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A Shape-Changing Chupacabra?

In August 1995, the Canovanas region of the island of Puerto Rico was hit by a spate of very bizarre attacks on farm animals. The unfortunate creatures – typically goat, chickens, and pigs – were found dead with deep puncture wounds to their necks and amid controversial claims that significant amounts of blood were missing from their corpses. Farmers were on edge, the media had an absolute field day, and the people of Puerto Rico were plunged into states that ranged from fear to hysteria. When similar killings began to be reported in numerous other parts of Puerto Rico that fear was amplified to even greater levels. All of which is hardly surprising, when one takes into consideration the physical appearance of the beast that was believed to be behind all of the slaughtering. It became known as the Chupacabra.

The first person – so far as we know – to see the beast of this particular wave was a woman named Madeline Tolentino, who lived in Canovanas, the initial scene of all the action. She described it as a fairly compact animal that ran on two legs – in a strange hopping style – and which had what looked like row of feathers running down the back of its head and spine. As media interest grew and grew, so did sightings of the mysterious monster. But, that’s when things became not just interesting, but beyond interesting. There is a very good reason for that: not everyone saw the same beast that Tolentino encountered. Or, at least, it did not look the same.

Artist’s depiction of a chupacabra (wikipedia)

It is one thing to suggest that, in the 1990s, one unknown and dangerous animal was on the loose on Puerto Rico. It is quite another, however, to suggest that multiple, strange creatures were running wild on the island. And, yet, that appears to have been exactly what was going on. Unless, all of the reports were of the same monster. But, given their physical differences, how could that be? Very easily, that is how, if the Chupacabra is a shapeshifter, which is a theory I have heard time and again on Puerto Rico.

Although the first sighting of the creature in the summer of 1995 effectively dictated how the locals perceived the animal to look, not everyone reported something that resembled the monster seen by Madeline Tolentino, as we shall now see. In the days, weeks, months – and even years – that followed, countless reports of Chupacabra attacks on farm animals were reported. The problem, however, is that the descriptions of the beast varied to incredible degrees. In some cases, witnesses told of seeing an animal that did not have the feathery line running along the back of its head, neck and spine, as described by Tolentino. Instead, they saw a row of menacing-looking spikes, which stood erect and around four to five inches in length. And, of course, it would be very hard to mistake a line of feathers for a row of vicious spikes!

Then, there was the matter of how the animal ran. According to both Tolentino and the majority of the early witnesses, it was a bipedal beast, albeit one which bounced along in a bizarre hopping fashion. Others, however, were sure that the creatures they saw ran on four limbs only. And there was nothing bizarre about its movements: they were likened to the way in which a large cat – such as a mountain lion – would stalk its prey. Now, let us take a look at the eyes of the Chupacabra. Some sightings involved creatures with bright blue eyes. In other cases, the eyes were of a piercing, devilish red and glowing variety.

The most significant factor, however, was the matter of the wings of the Chupacabra. Yes, that is correct: wings. In some cases, but most certainly not all, the creatures were said to have had large and powerful-looking bat-like wings. In other words, they were black and leathery-looking. When faced with such stories, other witnesses swore the monsters had absolutely no wings at all. Adding to the puzzle is the fact that on my second expedition to seek out the Puerto Rican Chupacabra, I spoke with a man named Pucho who saw such a thing, but which had wings like those of a large bird: they were feathery.

Puerto Rican iguana … or is it?

Most controversial of all are the reports of the Chupacabra transforming into a large and lumbering Bigfoot! I should stress that such reports are rare, and few and far between. However, I do have eleven such reports in my files. In all the cases, the witnesses saw the Chupacabra engulfed by a near-blinding white light and then mutating into a large, hair-covered humanoid, before their startled eyes. When we put all of this information together, we are clearly face with a major-sized conundrum: how can one creature take on multiple appearances and forms? Well, the answer is that no normal animal can do such a thing. But, there is nothing normal about the Chupacabra. Rather, everything suggests it is undeniably abnormal.

For many of the people I have spoken with on Puerto Rico, the Chupacabra can change its form: a shape-altering monster.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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