October 9, 2016 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
There is something about areas of supernatural activity that loves a triangle? I would assume so since this simple 3-sided shape shows up in all sort of occult corners, so to speak. Even in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle, you can find the Keziah Mason and her nightmare geometries; consider also Frank Belknap Long’s Hound of Tindanols and its love of corners. The most famous supernatural triangle is almost certainly the Bermuda Triangle – which has inspired certain New England authors to apply the same… selective… application of the facts to identify two similar zones of unnatural activity in New England. The first of these is located in southeastern Massachusetts…
The Bridgewater Triangle
The Triangle is an invention of cryptozoologist Loren Coleman who first designated this section of southeastern Massachusetts (see map below) with this title in 1983 in his book Mysterious America. Coleman argued that, like with the Bermuda Triangle, the frequency of strange or otherwise unexplainable events in this particularly region was so high that there is likely some underlying and connective cause. Different authors however differ as to the nature and origins of the Bridgewater Triangle, of course, usually to support their own pet theories. UFOlogists imagine alien complexes while occult-minded types imagine dimensional rifts or Indian curses. If I had to guess, I’d say the combination of nearby large population centers combined with the relative isolation of the region combine to produce an area that spurs the imagination of those looking for something supernatural and eerie. (I don’t want to sound too critical of this phenomena – I’ll talk about how we might use these places in a future post.)
Most sources include the following items as evidence of the supernatural forces at work within the triangle’s confines:
- Anawam Rock – a large conglomerate stone boulder, just off of MA 44 in Rehoboth. It was the site of the capture and execution of the Wampanoag sachem Anawam at the end of King Philip’s War in 1676. Supposedly the ghosts of Anawam and his men haunt the site still.
- Assonet Ledge – the remains of an old granite quarry (and now erroneously thought to be a natural phenomena) within the Freetown State Forest (see below). Supposedly haunted by the ghosts of Native American warriors who chose to leap to their death rather than surrender, or by the impish Pukwudgies.
- Dighton Rock – Formerly located the Taunton River (and now relocated to a nearby site in Dighton Rock State Park), this 40-ton boulder bears curious inscriptions of debatable origins – most likely they were carved by the native Wampanoag people but over the past three centuries visitors have imagined they were written by everyone from the Phoenicians to the Portuguese. (We talked about this site in issue #0 of the Arkham Gazette, if you’re interested.)
- Freetown State Forest – This large (for New England) State Forest is officially called the Freetown-Fall River State Forest is home to several of the sites on this list: Profile Rock and the Assonet Ledge. It is also supposedly a hotbed of supernatural activity, including pukwudgies, Satanists, spectral witches, strange lights, ghosts from the era of King Philip’s War, and a bigfoot or two. Chrisopher Balzano’s Dark Woods: Cults, Crime, and the Paranormal in the Freetown State Forest, Massachusetts is the main source for a lot of these stories. (As a personal aside, “Satanist cults” is always a red flag to me regarding the veracity of any haunted site – when you can’t think of a better excuse for something creepy, you blame Satanists. Of course, it someone tells me the ghosts are trying to pick up gullible freshmen or perpetually shopping for occult bric-a-brac, then I might be a little more trusting…)
- Hockomock Swamp – The largest freshwater swamp in Massachusetts, this wetlands served as a base for the Wampanoag peoples, especially during King Philip’s War, but more generally as a source of game and foraging. The name is said to me “the place of Spirits” but I wonder if the inspiration might be the god Hobomock. Odd sightings here include ghosts, thunderbirds, Black Dogs, alien big cats, and of course UFOs.
- Profile Rock – A large rock formations said to bear the profile of the sachem Massasoit. Supposedly periodically haunted by spectral dancers in Native garb.
Other Bridgewater Triangle Oddities
- Cryptozoological – Hockomock Swamp seems the epicenter of various odd animal sightings, including alien big cats, malevolent black dogs, giant birds
- Supernatural creatures – Pukwudgies and bigfoot (-foots? -feet?); We are near enough to Dover, MA that I am surprised that no one claimed that town’s titular ‘demon’ isn’t some inhabitant of the Bridgewater Triangle gone astray.
- Phantoms and Spirits – There are two particularly well known tales of hauntings in this area – the red-headed hitchhiker and the ghost truck of Copicut Road. The former is a variation on the traditional ‘phantom hitchhiker‘ ghost; instead of being a lovely and wan young lady in white, this spirit is a flannel-clad man known for his maniacal laughter. The later is a truck which chases down the rare drivers on lonely Copicut Road.
- UFOs – Those Greys apparently love chowder? There are assorted UFO sightings in the region from the 18th century onwards… which is par for the course of most inhabited places, but when it comes to apophenia, these details aren’t that important.
If you find your appetite for all things Bridgewater Triangle whetted, there is also a 2005 documentary for you to enjoy: