Jun 14, 2022 I Nick Redfern

"A Secret Base" in Puerto Rico? Chupacabras and More?

Puerto Rico is a place that is undeniably enchanting. Located in the northeast Caribbean, it is comprised of the main island itself, plus the islands of Mona, Monito, Vieques, Caja De Muertos, Culebra, and a number of other, smaller bodies. Today, Puerto Rico has a population of close to four million people, while its land mass is of roughly 3,500 square miles. It was in the mid-1990s that the phenomenon of the chupacabra exploded all across Puerto Rico. So far as can be determined, the menacing creature first surfaced in March 1995. That was when numerous animals were found slaughtered in the towns of Morovis (located in central Puerto Rico) and Orocovis, which is situated within the aforementioned La Cordillera Central mountain range. Locals were plunged into states of near-hysteria by the attacks, which reportedly left animals dead, with strange marks on their necks, and a distinct lack of blood in their corpses. Since many of the early attacks were on goats, the term, “chupacabra,” was created. It means, in Spanish, goat-sucker.

Vampires were on the loose; monstrous vampires. Reports of strange killings soon began to surface from other parts of the island. The creatures were clearly on the move. The death-rate increased even more. The population was on edge and the media had something new and sensational to report on. It was a turbulent and strange time. But, what, exactly, was responsible for all the killings? Yes, there were plenty of dead animals but, unfortunately, there was no solid, eyewitness testimony relative to the killers themselves. That is, until August 1995, when a woman named Madelyne Tolentino - who lived in Canovanas, which is close to the northeast coast of Puerto Rico - changed everything. Tolentino’s description of the creature she encountered, close to her mother’s home, was disturbing, to say the very least. It was a description eagerly embraced by the island’s media and by investigators of monsters and mysteries.

(Nick Redfern) In the heart of Puerto Rico

Tolentino told journalists and researchers that the creature was around three feet in height, bipedal, ran in a weird, hopping fashion, had large black eyes, bony fingers on each hand, overly long arms and legs, and a kind of feathery line running down its back. Or, it appeared to Tolentino to be a feathery line: a young boy employed by Tolentino’s husband claimed that he saw the beast up close and personal and maintained that the feathers were, in reality, sharp spines. The boy also said that the creature possessed a mouthful of vicious-looking fangs. Not only did the people know of the chupacabra and its predations, they also now knew what it looked like: something straight out of their worst nightmares. Now, let's get to the heart of today's article.

Hangar 18, Area 51, the Dulce facility, the Blue-Room and S-4, they can all be considered as "underground bases." There is, however, another facility that has a very strange history attached to it. It's the now-defunct Roosevelt Roads Naval Station on Puerto Rico. And, it's a facility that many people don't know about. The origins of Roosevelt Roads date back to just one year after the end of the First World War. It was 1919 when the then Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy visited Puerto Rico. That man was none other than a future American president: Franklin D. Roosevelt. The visit was no vacation, however. Roosevelt was there on a secret mission. He was focused on finding a suitable location where a military facility could be constructed, one that could act as a strategic outpost for Uncle Sam in the Caribbean. Roosevelt toured the island, finally pinpointing a northeast town called Ceiba, which was founded back in the 1830s, and that, today, has a population of around 13,000.

At the time, while the creation of such a base – with an airfield - could have been beneficial, it was not perceived as absolutely crucial. Things changed dramatically, however, when a certain Adolf Hitler came to power in 1930s-era Germany. The world was soon to face complete and utter carnage, the likes of which it had never before seen, or since. Steps had to be taken to combat the Nazi threat. One of those steps was the creation of Roosevelt Roads, which began in 1940, one year before the terrible events at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii occurred. Roosevelt Roads ultimately became the biggest U.S. Navy base on the planet and the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO). It remained so for decades. 

(Nick Redfern) Puerto Rico: Monsters, legends and conspiracies

Now, with that said, it’s time to take a look at the story of Roosevelt Roads’ role as a top secret storage area for chupacabras. Or, rather, an alleged top secret storage area. While on Puerto Rico in the late 1990s, one of cryptozoologist Jon Downes' sources was a man named Reuben, a Puerto Rican brought up in New York, but who returned to the island as an adult. Arguably, Reuben was Jon’s most significant source, since he personally took Jon and the U.K. Channel 4 TV crew to the very spot in Canovanas where, he claimed, the craft from another world slammed into the ground, back in 1957. Jon told me that they came to a big clearing where the path became narrow, and, on one side, disappeared altogether, into a huge saucer-shaped arena. This, according to what Reuben had to say, at least, was where the UFO had crashed. Admittedly, there was a huge indent in the side of the mountain, said Jon. No trees grew there, and it did look as if some huge object had crashed into the mountain, scooping out trees and vegetation and leaving a bare area intermittently covered with patchy grass.

There is also a story of a UFO crashing in the heart of the El Yunque rain-forest in February 1984. I know that, because the basics of the account have reached me on three occasions over the past decade. It was early one morning when a large, circular-shaped object slammed into the ground, immediately after flying over the rain forest in a decidedly erratic fashion. To prevent people from learning the truth of the matter, a diversionary tactic was put into place that the UFO was a meteorite. Personnel from NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and the CIA were soon on the scene – in part, to scoop up the pummeled body-parts of a couple of dead chupacabras, whose lives came to sudden and bloody ends when the alien craft hurtled violently into the forest at high speed. That’s how the story goes, anyway. I mention these two cases because there are claims that the bodies recovered from both the 1957 and 1984 incidents were secretly transported to Roosevelt Roads, for study and autopsy, by senior U.S. Navy medical personnel – in a deeply buried, fortified bunker, no less. Reportedly, at least some of the bodies were later taken to an unidentified military base in Florida.

Also of relevance, while on Puerto Rico in 2005, with Paul Kimball and his Redstar Films crew, our guide, Orlando, was filmed talking about a 1990s-era event in which U.S. military forces reportedly captured several extremely vicious Chupacabra in El Yunque. What happened to them, beyond first being held at Roosevelt Roads and then flown on to the United States - in secure cages, aboard a military aircraft - is unknown. And then there was that 2010 story of alleged, classified experiments undertaken on monkeys and apes in an underground facility at the base that I described earlier. Was this all nothing stranger than modern day folklore in the making? Or, could it have been the cold, stark truth? Was Roosevelt Roads really a Puerto Rican equivalent of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Dulce Base? For me, it all very much depended on who you asked.

I have always found that no matter where I’m traveling and whatever anomaly I’m pursuing, the best way to find information is to simply walk up to people and ask for it. Stores, bars, newspaper offices, restaurants, gas-stations: they often prove to be the perfect places to uncover a few things of significance - and sometimes, a lot of things. And, in terms of the latter, that was exactly the case in Ceiba, the town that for so many years was home to the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. I learned pretty quickly that many of the people of Ceiba had a lot of good things to say about Roosevelt Roads. Certainly, the most interesting piece of data I uncovered, on what was a very brief trip to the island, surfaced in a local bar. There was a rumor of vast, cavernous, underground tunnels deep below Roosevelt Roads. So the tale went: when theN military said it’s goodbyes in 2004, it neglected to tell the people of Ceiba that something terrifying was on the loose in those dark tunnels, something that had escaped from its confines: a violent pack of chupacabra. The military, I was informed, took the approach that as they were heading off for pastures new, the creatures were now Ceiba’s problem and not theirs – should they ever surface. Of course, this was just a story. Hard evidence? There was none. As for incredible stories? They were overflowing. Hmmm. Although this is - collectively - a fascinating story, I have never been able to find anything that can be seen as 100 percent truth. My search still continues, though.

Nick Redfern

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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