by Marina Smoske
The views expressed in this piece are my own and are not representative of the BSU Honors Program community as a whole.
Hey, BSU Bears! Long time, no see.
It’s that time of year again. While you’ve been gearing up for Halloween, the Paw’s bloggers have also been in a particularly festive mood. I’ve spent the last few weeks researching all things paranormal in and around BSU. It started as a short-term project on a few local ghost stories, but it’s evolved into something so much bigger.
If you’re not especially well-versed on local paranormal history, I’m about to drop a bomb on you. Bridgewater State University is located in the middle of a hotbed of alleged supernatural happenings- The Bridgewater Triangle.
If you’re thinking this sounds too epic to be true, stay with me. For centuries, the Triangle has produced hundreds of claims of paranormal activity, ranging from your run-of-the-mill ghost sitings to alien encounters to cryptozoological oddities of all sorts. (See the geographic boundaries here.) The high concentration of allegations about the area, in fact, has even attracted the attention of celebrity cryptozoologist Loren Coleman and was the inspiration for a number of books and a documentary. Though mainstream coverage of alleged Triangle activity is limited and mired in skepticism, the area is considered fertile hunting ground for New England paranormal fanatics and has a well-established reputation within the blogosphere. With such a wealth of history and firsthand accounts to investigate, I decided to break them up into multiple posts.
For now, I focused on the epicenter of the Triangle’s purported activity and sifted through everything I could get my hands on to pick out only the creepiest, most bizarre tidbits worth your time. Without further ado, here is scariest, chillingest, nail-biting-sleep-with-the-lights-on-est first installment:
Named by the Wampanoag tribe, the name of this swamp means “the place where spirits dwell.” This massive, nearly 27 square mile swamp is largely considered the central hub of the Triangle happenings. It was once a military stronghold for Wampanoag tribe members defending against encroaching early European settlements.
As the armed conflict between the Native Americans and colonists progressed into King Philip’s War, combatants from both sides met their bloody end in the swamp. Founder of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads Chris Balzano offered in an interview the most succinct explanation for the alleged activity:
”So much of King Philip’s War [1675-1676], a terrible and bloody conflict between English settlers and the natives of the region, took place near the swamp. ‘Both sides committed crimes against women and children, and the swamp saw some of the bloodiest massacres ever to happen in America. Even after the war, there was betrayal and killing. Might won — the Wampanoag found their land taken away and most of their tribe was killed. Their traditional enemies had sided with the settlers and had gained power over them as well.
Some say that the wounded and pained spirits of the Wampanoag are the reason for the paranormal in the swamp. That is part of the explanation, but I would go further. I think the vortex was in place in the swamp before the settlers, and before the Native Americans. That vortex contributed to the inhumanity of the war between the Wampanoag and the English, and it fosters pain and evil in that area to this day.”
Claims about the swamp are many and varied. In the 1970s, a nearby home owner and a local fur trapper both reported seeing a Bigfoot-like creature stalking them through the trees. Local residents and curious visitors claim to have seen Native American ghosts paddling canoes. Two boaters once described seeing a massive bird resembling a pterodactyl pass them overhead. But some of the creepiest claims made about the swamp, in my opinion, come from a hole-in-the-wall paranormal forum I stumbled upon late one night:
“I have a alien story that is all true and happened to me and my son. My son won’t comment on it, but I was eye to eye with one of these beings. Here goes….One night, or I should say one morning, early in the morning around one or two I guess, my son and I were riding around after work trying to unwind before going home. Now this was in the late 90s that this happened. We were somewhere on Route 24 going toward Brockton, I was near the swamp area near Bridgewater. I’m driving down the road and I see this thing come out of the woods on the other side running right across the road. Thank God, there wasn’t any traffic. I yelled to my son and asked what the hell was that, he said he didn’t know. By my rate of speed and his rate of speed he was in a route for a collison with my drivers door, if he kept running across the highway. He kept running across, now I was almost up to him, I yelled to my son to hold on this was something big and it was going to crash into the car. I grabbed the wheel tightly, turned and looked out the drivers window and I was eye to eye with this being. He stood like a man, with big big black eyes, no pupils, just solid black, his body looked like it was all one piece. Nothing with joints. Then I closed my eyes for a second to wait for the impact, none came. I opened my eyes and pulled over immediately, hoping someone behind me saw what I saw, and there were no other cars near me, they were too far behind me to see. I was shaking like a leaf. I can’t believe it didn’t cause an impact. I couldn’t believe what I saw. My son was shaking too, I asked him what he saw and he said he saw something but didn’t know what it was. I could see he was shaken just like me. To this day he wont admit he saw what I did. I am telling the absolute truth about everything, and I would face God right now and swear in front of him that this actually happened. I never knew what the poor thing was running from. I do consider myself quite lucky though to be priviliged to have seen this being… I also have walked through the swamp area, and it has one of the most awful feelings to it. I just wanted out of there.” (2010)
“My daughter and I were driving down Administration Road in the Bridgewater Correctional Complex… We saw a pine tree bent (not snapped but curved) in half with something standing on the tip of the tree, holding it down to the ground in the middle of the street. This was about 2:15 in the afternoon, on a Saturday. I was fixated on the fact that a tree could bend like that without breaking, but my daughter saw the “thing” right away and she was fixated on that. We had to stop because it was in the middle of the street. We looked at it and we just didn’t know what to say. It looked like a tall man, hunched down a bit, in a skin tight black suit with large, almost bat type wings. He was a matte, not shiny black color, head to foot. He was standing, but hunched down, on the pine tree, his weight was holding down the top. he saw us and we looked at each other for just a few minutes then he straightened, leaped and flew over the top of the trees on the other side of the road. The pine tree he had been standing on, bounced back up slowly, and rocked back and forth a few times before stopping in it’s normal standing position. That was all we saw. We were both awake, fully rested, lucid, drug and alcohol free and it was during daylight hours: 2:15 in the afternoon.” (2008)
Hi, My name is Rebekah and I live on the West Bridgewater/Bridgewater line. Me and a few of my friends have experienced some odd things on Aldrich Road, right where the swamp begins. One night two years ago I was driving with my friend when I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a blue/green ball of light following us directly behind my car. When I told her to look, she saw it too and we drove way above the speed limit to try and lose it, but it stayed with us until we reached my street where it abruptly disappeared.
Also during that summer (2002) a few of my friends and I walked around the block, which consists of part of Aldrich Road. In the woods at about the exact spot where the town line is we heard something rushing at us through the woods, it wasn’t wind because it was a very still night and it was only in a distinct part of the woods. The leaves were thrashing as whatever it was got closer. Naturally we ran, and never saw what it was, but no animal in the area is that large, or that aggressive.
Another odd happening if you are interested, I was on Scotland Street in West Bridgwater which turns into a Bridgewater Street about halfway through and has fields on either side with dirt paths going into them for a large portion of the street. For fun a friend and I drove down one and parked to try and lose another car full of friends. He looked out the wondow and called my attention to a very large person who stood up in the middle of the field and then moved towards us. Needless to say we drove away very fast. I still have yet to meet anyone that large.” (2004)
I couldn’t help but be drawn to these accounts because of their similarities. What on earth is living in the Hockomock Swamp? I’ll leave the interpretation up to the readers. Meanwhile, this blogger is going to bed with her desk lamp on. And all I did was type it up.