Update: What-Is-It Solved

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 21st, 2007

Please click on this image for a larger view of this thing.

As noted here yesterday, the above body is on display as a “Chupacabras” in Dave’s Pawn Shop in downtown El Paso, Texas.

The origins of the What-Is-It? that rests comfortably in that pawn shop has been solved. It is a creative taxidermy piece produced by Sarina Brewer, an artist well-known for her rogue creations. The following photographs, from her Custom Creature Taxidermy website, is her “Chupacabra” (sic), showing all its angles.

Sarina Brewer's Mummified Chupacabras

Thanks to research conducted by a Cryptomundo reader Robert Dolan, in revealing this obvious connection.

Sarina Brewer is an internationally recognized artist, who uses a mixture of donated deceased animals, animal parts, recycled road kill, and non-animal materials for linkages.

In the small world department, Brewer was one of the exhibitors (along with several other artists and me, the lone full-time cryptozoologist) in the show, “Cryptozoology Out Of Time Place Scale” at the Museum of Art, Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and the H & R Block Artspace in Kansas City, Missouri, last year. Brewer critically acclaimed “rogue taxidermy” was shown in the exhibition, via her “Unicorn, 2005” and “Northwoods Chimera, 2004” contributions.

Sarina Brewer Capricorn

Sarina Brewer Chimera

The above two photographs of Sarina Brewer’s exhibits at Bates College, 2006, were taken by Michelle Souliere of Strange Maine.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

23 Responses to “Update: What-Is-It Solved”

  1. MBFH responds:

    Ms Brewer has some talent in taxidermy and an imagination from who know where!

  2. zytebac responds:

    Very convincing.

  3. Doug Higley responds:

    There is something about showing a ‘roadkill’ in an H&R Block facility that strikes my irony chords.

    Also Loren (whom I hold in the highest regard) gets the Toto Party Pooper Award. 🙂

  4. richard_from_idaho responds:

    Say what you want, this artist is TALENTED! I’d buy one of those gaffs if I could afford it.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    When I was a little kid, I used to get freaked out just by this old, Victorian doll on my dresser at night. Imagine this thing sitting on your dresser. Creepy to say the least.

  6. kittenz responds:

    She IS talented, no doubt about that.

  7. slowwalker-32 responds:

    This creation once again proves that art has no boundries.

  8. lastensugle responds:

    Some of her pieces are really beautiful, I wish I could afford some as well. Anyone knows which animals were put together for the “Chupacabra”?

  9. Leto responds:

    1. Dog body

    2. Medium-sized feline teeth, probably from a snow leopard, bobcat, or ocelot.

    3. Racoon hands.

    4. Head she created herself.

  10. RockerEm responds:

    WOW. Looked so real haha

  11. youcantryreachingme responds:

    You sure she never worked on the set of the film Aliens?? 🙂

  12. Rillo777 responds:

    Well, this sure should serve to keep us all on our toes and I’ve been impressed by the healthy skepticism shown here on this site.
    But I wonder if anyone else but me finds the idea of putting together animals parts to make a thing like this more than just a little macabre?

  13. kittenz responds:


    That is exactly how I feel about it. I have a real problem with it actually. If someone wants to create sculptures of chupacabras or unicorns or flying monkeys or whatever, more power to ’em – but to cobble them together from the parts of what were once living, breathing creatures seems obscene to me.

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    Macabre, of course. That’s the point, the wonder, and more.

    But “obscene”? That’s kind of severe, isn’t it?

    So it’s not okay to use roadkill for gaffs and art?

    But it’s fine to….humm, what did you say you had for dinner? 🙂

  15. kittenz responds:

    People are carnivorous by nature, and I have no problem with people eating meat, as long as the animals are raised and killed humanely. Using the leather and fur from food animals is perfectly acceptable to me. I’m an admitted tree-hugger and conservationist, but I am not anti-hunting. I’m no hunter myself, but I respect conscientious hunters, and I realize that many hunters are also avid conservationists. I disapprove of trapping because I consider it cruel.

    Keeping preserved animals as mounted specimens in naturalistc poses is not my thing, but it’s not something for which I would condemn someone. Even the preserved skinned carcasses that Ms. Brewer sells, while they are startling, could be considered educational.

    Where I draw the line is the creating of “gaffs”, which are jokes, really, from the cobbled-together parts of animals. Without waxing too philosophical and wandering off the topic, I believe that when you use any part of an animal, you should honor its life. Even “roadkill” was once a living, sentient creature.

    I’m not saying that Ms. Brewer’s creations are not art; creating them takes skill and imagination, and that fits my definition of “art”. But just because something is art, does not mean that it isn’t obscene.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is obscenity. My feelings about this subject are purely subjective. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But, yes, in my opinion, using animals to create such objects as gaffs and jokes is an obscenity.

  16. Loren Coleman responds:

    Late addition: Michelle Souliere’s two photographs of Sarina Brewer’s exhibits at Bates College, 2006. See above.

  17. RoxyanneY responds:

    You have more in common than that, Loren. You and Brewer are both featured in your pick for the best children’s cryptozoology book of 2006, Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures that May or May Not Exist, written by Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and myself! (Brewer’s piece is on page 51 and features her own self-portrait photograph with some of her amazing creature creations, and Loren’s interview is on pages 54 – 55.)

  18. Rillo777 responds:

    Sorry but I’m more with Kittenz on this one. It’s just short of playing doctor Frankenstein in my book and I don’t make grotesque sculptures out of my fried chicken!

  19. pitch black moon responds:

    Just waiting for the “reveal” on the Russian Bigfoot now…

  20. things-in-the-woods responds:

    The main point that comes to mind here is how confidently many of us (me included!) dismissed this by claiming it to be a dog/feline/etc., and proved to be wrong. Just how good are we gonna be when/if real photos of cryptids do turn up?

    And kittenz- just to pick you up on something- humans aren’t naturally carnivorous- we are naturally opportunistic omnivores. In any case, i can’t see that has anything at all to do with the morality of killing and eating animals.

    I, for one, find it rather bizarre to worry about a ‘sentient being’ only after it is dead (and therefore no longer sentient). The obscenity comes in killing an animal, not in what you do with its corpse afterwards.

    Anyway, this really isn’t the place for a discussion of the ethics of our treatment of non-human animals (although perhaps loren might consider starting a ‘how should we treat sasquatch if we do find it?’ blog).

  21. kittenz responds:


    Omnivores eat meat, so in that sense they are carnivorous. I do not find it unnatural or obscene to kill animals for food, as long as that killing is done quickly and humanely.

    Everyone has his or her own feelings about what is beautiful, obscene, or bizarre. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my perceptions.

  22. mystery_man responds:

    Just for the record, carnivores are creatures that subsist only on meat. Omnivores eat both. Something cannot be a little carnivorous. It is either carnivorous eating nothing but meat, or omnivorous eating both. There are no shades of carnivore. Humans are omnivorous, that is what our gastro intestinal systems are designed for, not carnivorous. But although I like a good steak as much as the next person, I am not impressed so much with artwork using dead animals. There was a museum exihbition in Japan called “Mysteries of the Human Body” and it was all works using donated cadavers. Chilling. I am a bit like Kittenz in that I find it not to my taste.

  23. mystery_man responds:

    Of course there are herbivores too. I guess my two cents on the meat eating vs macabre sculpture thing is, just because I happen to like meat does not mean I want to meet the cow. Or see it made into a twisted, alien sculpture. But if people like that kind of stuff, well that’s their right.

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