CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - As monsters go, the chupacabra is a fledgling monster myth, with its origins as "the Hispanic Bigfoot" going back only 30 odd years to Puerto Rico.
But as the Hispanic population has grown in the Carolinas, knowledge of the "legend" has spread, even to the point of alleged sightings.
The latest of those happened last week in Santee, S.C., when a golfer claimed a hairless creature that was "not a dog" showed up on the golf course.
Doug Stewart told TV station WCIV he was playing at Santee Cooper Country Club, when he saw it. Stewart posted photos on his Facebook page Saturday and they have drawn 600-plus comments, many from people claiming it's a mythical chupacabra.
Either that, or a "demon straight from hell," said Tammy Simmons.
Others weren't so convinced. "It's a red fox with mange," posted Brittani Lamberson.
North Carolina has had reports, too, including a "devil dog" photographed in Buncombe County as part of the state's Candid Critters program. The program uses camera traps to identify animals in wilderness areas and in June, it found a dog-like animal with fluorescent eyes and a scaly breast plate. (The breast plate is likely a fern leaf.)
"That is a chupacabra, I'm sure of it," said Brenda Pogue of Dallas, Texas, on seeing the photo. "It made me laugh, that crazy-looking thing."
BBC.com did a study of the chupacabra legend, which has changed over the years. In its earliest version, it was a bipedal creature, with large eyes, claws and spikes down its back.
"In the early 2000s, a different chupacabra arrived...described as a hairless, dog-like animal walking on four legs," reported BBC.com. "And unlike most monsters, this type is not based exclusively on sightings. Chupacabra bodies have reportedly been found."
DNA rests have been performed on those bodies, too. In every case, it was discovered the "chupacabra" was a common mammal that had a parasitic infection, causing its "monstrous appearance," says LiveScience.com.