The Devil's Footprints, Washington Irving & King Philip's War

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The Devil's Footprints are can still be seen today imprinted in a large boulder
Norton, Massachusetts.

“As he turned up the soil unconsciously, his staff struck against something hard. He raked it out of the vegetable mould, and lo! a cloven skull with an Indian tomahawk buried deep in it, lay before him. The rust on the weapon showed the time that had elapsed since this death blow had been given. It was a dreary memento of the fierce struggle that had taken place in this last foothold of the Indian warriors.” The Devil and Tom Walker, Washington Irving, 1824.

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The Devil's Footprints can still be seen today imprinted in a large boulder
in Norton, Massachusetts. George Leonard's property would be discovered to
have been built on a 500-year old Indian burial ground in the 1970s upon
breaking of the land for construction.
Who needs the tales of Washington Irving when you have the legendary history of the Leonard Family of the Bridgewater Triangle's Taunton and Norton? Spooky elements of the Leonard family history sounds very much like a combination of two of Irving's most famous stories: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Devil and Tom Walker." Pacts with the Satan, devil's footprints, buried bones--even a man on galloping on horseback through the woods carrying a severed head are just some of the legends associated with this early colonial family. “It is said that (George) Leonard made a league with the devil in order to acquire great wealth. He promised his body to the devil when he died. Leonard became very rich and an influential citizen of the town. In 1716 when Leonard died, the devil came to claim his body. Surprised in the act, the devil climbed out a window. He jumped so hard on a nearby boulder, that he left footprints there. One can see those footprints on the rock by the parking lot of the Solomonese School. The mansion was situated at the corner of West Main and North Worcester Streets where Chartley Corner Plaza is today,” says the Norton Historical society about the legend. Norton Historical Society’s George Yelle says that while he is not a believer in the paranormal, he has to admit he found it odd that when he was filmed for a local cable station special about the Devil’s Footprints at the rock he had to do the entire shoot over again. Shortly after shooting Yelle's interview, producers of the cable show contacted Yelle, explaining though this had never happened before in any of their careers, the footage of his interview at the Devil’s Footprints inexplicably was now blank and they needed to schedule a reshoot. The second attempt at filming was successful. Washington Irving's tale of another fortune-seeking Colonial character that Irving named Tom Walker, also has a man on horseback encounter a man in black in the dark woods, but Irving places Walker in a dark swamp: “One day that Tom Walker had been to a distant part of the neighbourhood, he took what he considered a short cut homeward through the swamp. Like most short cuts, it was an ill chosen route. The swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high; which made it dark at noonday, and a retreat for all the owls of the neighbourhood. In Irving's tale, Walker's destination is an old Indian Fort. “At length he arrived at a piece of firm ground, which ran out like a peninsula into the deep bosom of the swamp. It had been one of the strong holds of the Indians during their wars with the first colonists. Here they had thrown up a kind of fort which they had looked upon as almost impregnable, and had used as a place of refuge for their squaws and children.” “It was late in the dusk of evening that Tom Walker reached the old fort, and he paused there for a while to rest himself. Anyone but he would have felt unwilling to linger in this lonely melancholy place, for the common people had a bad opinion of it from the stories handed down from the time of the Indian wars; when it was asserted that the savages held incantations here and made sacrifices to the evil spirit. Tom Walker, however, was not a man to be troubled with any fears of the kind. As he turned up the soil unconsciously, his staff struck against something hard. He raked it out of the vegetable mould, and lo! a cloven skull with an Indian tomahawk buried deep in it, lay before him. It was a dreary memento of the fierce struggle that had taken place in this last foothold of the Indian warriors.” Strange that George Leonard’s grandfather played a role in that very Indian wars Irving refers to. Because this story of the Leonard’s begins with Thomas Leonard, George Leonard’s grandfather, who was among the first men to settle the area of Taunton in a part of town that is present-day Raynham. The son of an English iron worker, Thomas Leonard and his brother immediately set out to build the first successful iron forge in the country, using the rich iron ore deposits of nearby Fowling Pond and Lake Nippenicket. Fowling Pond has long since disappeared, now a swath of land known as Pine Swamp on King Philip’s Street. Reportedly two miles long and nearly three-quarters of mile wide, historians of the 19th century recorded recollections of old timers who remembered swimming and boating on Fowling Pond in their youth. How Fowling Pond, once the summer camp of King Philip (Massasoit’s son) disappeared is a bit of a mystery. “Perhaps a great storm cut a swath through the embankment and drained the pond, it is one of nature’s curiosities where once King Philip rested and summered on the banks of a beautiful body of water and the tribe stocked to food to last through the long cold months ahead, there is now nothing left but the tall trees rising from a murky swamp.” Carolyn Owen, former Old Colony Historical Society Archivist. Before 1670, Thomas Leonard built a house that might have been the oldest house in country to bare the scars of war. It was said until at least the 1900s, there was “an ancient case of drawers that used to stand in this house upon which the deep scars of King Philip’s War and mangled impressions are to be seen” that was still in existence. Until its destruction in 1850, the Leonard house was officially the oldest mansion in the country The house was enormous compared to America’s standards at the time. Thomas Leonard would have no way of knowing that his grand home would serve as a garrison in a war that would go down as being the most grizzly, barbaric, and bloodiest war in the history of America. Known locally until its destruction as “The House of Seven Gables,” the old Leonard house rose two-and-half stories, framed with its famed facade gables. The house’s most unique feature was its impressive two story, gable-roofed porch. The house served a major role in King Philip’s War– a war that would only last fourteen months and would totally decimate the Wamapanoag Tribe, whose territories stretched from Halifax to Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island at the time of the war. “King Philip,” whose Native American name was either Pometacom or Metacom, was the second son of Chief Massasoit, who aided the pilgrims in their early years and taught them how to survive in an unfamiliar land. In 1675, after over ten years of tension between the tribe and the colonists, war broke out. Before the late 1800s, King Philip’s War was simply known as “The Indian War,” as Washington Irving refers to it in “The Devil and Tom Walker.” Massasoit’s first son Alexander (Wamsutta) was taken prisoner by the Plymouth Colony Militia in 1662 who mysteriously fell ill while being held for questioning in Duxbury. Many historians speculate, based on Plymouth Colony records, that Alexander was murdered. After Alexander’s death, Philip became chief and in the next thirteen years, tensions would only mount between the Wampanoag Tribe, who had inhabited the land for over 30,000 years and the English, who had been here roughly 40 years. There was no tension between the Leonard Family and the Wampanoag Tribe. The great chief and the Leonards were neighbors and spent time together in the summer when Philip “was in town” as well as traded amongst each other. The Leonard's had valuable metal tools needed by the tribe. In 1675, inevitable war broke out. But King Philip gave strict orders to his warriors to spare Leonard Country from attacks and burning. He made them promise “never to harm a Leonard.” The Chief’s order was ignored at least once, possibly twice. The first time was well documented when Uriah, James Leonard's brother, was shot at by Wampanoag Warriors as he tried to escape horseback. Fortunately for Leonard, the two bullets aimed at his head simply passed through his hat. The most tragic betrayal of King Philip’s warriors (If it even HAPPENED!) to their Chief’s command would be the shooting of two young girls who tried to flee the garrison. In 1797, a genealogist and historian by the name of Dr. Fobes published a book of historical recollections of Taunton. It is in Fobes' book that this story appears about the two girls being killed at the garrison. What is the opinion of The Old Colony Historical Society on this matter? Their standpoint on what they consider to be legend is that if this event actually happened, there would be some kind of documentation, not just a blurb in one historical recollection. In his book, Fobes wrote that the two young war victims were buried beneath the porch of the Leonard House. In this same book, Fobes makes reference to an event that if indeed true, then it was by far the most horrific act ever performed in the Old Leonard house. Fobes makes mention of the “deposition”of King Philip’s head in the basement of the Leonard house. Captured and killed on August 12, 1676, Captain Benjamin Church ordered the chief’s beheading and quartering of his body. The four corners of his body were hung in trees, Church vowing that King Philip's soul would never rest, as his bones would never be buried. The image of Church riding his horse, carrying around a severed head through the forests of New England on his way to present to Plymouth is gruesome indeed. That he may have stashed the chief’s head at the Leonard House–King Philip’s trusted friends– is simply horrific. This writer cannot help but to wonder if James Leonard even knew, or if Church hid the head in the cellar of the garrison without consent from Leonard. Wonder is all we can do. Since no details of how long or when the head “was deposited” at the Leonard family exist on record--and only exists in Fobes recollection--even the Old Colony Historical Society is forced to speculate.

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Horror In The Bridgewater Triangle: Is There A Serial Killer Among Us?

 CBS Boston.
Police search the area for more bodies and possible clues.

A dark cloud has cast an evil shadow over the Bridgewater Triangle in the shape of what looks like a local serial killer. The terror started when the remains of two women were found in a heavily wooded area on the Brockton/Abington line on the outskirts of Ames Nowell Park at the end of December. Local papers reported that the women's remains were "stacked" atop one another, the top being the dismembered body of  20-year old Brockton woman, Ashley Mylett. The remains that lie beneath Mylett were identified as a 51-year old Linda Schufedt,  living in nearby Quincy at the time of her disappearance last July. 

This story that sounds like an episode from "Dexter" broke on Sunday December 28th when a local man walking his dog in the woods not far from his house stumbled upon a pile of severed body parts, including a foot, a calf, and an arm. On December 30th, The Brockton Enterprise reported the following:

BROCKTON – A 27-year-old Brockton man was walking through the woods behind his North Quincy Street home Sunday afternoon when he saw something out of place.“I was cutting a path so I can walk the dog and I go hunting out here,” said Peter, who asked that his last name be withheld because of the gruesomeness of the incident. “I saw something pink. I thought it was a dead animal because there’s a lot of poaching back here or maybe insulation because it was pink and lot of people dump trash back here.”What he saw when he looked closer shocked him. It was the dismembered body parts of a woman – a foot, a calf, part of an arm – that were cleanly cut and had appeared to have been put there recently.Officials announced Monday that the gruesome discovery was the remains of two people that had been placed on top of one another. One set of remains had been there significantly longer than the other.Peter walked out into the woods with an Enterprise reporter and photographer Tuesday to where he made the discovery. He showed three photos on his cell phone he took Sunday of some of the body parts. The Enterprise obtained one of the photos and is withholding the image because of its graphic nature.He pointed to a wet part of the ground surrounded by briar patches, downed tree branches and a stone wall about 50 yards away from his backyard Tuesday morning.“When I saw it, I didn’t want to stay around here that long because there was no rot to it. It was all chopped up, you could see the limbs, how nice and neat they were cut,” Peter said. “The guy that put it there put a fold-up chair on it and then put a bunch of wood on it so you can’t see it from the main path.”“All I know is I didn’t want to touch anything. I went in the house and told my sister and I dialed 911,” he said.

Police responded immediately to the scene and began the arduous task of careful excavation of the site, further revealing the skeletal remains of a second body directly underneath the severed body discovered by the man called "Peter" in the article cited.

Acting swiftly, investigators identified the newer remains as 20-year old Ashley Mylett--last seen by her mother around four weeks before--within days; and one week after the discovery of the older skeleton remains, forensic specialists were able to identify the body as belonging to 51-year year old Linda Schufedt, a woman with Brockton ties who had recently moved to nearby Quincy. Schufeldt disappeared last summer, sometime between late June and early July.
Ashley Mylett.
Linda Schufedt.




Even though almost thirty years separated these two woman, both shared a life of living on the outskirts of society and were prone to "disappearing acts," a common denominator the killer surely knew. Both women had a history of substance abuse, particularly heroine. Did these woman become so lost in their addiction that they turned to prostitution? Is that how he got them? Is he a drug dealer, or just someone who hangs around the sections of Brockton where people go to get high looking for people he knows will get into his car with him? Speculate is all we can do right now. I do know that the area where these poor women's bodies were dumped is a place of dark energy, occult worship and mystery with its strange rock walls and chambers. Raccoons and dogs have been found skinned and hung from trees. Another time, a deer was found skinned and dismembered, something Abington police even admit was "odd." Hiking that land with a friend last fall left me sick. I felt horrible, overwhelmingly evil energy there. I felt like like I couldn't breath...like my lungs were being crushed. Even though the area is archaeologically fascinating....I would never go back.  I was horrified to learn of the murders and dumping of these women. And chilled to the bone when I looked at a map of where we hiked last fall and noticed how close we were the spot where these two innocent women who should still be alive today were so carelessly discarded. I wish evil didn't exist. But it does. And right now it could be wearing the mask of the nice guy next door who takes your trash barrels out for you every week. Scary times here in the Bridgewater Triangle. 

Related Links:

Brockton killer likely did it before, may do it again, experts say
Human Remains Found In Wooded Area In Brockton
Plymouth DA: Dismembered remains of woman, 20, found in Brockton woods identified
Discovery of human remains has Brockton neighborhood on edge 


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Bridgewater Triangle Monster Snakes & Vanishing Lakes



Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) workers clear a swamp.


"Huge mystery snakes have been sighted before in the Hockomock region. In 1939, Roosevelt-era CCC workers, completing a project on King Philip's Street at the edge of the swamp, reported seeing a huge snake as large around and black as a stove-pipe.' The snake coiled for a moment, raised its spade-like head and disappeared into the swamp. Local legends claim that a huge snake appears every seven years." Loren Coleman, Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide To The Nation's Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures.



Raynham, King Philip, Pine Swamp and Fowling Pond


Almost every Bridgewater Triangle enthusiast knows this story. But there is much more to this legend. What Coleman didn't mention is that the King Philip's Street, located in Raynham (not Bridgewater), is home to the former summer camp of King Philip (hence the name of the street.)
King Philip's Street, Raynham. Photo by Kristen Good.

In researching Fowling Pond recently, I was stunned when I stumbled across information that proved that Fowling Pond--a lake reported to have been a sizable body of water that mysteriously disappeared by the turn of the century--was on a tract of land now known as Pine Swamp. THIS, not Hockomock Swamp--as legend has it--is the true location of the Civil Conservation Corps workers terrifying sighting in the 1939.

Fowling Pond, I learned  (a very sacred spot to the Wampanoag) was the summer home of the great King Philip, Metacom, Chief of the Wampanoag Tribe, until the end of the war that was named after him; when he has shot, dismembered, his remains being intentionally scattered throughout southern Massachusetts so that his "soul would never rest." In times of peace Metacom spent many a summer night on the shores of Fowling pond in Raynham. 


Fowling Pond--King Phillip's Summer home--was a pond the size of nearby Lake Nippenicket. But this lake mysteriously disappeared by the turn of the century. The spot where Fowling Pond was is located on King Philip's Street in Raynham is now a tract of land known as Pine Swamp. In the 1939,  CCC workers witnessed an enormous black snake that did not look indigenous to the area. Photo courtesy of the Old Colony Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Although Fowling Pond was the same size as nearby Lake Nip, this lake disappeared in less than a hundred years. By 1800, only small remnants of the pond remained. By the turn of the century, it had completely dried up to a swath of land known as Pine Swamp on King Philip's Street. In 1840, the following was included in a book called "Historical Collections of Massachusetts" by John Barber: "Fowling Pond, is itself a great curiosity. Before Philips' war it seems to have been a large pond, nearly two miles long and three quarters of a mile wide. Since then, the water is almost gone, and the large tract it once covered is grown up to a thick-set swamp of cedar and pine. That this, however, was once a large pond, haunted by fowls, and supplied with fish in great plenty, is more than probable, for here is found, upon dry land, a large quantity of white floor sand, and a great number of smooth stones, which are never found except on shores or places long washed by water." 


"What could induce Philip to build his house here? It was undoubtedly, fishing and fowling, in this, then large pond. But more than than all, there is yet living in this town a man of more than ninety years old, who can well remember, than when he was a boy, he had frequently gone off in a canoe to fish in this pond; and says, that many a fish had been catched, where the pines and cedars are now more than fifty feet high. If an instance, at once so rare, and well attested, as this, should not be admitted as a curious scrap of the natural history of this country; yet it must be admitted as a strong analogical proof, that many of our swamps were originally ponds of water: but more than this, it suggests a new argument in the favor of the wisdom and goodness of that Diving Providence, which "changes the face of the earth," to supply the wants of man, as often as he changes from uncivilized nature, to a state of cultivation and refinement." (Collections of the The Massachusetts Historical Society.)

Carolyn Owen, former Old Colony Historical Society Archivist speculated on the mysterious disappearnce: “Perhaps a great storm cut a swath through the embankment and drained the pond, it is one of nature’s curiosities where once King Philip rested and summered on the banks of a beautiful body of water and the tribe stocked to food to last through the long cold months ahead, there is now nothing left but the tall trees rising from a murky swamp.” 

It is interesting to explore the connection between the location of the CCC worker's sighting of the monster snake and what that area was: A place King Philip called home. I personally have never heard of a disappearing lake. But if one was going to disappear, I am not surprised it vanished in the Bridgewater Triangle.



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News Crew Mystified By Equipment Malfunctions While Touring Bridgewater Triangle Hot Spots

When Fox25 reporter Melissa Mahan contacted me last month to ask me to take her and the film crew out to some of the hotspots of the Bridgewater Triangle, I was happy to oblige. It sounded like an adventure...and an adventure it certainly turned out to be.  On August 7, Fox 25 featured the Bridgewater Triangle on a Zip Trip to Bridgewater. (Fox25's Zip Trips are live broadcasts from a various featured Massachusetts towns.) Fox25 filmed the town tour of Bridgewater on August 4. I met the crew near Bridgewater State University and we set off for our first location. And that's when the trouble began.The shot should have been easy: Fox 25 reporter Melissa Mahan driving into dirt parking spot in the Mazda Zip Trip Car, stopping, opening the door and introducing herself to me.  But the shot wasn't easy. We had to do at five takes due to "technical difficulties."

The microphones had failed on camera. Jennifer, the camera woman, kept trying different microphones and to her bewilderment, those all failed too. Finally, she took out an old fashioned microphone, shrugged her shoulders and said, "This is how we do it old school ." The crew was half laughing, half genuinely spooked. I was the only one NOT surprised. After all, we were in a hot spot of the Bridgewater Triangle and camera malfunctions, battery drains and equipment failure isn't an UNUSUAL occurrence here.

The last time I had been to Styles & Hart Conservation area--the site of an infamous Bigfoot encounter in 1978--I found a dead bird hanging from a tree, a large ring of quartz stones and a 1950's Pepsi bottle sticking straight up out of the ground (it was worth $75!)  It would take a lot to surprise me.
Next we all caravaned back into our cars and headed to our next location on the other side of Bridgewater, to the town line of Raynham. Lake Nippenicket is a body of water that has had so many tragedies over the years, swimming has been banned in this lake that has an average depth of a mere three feet. I was taking them to one of THE heaviest energy spots in the whole of this bizarre area called the Bridgewater Triangle, so what happened next did not surprise me either. Heading down a long dirt road into the infamous Hockomock Swamp, Jennifer's Go Pro camera started to malfunction. She said it "just went nuts" and started flashing and going static. Again...I was not surprised.

When the Zip Trip episode aired, I was FINALLY surprised. They used all that happened with their equipment malfunctions for the piece. I thought that was daring and I loved it. Here is a clip from the Fox 25 Zip Trip visit to the Bridgewater Triangle and my little adventure with Melissa Mahan.


video

To see the whole Zip Trip Segment of the Bridgewater Town Tour, click here.

Melissa and I at the shores of Bridgewater Triangle hotspot, 
Lake Nippenicket,
known to locals as simply, "The Nip."




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He Moves In Mysterious Ways: The Strange Path of Bigfoot In the Bridgewater Triangle

When I decided to publish a book of Bigfoot reports in the Bridgewater Triangle, I didn't expect to find any surprises. I knew the stories: The Bridgewater "bear" hunt of 1970, when police were deluged with calls of sightings of a seven-foot tall bipedal creature; the Joseph DeAndrade sighting of 1978; the Bigfoot close encounter of John Baker in Hockomock Swamp. And finally, a rash of sightings in the southern area of the Bridgewater Triangle in 2009 investigated by Bigfoot Field Research Organization Investigator, David Brake.

No, I did not expect to find any surprises in compiling my research on the topic of Bigfoot in the Bridgewater Triangle and presenting it in a straight-forward, no frills, information-based report really written for die-hard Bridgewater Triangle buffs. But I did find a surprise. A revelation if you will. And I have to admit, I was excited by my discovery.

When I went to create a map that plotted each location of the encounters cited in my book, I noticed a pattern started to take shape. It was a path! From north to south the sighting locations were almost in a straight line. Here is the first map I created:


"Bam!" I thought, as I put the last point on the map in North Dartmouth. And Kristen was pleased. Then Kristen counted the points on the map she had created and realized that she missed one: The John Baker sighting of 1980 in Hockomock Swamp. The only Bigfoot sighting in the triangle that actually occurred INSIDE of Hockomock Swamp. Kristen was no longer pleased.


Back to the drawing board, I set forth to create a new map. And hoped and that Baker's sighting point would land in the path that had emerged on my map. But I knew it was unlikely. Hockomock Swamp is to the east of the Bridgewater Triangle Bigfoot path, but I still held out hope. I even contacted a family member of Baker's to confirm his location site. I plotted the point then zoomed out on the map. And just as I was afraid of, it fell out of the path to the east. It ruined it, I thought. But did it? Where Baker's was the only sighting to happen in the swamp, his sighting kind of falls out of the pattern, doesn't it?

To see the map with Baker's sighting on it and to learn the details of the Bigfoot reports of the Bridgewater Triangle, check out my book, "Bigfoot in the Bridgewater Triangle: Published Accounts of Sasquatch Encounters in Southeastern Massachusetts, available now digitally through Amazon.
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The Lost Boy of Rehoboth

The swamps of the Bridgewater Triangle have always been regarded as places to be avoided. Children whose homes abutted these dark and dangerous areas were adamantly warned by parents never to venture into the thick and often unsurpassable terrain. Disappearances in the woods and swamps of the Bridgewater Triangle is an area of research I have only recently delved into...and I am shocked at what I am finding: Case after case of disappearances, most of them children, who disappeared right on or near their family homesteads. Most of these stories I have yet to fully investigate, so at this time I can't report if these cases were ever solved, if the children were ever found. Other cases involve adults who went into missing in the woods and were found, but their memories of what happened are murky or non-existent.


This story I am about to tell is one of the most interesting I came across in my research, the search for a lost boy in Rehoboth. So far only one other case that I have happened across can compare to its strangeness; that story involving a woman who disappeared in the woods of AbingtoIn March of 1934 a Rehoboth boy disappeared from his family farm while playing with his sister. 4 1/2-year old Alden Johnson's screams were heard by neighbors, who interpreted the cries as being made by a child in a pain. One witness thought a child had been struck by a car; another suggested it sounded like a child was snatched by kidnapper.


The search began immediately. The area was combed in a two-mile radius around the homestead. "Ponds had been dynamited and pumped out. There was a ray of hope when nothing was found there. Houses and barns had been searched. The possibility of kidnapping or that he been carried off by a hit and run driver was considered and ruled out. There remained only the woods, and experienced woodsmen and State police had search them.”


Twenty-four hours later, the boy's family and searchers began to fear the worst: That "Young Aldie" was dead in the woods, having perished from exposure. The night before had brought a storm to the area and the temperatures had teetered around freezing, pounding the area with freezing rain. The search for the boy was the biggest and most extensive search for any lost person to date at the time. Night was close to falling again on that cold March evening when local C.C.C. (Civil Conservation Corps) members, working in nearby swamp two miles away from where Aldie disappeared, decided to take matters into their own hands. They were packing up to leave their camp and head to their next assignment in Foxboro when the idea came to them. They had just starting searching the swamp when out of nowhere, the little boy appeared and casually walked up to one of the men. The boy looked very happy and not lost at all. Aldie smiled, held up a bundle of twigs and asked the C.C.C. worker if he wanted to buy some flowers. The Civil Conservation Corps worker said of the state that the boy was in when he found him,  "He seemed to be in a daze, but he was smart. He said, “Wanta buy some flowers? And he held out what he had--sprigs and limbs of shrub growth in his hand.I said sure and he seemed delighted." The worker yelled out, "I found him!" And the men all cheered.
"Young Aldie was asked if he had been afraid. He hadn’t been. He had just been picking flowers, he explained, and he could sell them….He was still trying to sell the shrubs and twigs for which he started out on an expedition that brought about the greatest mobilization in searches in the State’s recent history."


Safe with his parents, the boy reported remembering nothing. He didn't seem to know where he was or that any time had gone by since he disappeared. Or what had made him scream so frightfully. All that the little boy remembered was that suddenly he was compelled to leave his sister and go into the woods to pick some flowers. And that if he did that he could sell those flowers and could be rich. When he looked at his twigs, he still saw flowers. He never felt the cold, the rain, had no memory of seeing the C.C.C. workers bonfire which had been going all night...in a swamp that is only known today for one thing: The home of Anawan Rock.

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Freetown Forest: Unidentified Floating Objects Descend From The Sky In 1942

"None of the witnesses saw any "human forms," and one witness suggested perhaps it was parts of a plane that fell to the ground. But no plane parts were found. "None of the citizens reporting to police were certain that the objects floating down were human, but they were certain that "something" had descended over the Freetown and Assonet areas."

What fell from the skies over Freetown Forest on the night of November 4, 1942? I don't know. And neither did the witnesses who saw the "objects" descending from the sky and down into the forest that night, nor did the police who investigated the incident. After receiving four separate reports that night from nervous citizens who witnessed the event, police took the indent very seriously. 

Some witness described the objects as looking like parachutes. And why wouldn't they? It was the dawn of World War II and anything suspicious would certainly be percieved as relating to the war. It isn't unlikely that those scared citizens believed the Germans had started their invasion of Bristol County!

None of the witnesses saw any "human forms," and one witness suggested perhaps it was parts of a plane that fell to the ground. But no plane parts were found. "None of the citizens reporting to police were certain that the objects floating down were human, but they were certain that "something" had descended over the Freetown and Assonet areas."

Sargent Michael Ryan was on duty on Brightman Bridge in Fall River that night, when he was approached by two separate individuals, at two different times. The two witnesses' stories were almost identical. Patrolman Michael Hart was stationed at the other side of town when someone approached him with the same story. By the time an anonymous call came into the station, police were already on alert. 

Authorites searched the woods and found nothing. They contacted the Army who assured them they were not involved in the incident in any way. The mystery was never solved. It is just another page in the open book of the Bridgewater Triangle.

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The Red Headed Hitchhiker: The Four Stories That Made Him Infamous & And the Author Behind the Legend


Ask anyone familiar with the Bridgewater Triangle, "Who is the most famous resident ghost?" and they'll tell you: It's "The Red Headed Hitchhiker of Route 44. This menacing, disheveled-looking phantom, dressed in a red plaid shirt with a messy red beard and crazy hair is said to haunt a five-mile stretch of road at the beginning of 38-mile long route 44. The legend of "The Red Headed Hitchhiker" was first laid out by Rehoboth historian, anthropologist, and archaeologist, Charles Turek Robinson in his 1994 classic, "The New England Ghost Files: An Authentic Compendium of Frightening Phantoms." Robinson called the hitchhiker  "The Red-Headed Phantom of Route 44" and labeled the legends of this maniacal, horrific spirit,  "Ghost File #7." Robinson includes 57 "Ghost Files" in his book, although he collected close to 200 first hand accounts of run-ins with ghosts in his research for this work. Robinson meticulously interviewed each witness three times, as to ensure their authenticity.

Five different local residents came forward to Robinson with similar accounts about a strange man sighted on the dark leg of route 44 that connects Seekonk with Rehoboth. In each of the accounts, the red-headed man looks 100% real, but never speaks, his countenance and blank, his eyes are empty, yet he smiles eerily. And often laughs frantically.

The first witness of "Ghost File #7" is a man Robinson calls, "Joe." Joe reported:  "I saw a man's face outside the car, pressed against the passenger-side window. This was physically impossible...my car was traveling about fifty miles an hour. The face was looking in at me, grinning. I could see that the man had red hair and was wearing a red plaid shirt. I swerved off the highway and brought my car to a stop. But that time, the man had vanished. After about ten minutes I finally calmed down enough to restart my car and drive home. That incident has left me shaken up for the past twenty-five years." Joe's encounter took place in the winter of 1969.


Robinson calls the next witness, "Fred Durpis." One summer night at around 10 o'clock back in 1973, "Fred" saw the "hitchhiker." Fred pulled over to give him a lift and saw the man running toward his truck in his rear-view mirror. The "man" climbed in and Fred asked him where he was headed. The man just sat there in silence, smiling. Again, Fred asked, "Where are you going?" The man just sat there in the cab of the truck, smiling. That was enough for "Fred." He pulled the truck over and ordered the man out. The hitchhiker complied. But instead of opening truck door, he simply disappeared.  "He just stared to get very hazy until I could behind to see through him."

The next tale Robinson tells is of a woman who named "Barbara" who encountered the phantom in February of 1981. The woman was driving along route 44--going about sixty miles per hour--when suddenly she hit a man fitting the description of the infamous hitchhiker: Red hair, red plaid shirt. Only when she hit the man, her car drove right through him.

"There was no time to brake or even swerve the car. In a matter of seconds I ran him over. I mean, I thought I had." Barbara stopped the car, thinking she had just killed someone. Only, no one was there. Walking back to her car after thoroughly checking the road, the woman heard something that chilled her to the bone.

"I heard this loud, horrible laughter coming from the woods to the side of the road, right near the spot where thought I hit the man...The laughter was terrible." She got into her car and drove away, stunned. To her horror, after driving down route 44 not even a mile, there was the man again in the middle of the road and again she drove right through him. Again she stopped the car, but this time she did not get out, only rolled down the car window. Again, she heard the laughter. At that point the woman booked it out of there.

The last story in Robinson's chapter on "Ghost File #7" is about a Swansea couple he calls "Harry and Sheena Hanson." Harry and Sheena were driving route 44 in October of 1984 when their car broke down. Harry told Sheena to stay in the car, while he tried to find a pay phone to call AAA road service. The man makes his way down the dark road when he spots what he describes as a "sloppy looking guy with red messy hair" sitting on the side of the road.

The man asked the stranger if he knew where the closest pay phone is. The stranger didn't answer. The man asked him again. The messy red-haired man only sat in silence staring at him. So the man asked again. And again. And there was silence. One more time the man asked and now he notices what he describes as an "odd grin" upon the stranger's face. The man asked the stranger if he is okay. Upon posing the question, the stranger's face changed. The man described  the eerie nighttime encounter with the "hitchhiker" this way: “Suddenly, the man’s face got very strange. He stopped grinning, he twisted his mouth and I noticed that there was something wrong with his eyes. They were all clouded over--no pupils or anything. Just blank and all white. I began to feel weird and started to walk away from him. As I hurried away, I heard the man laughing. I turned around, but he was no longer there. I mean, I could no longer see him there, but I still heard the laughing. It was coming from just a few feet away from me. And the laughing kept switching locations. First in front of me, then behind me, then to the left of me. It was bizarre."

The man ran back to the car in fright only to find his wife standing outside of it, visibly terrified. She tells her husband that after he left she had turned on the car radio and was listening to a song when to her horror suddenly the song wasn't coming out of the radio anymore: A very creepy man's voice came out of the car's speakers instead. The voice taunted her, called her by name, all the while laughing hysterically.

"Is it just the spread of local folklore that accounts for so many separate reports involving the same alleged phantom? The skeptics among us might say so, though it should be noted that the witnesses interviewed by the author were intelligent, non-superstitious people who related their accounts sincerely, consistently, and credibly. In all cases, they had clearly been affected by their very strange experiences," Robinson states in "Ghost Files."


Charles Turek Robinson at Village Cemetery, Rehoboth. Copyright Taunton Gazette. For full article, click here. 

Robinson--a Harvard educated anthropologist, archaeologist, and writer--was thrown into the world of tracking and recording local ghost stories quite by accident, after running an article one Halloween featuring the work of one of the country's first ghost hunters, Hans Holtzer. In his research, a story about a poltergeist in his hometown of Rehoboth emerged. Soon after the article was published, Robinson's editor started receiving letters addressed to " Charles Turek Robinson" from locals, eager to relay their own accounts of supernatural activity. And the father of a legend was born. In an interview in the May, 2002 edition of "Cyril Magazine," Robinson revealed: "Many of the accounts that were related to me by readers were silly and contained many of the usual stereotypes....I rejected those. However, there were a few that were very provocative in their originality. They did not contain the usual stereotypes and sensationalism. They contained elements so unusual and so original that if these people hadn't really had these experiences, they should have been writing or telescripting in Hollywood."

Order your own copy of "New England Ghost Files!"




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The Mystery of The "Black Dog" of The Bridgewater Triangle



In the spring of 1976, the town of Abington went into lockdown mode when a huge throat-eating, "bullet-proof" dog mysteriously appeared in a rural residential area surrounded by over 100-acres of dense swamp. Fear rippled through the south shore of Boston after word got out the killer dog had ripped the throats out of two ponies. The dog had intelligently chased the animals--who had been tethered to trees--around and around until the they were tied helpless, unable to escape the teeth of the horrid beast. When locals read the news that the beast had evaded two different bullets fired by two seperate town officials, all out panic ensued. This event was documented in the chapter on the Bridgewater Triangle in Loren Coleman's "Mysterious America" and has gone down in the Bridgewater Triangle legend books as the "The Black Dog of Abington."

A Gruesome Discovery: Two Ponies Throats Ripped Out By Dog Reportedly As "Large as the Dead Ponies" 


At 7 a.m. on the morning of April 30, 1976,  a sleeping Philip Kane--an Abington firefighter-- was awoken by his 12-year old daughter. Carole Kane had just returned from the backyard in horror. That morning, no doubt, Carole fully expected to find her two ponies, Joe Joe and Peek-A-Boo, hungry as usual, anticipating their morning feed. Instead, something was feeding on them. It was a dog. It was enormous. And it was covered in blood.

After Carole woke him, Philip Kane grabbed a baseball bat and raced out the back door. "Half awake and half dressed, Kane stumbled outside and was startled to see the two ponies, their halters in a tangle, lying on their sides. Their throats had been ripped out. The dog, a large black and brown animal, perhaps a German shepherd and half doberman, was hovering over one of the carcasses eating. The dog looked huge to Kane. Perhaps it was his own fright, he said later, which made the animal appear as large as the dead ponies themselves," The Boston Globe reported. "Kane chased the dog away, first with a baseball bat, and then, when it returned, with a pistol shot that missed. The animal ran into the adjoining thicket and swamps."

The Dog Is Tracked Down By Police, Within Target Range, Cop Shoots But Misses 


The next day, May 1, 1976 would be the last time the dog would be seen. Abington police officer Frank Curran followed a legitimate lead to the Summer Street railroad tracks. There, Curran saw the dog slowly walking along the tracks. The animal was stained with blood. Officer Curran fired at the dog. It was a clean shot. The shot missed its large and slow target for the second time in two days.


"The last time the dog was presumed seen was last Saturday, Frank Curran fired a shot at it, but missed. "It didn't even run, Curran said. it merely turned around and walked in the other direction."

Panic Spreads Throughout The South Shore


"Word spread. The search and fear began. Residents called the police saying they had seen the animal crossing the street, at the dump, at one local ice cream stand, from one end of town to another. One man said he saw the dog, his mouth still dripping with blood, in the woods behind his apartment complex."

Over the next few days, the Abington Police Department would be deluged with over 1,000 phone calls from concerned citizens and witnesses who reported they had seen the large dog. Abington school children would be escorted to their buses by police armed with rifles.

"Kane became an instant expert on the dog. He was called to look at every dog that might fit the description. In one week, he said, he went to Weymouth three times, Brockton twice and Whitman once. None of the dogs was the one."


In Conclusion: My Two Cents


The dog was first seen on one end of Summer Street, and last seen on the other. And within one day. It is hard to believe that two separate town officials could miss such a large and reportedly slow moving target. How those bullets didn't touch the beast and where it disappeared to are the two biggest mysteries of this very true legend.
Summer Street railroad tracks, Abington. Site of where officer Frank Curran
last witnessed the killer dog who disappeared just as mysteriously as it had
appeared the day before. It was here that Curran would fire the second shot that
 would miss the large and slow moving target in close to 24 hours. Two shots
fired by two seperate shooters.

Efforts have been made to speak to Frank Curran, but the closest I have come was a quick Q and A with a close family member, who could only confirm that it did in fact happen. And that he remembered Curran telling him that the dog was covered in blood when he saw him on the tracks. That detail was not reported in newspapers. Frank Curran doesn't speak of the incident. Only one shot fired by him was reported in the newspapers. Only one shot. This doesn't make a lot of sense.

What does make sense is that Curran shot at the animal many times and all bullets inexplicably missed. And that dog possibly disappeared in front of his eyes. That would certainly keep someone from ever wanting to talk about it again. I know it would be for me. And I also know that if there was a killer dog on the loose in my town and I was a cop...and I had tracked it to some railroad tracks, I wouldn't have shot at it just once. Especially if the target didn't even run; Curran reported it walked away slowly down the tracks. If this is true, then why didn't he chase it? Call other officers to cover the train tracks (a straight line)? Try shooting at it again? There is more to this story than we will ever know, I suspect. Mysterious indeed. And certainly deserving of legendary status.

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Bizarre Appearances of Baby Seals in Two Bridgewater Triangle Towns: In A Span of Two Weeks!

What if I told you that today you would walk out your front door and find a baby seal flopping around your lawn? It sounds far fetched, yet actually happened in late March of 2005, when a baby harp seal would appear on the lawn of a home in Middleboro. Making the appearance stranger was the fact that ANOTHER young seal had appeared on the lawn of East Bridgewater home only weeks before.

Baby Harp Seal. Imagine finding this guy on your lawn?
The children of the Middleboro family wanted to keep their seal, born just weeks before. The children named him "Kelby." Kelby weighed a mere 32 pounds and had journeyed all the way from Mount Hope Bay in Fall River, a long 25 miles. Police were quickly called and soon after marine biologists arrived.

One of those marine biologists called to the scene was Belinda Runinstein, a seal specialist from the New England Aquarium. Rubinstein was very intrigued by this case. "What's interesting about this animal is he got himself really far in and up the creek,"

"Over the past two years, she has tagged 43 other seals, though none had traveled so far inland, she said. Rubinstein said it is not uncommon for seals to leave the ocean and swim upstream in search of food, but the mammals usually turn around long before they have traveled a route equal to the Boston Marathon," The Boston Globe reported.

Animals that "don't belong" in the area of the Bridgewater Triangle--yet appear there nonetheless--is a common theme in this area's dark history. Alligators, Africal Sevril, mountain lions, panthers, peacocks, emu and cow moose are just some of the animals whose odd appearances made newspaper headlines. But seals? Come on. That has to be the strangest!





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    About Me

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    Kristen Good has been researching the mysteries of the Bridgewater Triangle for the last five years. With a large focus on the Native American connection to the supernatural events that occur there, Good’s blog: Bridgewater Triangle History, Mysteries, Curiosities and Crimes (www.thebridgewatertriangle.com) chronicles strange area activity and provides historical accounts of murders and bizarre events. Her Bridgewater Triangle facebook page keeps followers informed of all the latest news in the triangle area.

     

    Good has presented her findings at local historical societies, has been interviewed about the Bridgewater Triangle on Fox 25 News, BeforeitsNews.com, Ghost Chronicles, Beyond This World Radio and Spooky Southcoast,  Currently, Good is writing her first book on the Bridgewater Triangle.   

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