Photo illustration by Angie Sullivan
Happy Groundhog Day! Luckily, we don't have to worry about which marmot's shadow will correctly predict how much longer we'll be stuck in the miserable throes of 40-degree weather (has this winter been a joke, or what?). We're basing our meteorological (and astrological) forecasts on our little putrid mutant friend who washed up on a San Diego shore last week. Considering that sites like Gawker and the motherfucking Weekly World News picked up our story yesterday, it looks like, for better or worse, we're sticking with the San Diego Demonoid moniker. And, as promised, here is my full interview with Josh “Nardington” Menard, the 19-year-old snowboarder who snapped the photos of our darling little genetic anomaly.
VICE: Thanks for sending these in, Josh. How experienced were you with mutant creatures before you stumbled on this one? Are you familiar with the Montauk Monster and other supposedly unidentifiable creatures discovered since then?
Josh Menard: Yeah, I’m kind of familiar with some of them, but I just thought this one was real weird, with the seaweed wrapped around it and everything.
Where do you live?
Truckee, California, in Tahoe.
Is that your hometown?
No, I’m just living out here now. I’m originally from Massachusetts. From Berkshire County, in western Mass.
Are you in Tahoe for school, or maybe work?
I’m out here for snowboarding and school.
But you found the Demonoid on the beach in San Diego. What were you doing out there?
I went on a snowboard trip to Big Bear, California, and then I took another trip from Big Bear to Pacific Beach, near San Diego. That’s when I saw it, when I went out surfing with my buddies. I was with my homie Steve G, my homie Chris, and two of his friends who were out here from Spain on a surfing trip. They were all out surfing and I was on the beach and I saw—I was like looking up toward the parking lot of the beach; it was probably a mile away from the pier to the right, which is a pretty good surf spot, and I saw this bum looking down at me. We were just chilling out on the beach, drinking, surfing, you know, and this bum looks at me when everyone else is in the water and he goes, “Don’t go too close to that seaweed right there!” There was a huge bundle of seaweed about a foot, foot-and-a-half wide, and I look down and see this canine-like creature thing sitting there. It almost looked like it swam, but obviously it didn’t—it just washed up. It kind of had paws and some hair on the side of its face, which was facing down in the sand. It had short front paws with like, nails and longer back legs—it had the body shape of a pig, and a fat stomach, fat middle area. And the canines were just ridiculously large. That’s why I couldn’t understand what it was. It was definitely not a coyote or anything like that. This specific beach was really close to the border of Mexico, and I think it might have washed up from there.
When was this?
It was around 1 in the afternoon.
Why did you send the photos to us?
We just thought you guys would be interested in something like this. We read the magazine, and it just seemed like it’d go with the whole VICE vibe.
So you think our vibe lines up with mutant creatures?
Yeah. I mean, kind of.
Your friend Dylan sent in the photos, and his subject line referred to the beast as a Chupacabra. How familiar are you with Chupacabras and the myths surrounding them?
I’ve seen pictures of Chupacabras online and shit, and it sort of looks like one of those, but not even. I’ve never seen anything that looks like this.
Do you have more pictures of it?
No, those were the only two pictures I took.
Something that seemed off to me about it was the eyes were still kind of intact but they were like—if something’s rotting, I don’t know if the eyes are the first to go, but they’re pretty high up there. Did anything about the creature strike you as fake?
No. It smelled like shit and had 2,000 bugs swarming around it—all around its mouth and shit. It definitely washed up on shore.
Yeah, that would probably convince me that it was at least made of meat. What about that ridiculous Mohawk though? It’s so stupid looking.
It was funny because a week before it I googled "hairless dog" and saw one with a mohawk, so then when I saw this thing I thought it was funny; I though it was a joke at first. And then I showed all of my friends the photo of it and they were like, "What the fuck is that?" I'm not from California, and I didn't know if it was some creature from around here that people see all the time. I'm from Massachusetts, and all I knew was that I don’t see shit like that. Ever. My friends said they had never seen anything like it. They were pretty tripped up about it. I thought it was pretty funny and kind of mysterious. I would say the teeth were probably two inches. Those things were huge.
So if we’re able to rule out that this thing isn’t some sort of weird mutant alien chimera, what kind of known animal would you say it most resembles?
A Chupacabra, actually. I would say a Chupacabra if I could think of anything it resembles.
Um, some people might say that's not a real animal, either.
Then I don't even know. Maybe a raccoon.
The teeth look too big to be a raccoon. How many feet was it, from tail to snout?
Probably a foot and a half. Two feet, maybe.
Did you guys poke it with a stick or anything to get a gauge of its texture and level of decay?
I didn't touch it. My other buddies wanted to go back and get it later that night when it was dark, but when we went back it wasn't there. It must have washed back in the ocean. The tide gets really high there.
Have you thought about how it ended up in the water? Perhaps someone caught it on land and then took it out to sea to drown because it was an unholy beast?
Possibly. Maybe someone dumped it and it just washed up—maybe somebody from Mexico, because the border's right there.
I’m still stuck on the hair. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like someone put a Mohawk on a dead animal.
The hair doesn't make sense, yeah, but it had hair on the other side of its head that was laying in the sand. You can sort of see it in the photo, and it had hair inside its paws, too.
What about a dog?
I want to say, after thinking about it, I don't think it's a raccoon—it was definitely bigger than that—and I don't think it’s a dog. It's like two different animals. I think Chupacabras are the combination of three animals: a dog, a coyote, and a kangaroo. That’s why the Chupacabras hop.
If you missed the original Chupacabra action yesterday, click here.