Wednesday Weirdness: A Love of Creatures

pathway between large, gnarled trees with wacords "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageHi, friends. I was thinking about creatures the other day. No big surprise there. My mind often wonders that way. I’m a wuss when it comes to haunted houses, ghosts, and most things supernatural (despite writing about them), but creatures are another story. Leave the demonic slant out and I’m a fan girl.

Looking back, it started with the old soap opera Dark Shadows. Yeah, I’m dating myself. Everyone knows Barnabas Collins, but I was thoroughly smitten with Quentin Collins. I was six years old and captivated by the idea of someone turning into a werewolf. The thought of the moon altering someone’s behavior held me enthralled. Small wonder, the first book I had published was a werewolf tale.

Early photo of author, Mae Clair standing beside a large wood carving of a bat with folded wings

A creature I discovered in Rhode Island, late 1990s

A few years later, I saw Night of the Gargoyles, a movie that introduced me to flying creatures haunting the southwest. Around the same time, I watched a sci-fi movie with my parents. I have no idea what the name was, or what it was about. I just remember a huge insect like creature being emblazoned against the sky (still vivid in my head). Let it be known I detest 95% of insects, but this was a creature. An alien, most likely.

In my tweens and teens I discovered dragons, unicorns, and all manner of beasties from myth. That led to a love of reading and writing epic fantasy. In my thirties, I drifted away from fantasy into magical realism. The creatures became more subtle, sometimes wrapped in human guise. After that I fell in love with the bizarre. Stories of curiosities, creatures from cryptozoology, tales of visitors from other worlds.

Author, Mae Clair, beside the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, June 2013

With the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 2013

Do I believe this stuff? Well, that’s as much a mystery as the cryptids, isn’t it? Let’s just say I’m mostly a skeptic who loves the possibility of “what if.” Despite all the logic and rationality of the world, the detailed facts unearthed by science and technology, I never want to lose the wonder and magic of childhood when everything carried the gloss of “what if.”

Creatures aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But for all the hairy-winged-scaled-hunched over-misunderstood creatures out there, I’m a fan girl. What about you? Have you got a favorite.

Mythical Monday: Chasing the Chupacabra by Mae Clair

The chupacabra is a creature said to haunt South America, Puerto Rico, parts of Mexico and portions of Texas. Known for attacking livestock and draining its prey of blood, the chupacabra’s name in Spanish is translated as “goat-sucker.” A mythical creature, the chupacabra is also recognized as a crytpid—a creature that may exist but hasn’t been proven to exist. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I enjoy reading about mythical beasts and those put under the microscope of cryptozoology. It’s interesting when those fields intersect, as in the case of the chupacabra.

This is not a guy I would want to cross while out for a stroll.  A heinous looking oddity, the chupacabra has alternately been described as a winged monkey, a hairless dog with a pronounced spinal ridge or quills on its back, and a rodent or a reptile with grayish-green skin. The beast exudes a ghastly odor, is endowed with sharp fangs, and a forked tongue. Some believe the chupacabra is a coyote infected with mange, others that it is a species brought from outer space, still others that it is the result of a government experiment gone haywire.

Naturally, something this ugly has to have glowing eyes. In the case of the chupacabra, they are malignant red, capable of hypnotizing its victim and freezing them in place while the creature drains the victim’s blood.

Old farmshouse with free walking chickens  in rural surroundingsThe first report of dead livestock occurred in 1995 in Puerto Rico when a farmer found eight of his sheep drained of blood, each with three puncture wounds to the chest. For this reason, some believe the chupacabra is related to the vampire bat. It’s also been known to hiss and screech when alarmed and make an odd sound when feeding (who would want to get that close?).

Throughout the years the chupacabra has been blamed for numerous bizarre deaths in the killing of goats, chickens, pigs and dogs. Though most common to Latin America and South America, it has been spotted as far north as Michigan and Maine and has even shown up in Russia. There are countless videos and websites devoted to the myth of the chupacabra. This infamous crytpid has also made appearances on Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. Despite all the debate and discussion about El Chupacabra—including various descriptions from eyewitnesses—its legend continues to grow confounding skeptics, cryptozoologists and the curious in general.

As the debate rages, perhaps it’s best to err on the side of caution. What do you think?