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Tag Archives: Valerie Harper

In Search of… The Chupacabra (REMEMBER THE ALAMO!)

7 Mar

March 6, 2013

This has been a bizarre week. Due to recent news trends I’ve been reposting some stuff related to current events. Today was the 177th anniversary of the Alamo, where brave men like Davey Crockett, Daniel Boone, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Matt Huston, PI, and Ed “El” Paso all gave their lives in defense of an old church, thereby totally violating the separation of Church and State. Granted, this post is only vaguely related to Texas, and not at all the Alamo, but the only other story of note today was Valerie Harper’s terminal brain tumor, and speaking as a big fan of Ed Asner, I refuse to make light of her situation.

From October 5, 2010

This is the first of an occasional October series of reports focusing on real life monsters and cryptoids. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In 1995, a series of strange animal deaths caused widespread panic across the farms and rural areas of Puerto Rico. In the initial attacks, eight sheep were found dead, with strange puncture wounds across their bodies. Later, other farm animals and household pets were found dead the same way. In each case, the carcasses were totally drained of blood.

These were the first reports of the Chupacabra, the infamous goat sucking beast.

Why goat sucker? The name was coined by comedian Silverio Pérez, thereby ensuring that no one would take this seriously. Funny guy, that Silverio. In later years he became a motivational speaker. “Hi! I’m Silverio Perez! You may know me as the guy who coined the term goat sucker!” Despite that, he remains a successful entertainer.  (Reports that he named the beast after his mother-in-law are unconfirmed.)

What is a chupacabra? Is it real? How drunk do you have to be to see one?

Chupacabra sightings have been on the upswing across the southwestern United States. Reports vary, but the first descriptions painted the picture of a medium sized, short haired, angry dog.

witness description of chupacabra

witness description of chupacabra

However descriptions vary, from a reptilian type of large fanged dog to a more humanoid form. Often, photos of alleged chupacabras show a hairless dog, possibly suffering from mange.

RECENT REPORTED CHUPACABRA SIGHTINGS

  • In July 2004, a rancher near San Antonio, Texas, killed a hairless dog-like creature, which was attacking his livestock. This animal was later determined to be a coyote.
  • In mid-August 2006, Michelle O’Donnell of Turner, Maine, described an “evil looking” rodent-like animal with fangs that had been found dead alongside a road.
  • On January 11, 2008, a sighting was reported at the province of Capiz in the Philippines. Some of the residents from the barangay believed that it was the chupacabras that killed eight chickens. The owner of the chickens saw a dog-like animal attacking his chickens. It was most likely a dog.

Rare surveillance footage of a chupacabra attack

POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS

  • a genetically mutated coyote
  • NASA experiments
  • vampires
  • “Bigfoot with fangs”
  • those darn teenagers

THE EXPERTS SPEAK

  • Loren Coleman is comfortable with the wild dog explanation. A noted expert in unidentified creatures, or “cryptoids,” Coleman has investigated hundreds of chupacabra cases. He finds no evidence of any strange or supernatural creatures.
  • CNN’s Ed Lavandera has described the chupacabras as the “Bigfoot of Latino culture.” I’m not sure who should be more insulted by that report, Latino culture or CNN.
  • In July 2008, History’s Monster Quest series featured some Texas carcasses, which were determined to be dogs and coyotes

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there still remain believers. In the words of an eyewitness “I’m not messing around with this thing any more!”

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The Chiller Theatre Horror Convention 2012

8 Nov

November 8, 2012

This year’s Chiller Theatre Horror Convention was held in the Sheraton Parsippany, New Jersey, hotel the weekend before Halloween. This was their first year at that location and, despite being a pain in the neck to get to, the hotel was perfect- from the outside it looks like an old castle.                  You would almost expect Vincent Price to be prowling around the halls, like in an old Roger Corman epic based on one of Edgar Poe’s tales. Well, Price was not there this year, chiefly due to scheduling conflicts with his death, which was back in 1993. But while The Price of Fear may not have made the scene, the Red Death was there in full regalia. 

Death was a popular guest. There was more than one Reaper stalking the halls, and in fact they would sometimes run into each other and wave scythes at each other in a vain attempt to banish the other to the underworld. 

As you can tell from both pictures, Death loves hand gestures. Anyway, this particular avatar of doom would not stop yelling. You wouldn’t know it from the picture but from the depths of his rubbery skull issued the muffled voice of eternity, bellowing out “I am the REAL grim reaper! Visit my website www.therealgrimreaper.com!“  So I went to his website, and discovered that The Real Grim Reaper is a registered trademark. I hope that Pestilence, Famine, and War have protected themselves online as well.

Creepy hand gestures were not limited to the masters but their servants used their menacing digits as well. Barlow from Salem’s Lot was making the scene, and he seemed to be flashing some undead gang signs. 

I have to point out that none of the guys walking around in costumes- and there were many- were guests of the convention. They were just men and women who dressed up and walked around. And though I mercifully took no pictures of them, the scariest of them all were the trannies and drag queens.

I took fewer pictures than you’d expect, but there were two men whom I had to photograph.  First, The Dark Knight. 

While there were three of four Batmen walking around, the others really were Dark Knights, all dark armor and black costumes. This was the only Adam West Batman in the place and was easily the most photographed.

The problem with Batman is that Gotham is never safe with him around. The argument from Gotham’s Mayor is that a loony like Batman invites loony crooks. You never see freaks like Killer Croc in NYC. He may be right, because no sooner did I snap Batman’s picture than did the waddling arch-criminal himself make an appearance, the Penguin. 

Seriously, how many times do you see people dressed up as the Penguin these days? And I have to tell you, this man reeked of cigarettes. I stood next to him and it was disgusting.

There were literally close to a hundred guests at the convention, each charging for their autographs. Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara was there, as were dozens of minor actors from 1950’s B-movies. There was a reunion of the Porky’s cast (what that has to do with horror I have no idea) and Ace Frehley from KISS, the one with the spaceman makeup was there. By far, he had the longest lines for autographs. There were many real names there, like the guy from Perfect Strangers (Balki? Schmalki? Whatever.) But also among the riff raff were people like Danny Glover, Valerie Harper (still not sure what she was promoting, it looked like some fan film about her hair) and believe it or not Penny Marshall, whom I am still sure is too big a name to be stooping to selling her signature at a horror convention. I had no interest in paying $25 dollars to talk to her, though my brother had the perfect opening line: “I always wanted to meet Myrna Turner!”

I didn’t spend much money there, though I was tempted, very tempted. There were hard to find DVDs (and tons of bootlegs), toys, comics, old games, high-end horror merchandise, and tons od t-shirts. In fact, I passed on it all and only spent money on one special autograph, from this man: 

No, no, not him. Although The Hammer was there I am pretty sure he was drunk.

The man whose autograph I got, and with whom I spent about 15 minutes talking with, was famous in the 1950’s and 60’s in horror television circles. 

Yep, the Cool Ghoul himself, John Zacherle. 

Check him out:

The “y” at the end of his name is apparently optional.

This man is 94 years old and is still going strong… as least as strong as he can. We briefly talked about his career, his job on radio, and my brother, who met Zacherle in 1994 and Zach didn’t remember. (Frankly, why would he?) The man was still having fun and was happy to be there. I could have left right then and there, but there were so many things left in the dealer rooms for me to drool over.

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