A nice story from fellow Brazilian Gustavo Latorre, published on the Vigilia website.
Translated with their kind permission.
Could there be a better place than the so called “Island of the Witches” — Ilha das Bruxas — for the appearance of a Chupacabras? April of 2007, end of summer. Open sky and a breeze blowing, excellent day to wash clothes and clean the house. At least it was my mother’s choice. She and her faithful helper in cleaning, the maid that lives next door, seemed to work at full speed. And the subject of the strange corpse thrown in a wasteland of the neighborhood began to animate the talk.
I ended up hearing the story: a big animal “that was not a dog” was supposedly abandoned dead nearby, thrown in a wasteland. It was what the people of the neighbourhood were talking about for some days.
Unwinding the story, I went to the source immediately after my mother: the maid. The idea was to find out who had told to her, and so on, until I found the first witness – original source of the report. To my surprise – and convenience – she had seen the alleged corpse herself. With patience, she told that two streets from where we were, in a big empty area, nearly full of pasture and surrounded by a brick wall of about half meter in height, there was a body covered by a sack. The teeth were human, but the body was hairy.
– Isn’t it covered by a sack?
– Yes, a big sack.
– Then how can you see the teeth?
– Ah, the sack is torn, ragged. It covers most of the head, but it is ragged.
– But is he or it all hairy?
– Yes, as a dog, but the teeth are like those of a human!
– Yes, you can see very well, the mouth is smaller than the one of a dog, and he is very big to be one! It doesn’t have snout. I don’t know… I was afraid it was a “chupa-cabra” (sic), who knows!
– Right, but couldn’t it be a big dog? A Saint Bernard, or something?
– No, it is bigger! The size of a person.
At this point my sister, who is a biologist, was already close to us hearing the conversation. The description of the hairy animal of human size and teeth was too interesting to be dismissed. Even allowing for some exaggeration, common of popular stories, the situation was still very sinister. The story was circulating the neighborhood for more than a week. We just had to check it. Knowing by now the coordinates and references, camera in hand, we went walking through the sand street.
About of 700 meters ahead, going through about half of the street, we found the wall exactly as referred to by our witness. A bone thrown in the street near the area had called my attention. It was a humerus of about 25 cm.
– “Canis”? – my sister asked, referring to ‘canis familiaris’, technical name of the domestic dog.
– Well… you are supposed to know better than me – what in fact was not that certain: she is a human geneticist, and never had much interest for anything beyond the molecular realm.
The curiosity for the rest of the body was, now before that bone that gave the concrete touch that was missing in the report, too great so that a lot of attention was given to that piece. A couple of meters further and we penetrated the area. The wall had an interruption, as that of a gate and it was near the entrance that the body was. Indeed, there it was – or should I say, what remained of it.
The vultures had almost finished their work, and little remained of the carcass except for the head and some other remains, with some remains of the members almost losing connection with the rest of the body.
The snout immediately caught my attention. Yes, it was a snout. It was the first picture that we shot: the visualization is not very good because it gets mixed with the remains of the sack, but it was a very black nose and still a little shiny, very characteristic of the dogs.
Soon afterwards the teeth – our greatest curiosity – were also registered. There we buried the hope of something actually sinister in that case. The canine teeth were, indeed, canine!
With the due hygienic care I tore the sack, that seemed to have involved the whole carcass when it was discarded- but that now involved only its head. I intended to observe the mouth and the teeth better. They were the teeth of a dog, whose wear and tear appeared those of a young adult animal, with about 5 to 8 years. Contrary to the report, there was a snout, and the skull was of a big dog, probably a German Shepherd, Weinmaraner, Boxer, etc. The format of the scapula that remained (registered in the last picture) was also characteristic of the dogs.
Finishing our investigation, we searched the “crime scene”, photographed and went back home. All the evidence regarding the species of that carcass pointed to the ‘canis familiaris’. No strange sign or characteristic was found that didn’t fit in the canine profile. The case was closed. At least regarding our interest for that carcass.
Nobody would convince us that the chupacabras was something other than a big dog, probably with some pedigree, that was unfortunately adopted by people with terrible hygiene habits, without concern with the environment and the neighborhood, and without enough compassion to give a honored burial for that disgraced member of the family.
It was also interesting to note the way the histories are modified and the reports become more and more fantastic as even some days pass by. Maybe because people want to embellish the subject or because of fear… As they say here in the Island of the Witches, “who knows, oh my dear”!
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