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Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore Paperback – March 15, 2011
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- Publisher : University of New Mexico Press (March 15, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0826350151
- ISBN-13 : 978-0826350152
- Item Weight : 12.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.11 x 0.63 x 8.98 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
Fans of forteana should not be turned away by the negative outcome. Some skeptical works come off as abrasive, particularly in fringe subjects where "believers" are prone to be ridiculed for their claims. Correctness aside, I find that such an approach detracts from the readability of what may otherwise be a credible argument. Thankfully, Radford avoids appearing unfairly biased in his writing. He makes his case based on first hand investigation, including direct interviews with supposed witnesses and experts in relevant fields such as wild game and veterinary medicine. He even treks deep into a Nicaraguan jungle in search of the creature, which serves to further distance his efforts from those any "armchair skeptics." My impression after reading was that this work was balanced and open minded, regardless of outcome. Rather than simply rejecting witness claims out of hand as implausible, each case is explored and only invalidated once it can be conclusively shown to be based on false assumptions, incorrect data, or inaccurate reporting. Some of the cultural connections he makes to the earliest sightings are particularly inspired, and are definitely are worth a look.
I don't believe that I've ever so thoroughly enjoyed a debunking as I did reading Tracking the Chupacabra. It's always a bit sad to see a popular cryptid being taken down a few pegs (the mystery tends to be at the core of the enjoyment), but it's only fair to give credit where credit is due. The research and presentation here were so complete and seemingly conclusive, that it really is hard to find fault with this book. Radford addresses everything from the local culture that helps birth and promulgate tales of monsters, to regional vampire lore, to the relevant biology and zoology, as well as the role of the witnesses and media. In some form or another, all facets of the mystery seem to be covered.
All in all, possibly the most definitive work on the Chupacabra available, and well worth a read for anyone with interest in the topic.
(sound of gunshot followed by sound of body slumping to floor)
Hey, I won't be a spoiler - get this book & read it!
Top reviews from other countries
Anyone with an enquiring mind and an interest in cryptozoology or just plain monsters should consider this essential reading.
It is bound to become a classic reference to how to examine extraordinary claims.
The author is not dismissive but open minded when examining evidence whilst still remaining true to the values of scepticism.