Kage Baker was a cryptozoology fan. She followed strange, mythical, newly discovered or recently missing animals stories closely, finding a lot of fodder for stories in them. It amused us to keep track of “Company projects” in the news – a lot of our friends and family still do, and send their finds gleefully to me.
I got one today from an old friend, Tom Westlake – our own, our very own Lord of Misrule. He sent me a link to a fascinating chupacabra story, complete with video – and not the usual hairless coyote loping in front of a police camera, glancing over its shoulder at the astonished arms of the Law. It’s from St. George County, Maryland, where a group of people filmed and briefly captured a strange little creature. They claim it’s a chupacabra. What is is, certainly, is yet another “unknown canid” – feral, slate blue and extravagantly bald. What the hell is going on with chupacabras?
Kage was quite fascinated, not so much with chupacabras as with their swift, modern evolution in the news. What began as bad sketches of red-eyed insectile humanoids has changed universally to videos of hairless blue canids – at least in the United States. Here, though, they seem to wander back country roads and primly leave the goats alone; this one was trapped using leftover Chinese food – which it seems to quite enjoy. Far from the snarling little bidedal horrors of the original myth, what we see nowadays are usually pegged as coyotes or foxes with appalling mange.
Take a look:
Its captors immortalized it on video and then turned it loose. I don’t blame them; there is something a little pitiful about it. It’s so very bald … on the other hand, while I applaud not turning the chupacabra over to heartless scientists, I rather wish they had at least consulted a vet. Maybe something could be done about its mange. Or we could at least find out if some branch of the Canidae has thrown a mutation that is normally, healthily, bald as an egg and the colour of a walking bruise.
Frankly, I think it’s rather pretty. I also think it’s a fox – the long legs, the delicate facial bones, the huge ears. Also, at the end of the tape, there is the hint of a white tuft of hair still decorating its very, very long tail. All in all, it’s a rather fey looking wee beastie, and not scary at all. I guess a chicken or a mu gu gai pan might feel differently, but I can’t imagine this critter successfully menacing a goat …
A far cry from the South American versions, which attack goats fatally and make threatening gestures at distressed goatherds with huge, lobsterish claws. But it’s definitely the same thing seen in recent years all over the United States. So what it is? No one knows, it’s a mystery.
I must have watched this clip a couple of dozen times today, studying the beastie. That’s one of the reasons this post is so late. Also, though, I had to write that forward for Tachyon Publishing on Kage’s silent movie reviews – which I did manage to complete and get in on time! Took some family members shoe shopping. Waited by the door (biting my nails supportively) while nephew Michael took his first driving lesson, and applauded his triumph as he returned not only unscathed but more than ready to hit the road in the family car. Have cheered on the production of meatloaf, and failed to convince Harry the parrot that sugar cane is a nice treat and not a disguised parrot-eater.
Busy day. Kage business, writing business, ordinary life business, and a nice little dollop of weirdness just so I know it’s still my life.
And now, Dear Readers, time for a refreshing iced coffee drink and a dive back into “Marswife”. Because a volume of Mars stories is due next year, and I’m a little short …