The Caribbean is no stranger to the supernatural and terrifying. Myths and sightings of strange creatures and apparitions are commonplace on most islands. From tales of the undead in Haiti to the hundreds of different iterations of La Llorona, most people from the Caribbean are able to describe at least one supernatural creature or apparition from their Island.
Puerto Rico is certainly not the exception. Just two years ago, Barceloneta residents went into a frenzy over alleged sightings of la gárgola, a flying creature that allegedly feeds on livestock, in a similar vein to the chupacabras. Although la gárgola seems to have flown away from Puerto Rico some time ago, there are still plenty of creepy spots to visit on the Island if you’re looking for a scare!
Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts or not, locals claim to have witnessed strange activity in these spots, so if you actually run into anything, you’ve been warned.
- The Mustang House (Mayagüez, PR)
Better known as La casa del Mustang, legend has it that this abandoned house in Mayagüez carries a dark tale. Nearby residents recall that a family once lived there and were going through severe financial issues. As an attempt to surpass their difficulties, the family allegedly made a pact with the Devil during Holy Week—some go as far as saying that the pact included an orgy. Neighbors claim that strange occurrences took place afterward and the family was forced to leave the premises, leaving behind their Mustang.
For as long as nearby residents can remember, the abandoned Mustang has been stuck in the garage. The car is now a hollowed-out husk, as people have looted its parts over the years, but the actual car has never been removed despite several attempts. Some claim that the car was also cursed. Few dare step into the property now, as they sometimes see the house light up from the inside.
- Levy Mansion (Lares, PR)
Levy Mansion—also known as La Rambla—was home to the first water bottling plant in Puerto Rico and hosts numerous myths passed on for decades by Lares citizens. The most haunting tale of the bunch narrates that the estate’s owner once had a violent dispute with his daughter. Allegedly, after prohibiting her from marrying the man she loved, she committed suicide. Rumor has it she still haunts the mansion and its grounds.
Today, the town of Lares owns the property and has plans in rehabilitating it as a hotel-casino, one of the original plans that arquitect Don Francisco Levy González had for the space when construction finished in 1932. Enter at your own risk.
- Ruins of Lazaretto de Isla de Cabras (Toa Baja, PR)
North of Toa Baja lies Isla de Cabras, a small island that served as a quarantine station during the early 19th century (we’ve been dealing with pandemics for a long time). Due to the series of incurable diseases that were commonplace in the Old World, all European ships were inspected upon arrival and any person that was infected with a non-curable disease was quarantined to avoid creating a pandemic on the main island.
Eventually, a shelter for the victims of diseases such as cholera, yellow fever, and leprosy was built in 1883. Any person who was admitted into the Hospital for either of these likely died and was buried on the island’s cemetery, meaning that the spirits of many folk may still lurk around the beaches of Isla de Cabras. The facilities were officially closed down in 1923 due to inhumane conditions.
- Normandie Hotel (San Juan, PR)
In 1942, the Normandie Hotel opened its doors to the general public. Inspired by the passenger ship SS Normandie, the Puerto Rican engineer Félix Benítez Rexach designed the hotel as a tribute to his French wife. Currently, the hotel is abandoned, but visitors who have explored the ruins have claimed to see the spirit of a woman who once committed suicide in the building by launching herself from one of the top floors toward the hotel’s lobby. Others have allegedly witnessed a ghostly child run through its halls.
Many marvel at the Normandie Hotel as an architectural feat that stood the test of time. Some even await the day where the Normandie might be rehabilitated and open once again. For now, the property remains abandoned and potentially a home to some lost souls.
- Guajataca Tunnel (Isabela, PR)
El Túnel de Guajataca was a tunnel that formed part of Puerto Rico’s national railway system during the first half of the 1900s. Early in the 20th century, a train accident that took place through the tunnel killed dozens of passengers. Many visitors claim to hear the voices of the victims echo through the cave walls of the tunnel.
When leaving Guajataca Tunnel, be careful if you decide to head toward Isabela through La Cara del Indio, just a minute away. One of the most famous Isabela legends is that a woman dressed in white who died before her wedding day—known as la Bruja del Caño—will often stand near the road searching for a man who will take her out to dance. Allegedly, she usually appears whenever people have car issues on the road and the car turns off. If you drive down this road after midnight, I highly suggest you have someone next to you. Better yet, avoid the road altogether; it’s pretty creepy.
- Casa Betania (Arecibo, PR)
This Arecibo home once belonged to the Oysters, a German family that reported information back to the German government during World War II. After the Oysters left, it became a spiritual retreat home for a nearby church.
Bypassers describe hearing chains and writhing screams coming from the house. No one knows if the house has a darker history behind its walls, but many speculate that the land may have been used as a portal to another dimension. Others claim having seen apparitions such as a bloody lady near the house.
If you decide to visit any of these spots, feel free to invite your loved ones! Fearing for your life together is a wonderful bonding activity. I promise.