Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mangy coyotes, mad cows, and mythological creatures

Today at Worldwide Wacko Watch we're keeping a close eye on three developing stories.  At least I am.  My research team, made up of my dogs Grendel and Doolin, are currently asleep, having just completed a critical mission of barking at nothing at 4 AM. 

Of course, maybe there was something there, and I just didn't notice it.  Some people in Cedar Park, Texas, were probably wishing they had dogs as brave as mine to protect them when they saw, skulking in a field near Hill Country Winery, a pack of Chupacabras.  (Source)

"I don't know what it is," said Rick Cumptson, who has also seen the animals in a field outside of his store. "I'd never even heard of Chupacabra until about two weeks ago. I started looking, trying to figure out what the hell these were.  They were just hanging out there in the field.  It looked like maybe they had just had breakfast, and were out there playing around."

Well, already that has to make you wonder.  Chupacabras don't "play around."  They terrorize residents with their horrifying visages, rippling muscles, and glowing red eyes, and look around for goats to disembowel.  Be that as it may, Cumpston and others who have seen the animals are certain that what they're seeing is the renowned blood-sucking cryptid.

Me, I'm not so sure.  Every time someone has seen a Chupacabra, or taken a photograph, or shot one, it's turned out to be a coyote with sarcoptic mange.   Jack Bonner, who works for Williamson County Animal Control, concurs.  "Anybody that calls in a Chupacabra -- it's a coyote with mange," Bonner said, adding that there was a "really, really, really nasty, ugly, mangy coyote that was over in that area" a few months ago.

Cumpston, of course, isn't convinced.  "I don't think it's possible," he told reporters for the Austin Statesman.  "I've seen coyotes and I've seen this -- two of them within 25 feet -- their head is nowhere similar to a coyote at all. Their ears are different, their eyes are different. I just can't believe that."

So, if you visit Texas, watch out for Chupacabras on the rampage.  Or mangy coyotes.  Either one, I would imagine, would be really, really, really nasty to meet.

But not, perhaps, as scary as a bunch of deranged cows, which is what some farmers in Indiana had to contend with after their field got buzzed by a UFO.  (Source)

MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) posted a story on June 5 that there was a report from an undisclosed location in Indiana, telling about a sighting of a UFO that "streaked across the sky very fast and had a long tail behind it."  This, so far, isn't that unusual -- dozens of such reports come in every day.  But what happened afterwards sets it apart.

Minutes later, the eyewitness said that his cows began "going nuts, making noises and slamming themselves into the gate."  He himself reports feeling "strange and shaky," and says that shortly thereafter, he "heard sirens and saw several emergency response vehicles headed in the direction that the 'UFO' was traveling."

The whole thing puts me in mind of the strangely satisfying CowAbduction, where you see a photograph of a calmly grazing cow, and when you click on it, the cow moos and gets flung upwards into the air, as if with a tractor beam.  No, nothing else happens, but it's still funny enough that just I spent ten minutes messing around with it, probably because I need to have another cup of coffee so that my brain will actually start working.  On the other hand, the tracker on the CowAbduction page says that the website has logged 1,650,553 cow abductions to date, so I guess I'm not the only one who is easily amused.

And even cow abductions aren't as scary as what's going on in Chesterfield, Michigan, where a mythological creature is stalking the woods.  (Source)

A Macomb County police report from June 6 states that a Chesterfield resident had a rock thrown through his window, with a scary note attached.  The note "said a mythological creature was in the woods nearby and that children should be made aware of the danger."

Police scoured the woods nearby and "did not find any suspects, nor any mythological creatures."

Me, if I was trying to warn my neighbors about rampaging mythological creatures, (1) I would find a less antisocial way to warn them than throwing a rock through their window, and (2) I would be a little more specific regarding what I was warning them about.  What kind of mythological creature?  A centaur?  A leprechaun?  A balrog?  You can see that the kinds of responsive measures you might want to take would be different in each of those cases -- respectively (1) hide the women-folk, (2) look for a pot in which to bring home your gold, or (3) piss yourself and scream like a little girl.  So it would have been nice if they could have given the Chesterfield resident a little more information regarding what they were up against.  However, there were no further reports of balrogs in the woods, so it all ended happily enough.

So, anyway, that's our report for the day.  I think that about winds us up here, which is a good thing, because my dogs have woken up and are barking again.  Maybe this time there's actually something out there in the back yard -- possibly a mangy chupacabra, a mad, UFO-crazed cow, or a "mythological creature."  Or maybe they're just barking because they like to bark.  Myself, I suspect it's the latter.


  1. Um. They have pictures of the 'chupacabras' and they still published the article and others like it. Weird looking for sure, but obviously diseased dogs or coyotes or something. If i'm going to get excited about a picture of a legendary blood sucking creature, it better look scary and not like i could easily pet it. Am I the only one who wants to feed the poor things?

  2. I was watching destination truth on the discovery channel when they did an episode about chupacabras. They took a DNA sample from a supposed chupacabra someone had found dead or something. Turns out I was just some weird dog/coyote hybrid they had never seen before. It's amazing the conclusions people come to when they see something new to them.