I was curious about a story I saw in the Los Angeles Times describing an animal called a “chupacabra.” There are lots of reasons for my curiosity, but the relevant one here revolves around an aspect of my professional life: understanding disabilities.
The article tells about a person in Texas (US) who has parts of a corpse of an unusual animal (photos one and two). An image shows her holding the head of one of the unusual animals. She reported that some of her livestock had been killed in an unusual way. The unusual death of the livestock is linked to the unusual animal because of a mythical beast, the chupacabra. Chupacabras, you see, kill livestock in unusual ways and—be patient—drink the blood of the dead livestock.
Now, why would I think this has to do with disability? Weeeellllllllll…you see. People with disabilities are, almost by definition, unusual. So, humans who have or refuse to accept rational and scientific explanations for unusual phenomena, stark connecting these people who have disabilities with myths.
Of course, some people with disabilities even behave in unusual ways. For example, some—to be sure, not all—even kill other people: See “Youth Convicted of Murder” for an instance. So, with the double-whammy of disability and unusual behavior, one gets an even stronger connection to myth.
Those people must be possessed by the devil. God gave them their disability to teach us compassion. God gave them their disability to teach them patience. Etc.