By now, most people have heard about a strange new phenomenon known in
Spanish as Chupacabra. The term chupacabra literally means goat sucker. In
the past 24 months, particularly in Puerto Rico, a creature given this
name has been blamed for more than 2000 attacks on domestic animals such
as chicken, ducks, rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep, goats and even the
occasional cow and horse. It has amounted to a reign of terror.
The victims reportedly have deep puncture marks around the neck or back of
the head. Often, much of the blood is drained with no signs of it on the
ground. Occasionally, internal organs are missing. There are rarely signs
Many of the attacks and sightings have taken place in an area called El
Yunque, a vast impenetrable tract of Puerto Rican jungle set aside as a
park. In fact, much of Puerto Rico is dense jungle, areas which could hide
In more recent months the chupacabra phenomenon has spread beyond Puerto
Rico and is now being reported in Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco,
southern California, Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil.
Hundreds of eye witnesses claim to have seen this creature, often multiple
times. Some of the sightings have been by multiple witnesses. The general
description is that of a creature 3 to 5 feet tall covered in coarse
dark-brown hair and walking erect. Its legs are thick and strong but the
upper body is frail. It walks holding small thin arms as does a praying
mantis. The eyes are alien-like wrap-around and are said to be fiery red
at night but grey in the daytime. The creature is also described as having
fangs and a proboscis-like tongue which it uses to suck its victims blood.
It emits a pungent odour by which it overpowers its victims.
In March of 1996, I travelled to Puerto Rico to see what all the fuss was
about and to determine whether the bizarre reports had any merit. I spent
much of my seven days interviewing eye-witnesses, newspaper reporters,
several scientists who had taken an interest in this, several
veterinarians as well as the Mayor of Canovanos where many attacks on
animals have taken place.
I also had an opportunity to investigate a fresh attack.
A Classic Eye-witness Report
The following is an account of several chupacabra incidents as told to me
by Madeline Tolentino and husband Jose Miguel Agosto;
The first sighting took place in the second week of August 1995, at 4PM in
front of their house in Campo Rico, south-east of San Juan. Her mother was
also present in the house at that time.
While in her house, Madeline noticed someone had driven up in front and so
went to the window to see who it was. She saw a man who was a neighbour,
standing by the passenger side of his car, speaking to a female sitting
inside. Suddenly the man stiffened, a startled look on his face as he
started backing away from something. Madeline then saw he was staring at a
strange creature which was walking down the sidewalk towards him.
The creature stopped right in front of her window, its progress blocked by
the mans car which was parked partly on the sidewalk. The creature was no
more than 6 feet away. She described it as 3 to 4 feet tall, covered in a
coarse dark brown/black hair, wearing no clothing. She did not notice
genitalia. Its arms, which it kept pulled up close to its body, were long
and thin, ending with three long claws. It had what appeared to her to be
a long comb of feathers down its back.
It also had several bare circular patches on its skin which were purple in
colour and looked as if they were burn marks. Its jaw was prominent, it
had a slit for a mouth and two holes for a nose, small ears and large
slanted eyes which were grey in colour, lacking the whites. She described
the eyes as being moist or gelatin-like. When it moved its head, it seemed
to be in slow jerky mechanical motions. The upper body was thin and small
and its lower body was thick and strong.
All this transpired in just a few seconds. The startled man jumped into
his car and took off in panic. Madeline at this point screamed for her
mother. The creature then ran across the street, its feet moving so fast
that it appeared they did not touch the ground. It then headed for a small
field of high grass next to her husbands auto repair shop.
Her mother, Isabel Maldonado, followed the creature and was joined by
Adalberto Roble Pascheco, a mechanic from the shop. At this point, her
mother and the mechanic saw that the comb on its back was in fact spikes
which it was able to raise, like those of a prehistoric lizard. And when
it opened its mouth, they could see four fangs. The mechanic lunged at the
creature in an attempt to capture it. The creature bolted and when it
reached a 6 foot fence, it jumped over like a kangaroo and scurried away.
Later, Madeline's husband Miguel admitted to her that he had seen this
creature early that same morning but didn't tell her at the time for fear
she would think him mad. He said he was starting the engine of his 1984
Chevrolet station wagon. Suddenly, he heard a loud banging noise coming
from under the hood and then saw a strange creature running out from under
the car. It jumped over a fence and disappeared. He described its running
motion much like Madeline did.
When he opened the hood of the car, he noticed all three belts broken.
The second incident occurred Jan 4th, 1996 around 7PM. She was driving
with her 2 year old son in their Isuzu Trooper. The windows were rolled
down. They were driving on Route 185 near a horse race track called El
Comandante when she suddenly smelled something pungent like sulfur which
irritated her throat. She kept driving and suddenly saw the creature
again. This time it had bright red eyes, or it was emitting a red light or
beam from its eyes. It ran across the road in front of the car and
disappeared. She was very frightened and drove home to tell Miguel. He
returned to the scene where he could still smell the odour but did not see
Miguel went out later that same night with an uncle to search for the
chupacabra near a farm. There was a full moon that night so that
visibility was relatively good. As they were standing near a coral, they
suddenly saw what looked like the creature, about 25 to 30 ft in the air.
It was moving along, levitating it seemed, at about 20 miles per hour in a
direction of Barrio Cambalache towards Loiza Valley. They both noticed a
sort of membrane hanging under the arms. Although they realise this
description sounds bizarre, they are sure it was not flying but
On my last night in Puerto Rico (April 1), reporter Eddie Deese received a
call from a farmer who had just had three sheep attacked in a pen near his
house. I drove with Eddie to the farm and we arrived about 8 PM. One of
the first things I noticed was the occasional faint but distinct smell,
similar to that of a skunk, around the house and sheep compound. However,
there are no skunks in Puerto Rico.
One of the sheep, a large ram, was missing and the other two, a female and
young male were alive but had been badly wounded in the neck area. They
appeared to be in shock. Closer examination of the neck wounds revealed
multiple punctures. Some of these punctures were deep and a fair amount of
blood was found in several corners of the compound. We looked for
footprints as well as other evidence but there was nothing obvious. I
collected blood and hair samples to be analysed later.
At the time of the attack no one was home, but a retired couple who live
next door keep their eyes on the house every day while the owners are away
at work. Neither heard or saw anything. They said there was no sound from
the sheep nor from the 3 guard dogs which are chained at various locations
outside the house. These dogs were not suspect since they could not reach
the sheep pen. Had there been an intruder the dogs would normally have
caused a great deal of commotion but for some reason this time, made no
Soon after we examined the site and took photographs, a searched for the
missing ram was organised. Eddie Deese and I were accompanied by the mayor
of the town, the farmer and his son as well as members of the Civil Guard.
After a lengthy search in the darkness, the area adjacent to the property,
including a ravine, yielded nothing unusual and so we decided to return to
Suddenly, as we were climbing back out of the ravine, we were overcome by
something noxious which sent all of us into a fit of coughing. I do not
remember an odour but the irritant was rather debilitating, making it
difficult to breathe. Not being able to find a source, we scrambled out of
the area as fast as we could. Our throats were burning for some time
The area was searched by the Civil Guard a second time next morning and
again, severe throat irritation was experienced. And like before, no
source for the noxious odour was discovered. Experiences similar to this
are frequently reported in cases of chupacabra attacks, although an
unpleasant odour is usually associated with the breathing difficulties.
The following experience is something that added a whole new dimension to
my investigation. I still don't know what to make of it, but it did
One of the scientists looking into the Chupacabra affair phoned me one day
at my hotel to say a friend of a friend of hers was very interested in
this phenomenon as well as UFOs etc and would like to talk with me. I said
sure. The friend called the day before I had arranged to interview
witnesses Madeline and Jose.
During my conversation with him, he asked if he could come with me to that
interview . Since he spoke fluent English as well as Spanish, and Madeline
and Jose spoke only Spanish, I agreed. It would make the interview much
easier for me. I phoned the couple later to ask if I could bring another
person with me and they said that would be fine.
Next day Miguel (I wont use his real name) picked me up at my hotel and we
drove to the small town where the couple lived. Just before we left my
hotel I was putting my pack into the trunk of his car and noticed a black
plastic bag which felt very heavy when I pushed it aside. Toys for his
kids, he said.
When we arrived at the house it was already dark. Madeline and Jose
welcomed us into their house and we introduced each other. At this point,
Madeline and Jose's expressions froze as they looked at each other. The
conversation then became cool and hesitant. Stage fright perhaps, I
Miguel started talking very fast, trying to get things rolling. I couldn't
follow most of it because it was too rapid but within 10 minutes Madeline
and Jose relaxed and became very hospitable. They served us tea and told
us their story.
We departed after midnight and drove back to San Juan. Along the way we
talked about the incredible story we had just heard and about UFOs in
general. Then Miguel turned to me and asked what I thought of government
conspiracies, agents and interference in investigations. I said I thought
there might be something to it but that in all likelihood, the subject
matter was exaggerate. He said I have to tell you something. I'm an FBI
agent. I laughed at him in disbelief. You mean CIA, don't you? I joked,
hoping he was kidding. No, I'm serious he said and pulled out his badge
and photo ID.
I couldn't believe it! That's why Madeline and Jose froze up at first when
they heard his name. I learned later they had been warned beforehand. And
the black bag in the trunk? He showed me. It contained a bullet-proof
vest, gun and holster. I swear he said, this is just a co-incidence. I'm a
guy who is really interested in this stuff and just happen to be working
for the FBI. Everybody has to work somewhere. I'm with drug enforcement.
Ok, maybe, I thought. I'll try not to become paranoid.
Next evening I was to get together with him to make sure I had a proper
English translation of Madeline and Jose's story. However, the case with
the three sheep came up and I went to that instead.
I got back to the hotel from the sheep case at 3 AM that night and went to
bed exhausted. I had to fly home that morning and needed some sleep. At
5:30 AM, I was awaken by a terrible commotion next door. It was several
men pounding on the door of the suite next to me. I picked out the words
goddamned Canadian in the midst of their cursing. They were also yelling
police, police! Open up! and kicking at the door. I managed a quick
glimpse through the blinds and saw they were plainclothes officers. At
that point I realised I felt terribly ill, possibly from the obnoxious
smell had encountered while investigating the sheep case only hours
before. I barely managed to fall back into bed. I felt terrible.
The next thing I knew it was 8:30 AM and the phone was ringing. All traces
of the commotion next door had disappeared. It was Miguel on the phone. He
wanted to see me. I said that wasn't possible since I had to get to the
airport right away. I made no mention of the night's events.
He made some small talk and then started asking which airline I was flying
with, what time my plane departed, was I flying direct or did I have a
stopover in the US, was I carrying any agricultural products with me? I
lied about everything. This was too much. I began to worry.
I divided the samples I took at the farm between my carry-on and check-in
luggage and then proceeded to the airport, still not feeling well.
Checking in and getting on the plane was uneventful. Just get me out of
here, I thought.
The plane made its way to the end of the runway and sat waiting to take
off. It was there for a few minutes when the pilot announced that there
was an electronic problem and we would have to wait until it was repaired.
A van pulled up and several men entered the cargo hold. I was starting to
sweat. You could hear things being knocked around and I was sure someone
was about to pounce out of the hold, apprehend me and drag me off the
plane. But after an hour, the van left and the plane departed.
Upon arriving back in Vancouver, I anxiously opened my suitcase. The
contents had definitely been rearranged, but to my surprise, the plastic
ziplock containing the samples was still in my dirty laundry bag where I
had put it.
A month later, the sample results came back from the lab, - all sample's
identified as that belonging to the sheep family of ruminants. Nothing
Something bizarre definitely is occurring in Puerto Rico. With hundreds of
similar eye- witness reports, thousands of corpses of animals with deep
wounds that cannot be explained, it is difficult to write the whole thing
off to a figment of imagination. And what about my experience at the sheep
farm and later with the FBI agent?
On the other hand, what is very bothersome to me is that this phenomenon
seems to be limited to Spanish-speaking communities. Is this a coincidence
or does it point to the possibility of a social phenomenon? Also, despite
all the eye witness reports, fantastic claims and recent reports of the
creature having been captured, there is as yet, no bird in the hand.
Did this whole thing start as an erroneous report which was whipped into a
national sensation by fear and hysteria and exploited by the media until
it became part of the social psyche, or is it based on reality? I do wish