The Chupacabras as a scapegoat
The opinions presented in this section may not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Chupacabra Home Page
Author: Neftali Olmo-Terron, MD
About the author: Dr. Olmo is a psychiatrist practicing in San Juan, Puerto
Rico. He is the Medical Director of the State Psychiatric Hospital and is also
in private practice. His own Internet page is
(Netscape enhanced) and receives
e-mail at email@example.com.
THE CHUPACABRAS IS A SCAPEGOAT
by Neftali Olmo-Terron, MD
Puerto Rico has its own Loch Ness Monster, its own Yeti, Bigfoot. It is called
the Chupacabras, Goatsucker when translated literally. The intense curiosity
about its nature and whereabouts is depicted in this Home Page quite well.
Rather than expanding in angles that keep others really busy, I would like to
analyze some of the universal and local psychological underpinnings for this
type of phenomenon. I'll try to keep it simple.
The not-real nature of the creature is clearly established by the inexplicable
vast territory supposedly covered by the derelict (it has been seen in Florida
already!), as well as by the negative forensic findings of the veterinary
pathologists. They have established quite rational explanations for various
incidents. So much can be said by the homologous creatures allegedly seen in
various parts of the globe. That being the case, what powerfull force and
energy keeps so many people interested for such a prolongued period of time?
This is something that goes beyond the need for the media to sell paper (or
The human animal has been believing as long as we can historically tell.
Gazzaniga states this in a cristal clear way. The refined paintings on the
walls of the Altamira and Lescaux caves, among other places, reflect a sublime
artistic skill to depict color, shape, 3-D, and motion, as long as it pertains
to animals. The artist could go as far as spraying a stencil of his anatomy,
mostly hands, picturing a negative of himself. But when it comes to human
figures we can find nothing in the caves. It is obvious that our distant
relatives must have had a very strong believe that something bad was going to
happen to them if they drew themselves. What? We dont know, but something,
Since then, at least, we have not stopped finding something to believe in.
Greek and Roman mythologies are well known examples. The Orient and the Middle
East dwellers have been prolific writers of myths, even though we call those
writings something else. When confronted with contradictions within those
systems we respond with rationalization.
So, the human animal enjoys, perhaps needs to create myths.
Some peculiar phenomena generates when humans organize themselves in groups.
Civilized, rational, objective, kind, intelligent and mature individuals become
erratic, impulsive, phantasy oriented, arbitrary, and gossipy. Sometimes even cruel.
We see this process through Bion's findings and the A.K. Rice Institute
The tribe then creates a fantasy that is supposed to explain as well as to
alleviate our misery, ignorance and anxiety. The delusion in this case becomes:
Something bad and dangerous outside of our group is the source of our evils.
If we are not carefull it will come and eat us, eat our pets, eat our farm
animals...We must defend ourselves!
Along lines similar to the group processes, the mind grabs any maneouver it
can to mantain certain internal balance and tranquility. Here Kernberg and the
Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory are of particular help in
conceptualizing and illustrating us.
Some of us, sometimes, hopefully most of the time, are able to simultaneously
process the complex and poly-valenced nature of things inside our minds, BOTH
the good and the bad part of things, of people, of feelings, of objects,
including ourselves. Some of us, sometimes, regretably too often, are able to
maintain a relative hold on life only by keeping contrasting things in separate
compartments. The good and the bad cannot be kept and maintained in the same
place. If we are to assume at a particular moment that we are good, the bad
hence needs to reside somewhere else, outside. This projection is very usefull
in creating the SCAPEGOAT. We are good guys here in Puerto Rico. The bad thing
is that alien from Mars that sucks the blood of our pets and farm animals!
This projection is also the source of an external persecutor (See Melanie
Kleins work. See also Freuds paper on the Schreber Case). It is now a
paranoid threat, the monster will come to attack us from behind... (Invariably
the Chupacabras attacks the backyard).
We can also conceptualize the external nature of our enemies from the point of
view of DEPENDENCY. When the intra-psychic representation of ourselves is not
clearly defined with clear-cut boundaries around our autonomous selves, things
come from outside, for we cannot assume credit fo independent behavior.
SYMBOLS, SEMANTICS , SENTIMENT and SEX
(A psychiatric interpretation)
Chupa cabras. Female-goat sucker. In spanish, the female goat is a name for
promiscuous females, prostitutes included. In a time of AIDS, herpes,
chlamydia, warts, and other sexually transimitted diseases, even erotic fantasy
could be considered dangerous.
There is really no safe sex. The only acceptable way to chupar la cabra, and
accomplish it with certain degree of primitive excitement, is for somebody else
to do it!