Sep 182017
 
Did you see my appearance on MSNBC talking about the theoretical effects of climate change on Bigfoot and the chupacabra?
Chupacabra illustration by Benjamin Radford

Chupacabra illustration by Benjamin Radford

You can watch it HERE!    You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 
Sep 152017
 
Thought I'd share a minor victory: A man who e-mailed me last week saying "My employee and myself spotted a Chupcabra yesterday afternoon in Vacaville, CA, a hairless cat/dog with a stubby tail and narrow body and head. A friend later that day showed me on the internet this Chupacabra and I recognized it as the same critter." I diplomatically suggested that he seemed to be describing a mangy animal, expecting to be ignored in favor of a sexy mystery. This morning he followed up: "I spoke with a local critter guy who told me that what I saw was probably a Bob cat or Lynx with mange. That is why I saw no hair or fur on the critter. It still looked very creepy." Indeed; if these animals were easy to identify, there wouldn't be a mystery...   BigChupaCover-682x1024   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 
Jul 182017
 
A researcher claimed that the chupacabra can be traced back to legends of the nightjar bird. I respectfully disagreed, which he then responded to, and which I then replied to. If you want to see two educated adults (one of them right and one of them wrong) kick each other's intellectual and metaphorical shins like kids on a playground over folkloric details of a mythical monster's naming and origin, here's your chance! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 
Jun 182017
 
Following up on my book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore, I have occasionally written about varied speculativepseudohistories of the chupacabra, and indeed the subject is ripe for conjecture. In a blog titled "The Secret Prehistory of the Chupacabra," Jason Colavito writes that "the chupacabra name derives from 2,300 years of European and American traditions about nocturnal creatures that prey on livestock. And it all started with a small, completely harmless little bird." Colavito notes, correctly in my estimation, that "The first chupacabra was not a monster, nor was it a vampire. Originally, the goatsucker was so named not because the creature sucked blood like a vampire but because it sucked milk directly from the teat. The legend originates in a story told about the European nightjar (genus Caprimulgus), a smallish, nocturnal, and insectivorous bird that inexplicably developed a bad reputation, earning it the name ‘goatsucker.' The first author to record this story is Aristotle, in his History of Animals, written around 350 BCE." So far so good; we agree that a small bird named chupacabra--like a great many birds around the world including owls, ravens, doves, etc.--had folkloric associations, in this case that it suckled goat milk. Where we part ways is in seeing clear links between the subject of my book and the bird of lore. I briefly discuss the goatsucker bird in the first chapter of my book (see page 4). The chupacabra monster is very specifically a vampire: it sucks blood from its victims. The "goat sucker" bird that shares its name instead sucks milk from goats, which is a different theme--there are few reports of surviving chupacabra victims, as the monster's actions are typically said to be lethal. Also the word chupacabra (as specifically describing the subject of my book) was, from all indications referred specifically to rumors of goats being killed and drained of blood in rural Puerto Rico, not to the milk-drinking whippoorwill bird. The best evidence is that the word chupacabra was first coined by San Juan-based radio deejay Silverio Pérez in late 1995 live while commenting on then-circulating rumors and tabloid stories about strange attacks on the island. I have been unable to find any pre-1995 references to a blood-sucking chupacabra in Puerto Rico or anywhere else--despite a standing $1,000 reward for any verifiable, published pre-1990s reference to a vampiric chupacabra--and Colavito offers none. Colavito does an admirable job of tracing the linguistic lineage: "The name, in its now-obsolete Spanish form chotacabra, was in common use in Spanish America (including Puerto Rico) from at least the nineteenth century (and probably many centuries earlier), changing to chupacabra in the twentieth century when the older Spanish verb chotar (to suck) became obsolete and gave way to the newer synonym chupar... the nightjar is native to Puerto Rico, and I have been able to find printed references to the bird on the island as ‘chotacabra' dating back to at least 1948....The change from the obsolete form chotacabra to the modern form chupacabra, reflecting changes in colloquial Spanish, masked the connection, leading to recent claims that the word did not exist prior to 1995." Colavito does not account for (or glosses over) the notable absence of chupacabra (as referring to the now-familiar vampiric monster, not the bird) between the time that "chotar" became "chupar" and the eve of this century. You can read the rest HERE.  And Colavito's response is HERE.  You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 
Jun 022017
 
For those who missed it and are interested in spending an entertaining and informative--or at least minimally objectionable--75 minutes, may I suggest the most recent episode of The Folklore Podcast, in which we discuss folklore of the chupacabra... Tracking the Chupacabra cover JPG   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 
May 262017
 
Soon after my recent appearance discussing folklore of the chupacabra (the topic of my book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore), I got the following e-mail from a listener named James: “I thought your appearance on The Folklore Podcast was very interesting and informative. It inspired me to search about chupacabras. One thing I came up with was about ‘Goat suckers’ and chotacabras. Too bad that I only have the 1997 version of the 1985 book The Jealous Potter by Claude Lévi-Strauss, but it sounds like there were a lot of myths/folklore about goat suckers in the folklore. Is there a reason you did not reference this in your book?” I replied, “Thanks for reaching out to me, it’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you liked the Folklore Podcast interview, it was fun! Your question is a good one. I actually do briefly discuss the goatsucker bird in the first chapter of my book Tracking the Chupacabra (see page 4).   Tracking the Chupacabra cover JPG The chupacabra monster is very specifically a vampire: it sucks blood from its victims. The "goat sucker" bird that shares its name instead sucks milk from goats, which is a very different theme (there are few if any reports of surviving chupacabra victims, as the monster's actions are said to be lethal). Also the word chupacabra (as specifically describing the subject of my book) was, from all indications, coined in 1995 and referred specifically to rumors of goats being killed and drained of blood in rural Puerto Rico, not to the milk-drinking whippoorwill bird. The main reason I didn’t go into much discussion about it is that as Levi-Strauss notes, stories about the bird are very diverse and difficult to classify (involving deities, marital jealousy, etc.). Other than one passing reference to a Tunuka Indian myth, there’s little or no vampiric aspect to it. As far as I know that’s the only reference to such blood sucking in The Jealous Potter, and in the quoted passage the attack is done by ghosts (souls of the dead), not the flesh-and-blood animal said to live on the island. Ghost folklore is interesting but not really relevant to the chupacabra I researched. The coining of the word is, from my research, almost certainly a coincidence (chupacabra is an obvious coinage to describe anything said to prey on goats, regardless of its origin or nature). I suppose I could have added a few more sentences about the goat milk-drinking bird myths but since it wasn’t directly relevant to the chupacabra I was writing about (a supposedly real terrifying blood-sucking monster), I didn't want to take the reader too far off track. I hope that answers your question, and I appreciate The Jealous Potter reference, which I missed!”
Dec 022016
 
A new article on BBC-Earth discusses my five-year investigation into the mysterious vampire beast El Chupacabra; if you're interested in how I solved one of the world's best-known monster mysteries, check it out HERE!   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Sep 122016
 
I recently found my original idea for the cover art for my book "Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore." I wanted something interesting and evocative, and my publisher UNM Press did a great job on it. Below is my original sketch, and the final cover: IMG_4196 Tracking the Chupacabra cover JPG   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Aug 182016
 
A new article on Gizmodo about monsters references my chupacabra research: "Other descriptions peg it as looking like a wild dog with a pronounced spinal ridge. Skeptical investigator Benjamin Radford went in-depth into the legend of the chupacabra, and concluded that many sightings were actually dogs or coyotes with mange, which contributes to their strange appearance..." You can read it HERE! You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Aug 122016
 
There's a YouTube video that's been around since 2014 about my chupacabra research, though I only recently got around to watching it. It's a little slow and amateurish, but a decent and concise summary; you can see it HERE. Of me he says, "I think [Ben Radford's] done a great job and as far as I’m concerned he has solved the chupacabra mystery.”   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Chupacabra illustration by Benjamin Radford

Chupacabra illustration by Benjamin Radford

May 202016
 
I'm quoted in a recent Spanish-language article for "Clarin" on the search for monsters... you can read it HERE (as long as you understand Spanish).   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Apr 282016
 
I am quoted in a chapter on werewolves in a new book about horror writing and Stephen King! I haven't seen it yet, but that's what The Google is telling me! I'll have to check it out soon!   12973342_10207611920350345_5432320824697601930_o     You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Apr 252016
 
I was recently a guest on the Atheist Nomads show, episode 141, in which I discussed lots of things, from my chupacabra research to Mormons to Scientology. You can listen HERE.   You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Jan 272016
 
Late last year I recorded about a dozen short (1-2 minute) segments for a NPR station on various skeptical subjects. Here are five of the audio segments now available on YouTube, on the subject of the chupacabra. You can find them HERE. You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Jan 122016
 
My not-entirely-resume-building appearance on the Swedish-language show "Jimmy's Sick World" discussing the chupacabra is now out, for those who are interested... you can find it HERE. jimmy world You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Oct 022015
 
In reviewing my shelf of ghost hunting books for a book chapter I'm writing I noted that the author of two 2011 books on ghosts and ghost hunting writes that she "is new to the paranormal community, having entered field investigation in 2008." Doing a bit of math and knowing the lead time it takes for a book to be edited and published, I realized that she could not have had more than three years of experience (and probably closer to two) before she felt like she knew enough about ghost hunting to proclaim herself an expert and write two books on the topic. I needed at least five years to become an expert on the chupacabra, which is a far narrower subject. Ghost hunting books are rife with self-proclaimed experts whose experience is watching TV and taking ghost tours... You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Sep 202015
 
I'll be giving a presentation on my chupacabra investigation to the Albuquerque SciFi Society on October 9 at 7:30 PM; the origin of the chupacabra has interesting origins with H.R. Giger and the film "Species." You can find out more HERE.    You can find more on me and my work with a search for "Benjamin Radford" (not "Ben Radford") on Vimeo.
Sep 022015
 
Had a great time speaking at this year's Bubonicon as this years guest Science Speaker discussing my chupacabra research (which, if you're familar with it, you know has an interesting link to H.R. Giger and a certain science fiction/horror film). A good turnout, interested and intelligent crowd, and good questions. Always fun!
Aug 272015
 
I'm finishing an interesting article on the pseudohistories of the chupacabra: The Hispanic vampire turns 20 this month and was created in large part by the 1995 film "Species." However those who believe the monster exists have offered a wide variety of completely fictional "true" histories of the chupacabra... Look for it in an upcoming issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine!
Jul 102015
 
An audio recording of me reading the first chapter from my book "Tracking the Chupacabra" is available for free on my web site HERE. Did they edit out my profanity and overheated Shatner-esque delivery? Find out!
Jun 182015
 
I was a guest on the "After Dark Radio Show" recently, talking about everything from ghost hunting pseudoscience to the 1967 Patterson Bigfoot film to the nature of skepticism. Check it out, you can read it HERE. 
Feb 282015
 
My appearance earlier this week on Albuquerque NBC affiliate KOB talking about my chupacabra research is now online. Overall it's a pretty good piece, I did my best to summarize my book and 5 years of research into 3 minutes... You can watch it HERE. 
 
Feb 012015
 
A Chilean farmer recently found a pair of partly mummified animals in a wine cellar. Of course the obvious explanation is "chupacabra," though as I explain it's almost certainly not... yes, the little vampire beastie just won't die. You can read the story HERE.
Jan 182015
 
I was recently interviewed by UNM Prof. V.B. Price for New Mexico Mercury magazine, in which I  talked about my new book Mysterious New Mexico, skepticism, and investigations. Who got upset by my book? Find out! The five-question interview is available online HERE. 
Jan 122015
 
On Thursday January 8 I  appeared live on MSNBC to talk about how climate change might affect unknown animals such as Bigfoot and the chupacabra. My research into the subject, done in part as preparation for the interview, will appear in a forthcoming issue of Skeptical Inquirer. You can see the show HERE. 
Dec 112014
 
Delightful midevalist Eve Siebert wrote an encomium for me. I love it! “Hwæt we æglæcena banan in geardagum wyrhta wundra þrym gefrunon, hu se hærleas ellen fremedon. Oft Hrædferhð heard in heortan feaht ða unsoðan feondas mid his meahte wordum. He sloh buccan sugeran mid his scearpre boce. Þæt wæs god tweonere.” "Yes, we have heard in the days of yore of the glory of the monster-slayer, the worker of wonders, how the hairless one performed deeds of valor. Often Hrædferhð (Nimble Mind), brave in heart, fought the unreal fiends with his mighty words. He slew the suckers of goats with his sharp book. That was a good skeptic."  
Nov 022014
 
My research on the chupacabra is cited in the recent book "Encyclopedia of Latino Culture: From Calaveras to Quinceañeras." Kind of cool, I guess. You can see it HERE. 
 Books, Chupacabra, Folklore, News  Comments Off on My Chupacabra Research is cited in Encyclopedia of Latino Culture: From Calaveras to Quinceañeras.”
Oct 052014
 
My recent guest appearance on The Edge of the Unknown Radio Show is now up, wherein I discuss skepticism, investigations, and some mysteries covered in my new book. Check it out HERE!
Sep 222014
 
    BR ABQ1In the current issue of "Albuquerque: The Magazine" I'm interviewed in a one-page feature in the Culture section talking about my investigations and new book Mysterious New Mexico! Check it out!
Sep 182014
 
On Saturday Sept. 20 I'll be giving a free talk at the Taylor Ranch Library in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 2-3 PM. I'll be discussing my research into (and solving the mystery of) the Hispanic vampire beast El Chupacabra. I'll also be talking about and signing copies of my new book Mysterious New Mexico: Mirackes, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment. So stop by and check it 0ut!
Sep 152014
 
I was recently a guest on the Edge of the Unknown radio show, talking about skepticism, investigation, and my new book Mysterious New Mexico! It will be rebroadcast at various times this week, and be archived, you can find it HERE. 10615584_878928825470278_2036299068539304112_n