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 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.
The first person – so far as we know – to see the beast was a woman named Madeline Tolentino, who lived in Canovanas, the initial scene of all the action, and whose story is told in Ben Radford’s 2011 book, Tracking the Chupacabra. 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. 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. As amazing as it may sound, a significant amount of data points in that specific direction.
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.
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.
On all of my many trips to Puerto Rico, I have heard several, often-repeated theories for what the beasts are or may be. The list includes alien beings, giant bats, and the products of secret labs run by scientists engaging in bizarre genetic-, cloning- and gene-splicing experiments. And there is one more theory: that the Chupacabras were invoked, or conjured up by clandestine groups that engage in the black arts, and who are directly responsible for creating a portal, or what we might call a supernatural doorway, that lets the monsters enter our world at will. There is no doubt at all that Puerto Rico is home to multiple cults and secret societies that engage in animal sacrifice, ritual magic, and occult practices. I know that, as I have had the opportunity to speak with a few of them. They are dangerous and powerful bodies, ones not to be crossed with. The most likely scenario to explain the nature and presence of the Puerto Rican Chupacabra, however, is that it is the shapeshifting denizen of another realm of existence. It is a monster that, when called forth, eagerly made a new home – as well as an entirely new hunting ground – on the island, and has no intention of returning to the weird realm from which it first surfaced.