Between 2004 and now, I’ve been to Puerto Rico on many occasions – mostly in pursuit of the legendary Chupacabra. On my first trip, however, I quickly came to realize that the Chupacabra is not the only weird animal said to roam the island. We’ll begin with the story of a man named Pucho. Back in the latter part of 2005, I spent a week or so on the island of Puerto Rico with Red Star Films of Canada. We were there to gather interviews and footage for a documentary for Canada’s Space Channel. Most of the stories that came our way were in relation to the Chupacbara, which is, of course, Puerto Rico’s most famous and legendary monster. It was on that same trip, however, that we were introduced to a man named Pucho, whose story had nothing to do with the Chupacabra. Earlier in the same year, and in the small village in which he and his family lived, Pucho had an encounter of a very eerie type. He was walking past a local place of worship when he heard a very strange noise: it was a loud, almost bellowing, roar. It filled the air and brought Pucho to a sudden halt. He looked around for a few moments and then, to his horror, saw what was responsible.
Perched in a large nearby tree was a huge, bird-like creature, but one which was easily the size of a fully-grown man; possibly even bigger. It was covered in feathers and once again bellowed in fear-inducing fashion. What happened next amazed Pucho. He said that the creature didn’t fly away in the fashion that one would expect from a bird. Incredibly, it simply opened its wings and – instead of flapping them furiously – rose up into the skies above with what seemed to be barely an effort. In seconds it was gone.
One of the people I interviewed on my 2014 trek around the island was a ghost-hunter and paranormal investigator named Peter – who was originally from Berlin, Germany, but who moved to Puerto Rico to live in 1996. Peter was someone whose accounts of Bigfoot activity on Puerto Rico were as fascinating as they were controversial. By that, I mean the reports had far less to do with what one might call unknown animals, and far more to do with what might justifiably be termed downright paranormal anomalies. It’s important, at the very outset, that I stress Peter was not someone whose files on Bigfoot in Puerto Rico were overflowing. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The number of reports in his archives was less than twenty and which spanned from the 1970s to 1998, and with a spate of reports in 1985. Typically, the beasts closely resembled the North American Bigfoot. That’s to say there were large, humanoid, covered in dark hair, and solitary.
While most of the reports emanated from – or around – the island’s huge El Yunque rain-forest, two were – rather incredibly – reported from the fringes of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan. There were also reports of the creatures seemingly being impervious to bullets – which is an often-reported aspect of North American cases. Certainly, the most controversial cases of all – of which, granted, Peter only had three examples – were of the creatures seemingly vanishing into nothingness. Again, that “here one minute and gone the next minute” angle of the Bigfoot mystery is not unknown in the United States and certainly not in the U.K. either.
My fifth quest to uncover the truth of the Puerto Rican beast known as the Chupacabra was in late December 2008. It turned out to be a profitable trip. Pretty much as soon as I arrived, I learned that one particular part of San Juan – Rio Piedras – was living in what could only be termed a state of downright fear. For more than three weeks, there had been sightings, exclusively at night, of a large black cat creeping around the neighborhood. Around four feet long and muscular, it was believed to have killed and eaten at least fifteen pet cats in the area, savaged a sheep or several, and apparently terrified a handful of people who crossed paths with it in the backstreets of Rio Piedras, late on one particular Saturday night.
Add to that a few vague cases of creatures that sound very much like Mothman, giant monitor lizards, huge snakes, and even pterodactyls (!), and what you have is a place where – when it comes to matters of the weird kind – there are far more to things than just the Chupacabra.