There have always been places in this world that manage to attract stories of the odd. They exist almost in their own sort of mysterious realm, a sort of parallel dimension that manages to simultaneously be of our world and beyond it. One such place must surely be a mountain out in the wilds of Puerto Rico, which has managed to not only become a hotspot of UFO activity, but also has stories of underground alien bases, government cover-ups, and one of the weirdest alien encounter reports on record.
It was a hot summer night in July of 1988 in the rural area of Betances, Puerto Rico, so hot in fact that Carlos Manuel Mercado could not sleep. He woke from his bed, where his wife was sleeping soundly beside him, and went to sleep on a sofa in another room in an effort to cool off. He lay down, and as he stared at the ceiling trying to decide if the heat was more bearable there or not, his thoughts were interrupted by a whitish glow that came in from outside to seep in through the blinds and frost the room with an eerie illumination. This glow was soon joined by a strange humming sound, followed by a mechanical tapping against the window, and it was enough to get him up off the sofa to go take a look outside. He had no idea at the time that his look out that window was about to change his life forever. He would tell of what he saw out that window to Jorge Martín, Editor of Evidencia OVNI (Puerto Rico):
I got up and opened the window, and there they were – three little fellows standing there under the window, on the sun-lounge of my house. It shook me. Because they were so different – they looked a bit like us. But they weren’t human. They were little chaps, as I say, and ugly, with heads a bit bigger than ours, and no hair. They had no ears, and their eyes were huge, dark. I could see no noses on them – just little holes. And a little slash for a mouth. Their faces looked flattened. Their skin was sort of greyish, and their faces and hands covered with little bumps or lumps. You know how acne looks? Well – it was like that. Ugly they were. They were about three to four feet high (a bit over one meter) and they were thin, and dressed in overalls like mechanics wear, from top to toe, of a sort of greyish-creamy looking color, a sort of sandy shade. Only their heads and hands were not covered by the clothing. At first I felt scared, but they told me not to be afraid, that they weren’t going to hurt me, and only wanted to show me something. And they told me this, as it were in my mind, because they didn’t open their mouths even once. When they told me that, my fear left me. I didn’t know why really, but I had the feeling that they were good, and that they weren’t going to do me any harm. “They asked me to come out, so I opened the door and went out.
Once he stepped outside into the bright illumination, and he explains that two of the creatures took him gently by the arms and led him up the road a short distance. That was when he finally saw the source of the light up close, which he describes as saucer shaped with a domed top, a multitude of blinking multi-colored lights around its rim, and the whole of it resting upon four metallic legs beneath it. He then noticed a hole in the bottom of it, from which there extended a ladder that led within to the unknown. At this point, Mercado felt some hesitation but no fear, and willingly ascended the ladder at the request of the odd beings. Once inside he would see that it was lit up with all manner of blinking panels and displays, and the two creatures then introduced him to their captain. Mercado would say of this:
I went up it with them and we arrived on top inside where the big windows were. There was lots of machinery there, and sort of panels, controls, little lights and some other little chaps working the controls. And also one other – who was different. They explained to me that this one – the different one – was their captain and doctor, and that from then on he would take over with me. And so they went off to do other things. Well, as you could imagine, the truth is that I felt better with him – because he looked more like us, less coarse, and smoother. His skin color was the same as theirs – greyish – his head a bit bigger than theirs, but his eyes not so big. And he had a nose like us, but pointed, and the surface of his skin was not like the skin of the little fellows with those awful lumps. He was dressed in a broad white tunic right up to his neck, and broad sleeves down to his wrists. The tunic reached down to his feet and he seemed to have something white on the feet.
This leader told Mercado telepathically that he had something to show him, and that he shouldn’t feel afraid as they were going to bring him back safely. The ship then began moving at great speed as the whole interior of the craft reverberated with a loud droning hum like thousands of bees. Looking out through one of the side windows, Mercado could see the landscape speeding past and he could tell that they were headed toward the Sierra Bermeja Mountain Range, in particular one peak called Monte El Cayúl. The craft was hurtling towards a ravine and sheer rock face at dangerously high speeds, but just as the startled Mercado thought they were going to plow right into the mountain, a sort of doorway opened up in the rock and they sped right on through to enter a tunnel. The craft seemed to be flying deep down into the mountain, and after some time flew out into a vast cavern, where numerous other alien craft of various shapes and sizes were parked or buzzing about. As the craft came in to land on a raised platform, Mercado could see many more of the same humanoid beings engaged in all manner of activities.
The whole place was a hive of activity and he got the impression that this was some sort of base for them, and the aliens he was with confirmed this, telling him that it was a facility for repairing their craft and as a base of operations from which to go forth and study Earth life. The leader then invited Mercado to step off the ship and come with him for a sort of tour, during which time the being explained the purpose of their base and mission there. Mercado would tell Martín of this:
The tall being told me to come out with him and he made me put on a sort of big, like enormous dark spectacles so that I could see everything down there clearly. It was all very well lit down there. You couldn’t see where the light was coming from, but it was a very brilliant light, very white. All the walls there were covered with a very shiny silvery metal. And lots and lots of the little chaps were there, and an enormous lot of activity. Many of the little men were working on the ships, and others seemed to be preparing things, like machinery or electronic stuff. That was a vast world down there. There were buildings there like military barracks. The tall being explained to me, mentally (for he too didn’t talk with the mouth) that they have been down there for a long, long time. He said they don’t want to leave there. He said that there, beneath the Sierra Bermeja, they have the Base for the maintenance of their craft. That approximately is what he said. He said they wanted me to see all that, because they wanted me to tell the folk here (us terrestrials) that they don’t have any bad intentions, and don’t want to do us any harm or conquer us. He said that what they want is to be able to sort of inter-relate with us totally, at the social level, mingle with us, but that our Authorities don’t want that. He insisted that I should tell the people outside all this, that they don’t want to conquer us or do us any harm.
The being also told him that there had been others who had been told the same message, and that there were even some humans who had chosen to stay there with them down there under the earth. He told Mercado that he should go off and tell the story and let people know what he had learned there that day, and after that took him back through the mountain to drop him off exactly where they had picked him up. Before leaving, the creatures told him that they would come back to see him some day, and then they left. Yet, although Mercado had been instructed to spread his story far and wide, he would at first keep quiet about his experience, and it was only another bizarre encounter that would convince him to finally come forward.
In December of that same year, Mercado claimed that he had been out at the Sierra Bermeja Range along with his friend, Wilson Soza, when they spotted an enormous brightly illuminated triangular craft flying across the sky. Even odder than this, they would claim that this “triangle” was being pursued by two military jets. These jets allegedly flew right at the craft until at some point they seemed to disappear within in, with the sound of their whining engines abruptly vanishing and cutting out as they did. The UFO then flew along until it came to a lake called Laguna Cartagena, where it then supposedly exploded in a spectacular ball of fire and falling debris, after which two smaller objects seemed to fly off away from it. The incident left Mercado shaken, he was immediately reminded of his bizarre alien encounter in the same area, and after witnessing all of this he decided to come forward with his story to Jorge Martín, who happened to have been in the area investigating numerous other UFO sightings going on in the same region at the time. Mercado would tell him:
You investigators know that we have experienced very strange things here. I seek no publicity. I just tell you this because I know that you are a sensible and serious person and will listen to me. You know, I’m still waiting for them, because I like what happened. In my opinion they aren’t bad. I could feel it. If they had wanted to do me harm they could have done it when they took me. I’d like them to come back, so that I could go with them again. They aren’t bad people. I’m telling you all this because, when that UFO took those two aeroplanes, I was very nervous, because the aeroplanes were harassing it, it carried them off. That has left me very worried, because I have the feeling that those beings are good, and it looks as though somebody wants to get them out of there. There’s something going on there!
Martín didn’t seem to be all that surprised in the least. Throughout that year he had been investigating numerous UFO sightings reports in the mountains made by very reliable witnesses, and was accustomed to the weirdness the location could produce. One very frequent type of report was of locals seeing crafts of various shapes and sizes hovering or circling over the Cayúl Peak, and the researcher had also uncovered other tales of something very odd going on up there in those mountains, as well as signs of mysterious underground alien bases and of some sort of bizarre conspiracy involving a mysterious facility built there by the military right where the UFO sightings were most frequent. Martín has said of this enigmatic facility and its possible relation to the UFO activity:
On top of a peak lying to the right of the Cayúl Peak (i.e. as seen from the direction of Cabo Rojo), there were erected, about seven years ago, some facilities said to be for a station of the Voice of America Radio. The area around it was declared a restricted area, the excuse being that this was on the general grounds of security and nobody living in the region was permitted to approach the place. However, so far as we know until now, no transmissions from that alleged Station have ever gone out. So why, then, was the building erected there? If it is not being used for the function for which it was allegedly built, what then is its true role? At times unidentified individuals have been seen visiting there. Who are they, and what are these people doing? On many occasions the residents of Boquerón, Las Palmas, and Betances (all in Cabo Rojo Municipal Region) and of Olivares (in Lajas Municipality) have observed large UFOs of different shapes (triangles, discs, cigars, etc.) hanging stationary over the Cayúl Peak and over the mountain where the building of the alleged Voice of America Station is located. What are the UFOs looking for so persistently up there?
What was going on out at this mountain and is it still going on today? What happened to Mercado on those occasions when he had his brush with the unexplained? Is there an alien UFO base tucked away in a subterranean cavern in Puerto Rico and perhaps other places around the world? These are questions we will probably never be able to answer, but Mercado and Martín have both stood by the veracity of the story, and the area has accrued all kinds of weirdness over the years. Whether any of this is real or not, it is certainly an area steeped in strangeness, and it is hard not to look out over those peaks and wonder what if.