Puerto Rico: Chupacabras on the AirwavesBy Scott Corrales
I recently came across a radio interview that formed part of my original writings on the Chupacabras phenomenon in 1995, and which provided a good deal of insight on human reactions to the sudden appearance of the predator – responses ranging from iron-clad skepticism to unquestioning acceptance. The name of the show was “Senderos” and was a call-in program hosted by parapsychologist Jose Enrique Acosta. His guest on that particular installment, which aired in the summer of 1995,
zoologist Edwin Velásquez, who stated that his study of Puerto Rico's "vampire" problem went back twenty years, when he was employed with the now defunct Safari Park Zoo. The zoologists tone was skeptical throughout the broadcast, as was that of the host, but witnesses and journalists held the line.
This transcript appeared in “The Chupacabras Diaries” but was omitted from “Chupacabras and Other Mysteries”. It nonetheless constitutes an interesting “outtake” that many readers may not have had a chance to see before.Transcript of the Show
Host: many people have said that the creature drags itself along the ground, lives in caves...is there anything to this belief?
Zoologist: Not everyone can describe a creature they see at night, and their imagination fills the blanks by association with other things. It happens very often in the Laguna Cartagena region, where feral monkeys escaped from a research institute. A person seeing one of these apes in twilight would believe they had seen a little man, thus mistaking the real for the fantastic.
Host: [...] people must learn to banish their fears, as can be witnessed by the situation created around vampires, bloodsuckers, and an entire array of creatures.
Zoologist: This is dangerous, because when the humble, ignorant people of our rural areas hear that there is a bloodsucking creature on the loose, they believe it. Hysteria sets in. We should not be so sensationalistic. The media, for whatever reason, only gives one part of the story rather than the whole story.
[After a commercial break, the host returned with another guest on the line: Arnaldo Ginés of Channel 11 on the telephone. The reason for his having been invited on the show was that he had of course investigated the Orocovis "vampires."]
Journalist: Who said they were vampires?
Host: The callers to our show who've been saying that vampires or extraterrestrials are to blame...but since you're a scientific journalist, we'd like you to tell us exactly what transpired.
Journalist: Well, I always try to produce an objective report by having people say exactly what it is they've seen. I cannot testify to something I haven't seen, or that my cameraman hasn't filmed. All I can say is that there were indeed dead animals with wounds on their bodies which can be attributed to any creature, in all the time that we've been going to Orocovis. We did see a bull die before our very eyes, which was a very impressive sight, but aside from that, I can't lay claim to having seen anything unusual. Some of the people who've agreed to be interviewed before our camera claim, allege, having seen something strange and have even produced a number of drawings of what they saw.
Host: But your cameraman hasn't picked up anything strange?
Journalist: Not at all. We have gone out at night with infrared film in the camera and haven't come up with anything.
Host: What about these strange marks on the animals' bodies? Do they appear to have been made by dogs?
Journalist: Well, that's where I draw the line, because I'm in no way well-versed in the subject. I understand that a when a dog bites, it tends to tear at the flesh, but I'm not by any means an expert in their behavior. It is curious, however, that the dead bull and the dead sheep had wounds that were similar to each other, and the animals that were wounded but didn't die displayed the same wounds.
Host: [...] Our guest Edwin Velásquez has some questions for you...
Zoologist: Yes, I would like to know if the persons in the regions remarked that there were dogs in the area, or if the wounds could be attributed to feral dogs.
Journalist: Well, at least one witness says that wild dogs could have been responsible, particularly around the property belonging to Quique Barreto, where the dead sheep were found. There is a waste dump in the area where wild animals of all kinds could have bred. It's possible, therefore, that dogs could be involved. I think in fact that Tito Chávez from Natural Resources has said that dog bites or bites caused by some other animal are more than likely the explanation, as opposed to some extraterrestrial creature as some parties have tried to make it seem.
Host: What about the dead heifer? Was it ill before it died? Was its owner treating it with some medication?
Journalist: I really don't know if it was sick. I understand that, as in Don Quique's case, when they found the animals lying there, they were injected with substances at the recommendation of a veterinarian. I suppose the same happened with the bull. It's possible that a reaction or overdose brought about the death--but I'm speculating. I understand that lab results are being expected. I would like your listeners to know that I enjoy this kind of reporting and that when it is an unusual matter, it is highly attractive for purposes of the print media and television. I become concerned, though, when hysteria begins to spread, for which reason I made a report twelve days later showing that no animal deaths had taken place. We cannot say the witnesses are lying, but it cannot be denied that something has been seen causing the attacks.
Zoologist: There is always possibility that an exotic animal is on the loose and has caused these deaths. It could have been released accidentally or on purpose, causing the damage in question.
Journalist: Well, what matters is that there have been no more attacks over the past 12 days, and the people of Orocovis can begin feeling calmer about the situation. Trust that the authorities will clear up the matter...I recall that in Camuy, a few years ago, certain pigs died mysteriously, and I'm not sure if it was ever cleared up. For many years people spoke about the Moca Vampire, but I understand that it was all a hoax...
Host: It was a hoax...
Zoologist: It was fabricated...
Journalist:...they took a bat and inserted false fangs into its mouth, or something like that.
Host: No, the fangs were inserted in a bird that was photographed in the newspapers, and it allegedly sucked blood. It turned out to be a guabairo, a bird native to Puerto Rico, into which the spurs used by fighting roosters had been inserted.
Journalist: Now, during all my time in Orocovis, no one has told me anything about animals being bloodless or having their blood removed.
Host: Of course, of course, and you've just made an interesting point. Blood specimens were drawn on the dead animals.
Host: But the story is that the extraterrestrials landed and left them without a single drop of blood, and this isn't true.
Journalist: Correct. No one has told me that they have no blood. I believe that there are people here and around the world who believe in extraterrestrials and have studied the matter for years, there are folks in different parts of the island and of the world who allege having seen strange lights and animals. I respect these peoples' beliefs, in the same way I respect religion and politics. But as a journalist I must stay objective, even though I have my own point of view of this situation. But I can tell people that it is a UFO only if I've captured it in my camera lens. For this reason I insist that these deaths could have been produced by an exotic animal, and that the people of Orocovis were unable to describe an animal they had never seen before...not so long ago I went to Cabo Rojo to report on some apes that were on the loose, in an area where there are no apes to begin with.
Zoologist: They're still there, you know.
Journalist: Its a highly complex matter, and the problem is that the people of Orocovis have taken it very seriously, and it has affected many local children. They can't go to school, they're restless in their sleep, and I feel that although we have a responsibility to inform people about what's going on, we're also responsible for urging them to remain calm, without having to cause an alarm.
Host: That's how it is, and Arnaldo, we would like to thank you for being on our show...everyone knows the serious and scientific approach you've taken in all your stories.
Journalist: You're very welcome. Good night.
Host: We will now begin taking phone calls on the line, only calls related to tonight's subject. Noti-Uno, hello?
Caller #1: Hello, good evening. This is Tita M. calling...
Host: Doña Tita, excuse me for a minute...aside from the callers already on the line, I'm inviting our listeners from Orocovis to call us as well. I feel they deserve every chance to comment on what's going on in their community. Please go ahead, Doña Tita.
Caller #1: As I'm talking to you, The Learning Channel, I think it's Channel 30, is showing something on flying objects, UFOs, and there's a Harvard professor who alleges that they exist, and a whole lot more. My question is this: where do the UFOs seen over Orocovis fit in? Where do the...
Host: Excuse me, Doña Tita, who said anything about flying saucers?
Caller # 1: Well, according to the reports...
Host: There were no reports, photos, films, or any evidence or proof.
Caller #1: I'm sorry, but I heard on WKAQ that there are two witnesses who did see flying objects. I'm not making this up as I go along.
Host: No, no, I understand. Scientifically, there is no proof that any sightings have taken place, only sightings of lights, which are common...
Caller #1: And the decomposition [process] of the animals, which didn't take place, was something I also found strange. Furthermore, all I could say--and Don Edwin knows that I know quite a bit about animals...
Caller #1: Do you remember, Edwin, the Tasmanian Devil that escaped from el Monoloro? [defunct zoo]
Zoologist: The one in Carolina, you mean?
Caller #1: No, not the Monoloro, the other one...
Host: Safari Park?
Caller#1: That's the one! That was years ago, and it's the only thing that could...I'm looking at this objectively, but the flesh didn't rot with the tremendous heat we've been experiencing. Once, I took two geese which had been found in Cabo Rojo, with no blood and puncture marks, to a vet, who was well known here. He did the autopsy and everything, but after it was done, he refused to sign the autopsy protocol. The geese didn't have a drop of blood between them.
Host: I'm going to jump ahead of Edwin here. I'm not a scientist or a doctor like he is...
Caller #1: I think that the protocols or the Federal paperwork granted to veterinarians or importers, people having to do with fauna and flora, are afraid to receive a sanction from Federal authorities, but I'm sitting here watching extraterrestrials on channel 30, and I'm wondering what's going on?
Host: Well, you can have anything you want going on, But let me tell you from experience that I'm not an authorized embalmer, but I have done embalming of bodies during years, and blood is the first thing to decompose. When something has bled to death, there is little blood to be found. With no blood in the body, the decomposition process takes longer to come about. I imagine that the same applies to animals. Edwin can challenge me on this point if it isn't so.
Zoologist: It is so, and both the climatological and soil conditions play a role in determining this matter. Many animal corpses do not show the decomposition one would expect after many days.
Caller #1: I'd like to add that a few years ago, along with 42 other people at the Caguas Drive-In, I saw a mothership which was later featured on the first page of the old El Mundo newspaper. Among the witnesses there were judges, psychologists...
Host: I'm not saying extraterrestrials don't exist, but the animals are the subject tonight. I have to let you go, since the board is full. Noti-Uno, hello?
Caller #2: Good evening. Do they [extraterrestrials] exist or not?
Host: Look, the subject tonight isn't whether extraterrestrials exist or not, and I still haven't met anyone who has photographed them or filmed them. The day that happens, I'll do like my friend Arnaldo Ginés and respect the person who took the photo or film, which I would then present to you. I don't doubt it. My concept of extraterrestrial is different from that of most people. Someday we'll do a special program on the subject. To me extraterrestrials and Marian apparitions are the Gods which have been deified over the centuries.
Caller #2: But my question has to do with tonight's...
Host: No. As Dr. Edwin Velázquez has said, the wounds are caused by dogs. Got it?
Caller #2: So now it's dogs.
Host: No, it's not a matter of "now it's dogs." It has always been dogs that attacked the animals because the waste dumps were close. Wild dogs were seen in the area. There are no extraterrestrials in Orocovis. It isn't true.
Caller #2: Well, now there's a neighbor saying they saw dogs, and it's really confusing...
Host: No, no. There were people who claim having seen an animal skulking about, another [person] was performing a biological necessity and saw an animal climb up a tree...
Caller #2: And he made a drawing of it...
Host: Aha. Why didn't he make a drawing of it before? We're just going through a period of collective hysteria, fear. If we were living in the Puerto Rico of the 1920's, I would have believed the man who appeared on the newscast, but in the age in which we live, with toilets available, anyone who tells me they went into the woods to defecate, I can't believe...these cases are entirely different. They are not the same. [break in dialogue]...We cannot compare what happened in Mexico or in Canada with what happens here in Puerto Rico, specifically what's happening in Orocovis. Do you understand?
Host: Okay? Thanks for your call and good night. Noti-Uno, good evening?
Caller#3: Good evening, this is Jorge Berrios from Bayamón.
Host: Yes, what is your question for Doctor Edwin Velásquez?
Caller#3: My question is: why, if he categorically states that we're dealing with dogs, did the same dogs not attack in the same area earlier?
Zoologist: These things have always occurred. Dogs have always attacked animals and the people who live in the area and have been interviewed can attest to it. However, in this matter, for whatever reason, there is a lapse of a few years and new wave of stories emerges about UFOs or attacks on animals. It's a seasonal affair. It just so happens that now it's in Orocovis...
Caller #3: Okay, but what I'm saying is that with the sheer volume of dogs that we have in Puerto Rico, it just so happens that the dogs from Orocovis are the ones going after steers?
Zoologist: It isn't a coincidence. It happens every day.
Caller #3: With the same characteristics?
Zoologist: With the same characteristics. In other words, it's nothing strange. What's strange is that there are people who want to give it connotations of an unknown phenomenon.
Caller #3: But I ask you again: have you gone to the area?
Zoologist: Orocovis? Yes, I've been in Orocovis. And I've been to many other places on the island.
Host: Don't forget, friend, that Dr. Edwin Velásquez is a zoologist and independently from this, the government has hired him to perform this kind of work over the past 20 years. For that reason I asked him to come on this show: not just to tell you that dogs were responsible, but to give you faith in that it's a scientific matter, OK?
Caller #3: I know, but excuse me: Noticentro Cuatro just interviewed a biologist, and the man said that in no way could vampire bats have caused such damage to the animals.
Host: We're not talking about vampires here. We're talking about dogs.
Caller #3: In closing, I would like him to tell me what kind of exotic animal can cause wounds of that nature, and bring about an animal's death?
Zoologist: Well, there are several kinds of carnivores that can cause that kind of damage. What do you want me to tell you? There are felines, and we're not talking about lions or tigers here..
Caller #3: Who won't tear their prey?
Zoologist: You have to have a certain amount of knowledge. When a feline attacks its prey, it doesn't tear at it. It suffocates it by crushing it, leaving two neat fang marks. Therefore, there is no rending of flesh.
Caller #3: Then what's the purpose of inflicting the wounds and nothing else?
Zoologist: Well, the wounds...
Caller #3: Excuse me, but when an animal attacks it's because it's hungry.
Zoologist: Usually. But these attacks by packs of dogs don't always eat the animal. For some reason, they kill the animal, become frightened, and leave the area. They don't always eat the kill.
Caller #3: Well, you haven't convinced me, but all right.
Host: But friend, I urge you to find more information at [name of bookstore]
Caller #3: But in that case--what's your name?
Host: José Enrique.
Caller #3: In that case, José Enrique, I would have to ask you to do the same. If there is no proof about UFOs, then what proof is there about what you're saying? Scientific proof on the subject.
Host: You know what happens? No UFO was ever seen, but the dogs were seen.
Caller #3: No, no, I mean about the subject you're dealing with.
Host: Well, the subject we're dealing with tonight...
Caller #3: What scientific proof is there?
Host: Well, visual [proof], for one.
Caller #3: I mean about your field, parapsychology. What proof is there?
Host: Hey, we can talk all you like about it. I've been a year and a half on Noti-Uno and have 28 years of experience behind me regarding the powers of the mind and the psyche. It's nothing religious, just the mind.
Caller #3: But I mean scientific proof.
Host: Well, the scientific proof would be proof that I've been a year and a half with Noti-Uno, have 28 years experience, and I have a really, really professional office, and I'm doing really well for myself.
Caller #3: Well, okay then. Thank you.
Host: The reason I'm telling you this is that I'm good at what I do, you know?
Caller #3: Great. Thanks again.
Host: I'm at your service whenever you'd like to stop by my office, and I'll give you all the proof you want...The reason I'm saying this to the caller is because there are many people who try to say: what proof do you have? But as you've said, Edwin, it's something real, something that has been proven, these animals are dogs. And it's our subject tonight. Good evening, Noti-Uno?
Caller #4: Good evening.
Host: What's your question, please?
Caller #4: My name's Ricardo...
Host: Quickly, because we're running out of time.
Caller #4: I'm not a zoologist, but I've been bitten by dogs.
Caller #4: There's an observation I would like to make. I'm concerned that someone who hasn't seen these bite wounds is saying that it's a dog. I didn't go to Orocovis, but I recorded everything with great care because I'm a medical photographer. I've seen the bites of many animals, including humans.
Host: What does a medical photographer do, friend?
Caller #4: A medical photographer photographs everything having to do with medicine in order to show it to students.
Host: Do you work for some agency?
Caller #4: I'm employed by the College of Medicine. There's an observation about animals I'd like to make. Animals--if you've ever seen a documentary on hunters--that bite other animals respond to their self-preservation instincts. Bulls have one of the strongest self-preservation instincts. This bull allowed itself to be bitten, yet did not respond to the attack by its aggressor. This is a concern for me, that a zoologist hasn't explained up to now why this didn't take place.
Host: Well, look here, friend--Edwin is going to answer your question.
Caller #4: But before he answers, let me ask him a question...
Host: Let him answer you first, then you can ask the second question. Don't go away.
Zoologist: Yes, in the bull's case, it did not display any particular type of wounds or punctures, except in one of its legs. Therefore, we can't really say that it was even a bite, and I would say that it had stepped on a nail or something similar. There wasn't even a bite, in the case of the bull in question.
Caller #4: But I'd like to give you a detail provided last night by the Director of Parque de las Ciencias, who performed an autopsy with some biologists and veterinarians on the bull.
Caller #4: This bull had certain incisions on its neck, and had other incisions reaching down to its lungs, okay? After eight days, the dead animal was entirely flexible, it wasn't stiff. Those who raise cattle for commercial sales know that after eight days, no animal is going to be flexible. That's the first surprise...
Zoologist: Let me ask you something. Was the autopsy protocol...who was the person who performed the autopsy, did you say?
Caller #4: I don't recall the name, but I know that it was authorized by the mayor of Bayamón at Channel 4's request.
Zoologist: Yes, but is there an autopsy protocol? Does one exist?
Caller #4: Sure it exists.
Zoologist: And who has it?
Caller #4: The director of Parque de las Ciencias in Bayamón.
Zoologist: The director of Parque de las Ciencias performed an autopsy?
Caller #4: Yes...
Zoologist: To the best of my knowledge, the director of Parque de las Ciencias isn't a vet.
Caller #4: Well, he went there with a biologist and a veterinarian.
Caller #4: I heard these words from his own mouth in a recording featured on [a UFO]program last night. It was aired with his own words. They got there, they opened the animal, they checked its heart, noticed the animal had died in agony, there were blood clots, eight days later the animal's blood was still liquid, and it was flexible when it shouldn't have been. They even thought, before laying a hand on the animal, that the temperature had kept it from decomposing, but at midday the heat became unbearable. I'm sure they'll communicate the results [of the autopsy] to the people in their own time. It's not normal.
Zoologist: I think that the person whom you're describing is a friend of mine, the vet at Parque de las Ciencias, Dr. Bientot. If the autopsy protocol exists, you can be sure that I'll examine it, and I'll talk to Dr. Bientot to see what's really behind all this.
Caller #4: Honestly, you should really inform yourself well, because talking without having visited the site, is a bit...
Host: But friend, what you're trying to do is--sorry for interrupting you--is make it seem as if what our friend says...and I've heard his show...is that these are extraterrestrials...
Caller #4: No, I'm not talking about extraterrestrials...
Host: You're trying to create the impression that...
Caller #4: For a human to have done that would require...
Host: It's that you, you--the autopsy you're referring to is impossible. Its impossible to make such determinations in a split second. You're giving us conclusions that you yourself don't have in your hands
Caller #4: Yes, but it's evident. There is no aggression, there's nothing...
Host: But this isn't...
Caller #4: Look, when a dog bites it tears...have you ever been bitten by a dog? I've been bitten by dogs and...
Host: It's not the same thing to be bitten by a dog as by a human.
Caller #4: Look, a dog has teeth...
Caller #4: It'll stick its fangs into you and the other teeth as well.
Host: If you listened to the show from the beginning, you heard Edwin Velásquez comment that the bull may have been ill to begin with. Its death was not necessarily caused by a dog bite.
Zoologist: In fact, the animal's owners remarked to someone who was present that the animal had indeed been sick around that time, and that many of the owner's animals had been sick and were being medicated. Possibly one of the medications given to it brought about death.
Caller #4: But did you see the puncture marks on it? I've got tapes with close-ups showing that it was an animal that bites with a single fang. There are no one-fanged animals.
Zoologist: Yes, but keep in mind that these farm animals can scratch themselves against barbed wire...
Caller #4: You mean to say all the animals, so many cows and goats?
Zoologist: Tell me why can't it be so?
Caller #4: They'd better get the nail out of wherever it's stuck!
Zoologist: But tell me why can't it be so? Why can't it be barbed wire? Why?
Caller #4: Because how are you going to drive barbed wire down to the lungs? He said this himself, and you can ask him if he's your friend, that whatever pierced down to its lungs didn't damage any viscerae, which surprised him. How could something pierce a body without...
Host: Let's do something, friend. Let's--
Caller #4: I'm only asking that...
Host: Let's take up this matter with Dr. Bientot, so that Edwin can talk to him this week, discuss the autopsy, and then next Friday we can comment on it, all right?
Caller #4: Sure, of course.
Host: We're running out of time. Thanks for your call.
Caller #4: So long.
Host: Our last call. Noti-Uno, good evening?
Caller #5: Good evening.
Host: Your question, please.
Caller #5: Yes, I had the same thoughts about the Orocovis situation since it first started, and I've been against anything having to do with extraterrestrials, vampires...
Host: We should always look for the scientific aspect first.
Caller #5: To me, it has to be a dog...either a dog or a lion.
There's nothing else.
Zoologist: Yes, well...an animal, you're correct.
Caller #5: A wild dog or a lion.
Host: It may be, but we can't rule out extraterrestrials so as not to offend our friends, like the one who just called, claiming that he has photographs, and whole-heartedly believing in extraterrestrials. The history of the gods discusses extraterrestrials as backward spirits who live off the blood of human beings or animals. However, the lungs were extracted from the bodies and burned...for this reason, the aspect he wanted to discuss and insinuate as extraterrestrial just because he said so, I feel is incorrect. The day he sees an extraterrestrial I hope he'll come here and show me photographs, because he's simply a scholar of these matters; and I respect him greatly for it, but he is neither a contactee nor has he ever seen an extraterrestrial. He's merely a scholar, of course, and he has a magazine, and if he's gone as far--which I doubt--as to conclude that it was an extraterrestrial who caused the situation he is very wrong, and both myself as a parapsychologist and Dr. Edwin Velázquez as a veterinarian invite him to tell us the contrary. All right?
Caller #5: Well, I only called to tell you that.
Host: Thank you for your call.
Caller #5: I've always thought that it was a wild animal like Armando said...was that his name?
Host: Arnaldo Ginés, that’s correct, from Channel 11. As Arnaldo said, the people he interviewed spoke about wild dogs. The problem is that if one goat is killed, it soon becomes ten, or twenty. Like our friend the caller said, he exaggerated that there were twenty goats when it wasn't true. The owner of the farm has gotten in touch with Edwin and the animals were ill, you know? But, thanks for your call.
Caller #5: Bye.
Host: It'll be until next...the board is still loaded, but we're out of time...
The recording ended abruptly. I rewound the tape and played it
once more, this time in the car, on an hour©long journey to a
nearby town. I played it once more on the way back, and still
couldn't believe what I was hearing.
Translation is my profession, and transcribing tapes from one
language to another to produce a written record is a routine task.
In preparing the transcription you have just read, I couldn't help
wondering if the skeptics realized that they had been pinned
against the ropes from the very first call (NOTE: I have gone over
the tape once more after the transcription to insure fidelity. I
deliberately omitted ad-libs for the sake of felicity in
communication and because of the numerous overlaps in conversation
between host, guests, and callers. I understand Drs. Acosta and
VelÀ Àsquez's points of view, and hope they realize no disrespect is
The "feral dog" theory in the Chupacabras wave would soon
become the equivalent of "swamp gas." As has been observed
elsewhere, the thought of one©fanged, bloodthirsty Fidos roaming
the countryside is enough to make the most snowbound tourist cancel
a planned and paid vacation to the Continent of Puerto Rico, as the
ad agencies call it. Contradictions, which can be observed in the
transcript, were forcibly invoked to support the dog bite theory;
last©minute solutions (the animals being sick) sought to rescue the
skeptics from the deepening water in the radio studio. As Frank
Herbert has Muad'Dib say in the memorable banquet scene in Dune: "I
never saw a man drown around a dinner table before."
The callers represented a cross-section of the island's
demographics. Caller #1 was a middle-aged woman, obviously
knowledgeable about the subject of unidentified flying objects, but
quite willing to concede that animals such as the legendary
Tasmanian Devil could cause such havoc among bovines. The host and
guest mounted an ineffective defense when they sought to deny that
any UFOs had been reported in the Orocovis area, when the networks
had been broadcasting such testimony for over a month.
Caller #2, another middle-aged, soft-spoken woman, triggered
the skeptics' defenses in a spectacular way, prompting the host to
become just a touch discourteous. The insistence that it had never
been anything but dogs (with sharp canines, excuse the pun) behind
the Orocovis slayings became a mantra rather than a theory. The
situation fell apart with the ultimate non©sequitur concerning the
existence of latrines in rural Puerto Rico.
Caller #3, a middle-aged man, asked the sensitive question
regarding the reason why dogs, feral or otherwise, hadn't caused
similar damage before. Rather than limiting himself to answering
the question, the zoologist took the offensive, challenging that
the belief in UFOs, previously described as a safety valve or
mental alibi for a distressed population, caused these periodic
manias. The pitfall lay in the fact that no mutilations were ever
reported during the refractory periods when people weren't
"hallucinating Martians," so to speak. The host responded to the
demand that he furnish proof of the validity of parapsychology by
making an arrogant remark aimed at putting the caller down.
But the coup-de-grace clearly belongs to Caller #4, the
medical technician who challenged the zoologist's expertise by
saying that a televised autopsy had prompted experts to say that
something was definitely unusual about the bull that remained both
uncorrupted and free from rigor mortis. Reeling from the verbal
punches, there was nothing left to do but issue a vague threat of
verifying the story with the veterinarian who performed the
Caller #5, a grandmotherly woman, appeared to be the only
caller to go along with the pooch-oriented scenario the skeptics
had set up, only to whimsically add that "a lion" could have made
the single puncture mark. Chagrined, the skeptics were forced to
agree with her, but took advantage of the conversation to direct a
few blows against believers in any extraterrestrial intervention in
the Orocovis scenario.
We do not know if Dr. Acosta revisited the subject on the next
installment of his show. Only Arnaldo Gines’s statement that the
killings appeared to have abated in the Orocovis region rang true:
After a brief lull, the killings would begin anew.