The Island of Blood

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 4th, 2010

Memo to Ben Radford: Revise that Chupacabras book of yours. Paul Kimball’s new documentary on the Chupacabras investigation of Nick Redfern and Orlando Pla in Puerto Rico is now playing.

©2009 Redstar Films Limited 

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

11 Responses to “The Island of Blood”

  1. JMonkey responds:

    Can’t we all just get along.

  2. korollocke responds:

    I would like to hear what Ben thinks about this.

  3. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I just heard about this, I’ll look at it tomorrow.

    But I can tell you that I’ve got information in my book that strongly suggests Nick and his friends are wasting their time looking for the Puerto Rican chupacabra. For one thing, our mutual friend Jon Downes says the chupa hasn’t been sighted on the island since 1998…

    Perhaps I’m wrong, and if so, I like garlic pepper on my crow!

  4. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I watched the Island of Blood parts, and since Loren has asked me to comment, I’m happy to do so. I don’t have time for a thorough analysis, but I’ll hit a main few points.

    1) I understand the video is meant as entertainment, but I saw very little investigation, at least not in the parts available so far. Much of Part 1 seemed like tourist mugging and filler. Some people like Nick’s goofing around, “frat-boy-looks-for-monsters” style (as seen in his books, esp, “Memoirs of a Monster Hunter”– plug! plug!). If that works for him, that’s great, though I personally prefer a more serious approach.

    2) In the first minute of Part 2, Nick is told about an alleged chupacabra attack in which 65 pigs were mysteriously killed in a local prison. Nick follows up with:

    NR: “Were they attacked like the classic chupacabra attack?”
    OP: “They had a hole, a perforation in the armpit.”
    NR: “In every one?”
    OP: “In every one.”
    NR: “Huh.”

    That concludes the exchange, and Redfern seems like he is satisfied with the answer he got. But he doesn’t seem to notice that his question was never really answered; in fact, if anything, the answer he got suggests it was NOT a chupacabra attack!

    The main characteristic of a “classic chupacabra attack” is a loss of blood; a secondary typical characteristic is puncture marks on the victim’s neck. Not only was there no mention of blood sucking, but the marks were on the shoulder instead of the neck! It is baffling to me as an investigator that neither of the two “classic” characteristics of the chupacabra attack were mentioned in this case (or at least in the parts presented in the video), yet Nick doesn’t comment on this and instead asks if “every one” of the pigs died that way.

    Either he’s *assuming* that the pigs were drained of blood (assuming facts is not a good idea in scientific investigations), or he was told this off-camera, or for some reason he doesn’t notice that the answer to his question was basically, “No, the pigs attacks were NOT like the classic chupacabra attack.”

    He seems to simply assume that what he’s being told is valid and accurate, without doing any research or investigation to confirm it. This case is presented as a chupacabra attack, but it’s all an anecdote. There’s no follow-up, no eyewitnesses interviewed, no nothing.

    3) In Part 3, Nick hears one man’s story that Men in Black government agents showed up at a rural farm following an incident in which a machete had been broken supposedly while fending off a chupacabra. These men confiscated the broken machete and took it away, presumably to hide evidence. Nick seems to accept this wild conspiracy story without a shred of evidence other than one man’s story, commenting that “That might suggest that whoever they were, they knew where this creature was that night and a good idea where it had attacked, and what it had attacked.” Again, no effort whatsoever is made to confirm any details, seek any other eyewitnesses, or anything else.

    4) Also, in Part 3, I note there’s mention of a 2003 alleged chupa attack in which 3 pigs were killed. One of the speakers (Pla, I believe) states that “they were all dead in a straight line,” as if this is somehow mysterious or significant. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but what’s curious is that they then show a photo of the pigs (at 1:40), which are clearly NOT in “a straight line.” They are facing roughly the same direction, but it’s quite possible that whoever photographed them moved them that way for a better photo. But the “straight line” claim is self-evidently not true, as viewers can see for themselves!

    I don’t offer this necessarily as a criticism of Nick (who I have met, and to whom I bear a passing resemblance); I am responding to Loren’s request for a sort of “peer-review” comment on this topic as an expert on the chupacabra. I support any cryptofolks who go out in the field, and I’m glad that Nick and his friends had fun in Puerto Rico.

    I hope his search for the Puerto Rican chupacabra is successful, but from my decade of experience investigating these creatures, solving this mystery will require more investigation and skepticism than I’ve seen so far. I hope Nick finds the answers he’s looking for, and I look forward to seeing more “Island of Blood.”

  5. Loren Coleman responds:

    Actually, I tend to agree with Ben here, as I find all the drinking, male-bonding, frat-boy undercurrent to certain so-called cryptozoological investigations, whether they be by Nick Redfern, Adam Davies, or Josh Gates, really not too scientific. I suppose they have their place, and each to their own, but that’s not the way I conduct my fieldwork.

    Secondly, I look forward to reading Ben’s book, because his continued mixing of apples and oranges between Puerto Rican Chupacabras and the incorrectly named chupacabra of the Tex/Mex media flaps seems to be something he regularly does. (Thanks to Miguel from Mexico, a/k/a Red Pill Junkie, for reinforcing my points about how “chupacabra” is the wrong usage.)

    Furthermore, as Scott and I have pointed out, one of the first instances of the mention of Chupacabras on television – in 1960 – was of them being the suckers of goats’ milk, not their blood. The vampire element appears to be a recent addition to the folkloric aspects of these tales. To read above that Ben uses the “blood-sucking” as some kind of litmus test to the “reality” of a report was, well, shocking. To regard “blood-sucking” as a classic trait may not be necessarily wise.

    BTW, I was only joking about Ben “revising his book,” but I appreciate that he commented here with his thoughts about this film.

    I see this effort as living in that cinema limbo between being a documentary and a mockumentary.

  6. Nick Redfern responds:

    Hey Ben

    Just read your review of Island of Blood; and point taken re your comments.

    There’s a few things to bear in mind, however, which you won’t be aware of: the week-long trip to Puerto Rico was actually not to make a film about the Chupacabras. Rather, it was to shoot footage for a film that Paul Kimball was making for Canada’s Space Channel called “Fields of Fear.”

    FoF was made a couple of years ago, and was going to be a study of the larger animal-mutilation/cattle-mutilation mystery; and there was going to be a small Chupa section in FoF.

    However, after filming, the Space Channel decided to change the theme of the show to solely just cattle-mutes, and so all the Chupa material was completely ditched. But, because the Chupa material was originally going to be a very small part of FoF, one of the things we did on the island was to get as much sound-bite material as we could.

    In other words, yes we interviewed a lot of people during the course of the week we were there; but it was very much a busy schedule, going from one place to another, to get on-screen footage with this person for 10 minutes, that person for 5 minutes, someone else for 10, etc etc.

    After all, (hypothetically) a 30-minute interview with “Witness A” wouldn’t work where the whole, entire Chupa section of FoF would likely have only been about 15 minutes. Thus, why many of the scenes are so brief – a 2 minute filming with person A or B to get the basics and the sound-bites of the story that could easily be added to the Chupa section of FoF.

    A lengthy, hour-long exchange re the chap who claimed the MIB visit would have been ideal (and we did get much more footage at his place), but unfeasible to insert all that in the small section of FoF.

    However, Paul has much more footage (we filmed solidly for a week, approx 10AM to about 6PM each day), and so far only approx 30 minutes has surfaced, much of which was the goofing around stuff, as that’s the way Island of Blood is portrayed: a bunch of guys roaming around Puerto Rico for a week in a van, road-trip style.

    But, I can assure that there is MUCH more footage on each of the cases that appear in the film (re the MIB chap: I think we were at his place interviewing him for possibly 2 hours in total), and which is non-party-like!

    All best,

  7. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hey Nick

    Ah, yes, I suspected much of this was due to wonky editing. What you said makes sense, and even the most competent researcher or investigator can appear slapdash when the footage is choppy or shot for one purpose but cobbled together for another. I hope to see more of the interviews some time!



  8. Benjamin Radford responds:


    p.s., I’m still curious about the 65 pigs: Did anyone ever confirm that they were claimed to have been (or in fact were) drained of blood?

    We should grab some beers next time our paths cross, but I’m afraid you and Jon would drink me under the table. I’m from good British stock, but I haven’t got your tolerance!


  9. korollocke responds:

    I agree with Loren about ben not being as spot on as ben would like to think he is. It all started in Peurto Rico(hence it should be the starting place for a proper investigation.) and has since moved and is a bit convulted with the Texas whatever they are mucking up the issue.

  10. Benjamin Radford responds:

    >>It all started in Peurto Rico(hence it should be the starting place for a proper investigation.) and has since moved and is a bit convulted with the Texas whatever they are mucking up the issue.

    I think you misunderstood my point. There’s nothing wrong with researching the chupacabra in Puerto Rico, as a historical phenomenon. But there is no reason to think that the chupacabras still exist there, for several reasons including that, according to Jon Downes (who I believe is accurate), apparently it hasn’t been reported there in a dozen years. That’s all I was saying.

  11. Nick Redfern responds:


    I wouldn’t actually say it was wonky editing – I think Paul did a good job of creating a short film based around the specific road-trip atmosphere of the week on the island, by using those parts of the film that were relative to that flavor of the trip.

    And, in that sense, the brief interview sections worked well. Although I agree that a short film is inevitably going to mean that some questions remain unanswered, or certain parts have to be left out for time reasons etc.

    I took a load of notes while we were on the island, so I’ll dig them out and get back to you here re the 65 pigs question.

    Ok, it’s a deal re a few beers!

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