Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 27th, 2010
What has become of Fortean Times? They have Ben Radford penning an article that is nothing more than what you might find on someone’s website about a short hike taken on a vacation with their dad and a friend. And guess what? That’s exactly what this so-called “expedition” was. A couple hikes in the rainforest, in habitat not associated with the traditional Chupacabras reports of Puerto Rico, and Radford writes an article. What has become of Fortean Times?
The complains are frequent that some of the reality television programs are throwing people out in the woods with some trailcams and three days of shooting, and calling it an “expedition.” I don’t hold just Radford to the wall about this. “Bigfooters” that go out on a “camping trip” for the weekend are hardly going on an “expedition.” But to have the print media support this is uncalled for.
A “five-day expedition” becomes three or is it four days of hiking in the rainforest? Or less? Is it just one? What a confusing account.
To see Radford’s vacation elevated to an “expedition” report in what use to be one of the proudest Fortean magazines on Earth is just downright appalling. Sad, even.
To read Radford continually using the word “chupacabra” throughout the article is totally insensitive to the Spanish speakers who use the right term, Chupacabras. Incorrect, oddly enough, too. Perhaps this isn’t even Radford’s fault? Maybe the editor of this piece, besides changing American words into the King’s English spelled words (e.g. “gaffs” become “gaffes”), deleted an “s” from the proper spelling of Chupacabras? Maybe the FT editors should have corrected Radford’s “chupacabra” to “Chupacabras,” or maybe they changed it from the right spelling to the wrong one. Who knows?*
FT’s debunking tendencies are firmly established now. Their cultural blindness is also.
Just to make a point, I actually very much like Ben Radford, and this is not a personal attack at the man, his father, and his friend. I rather think it is a great idea to go on vacation with your parents, if possible. However, enough is enough with calling minor investigative treks, weekend excursions, and camping vacation a true “expedition.”
P.S. As to Radford’s one comment about past pieces of “evidence,” all one has to do is look at that readily available 1995 “Chupacabras print” from Miami (which I first obtained in 1995 and have here in the museum) to see it is no jaguar. It’s a canid print.
*In a late update from Ben Radford, he writes (placed in bold so as to retain his original italics):
As for the spelling of chupacabra(s), I assure you I’m well aware that you and others prefer chupacabras. Chupacabra is also a common usage, as I noted elsewhere:
Note on the spelling of chupacabra: Some researchers (such as Scott Corrales, Loren Coleman, and others) insist that the correct spelling of the goatsucker is chupacabras. Others, however, disagree. As one researcher noted, the name chupacabras is “Incorrectly pluralized, its name evokes the speech of the lower classes in the Hispanic Caribbean who are prone to eliminate the ‘s’ form from everyday speech, but then tend to hypercorrect pluralization in the presence of interlocutors especially status superiors, sprinkling s’s in their speech indiscriminately” (Derby, Lauren. 2008. Imperial secrets: Vampires and nationhood in Puerto Rico. In Past and Present, Supplement 3, p.298). While many native Spanish speakers do indeed use chupacabras, others use chupacabra (including Rudolfo Anaya, the “grandfather of Chicano literature”), in two of his books. Maybe this multiple award-winning, native Spanish speaking author doesn’t know how to spell?
If you want to criticize the spelling you are certainly welcome to. Whether you and Scott like it or not, chupacabra is a widely used and accepted spelling… I did not misspell the word, I simply chose one widely-used variant over another.