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Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore Paperback – March 15, 2011
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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. --Library Journal
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! --Dr. Karl Shuker, zoologist and author of The Beasts that Hide from Man and Extraordinary Animals Worldwide
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. --Dr. Stephen Asma, author of On Monsters and Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Scholar at Columbia College
From the Inside Flap
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.
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The Chupacabras (or Chupacabra as Ben Radford puts it) is one of the flashier, better-known cryptids ranking right up there in popularity with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. And it is a fun and exciting mystery-- a reptilian, blood-sucking night creature haunting ranches and farms, killing livestock and family pets with wreckless abandon, leaving blood-drained carcasses in its wake. For me, this is great stuff for my next book.
However, if we are to take this field of study seriously, in order for there to be any true progress and real discovery, then we need to be willing to look into these mysteries in the light of intelligent, scientific study. We have to allow for level-headed researchers to be able to hold any suspected evidence to a high standard that may very well bring about the end of the mystery in question. There are many people who are threatened by that very idea and will oppose the arguments made in books such as this.
Ben Radford has done the kind of research that should be done for all cryptid animals. In the case of the Chupacabras he has left no stone unturned and shown that there is little to the legend beyond folklore and mass hysteria. And that's okay. This is still a fascinating read and anyone with a remote interest in the biology of what makes an animal capable (or incapable) of drinking blood, how some large predators will kill with a single bite to the throat and leave a viable carcass behind without feeding on it, or how the mange can so severely dis-figure a common animal to the point of being unrecognizable will love this book.
In the realm of cryptozoology, this is REAL SCIENCE and needs to be considered as the new standard of practice in all research in this field.
(sound of gunshot followed by sound of body slumping to floor)
Hey, I won't be a spoiler - get this book & read it!
I put this book in my wish list from the author's appearances on his own "Monster Talk" podcast as well as others. On these podcasts Radford comes across as very articulate, precise, and thorough. His writing style shares all these same features. I had many enjoyable evenings reading the book in Radford's voice.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that Radford had little hope that the results of his research and investigation would turn out any other way than how they actually did. Some might claim he approached the chupacabra with less than a completely open mind and I think there is some merit to that view. However, no one can come to any subject without preconceptions. Radford more than justifies the conclusions he reaches. The exhaustive bibliography, in both English and Spanish, testify to the thoroughness of his research.
One part of the book did strike me as padding of a sort. Did he really take the grueling trip to Nicaragua solely to search for the chupacabra? That seems above and beyond the call of duty. I suspect the trip had more than one purpose and the chupacabra angle was gratuitous.
The book was so good I couldn't bring myself to dock a star because of the Kindle shortcomings. Besides being ridiculously overpriced, the Kindle edition has a big flaw. Neither the figures, the references, nor the notes are linked. The first is not too annoying since the figures show up in the text close to the point where referenced. But the unlinked references and notes are inexcusable. The notes especially are very worthwhile following up on and the pain of using bookmarks to access them is quite annoying. How can an academic press fall down like this? Especially at the hefty asking price?
Highly recommended despite the Kindle flaws.