Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chupacabra Road Trip Reviewed

It's always a pleasure to get a new book from my friend Nick Redfern, and he's so prolific that the opportunity comes fairly often. 
I've had several titles from him on my desk but Nick's one of those writers who's work you don't want to put down so I usually wait until I have a block of time without interruption. 

I just polished off Chupacabra Road Trip: In Search of the Elusive Beast, and it was as good as I expected.

Nick has done extensive investigation into the legends of the Chupacabras, both in Puerto Rico and the United States.  Anyone at all familiar with these strange creatures will know that there are two distinct versions, one, the canine "blue dogs" found in Texas and other areas of the US, and the creepier, bipedal versions reported in Puerto Rico.

In 1995, Puerto Rico was overtaken with a mass hysteria due to a strange creature that appeared from the island's rainforests.  The wave of attacks led many people to believe that this was a new phenomena, but during his investigations on the island, Nick learned that this was far from the case.  Documented reports go back much farther and it's clear that something strange has been lurking in the wilds of Puerto Rico for quite a long time.  Here's one description given by a witness that Redfern interviewed:

"He was shocked to see a large creature, around four feet in length and tan in color...the animal walked on all fours, but when hit by the bright beam, it reared up onto its hind legs.  As it did so, the beast let out a menacing growl and a large row of spikes suddenly sprang erect down the length of its neck and back.  Worse still, the white eyes of the animal suddenly turned to a glowing red.  "Devilish" scarcely began to describe the fraught situation."

The book is chock full of such creepy accounts, along with a few harrowing situations that Nick found himself in during the course of his journey.  Quick tip: walking up to Puerto Rican cops and asking for the address of a drug lord is a dicey thing to do.

Along with the weird creature reports, there's an exploration into some of the wild theories that Redfern has been presented with to explain the Chupacabras.  I was particularly interested in the crazy tale involving Dugway Proving ground and mutated Thylacines.

When it comes to exploring the strange, the field is full of armchair researchers who come to their "expert" conclusions while sitting behind a computer.  Fortunately, Redfern isn't part of the keyboard brigade and it helps him stand out from the rest.  This comment in the conclusion of the book really says it all:

"What the Internet does not do and cannot do, however, is to provoke or provide the unique sense of wonder that comes from sitting across from a real living, breathing person who tells you of their face-to-face encounter with something terrifying, deadly and inhuman."

Wise and accurate words indeed.  Hands down, this is one of my favorite Nick Redfern books, and I urge you all to give it a read.

And Nick, next time you're hitting the Chupacabra trail, give me a ring, I'm game!

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