Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for May 16, 1996 nn nn AAN

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Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for May 16, 1996 from: AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #40 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 5/16/96 In This Edition... * A Special Report on CHUPACBRAS (Part Two) CHUPACABRAS TAKES OVER WHERE SATANISTS, ALIENS NO LONGER TREAD (Part Two of Two) (Reports of the "Chupacabras" or "Mexican bloodsucker" hit much of the American newsmedia yesterday. This beast, said to resemble a cross between a giant dog and a reptile, supposedly has been attacking men, women and farm animals in northern Mexico. Gangs of farmers and police are reportedly on the prowl for the ferocious beast, which is also said to drink the blood of its prey after sinking its fangs into the flesh. But the "Chupacabras" may be less of a genetic mutant, and more of a folk-legend which happens to mesh neatly with widespread social anxieties and fears. "Chupacabras" may turn out to be just one of a whole stable of mythical creatures feared to be stalking the countryside -- and the human imagination -- as we approach the second millennium.) ************* While reports of the Chupacabras originally came from rural areas, the "goat-sucker" is quickly being fitted into the tapestry of new age pseudoscience invented by urbanized California-consciousness types. Renderings of the beast now show it to be a creature stringly similar to Hollywood-ET's -- a large, oval head with prominent bug-eyes. Indeed, one theory suggests that the Mexican bloodsucker really IS an alien, drawn first to Puerto Rico by the presence there of the giant radio telescope at Arecibo. While the Chupacabras is, then, distinctly a high-tech freak, it still lurks in barnyards gobbling up raw chickens, goats and other stock. (The alien-Chupacabras was theorized by one Jorge Martin, publisher of a UFO magazine known as "Evidencia.") Latin American television picked up the Chupacabras story, and the folk tale made its way to Miami, Florida. There, a Spanish-language TV chat show called "Cristina" publicized the story of the bizarre creature in early March. The Chupacabras then apparently lost interest in the Arecibo telescope, and -- by means unknown -- promptly made its way to South Florida. Reports on mutilations of goats, chickens and other animals began to proliferate, and were quickly blamed on the peripatetic monster. There were also claims that two bizarre aliens were involved; one witness said they had "big black eyes, fangs, a pair of huge wings, a spine of thorn-like objects on its back and a long tail with a hook at the end with which she watched it (sic) grab her animals and suck their blood." Posted on a "Chupacabras" page on the net (http://www.princeton.edu/~accion/chupa) were other claims as well: * "We are very much afraid this little monster is visiting us here in the miami Area (sic). Today we go the second report that 46 domestic animals were killed in their Locked pen (sic)." * "This is the third mutilation in one month here in Miamai, just watch in the news 'Primer Impact' somewhere in the vicinity of the N.W where 24 chickens and two goats were mutilated almost exactly like the ones in Puerto Rico with the two incisions near the right upper neck with no trace of blood... (sic)" Claims presented by Jorge Martin in "Evidencia" appear to fueled even more imaginary speculations about the Chupacabras, much of it creating a meshwork with other pseudo-science, even religious artifacts. Martin wrote that victims of the goat sucker not only had been drained of blood, but that "Reproductive, sexual organs, anus, eyes and other soft tissue have all been removed." It sounded remarkably like earlier claims about "satanic cattle mutilations." He also mentioned the possibility that a "religious or satanic sect may be responsible," although ,"the sheer number of cases appears to negate this potential." As with other claims about UFO's and aliens, the Chupacabras began to look more and more like a "Hanger 18" or "Area 51" spoof than an authentic folk legend. "Evidencia" seems to have borrowed the story line from some old scripts of "The X-Files," telling readers that "It has been brought to my attention that at least two of these creatures have been captured (!) by Government officers, both from the U.S. Federal Government and the Purertorican Government (sic)," and that "Luminous oval or pyramidal shaped UFO's have been seen in the vicinity where animals have been mutilated and found to be without blood." A Suversion Myth Social scientists have observed that many tales about UFO abduction, cattle mutilation and even "Satanic cult sacrifices" are all forms of subversion-mythology; a community is 'threatened" by sinister outsider (spies, communists, aliens, homosexuals) who are often pictured as having almost-supernatural powers. Martin suggests that "Puerto Rico has been the site for much experimentation by the United States on the island's population and territory for decades," and then details alleged use of "Talidomida and anti-conceptive drugs on our women, which caused the birth of many malformed children in the 1950's (sic)." Agent Orange is also listed, and Martin then states, "The ABE's (now dubbed 'Anomalous Biological Entities') could be the result -- and has gone awry -- who knows? Perhaps the creatures have escaped and that someone has lost control of the situation? (sic)" Several themes of pop-cultural pseudo-science converge here, furthering embellishing the stature of Chupacabras. First there is the fear that unknowing populations have been victimized by sinister biological experiments affecting women and children. A shorthand is adopted to describe the creatures involved; instead of "ET," we are now dealing with "ABE's. Biological conspiracy theories, of course, have been used to explain everything from AIDS and cancer to the elusive etiology of Gulf War Syndrome. The notion of a genetic mutation or hybrids is rampant in conspiracy scenarios which describe collusion between aliens and U.S. government officials ("Area 51"). But there is the even more-revealing fears that "our women" are being victimized -- if not by aliens, then perhaps by the blood sucker? Subversion mythology creeps into the Chupacabras story in other ways, as well. A whole line of Chupacabras products is reportedly being sold, including tee shirts. Many depict the goat sucker, but with the face of Mexican President Carlos Salinas; indeed, it has become almost an official pastime for government officials to use their time in office to extort large sums of money from the national treasury, or in the form of bribes. Salinas joins a long line of former PRI Presidents who reportedly enriched themselves to the tune of billions of ill-gained dollars and pesos. There are also accusations of government cover-up. U.S.- based UFO enthusiasts have provided their counterparts south of the border with considerable speculative materials concerning alleged covert American activities. But paranoia and suspicion quickly get out of hand; UFO-Chupacabras "researchers" are apparently starting to turn on each other. One paranormal publication asked, when told that a "crop circle" investigator had arrived to hunt for information about the goat-sucker: "Has this prestigious researcher been recruited by Stateside UFO research oreganizations or governmental agencies to invalidate the serious nature of the investigations being conducted on the island?" Perhaps the crop-circle investigator is really a Chupacabras in mufti? ******** Other themes surround the evolving tale about the Chupacabras... * The story of the goat-sucker is exciting and unusual. Songs are being recorded, and the Chupacabras -- like the alleged Roswell-UFO crash -- is becoming a bit of a tourist draw. The "home page" for the goat sucker informs readers that Chemo "Jones" Soto, Mayor of Canovanas, has "undertaken a quest to capture the Chupacabras before it sucks the entire animal population dry." Chemo is running for re-election, apparently, has has reportedly viewed all of the Indiana Jones movies at least twice, "and was last seen buying a leather whip at tyhe local Sears." He's also purchased a crucifix in case the Chupacabras turns out to be an authentic vampire. * Along with fears of biological imperialism or extra-terrestrial hanky-pank, other expressions of subversion mythology abound. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, quoted a Puerto Rican veterinarian who speculated that "It (the Chupacabras) could be a human being who belongs to a religious sect, even another anirmal," or, "It could be someone who wants to make fun of the Puerto Rican people." * Newspaper editor German Negroni suggests that the "obsession" of the goat sucker exists "among islanders troubled by over population and high rates of drug use and crime." He adds that "people are probably looking for something to relieve stress." Pre Millennium Jitters? With the year 2,000 just a few pages away on the calendar, some observers aren't surprised by the widespread popularity Chupacabras is receiving. The phantom blood sucker has certainly held his own in the news limelight along with Princess Di and O.J. Simpson. But elements of the Chupacabra hysteria -- subversion mythology, fears of epidemics or other biological calamities ("The Hot Zone", AIDS, Ebola), the steady erosion of rationality as a mechanism for explaining how the world operates, crank-pseudo-science scenarios involving horny aliens and genetic freaks -- all constitute integral parts of pre- millennium hysteria. By itself, the goat sucker would be just a folk tale based on a wolfe or a coyote; but in the emotion-charged, electronic media-boosted cultural environment of the pre-second millennium world, Chupacabras joins a circus of other artifacts which are suddenly endowed with new existential vitality and cosmic significance. The goat-sucker becomes "linked" to cavorting aliens in Nevada, secret tunnels leading to the center of the earth (another twist in the Chupacabras tale!), mysterious cults and sects and the exotica of conspiratorial obfuscation. Throw in some warnings from the Virgin Mary, a prophecy or two from Nostradamus, word of an unusually cold winter, and we have all the ingredients for a perfect brain-salad of pseudo-science and religious mysticism. That should make New Year's Eve, 1999, even more interesting than a party in Times Square! ********** About AA NEWS... AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. As Atheists, we are also intellectual skeptics; while AANEWS focuses mostly on First Amendment, state-church separation issues, we do occasionally like to explore the more exotic never-never land of contemporary pop-culture and pseudo-science. For more information about American Atheists, send e-mail to: info@atheists.org, and include your name and address in the message body. You may forward, repost or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to AANEWS and American Atheists. For background on this list, send mail to: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.

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