IN my previous article, “The U.S. Chupacabra: An Intriguing Theory,” I detailed how cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard suspected that the “Texas Chupacabras” were actually coyotes exposed to sulfur dioxide. It’s a mutagen which can cause severe mutations to animals.
I briefly noted Ken’s words on how this pretty much all began in 2004, and with what became known as “The Elmendorf Beast.” But, what exactly was the beast that led to the creation of a phenomenon? Let’s take a look. Devin McAnally, the owner of an Elmendorf, Texas ranch, was someone who lost somewhere in the region of fifty chickens, to an unknown predator, in the early months of 2004.
Always under cover of an overwhelming blanket of darkness, he found himself falling victim to a beast of lethal proportions. It began with the killing of five of his chickens, then twelve, then in excess of thirty, and…well, you get the picture and the progression.
There was something downright odd going on, though -- I knew that much from the intense media coverage that was occurring. Local newspapers, radio, television, and numerous Internet sites were reporting on just about every aspect of the affair. Soon, the national press was commenting and observing on the controversy. It was big news, everywhere, and was enthusiastically lapped up like a chupacabra lapping blood (well, it allegedly laps blood…but that’s a story for another day). The collective story the nation’s media told went like this: Whatever had killed the chickens made no attempts to devour them. The bodies of the birds were left where they fell, completely untouched -- aside from wounds to the neck. It was the barking of McAnally’s dog, on what turned out to be a fateful day, indeed, that finally revealed the beast to McAnally. And what a beast it was.
Racing along the fields was an odd, dog-like animal. The first thought was that it was a greyhound gone wild. At first glance, at least, this was actually not entirely impossible, since a trio of greyhounds had been dumped, in the area, sometime earlier. The dog theory quickly became less and less likely: it ran in a very strange fashion and its coat appeared to be of a slight blue color. There was something else, too: the presence of both McAnally and his dog seemed to have no effect on the beast. It was apparently fearless to their presence. This, most certainly, was not the typical behavior of the average coyote.
Twice more, and in fairly quick procession, the animal appeared on the ranch. There was just one problem: on both occasions McAnally’s rifle was inside his ranch-house. Despite racing to get his weapon, the creature was gone by the time he returned to the fields. Then, McAnally had a brainwave. Next time he was going to be one hundred percent ready. Preparation was the name of the game: he positioned his loaded .22 rifle in a tree-fork and patiently waited for the day when the animal returned. As fate would decree, he did not have to wait long, at all.
Although the animal had developed a reputation born out of both hostility and savagery, its downfall came when it was doing nothing more unusual than feeding on the fruit of a mulberry tree. McAnally, who was carrying a couple of buckets of water at the time, knew that this was the time to strike. He carefully and quietly placed the buckets on the ground and made his stealthy way towards the animal. It was a testament to McAnally’s hunting skills that the creature never even knew what hit it: one shot felled the beast in an instant.
McAnally walked over to it and was both shocked and puzzled by the horrific sight before him. The thing was hardly muscular. In fact, it was probably barely twenty pounds in weight, and was hairless, aside from what appeared to be a slight mane that extended along its back. It was the skin that was strangest of all, however: it really was of a bluish color. Vicious-looking teeth, far bigger than those of a coyote, dominated the mouth of the beast. Its tail looked like that of some monstrous, Goliath-sized rodent. The limbs did not appear to be of normal proportions. It was, then, a definitive enigma. Somewhat concerned by the nature of the animal, McAnally was reluctant to touch it. And who can blame him? So, he did something else, instead: he pumped two more bullets into its body.
Although McAnally showed the corpse to a number of his neighbors, none of them could offer any kind of explanation for what the animal was. Baffled, he decided to bury the body in red clay -- which can help to extend the preservation process -- in the event that he might want to dig it up at a later date. Before doing so, however, McAnally took a couple of photos of the creature. It wasn’t long before they reached the Internet -- and my eyes -- and the phenomenon of the Texas chupacabra was brought to life in spectacular fashion.
As to why and how a hairless, four-legged freak in Texas became part of the chupacabra phenomenon, well, we have the answer to that issue with Ken Gerhard’s theories concerning mutagens and sulfur dioxide.