Folklore and Latin America

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978-0-8263-5015-2

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Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore


Benjamin Radford

Finalist for ForeWord Reviews' 2011 Book of the Year Award in the social science category

Finalist for the 2011 New Mexico Book Award


Among the monsters said to roam the world's jungles and desolate deserts, none is more feared than the chupacabra--the blood-sucking beast blamed for the mysterious deaths of thousands of animals since the 1990s. To some it is a joke; to many it is a very real threat and even a harbinger of the apocalypse. Originating in Latin America yet known worldwide, the chupacabra is a contradictory and bizarre blend of vampire and shapeshifter, changing its appearance and characteristics depending on when and where it is seen. Rooted in conspiracy theory and anti-American sentiment, the beast is said to be the result of Frankenstein-like secret U.S. government experiments in the Puerto Rican jungles.

Combining five years of careful investigation (including information from eyewitness accounts, field research, and forensic analysis) with a close study of the creature's cultural and folkloric significance, Radford's book is the first to fully explore and try to solve the decades-old mystery of the chupacabra.


Visit the author's website at http://www.radfordbooks.com/chupa-index.html


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Benjamin Radford is managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the nonprofit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The author of five books and hundreds of articles, he is a regular columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

ACCLAIM

"Anyone who loves a good Texas tale, but also enjoys scientific inquiry, will get a kick out of Tracking the Chupacabra."

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El Paso Times



"...well-written and a fun read..."

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Tucson Weekly



"This book is both based in hard science and an extremely fun and entertaining read."

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Wildlife Activist



"...arguably the greatest cryptozoological book ever written."

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Skeptical Inquirer



" Tracking the Chupacabra, is an insightful and entertaining book in which Radford sets the record straight, debunking many of the myths about the goatsucker."

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The Latin Americanist



" Tracking the Chupacabra is satisfying for those willing to consider a legitimate, evidence-based explanation. If you aren't happy to do that, this book will make you mad. I'm hard pressed to find any stone unturned in this stunning exposé of the first Internet-age cryptid."

--

Skeptic



"An amazingly thorough book....Having sequenced the DNA of three of the purported chupacabra beasts myself, I am impressed at the depth to which Radford delves into the backstory behind the chupacabra. Unlike the numerous uncritical popular writings about the chupacabra, Radford provides easy-to-read yet scholarly coverage of this subject."

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Dr. Todd R. Disotell, Professor of Anthropology, New York University



" Tracking the Chupacabra combines detective work, scientific analysis, and a keen sense of human psychology to unravel the mystery of the chupacabra. Radford provides the cultural context for the monster, and offers a comprehensive look at both the mythological and biological elements underlying the mystery. Ben Radford is at once sympathetic to and critical of the field of cryptozoology, and the field's practitioners would do well to follow his example of measured skepticism and commitment to science and reason. This is an engaging read that both scientists and the lay public will enjoy. Radford has slain the beast!"

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David Daegling, author of Bigfoot Exposed



"Radford does a masterful job--part detective investigation, part anthropological analysis--of revealing the not-so-awful truth behind the chupacabra legend. In fact, Radford's deconstruction definitively and entertainingly sucks the mystery out of the poor old goatsucker."

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Dr. Kenneth Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut University, and author of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology



"Warning! Don't read this book if you have an open mind. Ben Radford goes beyond 'it's a mangy coydog' to explore an entirely new theory about the origins of the chupacabra phenomenon. My cryptozoological colleagues and fans, as well as the media, should read this one! I think Radford might be on to something! A fantastic read."

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Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum and author of Bigfoot! and Cryptozoology A to Z



"A wonderful adventure into the quirky legend of our newest popular monster. Radford manages a very rare feat of balancing the excitement and magic of the monster hunt, with the rational skeptical approach of the scientist. I really enjoyed it."

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Dr. Stephen Asma, author of On Monsters and Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Scholar at Columbia College



"The most comprehensive dissection of the chupacabra phenomenon that I have ever read. Ben Radford leaves no stone unturned in his tenacious, unrelenting pursuit of precisely what is--and, more to the point, what is not--behind this veritable celebrity of modern-day cryptozoology. Is the chupacabra a bona fide mystery beast, or is it just a media-hyped monster of the imagination? Read this compelling book, which combines healthy skepticism with objective investigation throughout, and judge for yourself!"

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Dr. Karl Shuker, zoologist and author of The Beasts that Hide from Man and Extraordinary Animals Worldwide



"Radford goes after the chupacabra with the same kind of knowledge and energy that Dr. Van Helsing showed in pursuing Dracula in Bram Stoker's classic horror novel. Radford drives a metaphorical stake into the heart of the beast, reporting his investigations in lively prose, free of academic jargon yet rich with insights from folklorists, biology, and psychology. Radford interviewed the eyewitnesses a well as reviewing the published and popular-culture descriptions of the chupacabra; then he applied scientific and folkloric analysis to the data. His conclusions--clearly and even humorously reported--provide the definitive word on the twenty-first-century vampire."

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Jan Harold Brunvand, author of The Vanishing Hitchhiker



"Radford is thorough in his investigation; interviewing eyewitnesses, providing creepy photographs of otherworldly creatures, serving up DNA analysis, and contemplating theories of mass psychosis....this objective probe will appeal to readers interested in exploring and exploding modern mysteries."

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Library Journal



"(Radford's) book offers a fascinating look at the vitality of modern legends, at the way that stories about real, factual incidents can warp, evolve and travel between communities with incredible speed."

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Los Angeles Times



" Tracking the Chupacabra, is an insightful and entertaining book in which Radford sets the record straight, debunking many of the myths about the
goatsucker."

--

The Latin Americanist



" Tracking the Chupacabra is satisfying for those willing to consider a legitimate, evidence-based explanation. If you aren't happy to do that, this book will make you mad. I'm hard pressed to find any stone unturned in this stunning exposé of the first Internet-age cryptid."

--

Skeptic




6 x 9 in. 216 pages 45 halftones