinned enough that I will probably be buying your new book, even if you are dead wrong!

  12. PhotoExpert responds:

    DWA–Thank you for the show of support in your post! I think you know me well enough to make that statement. I think many others think the same as you, in that, written references count. I think eyewitnesses count as well. But Ben only wants to include his eyewitnesses in the sample population, as far as statistics are concerned. I agree, if we include written references and eyewitness accounts, I win!

  13. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hey PhotoExpert-

    I’m not discounting your experience, you may be right. And this issue does not come down to eyewitnesses at all, though clearly there are plenty on both sides. Either there was a widely-known vampire beast called “chupacabra” in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the 1970s and 1980s, or there was not. Someone telling me they heard it in 1974 or 1983 is of course not good evidence. I think my request for published documentation is very fair and legitimate, as you agree.

    However, if you can find a legitimate written journal entry dating back before 1990 that uses the word, I will be willing to reimburse you reasonable research expenses (copying, postage, etc., say $50 or $60) to settle the matter. I’m glad you are a successful businessman; I am not, and that’s what I can afford for this. What do you say?

  14. PhotoExpert responds:

    Ben–Hey! I think we may be on the same page here. You see where I am coming from and I see where you are coming from. And we both agree on each other’s point of view.

    The only problem is that 34 years have gone by. It will be a task unto itself, in locating that journal. I have 4 environmentally controlled storage units, which I rent for personal items. They are huge. In addition to that, I have numerous walk-in closets and other storage areas in my home. It will be a chore, probably taking several months to find it, if I can find it at all. It may have ended up in the trash heap years ago. It will take some time. I have to run my businesses.

    I will start looking for that journal. Although, I don’t understand why credible witness testimony would not suffice. That would be a simple matter of a few phone calls. But I kind of get it, not everyone is as ethical as me. I am sure you would have those people who would make up stories just to win $250. So I do understand the parameters. Something in print would remove any doubt. I get it! I am just saying it would be much easier if you accepted witnesses’ testimony. Because of the unethical behavior of some, I can see why this would preclude even ethical witness testimony. So in print it must be!

    I think your offer is fair at face value. The only problem is the cost of ink and paper analysis from an independent lab. It could cost a couple of thousand dollars. Being reimbursed $50 or $60 might cover shipping costs to and from the lab but not the cost of having the journal analyzed. I would be out a couple of thousand proving something I already know to be true. That money would serve a charity more efficiently if I just donated that cost to a charity. See where I am going with this? I could prove my point and not receive the reimbursement, except for the $50 or $60 you would reimburse me. That is not a prudent business decision. And as you confirmed, I am a successful businessman. I would not be in business long if I made a decision to be reimbursed $50 or $60 for a thousand dollar expenditure. That is why I initially made the offer that I would pay for it if the test proved me wrong and you could pay for it if the test proved me correct. It was indeed a slanted wager because I know I was correct and you would incur the cost. I added the charity donation in there as well because I would like to see someone other than ourselves benefit from this folly. That’s just me!

    So where do we go from here? I will look into the cost of analysis from a couple of different labs. Who knows, I might be blessed and find a lab that will do it for a couple of hundred. If that is the case, I would be willing to pay for the lion’s share of the test and take your offer of $50 or $60 to pay for postage etc.

    Is there a email address where I can reach you? If not, maybe contact Loren and he can give you my email address. Write to me and will have your email address. Who knows, maybe I will be able to make a contribution to your new book, on new evidence discovered by Benjamin Radford, that the use of the word “chupacabra” existed prior to 1995 in PR. LOL

    Actually, this could be a fun thing. At least, that is the way I am looking at it. We are both skeptical but coming from oppositional camps. Wouldn’t that be something if this led to turning up conclusive evidence that the word “chupacabra” was used before 1995? And you would benefit by having to write another book, sort of a two for one deal! That makes good business sense to me.

    Anyway Ben, thank you for the timely response. We are both on the same page. We are both objective and see each other’s point of view. No harm and no foul! I just did not want you to think I was being too antagonistic in my original post. I think you understand that, just as I understand you are not saying with 100% certainty that the word “chupacabra” was never used in PR prior to 1995. We both get it!

    Are we able to order your new book on Amazon.com? Like I said, I enjoy reading the things you author. And after you contact me or I have your email address, we will keep in touch on this matter. My search for a lab begins today!

  15. DWA responds:

    Hey, PE, a pleasure. Both of us being pretty successful, I’d wager far more than $250 on the veracity of what you say, and come out ahead. That’s how one becomes successful, in fact: knowing when trust is the way to go and when it isn’t.

    I’m not really seeing the point of putting in what evidence has already shown us here will come out to far more than $250 worth of time and effort for a paltry sum that proves, really, nothing. Ben’s wager is that “Species” invented the chupacabras; on evidence presented in this thread alone, that is the flimsiest of assumptions. (But then Ben thinks Bigfoot dates from 1958.) Now Ben will come back here and say that he said no such thing. Read this blog again; that is what he is saying. Or he is saying nothing worth debating, for whatever sum.

    Now. The beastie is real or not. If real, it is real no matter what Ben Radford, or any of us, thinks. Or how many words have been published on it. (The inanity of the mainstream media when it comes to the sasquatch should suffice for how much to trust publication. As Jefferson said: the man who reads nothing at all is better informed than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.) A published record of whatever date does no more for the actual existence (or not) of the critter, or the provenance of the lore on its existence, than the P/G film does for the actual existence of the Sasquatch. Ben’s request is utterly irrelevant. If the written word “chupacabras” exists in any way in this context, in any source at any time prior to 1990, Ben loses this bet in any meaningful way measurement is done, other than the technical, i.e., irrelevant. In other words, he’s wrong. Lore on this critter far predates that movie. We have sufficient evidence that is true right here on this thread; $250 is nothing to pay to prove what is said here, something I am confident the claimants can do as easily as anyone proves anything. To doubt this is to do no less than flat call them liars.

    Another thing about publication: Ben’s presumption that there should be oodles and oodles of info published on this critter is naive to say the least. Check out the publications on the sasquatch, in the publication-crazy, media-saturated USA, prior to the ’90s. And this for an animal that provides us with copious evidence. Central America and the Caribbean? For an animal that sure sounds like a folk fabrication to me? Come on now.

    Ben commits the standard fatal sciatic error: trusting people – with no evidence that he should – simply because their thinking is convenient for him. In all my visits to the US Virgin Islands, I have never heard the word “Jumbie” used, one time. Does this mean that I have a case that the jumbie is not a living breathing part of USVI folklore? Of course not! I just have not heard the word personally or seen it in writing (other than the sign to Jumbie Beach on St. John). Uninformed winter tourists’ opinions mean nothing more than the opinions of those in Sumatra who have never seen an orang pendek mean in the face of all the evidence from people – including Western scientists – who claim sightings. There is no such thing as “negative evidence”

    UNLESS A REASON FOR ALL THE EVIDENCE TO BE TREATED AS FALSE POSITIVES CAN BE PROVEN, OR AT LEAST SO STRONGLY ASSERTED THAT PROOF OF THE CLAIM APPEARS VERY LIKELY.

    (I’ll pause while all you aspiring cryptos write that down.)

    So. The evidence that “chupacabras” was in the vocabulary, describing precisely what it does in this context, prior to “Species” stands unchallenged. I consider proof of the assertions made in this thread so certain that – well, note that Ben has already welshed on his bet! “Reasonable research expenses” indeed! Even that is a fool sum to pay for an admittedly not so successful guy to post up in an argument most of us successful folks could bet a thousand Ben WILL lose.

    “@PhotoExpert: Yes, your story is only one of many who insist that that you heard it way before 1990. Stories and anecdotes are fine, but science operates on proof and evidence,…” Um, yes, Ben, that would be BOTH. And as PE – who should know – points out, those “many” stories are EVIDENCE for the existence of the animal. Proof, they are not. But it has often seemed to me that lawyers understand that difference, and scientists – or those who misrepresent science – don’t. Evidence is evidence; even if it is not proof, without it, one doesn’t get proof. Unless one has a chupa knock on one’s door and turn itself in, which I’m not betting on. You?

    I mean, if you think Bigfoot dates from 1958, I’m going with the posters on this blog against you, for sure. ‘Cause successful folks know the way to bet. And its not on the guy with huge, fatal holes in his research.

    Here’s a side bet that Ben’s response – like the others I’ve seen – will show you why skepticism hasn’t made him wealthy.

  16. DWA responds:

    Ha ha!

    I used the word “sciatic” up there when I meant “scoftic.” Or, I should say, the spellcheck function in Word did it for me. Same thing? They both can be a pain!

    Careful which button you click on spellcheck, budding cryptos! I didn’t even notice it until reading the post.

    (Of course spellcheck also capitalized Sasquatch, which Loren will tell you is the thing to do, even though I don’t personally.)

  17. Mind Ecdysiast responds:

    Loren, I am surprised that you have even entertained this idea. At this point right now I am considering placing Mr. Radford alongside “The Amazing Randi”and calling them blood brothers.

    Mr. Randi with his tunnel vision has yet to let go of the million $$, and here we have Mr Radford (now Randi the Second) with his visors on to justify or better yet pull others into doing his research for him.

    You see, he will accept no evidence other than the word “Chupacabras”. That is like trying to find in a magazine from the 1930′s where a young lady would be called a “Hot Babe”, the words did not exist as such. Maybe separately, but not in our context. The same with the Chupacabras. I am from Puerto Rico, and I grew up in Mayaguez at the height of the “Vampiro de Moca” scare. I had never heard of the Chupacabras then, But it was not unusual to hear the victims of the Vampiro say that it had “Chupao las cabras” “Chupao los pollos” or “Chupao los conejos”, this being criole speak, whom by the way are most of the farming victims, meaning it had “Sucked the goats” “Sucked the chickens” or “Sucked the rabbits”.

    So shame on you sir. Why the heck is it called a “Bigfoot” and when did that start? It has been described as having long arms, big head, a stink, long hair, and as of yesterday I was reading of a well endowed male. So what name should we be using? Mr. Radford, once again, if you got tired of researching just come out and say so, but don’t fake it. If you need help, I am sure that out of the little more than 5 million Puerto Ricans that live in and out of the island, I am sure that at least someone other than me will be interested in furthering your career as a researcher(?) and writer(??).

    By the way Loren, I think we did discuss this a long time ago in one of your posts. I do not mean to be rude, but as an engineer and researcher myself, I feel offended at the way Mr. Radford implies that the one lady that spoke up about her experience is a delusional attention grabber. I believe Mr. Radford should actually spend time talking to the Criollos/Jibaros of my beloved island instead of being an armchair researcher. I normally go out of my way to read, buy anything that has to do with the view from the outside that others have of my island, but this is definitely one author that will not get a red cent from me.

  18. Benjamin Radford responds:

    PhotoExpert- Sounds like a plan; I’m not asking for $1,000 lab tests of paper or ink, just a photocopy of a dated journal entry. Loren can get ahold of me easily, that might be the best bet. I look forward to seeing what you can find. My book is available at all bookstores, on Amazon.com, and signed copies at my website.

    DWA- I’ve missed your rants and silly made-up words (“scoftic”)…. It never fails to amuse me how critics like yourself (who hide behind anonymity and have apparently done little or no actual research or investigation, and made little or no real contribution to cryptozoology) love to criticize and attack people such as myself, who have bona fide credentials, spent years doing real research, and published respected books on the topic. How many articles and books have you written on cryptozoology? How many countries and continents have you visited, gathering information and evidence? How many hours have you spent on lakes and in woods and jungles looking?

    I’m not going to waste my time correcting your errors and logical mistakes. If you’re so sure I’m wrong, find a published reference to a vampiric chupacabra before 1990, show me up, and take my $250; put up or shut up, as they say. At least PhotoExpert is willing to make an effort to provide some evidence. All you provide is made-up words, ill will, and venom.

    By the way, you should be aware that no one else has found pre-1990 references to a blood-sucking chupacabra either– not Loren, not Scott Corrales, not Karl Shuker or Jon Downes, nobody. So I’m hardly alone in suggesting there was no earlier reference.

    Also, DWA, you may not think much of me or my research or book, but Loren calls it “a fantastic read… I think Radford might be on to something!” and Karl Shuker says my book is “the most comprehensive dissection of the chupacabra phenomenon that I have ever read.”

    Then again, DWA, I’m sure you’re smarter than the rest of us. :-)

  19. DWA responds:

    Loren: no surprise. Ben leaves so many targets to shoot at; it’s a veritable logic pinata. People respond, pointing them out. Then he denigrates not only the people who point them out but the people who were actually there, and had the experiences.

    Daniel Loxton takes the proper approach. (You were there; I wasn’t. I lack the privileged viewpoint. I can’t see what you saw; this is why I hold out hope these things might exist, because it sounds like you saw one.) Shoot, *I’m* no different.

    Then there’s Ben. (It’s you who have the closed mind; you are unwilling to admit you might be nuts.)

    And he wonders why people don’t want to report what they see, when this is the reception they get.

    [sigh] I guess it’s fortunate that scoffing is apparently a tough way to make money.

    But constructive criticism is the bedrock of this site, and I’ll keep providing it.

  20. DWA responds:

    Mind Ecdysiast: And now you pull The Amazing Randi into this. :-D

    My post and Ben’s response have one particular point of interest: he doesn’t address a single concrete point I made. My experience at the Randi Forums is similar. Posting? You must be kidding me. I’d never post there, any more than I’d ever visit again. I never saw a single salient point contrary to What Randi Wants To Believe given time of day, much less intelligently debated. I saw proponents make good patient cases…and just get laughed at. The Forums are just a League of Scoffers, united to keep the wool over the eyes of science. Pitiful, actually.

    At Cryptomundo, we give everybody fair play. You just need to have your pants on frontwards. If you don’t, you will get a reminder. But it’s a rich place for smart people to play.

    ($250, pah.)

  21. Benjamin Radford responds:

    You see, he will accept no evidence other than the word “Chupacabras”Mind Ecdysiast

    Yes, the question is when the word “chupacabras” was first used. Therefore, the crucial evidence is the the first use of the word. What is so odd or confusing about that?

    Mr. Radford implies that the one lady that spoke up about her experience is a delusional attention grabber.”Mind Ecdysiast

    I am offended by this comment, which is untrue. I have repeatedly referred to Tolentino as a sincere, honest person, and I have never characterized her as “an attention grabber,” or a person who sought attention. Either you are lying or you are mistaken, but what you have written is incorrect. Please either cite a source for your information, or retract it.

  22. Benjamin Radford responds:

    And as for Loren’s comment about “ad hominem attacks,” I assume he’s referring to my response to DWA’s attacks. What I consider to be a factual statement, Loren (and probably DWA) consider to be a personal attack. Let’s briefly review my “ad hominem attack.”:

    1) “critics like yourself (who hide behind anonymity and have apparently done little or no actual research or investigation, and made little or no real contribution to cryptozoology)”

    DWA IS anonymous; this is a factual statement, not a personal attack.

    If I am wrong about DWA’s contributions, please tell me what they are.

    2) “How many articles and books have you written on cryptozoology? How many countries and continents have you visited, gathering information and evidence? How many hours have you spent on lakes and in woods and jungles looking?”

    These are not personal or ad hominem attacks either, they are merely legitimate questions that have yet to be answered…. If DWA has done these things, please tell us about it, so we can judge your qualifications for criticizing my work. Other than that, I’m not seeing these “ad hominem” attacks.

    Apparently Loren ignored what could easily be seen as “ad hominem attacks” on me in DWA’s post, where he called me “naive,” and says I already “welshed” on my bet, among several other things. I see a bit of a biased referee in all this, but that’s okay. My research speaks for itself, and DWA’s opinions about the merits of it (without having read it, of course) are irrelevant.

  23. MrInspector responds:

    First I have to commend Loren for approving Ben’s comments here, personal attacks or not. (perhaps Ben feels as though he’s being attacked here)

    The article itself was about Ben’s challenge, so it would be a bit lopsided not to include Ben’s own words in the responses. All sides of the issue should be addressed, otherwise it’s not journalism, but merely editorial comment.

    Now back to Ben, I seemed to have missed something here. Is the point of the challenge to say that the name Chuppacbras was coined at this time or if the creature was “invented” at this time? I mean, how many different four foot tall, fanged, red-eyed, possibly winged, blood sucking entities could there possibly be in Puerto Rico? It’s not a very big place! If this is going to come down to the simple use of a word, we might as well argue about how to say tomato!

    BTW it’s TOE-MAE-TOE. Just sayin’…

  24. semillama responds:

    I would like to respectfully point out that the ad hominem attacks are coming from both sides here, and are not warranted from either position.

    All attacks aside here, I think the problem is that posters are not familiar with the extent of Radford’s research into the topic, which of course is because it’s in his book which has only been available for a couple of weeks. I think it’s a simple request of Radford’s for finding specific reference to the term chupacabras in publications prior to the specified date. The arguments against this seem weak to me in that they seem to be dancing around that request for verifiable information. The discussion between BR and PE demonstrate why eyewitness accounts need to be backed up with better evidence, such as published accounts that can date the term. I commend PE for his offer to assist BR’s efforts.

  25. PhotoExpert responds:

    Ben–Thank you for the quick response! Yes, it sounds like a plan. Oh, that’s awesome–just a copy of a dated journal entry? That sounds very reasonable to me Ben. If Loren has your email address, that is fine. I have Loren’s email address. So at least we have a point of contact. Fantastic! I did not know signed copies of your book were available at your website. So thanks for supplying the link.

    DWA–After reading your posts, sometimes I feel like you are my long lost brother!

    semillama–Thank you for your kind words and sentiment!

  26. Loren Coleman responds:

    Just a word about my approval of Mr. Radford’s comments. His personal attacks on individuals who have contributed much to Cryptomundo is unfortunate, but, as opposed to “protecting” the readership from them, I felt it would be instructive for readers to fully experience this approach in his attacks from Mr. Radford.

    What we have here is a classic ad hominem assault on various individuals, on Ben Radford’s part, I’m afraid. I just expect a more professional stance from my esteemed colleague than this, despite whatever hurts he may have felt.

    Regarding semillama’s comment, yes, the approvals have been on both sides, so as to make certain all sides of this fight are heard. BTW, I actually met DWA at a Texas Bigfoot conference and did not find him “silly,” in the least. And being one of those people who happens to create “silly words,” I find such a comment especially offensive and hard to defend, no matter what the rationalizations. As for PhotoExpert, his work and research efforts within cryptozoology are legendary to those who know his legacy. But, heck, I’m not feeling defensive, at all.

  27. DWA responds:

    Um, I have a question.

    Did you mean that header to read “Chalupa Challenge?” Can we start over?

    I would agree with others here that the issue is whether this bloodsucking beastie is real or not; names evolve, and to conduct quibbles like this one for money kind of sidetracks things, n’est-ce pas? Who cares who called it what when? Ben does, fine. Anyone else? Me personally, if this thing existed, you could have called it Greta Garbo before 1993 for all of mine. I think I’d be able to trace the critter. Shouldn’t be much problem, ya think? Does Ben really think there are like 20 of these out there? Puerto is, well, a SMALL place. Not that much blood, methinks.

    As to mine and PhotoExpert’s anonymity: with guys like Radford out there – and that is much of the public, on crypto matters – YOU THINK WE’RE CRAZY!?!??!?!?! I’m not using *my* good name and *my* career and *my* personal relationships as a doormat for a guy who bypasses arguments; pretends anyone opposing him has no argument; does little real research – and has somehow written books, and articles like “Bigfoot at 50” (!?!??!!?!?!) that show how little he does! – calls names; ignores like 90% of what you say, and, well, you see his style here. Problem is, MOST FOLKS OUT THERE ARE LIKE HIM when it comes to this! They don’t take the scientific attitude that real people, interested in the topic, like mystery_man, PhotoExpert, myself, Loren….

    ….and, oh by the way, all you skeptics who do all this research, THE SCIENTISTS IN RELEVANT FIELDS WHO AGREE WITH US!….

    ….bring to the topic.

    (You’d think that if Ben did research he’d realize he’s arguing with the wrong people. And still losing. Aaaaaaanyway….)

    (Tell Ben that people who report sasquatch sightings get laughed at. HE WON’T BELIEVE YOU. Aaaaaannnnnnyway….)

    (Ad hominem? I think not! I’m just describing his ‘argumentative’ style. Ben might be a nice guy. But he doesn’t play nice here. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnyway…)

    (I have contributed more to crypto on this board alone than Ben has with everything he has ever done – most of which has been to *tear down* crypto from what I’ve observed. Aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnyway….he missed that the first five times I said it, too.)

    So.

    Again.

    Did you mean *Chalupa* Challenge? I LOVE chalupas! I wanna enter!

    I really didn’t wanna get in another mud-wrestle with Ben. You know what they say about mud and pigs. But this has been fun!

    I’m still bettiing on PE’s journal. I bet it’s worth a whole lot more than $250. You should publish it, man.

    (PE: we may be long-lost brothers. Not the thread to find that out exactly, yet, wot? ;-) )

  28. Benjamin Radford responds:

    @ PhotoExpert: Great, it will be good working with you, look forward to what you find! This will be interesting.

    @ semillama: >”I think it’s a simple request of Radford’s for finding specific reference to the term chupacabras in publications prior to the specified date.” I agree with you, I’m puzzled by why DWA is so dismissive and critical of a simple request…

    @ MrInspector:”Is the point of the challenge to say that the name Chuppacbras was coined at this time or if the creature was “invented” at this time?” I’m merely trying to verify the claim made by Silverio Perez and others that he coined the word “chupacabra” in 1995, and that it was not used to refer to a vampire beast before then. That’s all, nothing more. I’ve never suggested that it could not have been reported decades earlier, I’m just trying to find evidence.

    @ MECLoren: If you re-read the post, you will find that I did not refer to DWA as “silly,” as you suggest. I referred to his made-up words (like “scofftic”) as silly. There’s a difference.

    @DWA: I’m not going to be baited by your ALL CAPS SHOUTING, and scorn and ridicule and armchair potshots. Others here are willing to engage and take the time to listen to the evidence.

    @Mind Ecdysiast: I have never characterized Tolentino as “an attention grabber,” or a person who sought attention. Either you are lying or you are mistaken, but what you have written is incorrect. Please either cite a source for your information, or retract your statement and apologize.

  29. DWA responds:

    “@DWA: I’m not going to be baited by your ALL CAPS SHOUTING, and scorn and ridicule and armchair potshots. Others here are willing to engage and take the time to listen to the evidence.”

    That’s the heart of what I don’t like about you, Ben. You aren’t willing to engage; you are ignorant of the evidence; all I’ve seen of what you call ‘research’ is armchair of the worst sort; and you don’t listen.

    I’ve had my fun. And proven my point: you don’t make much money doing this for [ALL CAP SHOUTING ALERT]

    …A REASON.

    GET OUT OF THAT ARMCHAIR, AND *DO* SOMETHING!

    [caps off for the rest of you]

  30. Benjamin Radford responds:

    @DWA: “You are ignorant of the evidence”

    …Says the anonymous critic with no discernible expertise to the man who spent five years researching and writing about the subject!

    “GET OUT OF THAT ARMCHAIR, AND *DO* SOMETHING!”

    …Says the armchair anonymous critic to the man who has researched cryptids for 12 years in seven countries on four continents!

  31. Loren Coleman responds:

    Someone please explain to me why yelling back at your questioners and critics is seen as a potential marketing technique to get people to buy and read your book?

    I’m at a loss for what’s happening here.

  32. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Loren, My Esteemed Colleague,

    I’m not yelling, and I’m happy to respond to informed and respectful/constructive criticism; DWA’s comments are neither. I stopped posting here about a year or two ago due largely to DWA’s abuse. I have no idea how many people are following this thread, but DWA is the only one who’s being nasty. All the other posters here have been open-minded and respectful, and I like them. :-)

    Who knows, PE might even help us discover an early chupacabra reference!

  33. PhotoExpert responds:

    Loren–I appreciate your kind words and sentiment. I am blushing! Thank you for your written show of support!

    DWA–Hey! LOL on the brother comment! Again, you are correct.

    Ben–It would be my pleasure to shine any light I can on the subject at hand. I will enjoy working with you on this.

    Now, I usually do not do this. I feel the posters here at Cryptomundo are smart enough to defend themselves, without my help. But can’t we all just get along? Let me indulge myself and play referee here for a moment, a moderator of sorts. Let’s just take a deep breath, remember this is a friendly place to visit. Think of it as Loren’s house. Let’s keep the topic on the subject at hand and remain objective, rather than subjective.

    For Everyone Posting In Cryptomundo Threads–I see where everyone is coming from. Sometimes words or what we type on the internet are either interpreted in a different way in which they were meant. We can’t show our facial expressions, body language or tone of our voice when typing in a post. And there are times when we type something and we mean something else in it’s entirety. In forums like this, sometimes emotions are triggered for one reason or another. And then the good intentions of a poster can escalate into emotional posting. I have been guilty of this in the past. So I am pointing the finger at myself as well and not just the people participating in this post. I have and will take my own advice and practice what I preach.

    Ben–DWA is a great person! I know this because I have been here for years and read many if not all of his posts. He is very logical and scientific. He usually very calm but still passionate about what he is saying or posting. He is also very creative in his thinking. He has contributed hugely to this site! You said you stopped posting here a year or two ago. Well, usually that means a poster stops reading here as well. Maybe you missed some of DWA’s great posts. I have not! That may explain why you fail to see his many contributions. I will fill you in a bit. DWA has an uncanny ability to see through things very quickly. When the excop from Georgia joined up with Tom Biscardi with the BF in the freezer, DWA was one of the first to expose it as a hoax. He did this from the beginning the Georgia boys started making headlines. He took a stance immediately. His posts were exceptional! He was ahead of the curve. In the beginning, many posters thought they may have the real deal. DWA is scientifically-minded. Some would even call him a skeptic. I just say he is objective and a free thinker. But he is not a “believer”. He requires standards of proof and evidence! I don’t know why your experience with DWA has been negative by your own accounts. I have found every encounter with DWA to be positive. To be honest with you, if there was a war going on, there would be no better person in the foxhole next to me than DWA!

    DWA–I have found Ben to be a rather friendly person. Almost all of my experiences with him have been positive. I know he has a reputation of rubbing people the wrong way, but sometimes that is unavoidable given that he is a skeptic. Ben has always been fair with me here at Cryptomundo. And although from time to time we find ourselves in different camps, Ben has always been fair and objective in responding to me. The Cryptomundo community actually need people like Benjamin Radford. In the very least, his skepticism creates a higher standard of proof. Also, Ben has been able to find out hoaxes are hoaxes very quickly.

    Basically, what I am saying is there are always going to be differences of opinion between posters. Everyone, including me should be striving to practice civillity here at Cryptomundo. My feeling is that every person who is a member, with a screen name or using their real name, contributes to this site. Therefore, I think we should all strive to find common ground. I try to do this every time I post, even when I disagree strongly with someone here. It is those commonalities that bring us all together.

    As a poster here, I try to find something I like about every poster. Attacking one another just takes us further away from the main subject of the title in a thread. It then becomes personal or subjective.

    Ben, I think if you knew DWA as well as Loren and I do, you would have a higher opinion of him. I don’t know him as well as Loren does, but I know him from his posts and the company he keeps here at Cryptomundo. Seriously, I like the guy because of what he stands for and because of his many contributions to the field of Cryptozoology. He is also very successful in life. And because of that fact, he has to post under a screen name, just as I do, for the same exact reasons. There are some nutjobs out there. That is the beauty of a screen name. I still mean every little word I post, but for safety concerns, I don’t publicly post my name. Loren knows my real name. So it is not about being anonymous, it is about safety. I think that shot you fired at DWA was way off target. Just saying!

    DWA, if you look at what Ben is trying to state objectively, there is logical reasoning for what he posts. Ben is sometimes in the minority here. Strike that! Ben is usually in the minority here. Sometimes, when you are the one in the minority you can feel ganged up on and become defensive. I understand that and get that. I try to think of that sometimes when Ben makes more of a subjective comment than an objective comment.

    Ben and DWA– Ben, I see many similarities between you and DWA. Although from opposite camps, you both make significant contributions here at Cryptomundo. You both embrace the scientific method. You both do your homework. You are both colorful posters. You are both good guys in my opinion. And isn’t that the only one that counts? Just kidding! I tried to throw a little subjective humor in there for you both.

    This was a very heated thread at times. You know it is when Loren comes in to moderate. Let’s just see where this thread takes us from here. OK?

    To quote Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?”

    Have a great day!

  34. DWA responds:

    Um, Loren. Great point. *Why* would I ever read anything this guy wrote? If this is his approach, good Lord, I’m supposed to *pay* for it?

    Did I not say he’d show why this hasn’t exactly made him rich? Did I? Or didn’t I?

    I read “Bigfoot at 50″ for free. If that’s what the books are like, I’ll pass. I actually *did* sample one of his lake monster books, I think on Amazon, and saw lots of spurious measurements in the water going on …with no attention being paid to the experience of the people who had the sightings, other than to say, no, this measurement you may not understand proves they are mistaken. (And that’s more than Radford has ever read of me. One of his chief criticisms, utterly crushed. And I’d take the huzzahs my posts have gotten over his, any day. You would not want to line them up together and compare, if you were, say, Ben.)

    It’s not really cool to contradict yourself on the same thread. But on the same POST, Ben?

    “…Says the anonymous critic with no discernible expertise to the man who spent five years researching and writing about the subject!”

    …followed by:

    “…Says the armchair anonymous critic to the man who has researched cryptids for 12 years in seven countries on four continents!”

    Um, Ben, which is it? Five or 12?

    Seems like a lot of wasted travel miles to me.

    All that alleged time in all those alleged places, and you

    1. Discredit all eyewitnesses (“eyewitness evidence is poor evidence”), obviating the only reason one would really need to travel to do research, i.e., to obtain the more-informed perspective of the locals;

    1a. Oh, and OK, the other reason: to actually look for the animal himself, rather than look for reasons not to look, or look for any sliver of a reason to denigrate the experiences of the locals;

    2. Totally misrepresent what evidence you do look at (anybody who doubts me, read “Bigfoot at 50″…a title bespeaking ignorance of the evidence right there);

    3. Basically, just laugh at folks and call them liars or nuts, when they saw it and you didn’t. You’re NOT going to make me look up an example right here on Cryptomundo. ARE you….?

    4. Perform the worst cherrypicking I have ever seen, when your chief criticism of others is cherrypicking. Anyone reading our posts on this thread alone will know you have not responded to a single substantive point I’ve made. You simply make yourself look worse when you blanket-characterize stuff you don’t even read, which anyone else looking at this thread can do. Wow, Ben really slags this guy. What kind of idiot could this DWA b….um….er, ah….BEN’S NOT READING WHAT HE WRITES…!

    Your attitude to the evidence is basically that of an armchair researcher. One of my pieces of “discernible expertise,” displayed more times on this board than….shoot, more than in all of your books…is: I know MUCH more about the applicable fields in this discussion, quite demonstrably, than you do. (Including psychology. ESPECIALLY that.) I mean, just go to any thread on this board with more than, say, ten posts, and search on DWA. As I said…oh, the rest of you just read the posts, because Ben just DOESN’T. Anyone who does what you claim to:

    1. Encourages the search, and gives hearty pats on the back to the searchers. And knows that THEY are the ones doing the only research that really counts.

    2. Engages those who need to learn a thing or two, with examples and his experience.

    3. Discusses the evidence, rather than flushing it (“eyewitnesses are bad evidence”. DON’T make me look that one up here. Or on “Bigfoot at 50.”)

    4. Brings a perspective to the search informed by 30-plus years as a naturalist in the backcountry, during which he’s seen some intriguing evidence of his own.

    5. Considers every eyewitness – as at least equal in probability to any other possibility – a privileged observer, who knows more than the rest of us ever may.

    As to my anonymity…oh, you JUST DON’T READ. (He is repelled by all caps.) But the above five things are all things I have done, in abundance, here. I am big-time advancing crypto. You, Ben, scare people away from it, because they realize they have to deal with a world of Radfords, and they’re getting full-face-on exposure to that ON A CRYPTO SITE! Shoot, they must think, do even the *cryptos* hate crypto? The field needs open-minded people who understand nature, the outdoors, animals, and most importantly of all, evidence. You are Kryptonite to those people. They go…well, they go what I will go when I see a sasquatch. Who cares what the idiots think? I KNOW. Thousands of people know. And you just chuckle at them. Sad, it really is.

    I actually wondered whether I’d driven you off here. I kind of puffed out my chest a bit at that last post, thanks! You treat people who come here to learn stuff the same way the folks on the Randi Forums treat their guests; and you’re the guest here. You’re the bully, dude. And playing these silly name games is….well, I’m still waiting for my chalupa. Sorry. You’re just hogging bandwidth, on a site that is supposed to promote crypto, not denigrate it with silly, over-qualified bets for paltry sums.

    (Question: why feel driven off, rather than simply addressing my points? You could get some big-time cred here by simply doing that…and avoiding silly over-generalizations of the type that, well, right, Loren. Why would I read books written by someone like that? Sounds like that is a pretty public asessment.)

    You aren’t a nice guy here, Ben. And you’re a GUEST. Loren’s a big-tent type; and this site is better, definitely more fun, for it. All perspectives are welcome here.

    It’s just that when one perspective denigrates all the others, instead of learning from them…well, study Loxton, Bille and mystery_man, skeptics you could learn from. If, that is, you read anything other than what you unqualifiedly agree with. Hey, at least you’re allowing that PE might actually be right. I’ll call that progress.

    You may have expertise in other areas of skeptical application. But when it comes to cryptozoology…well, you may travel a lot. But you always turn over the wrong rocks.

    If you repeat your previous posts again, you are just going to look silly. So refrain.

    (He won’t read this. But somebody will. Take up cryptozoology, OK? There are more DWAs out there than you think.)

  35. Ethologist responds:

    Honestly, this has gotten out of hand. All Ben is trying to do is see if the crypto-interested masses can help him in his research by finding (or not) a published reference with the word “Chupacabras” in it; To further his research of whether or not the word was coined in 1995.

    Why has this simple, non-abrasive request turned into this? I am not a frequent commenter here, but I am always following what’s going on and this is just distasteful.

    I am not trying to take any sides, as I think this banter is frivolous anyway. But I am shocked on how aggressive DWA is about this whole thing. To call Ben Radford an armchair skeptic is completely ludicrous and that alone makes him lose all credibility in this argument (note: I said THIS argument, not that he doesn’t have credibility in any other instance. I am sure he does have much credibility and knowledge, as he is very passionate about the subject.)

    Ben Radford has (maybe) done more science-based field work than any skeptical investigator or crypto-believer . He is always out there in the field doing research. Whether you agree with his conclusions is irrelevant; there is no denying that he is out there doing firsthand research.

    I really do hope that Mr. Radford is not scared away from posting here, as he is one of the few people out there that continually publishes field investigations for us, the crypto-hungry crowd.

    Further, it is definitely insulting that just because Ben is accused of typically disproving things, DWA states that Ben’s published, rigorous research is less valuable than comments posted onto a blog. It’s definitely insulting and I am shocked that someone would even say something like that. Scientific research needs to be published and must be based on hard data, not hearsay and eyewitness testimony. Sorry, science is not the legal system. That doesn’t mean that bigfoot doesn’t exist due to the fact that you only saw it and don’t have it’s body as proof, it just means that you can’t prove it.

    We just need to adopt a better understanding of this concept, so that these pointless squabbles can be avoided and cryptozoological study can be seen in a more serious light.

    To photoexpert and Ben Radford I hope a whole, other avenue of inquiry is opened up by what you guys find.

    On a personal note: As a soon to be scientist myself (wildlife biologist, specifically), I just want to note that nearly all scientists (who aren’t selling out to Exxon) are not financially successful. In fact, wildlife biology is the most underpaid job that someone with a high education can get. So please don’t rate a scientist’s or researcher’s success by his bank account. Just had to address it as financial success seemed to be slung around as a sign of legitimacy.

  36. DWA responds:

    PE: as usual, brother, I’ll go with it. I use my rapier for arguments, not people. When Matt Bille, mystery_man, Daniel Loxton and I disagree, we review each other’s points, not each other’s character. And we tend to wind up, where that happens, *agreeably* agreeing to disagree. How Ben and I got here…oh, shoot, I’m not going to beat that dead horse. It’s all over Cryptomundo, and synopsized here. Thanks, PE.

    Ethologist: your point about publication being taken, publication is no more a sine qua non of legitimacy than financial success is. When one publishes on scientific subjects for a largely non-scientific public, one needs to take that into account and be scrupulous about one’s science. I find the way Ben treats evidence to be disagreeable, particularly the way he treats the accounts of many sober eyewitnesses whose stories jibe with one another and show no evidence of being mistaken about what they saw, comparing stories, hallucinating, etc. To wit – and you should know this if you are considering wildlife biology as a career – SIGHTINGS ARE EVIDENCE. They are not proof. Good luck finding the proof if you ignore them. New species are found by the ones who don’t. I’ve already gone into detail here on other things I’m upset about so won’t belabor that here.

  37. Benjamin Radford responds:

    See, this is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. DWA doesn’t read things clearly, or take an extra few seconds to try and understand. He seems to be intentionally misunderstanding, and then complains when I decline to correct his errors.

    He writes, “It’s not really cool to contradict yourself on the same thread. But on the same POST, Ben?…Um, Ben, which is it? Five or 12?”

    It’s clear from the post:

    “five years researching and writing about the subject!”
    “the subject” = the subject of this post/book, chupacabra, 5 years

    “researched cryptids for 12 years in seven countries”
    cryptids = all other cryptocreatures, 12 years

    I think everyone else here understood this, but DWA did not. This is why responding to him is a waste of my time. I don’t care if he buys or reads my book. He should do it (or not do it) not because he likes or dislikes me personally, but because he wants to be informed about the subject.

    I find the other 99% of the Cryptomundo community here to be interesting, informed, insightful, and respectful, and it’s a shame that DWA’s bile is so prevalent here. My research speaks for itself, and does not stand or fall on the nastiness of one anonymous critic who hasn’t even read my work.

    @Ethologist, yes, thank you, you made the points even better than I did.

  38. DWA responds:

    [and there's Ben.]

  39. Ethologist responds:

    DWA, you are right about that. Sightings are evidence, my point was that they are not inherently reliable evidence. They should definitely not be ignored; but their clamaints should be thoroughly questioned in order to ascertain if they, in fact, saw what they claim. Even if you come to the conclusion that the sighter/sighting was reliable and wasn’t a misidentification, it only really helps you know where to possibly look and what to possibly look for. Many, many new species were found based off of just this type of sighting evidence, but it was only a clue to finding the species. The scientists didn’t say “great we found a new species, because the locals said it existed.” No, they reserved that for if and when they found it. But that is a problem I have never been able to get over in regards to designating cryptozoology as a legitimate study. It seems as if the field of zoology and accompanying ethnographic surveys of local populations already fill the niche (successfully mind you) that cryptozoology claims the need to fill. That is not to minimize the principles of cryptozoology, but are they already in use in another already substantiated field? I mean there are many recent accounts (in fact, covered here on cryptomundo) about zoologists finding new species, using techniques that are familiar cryptozoological methods (i.e. asking the locals about the animal population, track the locals descriptions for uncatalogued species, etc.) Yet these scientists never call it cryptozoological methods or state that they are cryptozoologists.This is a question I have always grappled with and have never been able to come to a firm conclusion. Anyone want to weigh in with the thoughts on this and possibly aid my conundrum? Is cryptozoology and its tenants already present in an already substantiated field and then is there really a need for cryptozoology as a substantiated field?

  40. Ethologist responds:

    I would just like to further say that Ben Radford is a good thing for cryptozoology. Crypto-believers always ask for people to just look into the evidence and decide for themselves, Ben does just that. He obviously must love cryptozoology for why would he spend 12 years of his life involved in its research? To spite crypto-believers? I don’t think so. Things get heated around here. Sometimes its necessary, most of the times its not.
    The bottom line, Ben is an extremely intelligent and exhaustive researcher that truly does care about this subject. You would know that by reading any of his books. Personally, I have quite a few ideas and experiences regarding cryptozoology and similar subjects and I would absolutely love the opportunity to bounce those ideas off of Ben and get his take on my eyewitness accounts. So lets stop beating up on the man, please?

  41. DWA responds:

    Ethologist:

    “DWA, you are right about that. Sightings are evidence, my point was that they are not inherently reliable evidence. They should definitely not be ignored; but their clamaints should be thoroughly questioned in order to ascertain if they, in fact, saw what they claim. Even if you come to the conclusion that the sighter/sighting was reliable and wasn’t a misidentification, it only really helps you know where to possibly look and what to possibly look for. Many, many new species were found based off of just this type of sighting evidence, but it was only a clue to finding the species. The scientists didn’t say “great we found a new species, because the locals said it existed.” No, they reserved that for if and when they found it.”

    Not sure you could better encapsulate what I think.

    I believe that the better the “thorough questioning,” i.e., the investigative followup, the better the report. Most folks aren’t Shakespeare, and a lot of them don’t think they’ll be taken seriously. So they put up bare bones, and it takes a personal visit or telephone interview to flesh out the experience. I have two reports in to the BFRO. Haven’t heard from them yet. (Both are of potential evidence; neither involves a sighting, or a footprint.) But the interviews are, to me, important. My understanding is that we don’t see the vast majority of the reports put in to TBRC or BFRO, because, well, they fall apart on review.

    “It seems as if the field of zoology and accompanying ethnographic surveys of local populations already fill the niche (successfully mind you) that cryptozoology claims the need to fill. That is not to minimize the principles of cryptozoology, but are they already in use in another already substantiated field?”

    I think that the rumble from crypto stems from the inability, so far, to crack established zoological paradigms.

    There are no apes in the temperate zone. That’s the paradigm; and so far science as a body has steered clear of the evidence that this is wrong. Paradigms are great; they guide research and can help add quickly to the inventory of what we know. But science can be too slow to change them. (Astronomy, now, seems to be ready to change on the fly. Their minds are open, just not to the extent their brains fall out. Look at how fast Eris – first sighted by an amateur – got confirmed, and what that meant for Pluto. And for Pete’s sake, they tell us that extraterrestrial intelligent life is all but a certainty.) I have said here more than once that “crypto is zoology.” When it’s done right, it is. But zoologists, too many of them, have rejected the sasquatch/yeti evidence out of hand – without a look – and there have been too few exceptions to that to move things the other way.

    I think this should be the objective of cryptozoology: to put itself out of business. I’ve never said that, quite that way, before. But zoology – all science – should be the practice of following the evidence, wherever it leads. If science simply did that, for the species for which it hasn’t yet, hairy hominoids apparently chief among them, there would be no need for a separate science of cryptozoology. Finding the sasquatch would be like finding a new species of tree frog: evidence gleaned so far tells us we will find it if we look. Let’s look.

  42. mystery_man responds:

    I really have been trying to stay out of this, and I have no intention of joining into this fray but just a few small things.

    First of all, I personally don’t know why Ben inspires so much wrath and rage here. Sure, I don’t agree with everything he says (even as an open minded skeptic such as myself), but I do understand the value of having alternative opinions on a subject. I think it is very important to have opposing viewpoints such as Ben’s in order to more adequately see a phenomenon from all angles and with fresh takes on the subject.

    I have no interest in seeing merely the viewpoints or research that I agree with. In fact, science does not work well that way. What kind of scientists would we be if we merely accepted the data that agrees with our opinion? Science does not work that way. Even in the mainstream, there are many disagreements, much head butting, and of course many attempts to falsify data. Scientists are far from all supporting each other’s conclusions and hypotheses are subjected to an almost Darwinian process of peer review and opposing data.

    This is good because it is what drives us to get to the truth. Whatever is left after being scoured from all sides is most likely closer to the truth than if we were just to cherry pick our own conclusions and accept what we want to be true. This process is a major pillar of science.

    So in this respect Ben’s research and opinions, as much as they may be distasteful to some, have a place here and should be looked at in the same way we expect him to look at evidence from the other side of the coin.

    I am not saying Ben does not ever lean towards evidence that supports his own assertions (we are human after all and 100% objectiveness in science is a myth), but this challenge and his comments thus far is showing that he has an interest in findings that do contradict him and is willing to allow that if someone can provide the hard evidence.

    Here is where I am not sure where the problem is. A scientist has every right to ask for this, and should. If I have data that I feel strongly supports hypothesis A, then if you want to overturn that you have to show something concrete that gives me reason to consider hypothesis B. Just saying that B is true is sadly not enough. Paradigms are not overturned in this way. If you feel a hypothesis is wrong, you have to show why all of the evidence that points towards it is wrong. In this case, Ben thinks the term Chupacabras did not exist before this time. All of the evidence he has gathered leads him to think this. If you want to refute it, then you have to show him he is wrong with some sort of documentation. There is nothing overly unreasonable about his request at all.

    Where would we be if we just accepted evidence without something substantial to back it up (in this case written documentation)? What state would science be in if we did not allow opposing viewpoints based on hard evidence but rather word of mouth and flimsy evidence? Why, we might just still think that the Sun revolves around the Earth, I mean there is the evidence in the sky that the sun moves from one side to the other, is there not? We need more than just our interpretation of the data or what people insist is true.

    My point here is, Ben is not wrong to want hard data to refute his findings. This is expected in all fields of science across the board, and cryptozoology should be no different.

    I don’t always agree with Ben’s conclusions or research, but I do think that he is at least in this case making an attempt here to falsify his own findings if he can find the evidence to that effect. I think he should be recognized as showing a willingness to be wrong in this case. He seems to me to be open to the idea that he could be wrong, and that is a good thing. Now if anyone thinks he is wrong, they should show him, as my esteemed colleague Photoexpert is attempting to do. Wway to go, Photoexpert. That is the way you have to do it.

    I respect many people’s opinions here. They all have their place and we have a need in this field to stay grounded with hypotheses that collide with our own. We need discussions such as the one between DWA and Ben here (although hopefully in a more civil manner). In contrast to my colleague DWA, I don’t have a problem with Ben in this respect. We have to get to the truth somehow, and that sometimes takes a good scorching from all sides.

    Ben may be guilty himself of disregarding certain conflicting evidence but that doesn’t mean we should disregard his. A fair and open minded approach could be used here by all sides.

    I respect DWA, PE, and yes, Ben. We are all trying to find the truth in our own ways. If we wish to take a truly scientific approach, we have to allow for ideas and evidence that might not sit well with our own conclusions.

    I suppose I will get a good drubbing by DWA for defending Ben in any way, but what I really am defending is the idea that we need to look at all data, even conflicting data, in as fair a manner as possible. I am defending this ideal of a fair and openminded, yet skeptical, scientific approach to cryptozoology. DWA, as much as you disapprove of Ben’s methods, surely you must see the importance of entertaining conflicting views in science? We can argue and disagree with him, but his hypotheses should be allowed a place here.

    Ethologist- About biology and money, boy you can say that again. I do biology field work in Japan where I live and there is pretty much no money in it at all. Many biologists must take other jobs to stay afloat. For instance in my case as a foreigner in Japan, my options are limited and so I teach biology at an international high school. I would not be able to survive on just doing science alone. It’s really only a very few who make any real good money off of this.

    Although, I suppose any biologist who can show Bigfoot exists would not have this problem. :)

  43. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I won’t derail this topic to Bigfoot but there is a good example of cracking a paradigm.

    Everything we have, all observations and data on known primates show that there are no temperate great apes. In that respect, a zoologist has every reason to suspect that this is true. For now. Nothing stipulates that there can’t be temperate great apes, and there is no real compelling reason why there couldn’t be, but all data we have so far says there isn’t.

    Now do we believe all of those observations and all of that data on known primates in favor of unsubstantiated data on Bigfoot? There could be a temperate ape, and circumstantial evidence suggests there might be, but to overturn the paradigm, that has to be explored more fully and more has to be brought to bear to throw doubt on the assertion that no temperate apes exist.

    The way to do this, and what is meant by “hard evidence” is that the data needed to shift the paradigm is data that is well supported and, perhaps more importantly, peer reviewable. This is where published papers such as Meldrum’s are invaluable.

    Paradigms are not set in stone. They can and are changed over time, but it is almost always a gradual process. One of the main challenges to changing common wisdom is that many established paradigms are based on evidence from more than just one field of science. Data from biology, geology, physics, and what not, will all converge to paint a picture of what appears to be true. It is very hard to shift this across the board agreement on well tested data without considerable conflicting data to back it up.

    Keep in mind that the scientists following the paradigm are not necessarily close-minded, they just have an overwhelming amount of evidence that says something is true. Science is extremely careful about favoring the unknown over the known. To make something unknown known, there has to be a gradual scratching away at that surface.

    It can be a slow process, perhaps too slow in some cases, and at many points throughout history, our progress has been hindered by clinging to stodgy old paradigms. The paradigm can absolutely be wrong, but the way science works is that there has to be a good reason to change our thinking or we just won’t know what to accept as true.

    So in brief- Can the paradigm be shifted? Yes it can. Is it easy? Not typically. Is the paradigm always right? No, no it isn’t. How do I show the paradigm is wrong? With hard, peer reviewed evidence and lots of it.

    I do think we hinder ourselves with blind adherence to the paradigm and should always push at the boundaries of what we think we know, but there are ways to do this. We should not reject anything out of hand, however we need to be mindful of the ways things tend to work in these matters. There is an established way of doing things that has gotten us pretty far, and cryptozoology has to play ball.

    I got the bat and catcher’s mitt.

  44. DWA responds:

    I’ll be brief (as yeah, I did see my chalupa slipping away amongst the hubbub).

    m_m: as my dialogues with every skeptic but one here show (OK, and those that veer off into that skeptic’s mode of thought, when that happens), I’m fine with dissenting views – as long as (1) there’s an *exchange* of views; (2) the dissenters address the evidence rather than ignoring it (“eyewitness testimony is poor evidence” ignores it); and (3) the dissenters treat those who disagree with them with respect. Ben gets what he gives here. He essentially responds to no one who disagrees with him with anything but ad hominem. And as repeatedly demonstrated on this thread, he doesn’t read what I write. (Just read. Nice thing about Ben, he puts the proof in b/w.) If you don’t respond to my points, boy I’m gonna slag ya. ‘Cause I demonstrably read – and understand all too well – what he writes. I’d like to know whether any marquee cryptids are real before I die. I see the kind of thinking Ben brings to this board as …well, read on up there.

    As to apes in the temperate zone: I was simply addressing Ethologist’s query: do we really need cryptozoology, when zoology appears to fill the bill quite well? Speaking of ‘real before I die’, I believe zoology has been way way *way* too slow in addressing the hairy hominoid evidence, for example, and will be seen as unconscionably slow when and if they are confirmed. At this pace, we’d be passing judgment on Pluto and Eris by, say, 2345. Cryptozoology is, at this point, zoology’s conscience. It has far from worn out its welcome; it is essential. Science has crypto tools at its disposal. It is well past time to use them on certain cryptids.

    OK, back to the game. Brought my glove. Where’s my chalupa?

  45. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Right. We can play on different teams and have different team mottos but we have to play ball to be taken seriously as a science.

    Sometimes we’ll hit a foul, and sometimes we’ll hit a homerun, but…. oh jeez, I’ll just cut out the baseball analogies right now. :)

  46. Ethologist responds:

    I just finished Ben’s book, “Scientific Paranormal Investigation”, must say it was really great! Thorough investigation, no BS, open-minded and passionate research. Same could be said about “Lake Monster Mysteries”; that book certainly cleared out a lot of the misinformation that is rife in lake monster books.

    Just to prove that Ben Radford isn’t a close-minded debunker; in short, within “lake monster mysteries”, he actually proves how a famous hoax couldn’t have been responsible for certain lake monster sightings, overthrowing what was the current consensus.

    He has impressed me to the point that I ordered his “Tracking the Chupacabra” book the first day it was available, I hope to get to reading it soon. I will report back on what I read if you all would like?

    But, I really encourage you all to check them out for yourselves. Remember you shouldn’t call people close-minded, if you’re not open minded about their contradicting views. Even if you have the belief they are closed off about your own point-of-view. If/when you read any of Radford’s books, you will see how open-minded he is and how he is very polite and non-argumentative to people he disagrees with and how he is overall respectful of people whether they are ignorant, naive, close-minded, fanatical, etc.

    Just thought I should add that in, since it seems like there was accusations of Ben being hostile to those that disagree with him.

  47. Ethologist responds:

    Hey Ben, you still hanging around? Could I ask you where you took the picture on page 149 (in “Tracking the Chupacabra”) of the vampire bat preying on some type of ungulate? Is it a taxidermy mount displayed in a museum?

  48. crowmagnumman responds:

    I’ve only skimmed through these comments, so I’m probably not qualified to comment on any of this. All I’ll say is that I just finished reading Ben’s book, Scientific Paranormal Investigation. If anyone here has the impression that Ben is an armchair skeptic or somehow closed-minded, I would strongly disagree. Ben seems to be a lover of mystery, and he seems to place a high value on field work. I’m something of an amateur (mostly armchair lately, unfortunately) investigator of the paranormal, and Ben’s book has proven invaluable in demonstrating to me how poorly I have been applying the scientific method to my investigations. I often see myself as incapable of investigating the paranormal due to the fact that I am not a trained, professional scientist. And though it certainly seems to help to be a trained scientist, Ben explains how anyone with a basic understanding of the fundamentals of science can investigate the paranormal and get results. And I found this highly motivating, as it will probably be a while before I can afford to return to college.

    I also now have a better understanding of why he came to the conclusion he did regarding the influence of the movie “Species” on the chupucabra phenomenon. I saw that chupucabra episode of MonsterQuest that Ben participated in, and I’m surprised and annoyed at how little of Ben’s work ended up on screen. It’s made me curious to read “Tracking the Chupucabra” to get a more detailed account of his investigation and findings.

    So if there really is anyone that can produce evidence of chupucabra’s existence before 1995, I hope that we’ll see an update on Cryptomundo about it. From my impression of Ben, I would expect him to be enormously pleased to be proven wrong about this.

  49. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hi Ethologist-

    I appreciate you taking a look at my books and research; I’ve found that many of the people who criticize me have read little or nothing that I’ve written. I don’t mind answering critics who have legitimate questions about my evidence or arguments, but I find it very tiresome to be attacked by people who can’t be bothered to actually read it and decide for themselves. Please do offer your opinion of my chupacabra book here when you’re done, good or bad… I’d enjoy hearing a cryptozoologically-informed review.

    You’re right about the vampire bat diorama, good catch! That’s actually at the Smithsonian Institution in D.C., if I’m not mistaken. It was too cool not to use! The close-up of the bat face was taken from a bat exhibit near Monteverde in Costa Rica (I think it mentions that!).

  50. Ethologist responds:

    Thanks for your reply Ben. I had to ask, because I wanted to make sure to try and visit that museum if I was ever in that specific area that had that vampire bat taxidermy. As I have seen nothing like it before. But it appears it has been right under my nose. Because I live outside of D.C. and have visited the museum of natural history many many times. Have even had past academic/professional ties with the Smithosonian Institution, yet, I have never seen/noticed that diorama. I am apparently very unobservant as that is a very unique taxidermy. Talk about hidden in plain sight.

    I don’t know if this is explained in your book, but did you go to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum specifically to gather chupacabras related info/expert opinion or to look for similar known zoological critters that could explain chupacabras reports (such as that vampire bat diorama)? Or did you just have that photo in your archives from a previous unrelated trip to the museum?

    I personally am very interested in your research procedures and museum scouring, as I love museums and am constantly doing similar detective work when I have a research question. Personally, I have a whole roll of photos of oddities and rare examples of specimens and taxidermies that are stored in the archives of the Smithsonian. There are lots of “cryptozoologically important” specimens behind closed doors there (not sasquatch or chupacabras bodies; haha, dont want to start consipiracy theories), just thylacine, ivory billed woodpecker, specimens of rabbits with pap. virus (which most likely was root of horned rabbit lore). Just things I have never seen photographs or heard mention of before I had access to them. Lots of very historically significant specimens too. I don’t have staff access any longer, so I unfortunately don’t have the ability to peruse the “closed-to-public” archives any longer. But I wish I did; I would be there constantly.

    Anyway, any background on your research methods/ museum scouring that you would be willing to share, I would like to hear.

  51. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hi there

    Well, I love museums of all kinds, and try to see as many of them as I can. As you point out, Smithsonian has a lot of crypto-related exhibits in their collection (though not all of it may be on display at any given time, of course), including giant squid, Stellar’s sea cows, Ivory-bills, plesiosaurs, etc. I even found Grover Krantz’s skeleton!

    I didn’t arrange an interview with anyone there about the chupacabra specifically, because the information I needed (for example on vampirism and forensics) was readily available from other sources. So it’s a mix of purpose-driven research and an archive of thousands of photos taken over the years in the course of my research.

  52. Benjamin Radford responds:

    @ crowmagnumman: Thanks for your comments. Re: Any pre-1990 references to a vampire “chupacabra.” It’s only a very small point in the book, and has no bearing on the other 99.9% of the book, or its research or conclusions. Even if there are references to it from the 1950s or 1960s, it does not invalidate anything else I wrote, but I’d be interested to clear it up, since so many people have independently insisted it dates back so much earlier. I’m eagerly awaiting the results of PhotoExpert’s research!

    I recently found out that news of my $250 reward for pre-1990 published chupacabra references made it to Puerto Rico (a woman there asked me about it). By now, thousands of Puerto Ricans surely have heard about it, and so far no one has come up with anything. Surely some Puerto Rican librarian or student or newspaper employee has spent an hour or two searching to collect $250.

  53. Benjamin Radford responds:

    PhotoExpert: Any progress yet on the journal-searching for an early “chupacabra”? I don’t want to rush you, just checking to see if there’s any updates.

    Thanks!

    B



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