And while in less civilized times the drinking of an animal's vital fluid had been deemed an appropriate way in which to absorb the strength or virility of the lion, the bear, or the boar, religious law now admonished against both the drinking of animal blood and the eating of meat from which the blood had not been thoroughly drained. The Old Testament book of Leviticus acknowledges that blood is "the life of all flesh, the blood of it is the life thereof," but the children of Israel are instructed that they "shall not eat of the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
Thou shalt not eat [blood]; thou shalt pourest it upon the earth as water. Similar warnings against the ingesting of blood for religious or health reasons were soon a part of the teachings of all major faiths and cultures. But while culture, magic, and religion had amassed thousands of years of prohibitions concerning the shedding of blood, what could be more repulsive to the human psyche than the hybrid half-human, half-animal monsters bite the throats and drink the blood of men, women, and children?
Vampires rose from their dank graves by night to sustain their spark of life through the drinking of blood. Werewolves devoured the flesh and blood of their victims by night or day. How could people defend themselves against these blood-hungry creatures when they also had the ability to shapeshift into bats, wolves, and luminous fogs?
And then there were the supernatural beings, such as the incubus and the succubus, who were more interested in seizing human souls than in sucking human blood. It is difficult for those living in the modern world to imagine the night terrors of our ancestors as they prepared to face the demon- and monster-riddled world after sundown. Today, vampires, werewolves, and creatures of the dark have become the subjects of entertainment, scary movies, and thrilling television programs that bring relief from the tensions of the real world of homework, peer acceptance, work-related stress, taxes, and providing for one's children.
Yet there seems within each human being a desire to be frightened — safely frightened, that is — by those dormant memories of those demon-infested nights when the creatures waited in the shadows to seize their victims. As one watches the late-night creature feature on television and hears that strange sound outside the window, the thought pops uneasily into the mind that all things are possible — even those things that everyone knows cannot possibly exist.
Bord, Janet, and Colin Bord. Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century. Chicago : Contemporary Books, Clark, Jerome, and Loren Coleman. The Unidentified. New York : Warner Paperback Library, Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore. New York : Larousse, Keel, John A. Strange Creatures from Time and Space. Greenwich, Conn. Named for its seeming penchant for attacking goats and sucking their blood, the Chupacabra "goat sucker" both terrified and fascinated the public at large when it first burst upon the scene in Puerto Rico in the summer of From August of to the present, the monster has been credited with the vampirelike deaths of thousands of animals, ranging from goats, rabbits, and birds to horses, cattle, and deer.
While some argue that the creature is a new monster, others point out that such entities have always existed and been reported by farmers and villagers in Puerto Rico and Central and South America. The beast has been observed by numerous eyewitnesses as it attacked their livestock, and they have described it as nightmarish in appearance.
Standing erect on powerful goatlike legs with three-clawed feet, the monster is generally described as slightly over five feet in height, though some reports list it as over six and a half feet. Its head is oval in shape and it has an elongated jaw with a small, slit mouth and fangs that protrude both upward and downward. A few witnesses have claimed to have seen small, pointed ears on its reptilianlike head, but all who have seen the Chupacabra after dark state that they will never forget its red eyes that glow menacingly in the shadows.
Although its arms are thin, they are extremely powerful, ending in three-clawed paws. A most unusual attribute of the Chupacabra is its chameleonlike ability to change colors even though it appears to have a strong, coarse black hair that covers its torso. Somehow, the creature is able to alter its coloration from green to grayish and from light brown to black, depending upon the vegetation that surrounds it. Another peculiarity of the beast is the row of quill-like appendages that runs down its spine and the fleshly membrane that extends between these projections, which can flare or contract and also change color from blue to green or from red to purple.
Some witnesses have claimed that the Chupacabra can fly, but others state that it is the beast's powerful hindlegs that merely catapult it over walls, small trees, and one-story barns or outbuildings. It is those same strong legs that enable the creature to run at extremely fast speeds to escape its pursuers. It wasn't long after the night terrors began in Puerto Rico before reports of Chupacabra began appearing in Florida , Texas , Mexico, and among the ranchers in Brazil 's southern states of Sao Paulo and Parana.
In Brazil, the ranchers called the monster "O Bicho," the Beast, but there was no mistaking the brutal signature of the Chupacabra on the mutilated corpses of sheep and other livestock. And the description provided by frightened eyewitnesses was also the same — a reptilian creature with thin arms, long claws, powerful hind legs, and dark gray in color. On May 11, , the newspaper Folha de Londrina in Parana State, Brazil, published the account of a slaughter that had occurred at a ranch near Campina Grande do Sul when in a single corral 12 sheep were found dead and another 11 were horribly mutilated.
While some authorities attributed the attacks to wild dogs or cougars, those who had been eyewitnesses to the appearance of the beast argued that the creature that they had seen walking on its hind legs and seizing livestock by the throat had most certainly not been any kind of known canine or cat. Rumors concerning Chupacabra's origin began to circulate at a furious pace. From April to September , the bloodsucker in Chile slaughtered more than animals, and both the people and the authorities were becoming concerned about what kind of monster was running amuck in their country.
Some witnesses to the bloody rampages of the creature described it as a large rodent, others as a mutant kangaroo; still others perceived it as a winged, apelike vampire. A number of authorities began to speculate that the Chupacabra-type creatures had been manufactured by some secret government agency, a bizarre hybrid of various animals, created for whom knew what purpose. A number of clergymen issued pronouncements stating that the creatures were heralding the end of the world. UFO enthusiasts theorized that aliens brought the monsters to test the planet's atmosphere, in order to prepare a mass invasion of Earth.
Anthropologists reminded people that tales of such mysterious, vampirelike monsters that sucked the blood out of livestock had been common in Central America for centuries.
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A widely popular story spread throughout Chile that Chilean soldiers had captured a Chupacabra male, female, and cub that had been living in a mine north of Calama. Then, according to the account, a team of NASA scientists arrived in a black helicopter and reclaimed the Chupacabra family. On August 30, , Jorge Luis Talavera, a farmer in the jurisdiction of Malpaisillo, Nicaragua , had enough of the nocturnal depredations of Chupacabra.
The beast had sucked the life from 25 of his sheep and 35 of his neighbor's flock, and he lay in wait with rifle in hand for its return. That night it seemed that Talavera accomplished what no other irate farmer or rancher had been able to do. He shot and killed a Chupacabra. Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology, reported that a specialist of veterinary medicine examined the carcass and acknowledged that it was an uncommon creature with great eye cavities, smooth batlike skin, big claws, large teeth, and a crest sticking out from the main vertebra.
The specialist said that the specimen could have been a hybrid animal made up of several species, created through genetic engineering. However, on September 5, , the official analysis of the corpse by the university medical college was that Talavera had shot a dog. A furious Luis Talavera declared that the officials had switched carcasses.
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Today, Chupacabra reports continued unabated from nearly all the South American countries. While the creature remains controversial and arguments ensue whether it is some kind of vampire, extraterrestrial alien, or a creation of some secret branch of the U. Astuya, Juan Carlos.
La Estrella de Valparaiso, October 14, Corrales, Scott. Chupacabras and Other Mysteries. Murfreesboro, Tenn. Del Valle, Fernando. Ocejo-Sanchez, Virgilio. Septem ber 21, The ghoul is linked with both the vampire and the werewolf in traditional folklore, but there are a number of obvious reasons why the entity has never attained the popularity achieved by the Frankenstein monsters, Draculas, and Wolfmen of the horror films.
The category of ghoul encompasses a number of different entities.
One type of ghoul, like the vampire, is a member of the family of the undead, continually on the nocturnal prowl for new victims. Unlike the vampire, however, this ghoul feasts upon the flesh of the deceased, taking the corpses from cemeteries and morgues. The ghoul more common to the waking world is that of the mentally unbalanced individual who engages in eating or otherwise desecrating the flesh of deceased humans. Yet a third type of ghoul would be those native of Arabic folklore, the ghul male and ghulah female , demonic jinns that haunt burial grounds and sustain themselves on human flesh stolen from graves.
It is easy to envision how the legend of the ghoul began in ancient times when graves were shallow and often subject to the disturbances of wild animals seeking carrion. Later, as funeral customs became more elaborate and men and women were buried with their jewelry and other personal treasures, the lure of easy wealth superseded any superstitious or ecclesiastical admonitions that might have otherwise kept grave robbers away from cemeteries and from desecrating a corpse's final rest.
Then, in the late s, surgeons and doctors began to discover the value of dissection. The infant science of surgery was progressing rapidly, but advancement required cadavers — and the more cadavers that were supplied, the more the doctors realized how little they actually knew about the anatomy and interior workings of the human body, and thus the more cadavers they needed.
As a result, societies of grave robbers were formed called the "resurrectionists. And, of course, digging was easier in unsettled dirt. The great irony was that advancement in medical science helped to perpetuate the legend of the ghoul.
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Perverse Crimes in History. New York: Julian Press, The Golem is the Frankenstein monster of Jewish tradition, but it is created from virgin soil and pure spring water, rather than the body parts of cadavers. It is also fashioned by those who purify themselves spiritually and physically, rather than heretical scientists in foreboding castle laboratories who bring down electricity from the sky to animate their patchwork human.
Once the Golem has been formed, it is given life by the Kabbalist placing under its tongue a piece of paper with the Tetragrammaton the four-letter name of God written on it. According to certain traditions, the creation of a Golem is one of the advanced stages of development for serious practitioners of Kabbalah and alchemy.
Instructions for fashioning a Golem according to the Talmudic tradition was set down sometime in the tenth century by Rabbi Eliezar Rokeach in The Book of Formation, and in his modern adaptation of the ancient text, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan stressed that the initiate should never attempt to make a Golem alone, but should always be accompanied by one or two learned colleagues for it can become a monster and wreak havoc. When such a mistake occurs, the divine name must somehow be removed from the creature's tongue and it be allowed to revert to dust.
The most famous Golem is "Yossele," the creature said to be created by Judah Loew Ben Bezalel — to help protect the Jews of Prague from the libel that the blood of a Christian child was used during the Passover Seder. There are many accounts of how Yossele saved Jews from reprisals directed against them by those citizens who had been incited by the anti-Semitic libel. Once the Golem had served its purpose, the rabbi locked it in the attic of Prague's Old-New Synagogue, where it is widely believed that the creature rests to this day.
The synagogue survived the widespread destruction directed against Jewish places of worship by the Nazis in the s and early s, and it is said that the Gestapo did not even enter the attic.