Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sachem Rock Farm: Monumental History, Murder & War

Not only is Sachem Rock Farm--owned by the town of East Bridgewater and the site of the East Bridgewater Senior Center-- the precise spot where first inland Native American land sale in the United States was made, it is also the site of the of one of the nine homes in East Bridgewater to burned to the ground by King Philip’s warriors in King Philip's War. It’s no surprise the Latham farm was first to be attacked. With this house, it was personal. Robert Latham’s wife, Susanna was a Winslow--a name that was almost royalty in the colony. Susanna’s mother was the famous Mary Chilton, the first woman to step on American soil off of the Mayflower. Her father was John Winslow, the brother of the esteemed Governor Edward Winslow. But more importantly…her other uncle was General Josias Winslow of The Plymouth Colony Militia, the captor and suspected murderer of Alexander, King Philip’s elder brother.

Robert Latham was a well respected man, even serving as town constable at the time of the war. The fact that not ten years earlier, Latham and his wife Susanna were charged and found guilty of murder seemed to do little to effect the Latham’s social standing in the colony.

The Murder

In 1659, Robert and Susanna were charged with the murder of their servant, John Walker. In the book Plymouth Colony: Its History and People 1620-1691 it says of the crime: "On 31 January 1654/55 a coroner's jury was called to view the body of Latham's servant boy, John Walker." The jury found that the body of John Walker was blackish and blew, and the skine broken in divers places from the middle to the haire of his head, viz, all his backe with stripes given him by his master, Robert Latham, as Robert himselfe did testify; and also wee found a bruise of his left arme, and one of his left hipp, and one great bruise of his brest; and there was the knuckles of one hand and one of his fingers frozen, and alsoe both his heeles frozen, and one of the heeles the flesh was much broken, and alsoe one of his little toes frozen and very much perished, and one of his great toes frozen, and alsoe the side of his foot frozen; and alsoe, upon the reviewing the body, wee found three gaules like holes in the hames, which wee formerly, the body being frozen, thought they had been holes; and alsoe wee find that the said John was forced to carry a logg which was beyond his strength, which hee indeavoring to doe, the logg fell upon him, and hee, being downe, had a stripe or two, as Joseph Beedle doth testify; and wee find that it was some few daies before his death; and wee find, by the testimony of John Howland and John Adams, that heard Robert Latham say that hee gave John Walker som stripes that morning before his death; and alsoe wee find the flesh much broken of the knees of John Walker, and that he did want sufficient food and clothing and lodging, and that the said John did constantly wett his bedd and his cloathes, lying in them, and so suffered by it, his clothes being frozen about him; and that the said John was put forth in the extremity of cold, though thuse unabled by lamenes and sorenes to performe what was required; and therefore in respect of crewelty and hard usage he died.

The Land Sale

1661. Massasoit dies. The peaceful era between colonist and Indian was over. After his brother Alexander is allegedly poisoned by General Josiah Winslow in 1662, it is now perfectly clear to Massasoit’s son, Metacom (commonly known by his English name “Philip”) what the intentions of the people who had arrived upon the shores of a land that had already been inhabited for 10,000 years just 40 years before: They wanted it all and did not play by any rule understood by the Wampanoags.

The native name for Sachem Rock was Wonnocoote. Up until the turn of the 20th century, locals still referred to Sachem Rock Farm as “Cootah Hill.” In 1649 Massasoit met with reprentatives of Duxbury at Sachem Rock. It was on March 23, 1649, when Chief Massasoit unknowingly traded miles of fertile land enriched by the waters of The Matfield, Hockomock, and Town Rivers as well as West Meadow Brook for mere provisions for his tribe. Seven coats, nine hatchets, eight hoes, twenty knives, four moose skins and 10 yards of cotton is what the Wompanoags were paid for the territory of Bridgewater. The implications of a “land sale” was unfathomable to the Native American psyche at this time. The concept that land could be regarded as ‘ownable’ was unfamiliar one to the Wompanoags. It is no wonder that Sachem Rock, the very site of this monumental land sale has been witness to tragic events that date back to King Philip’s War in 1676.

On April 9, 1676, the Natives crept up Satucket Path to the Latham farm. Robert Latham’s house would be the first of nine houses to be destroyed by fire that day, the natives sparing only one dwelling…that of Nicholas Byram. Byram settled in East Bridgewater in 1662, and during that time it seems he broke the strict law of the colony not to sell cider or any other spirits to the red man. Breaking the law earned him one of the only surviving houses in the Bridgewater area after King Philip’s War.

Today, a stone marks the very spot Latham house stood before it was destroyed by arson.

Posted by Bridgewater Trangl
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Weirdest Bridgewater Triangle Stories No one Has Ever Heard Before

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into...the Twilight Zone." If there is any place that one could compare to the Bridgewater Triangle, the Twilight Zone would be it. The stories that hail from this bizarre area as strange and diverse as story lines from the "Twilight Zone!" Here are some of the creepiest stories eye witnesses have ever sent to me.


  • Now, let me go with this. I am a writer and a student, in a way, of the Hockomock Swamp. I have attached here a link to a story I wrote on the swamp that ran in Boston Globe South a number of years ago. I have also attached here a photo of a path through the swamp. I know about the fascination people across America have with the Hockomock Swamp, and the Bridgewater Triangle, in which the swamp is located. I know many, many people believe weird things take place in the swamp. But I have to say this, I don't believe that anything paranormal or extrasensory takes place in the swamp. Then again, let me come clean. About 1:45 this morning, I was driving east along Rte. 106/Foundry St., probably a few hundred yards before the intersection of Foundry Street and Prospect Street. And, then, something ... raced ... from right to left across my view ... so that would be something running from the neighborhood of the Hockomock Swamp across my view .. that looked like, well, a razorback hog ... but we don't have razorback hogs up here, right? Very interesting.
  • I was just past Colleties Market in Raynham, heading towards 138. It looked like a quick bright flash if light in the sky... And then was gone... Like someone in a dark room turned a flashlight on and then off again...I actually saw a helicopter shortly after. It was dark. I couldn't tell the color, but my eyes were on the sky!

  • I wanted to share something odd that happened to me about a month ago. As I was trying to fall asleep, I was lying on my back, looking towards my window to my left. A man was trying to look out the window. (I had my blinds closed, I noticed he had a white tee shirt on and was either bald or had very thin hair...he was moving up and down back and forth trying to see something. I thought at first it was my dad but he would have knocked before coming in and it was around 4 am. When it hit me that it could not be my father the “man” evaporated into an eggshell white color smoke.  It rose quickly to my ceiling. I remember two wisps of smoke licking my ceiling before it went into the ceiling.

  • I used to live in West Bridgewater. I am very familiar with the Hockomock Swamp. I’ve gone pretty deep out there hunting. But me and a buddy of mine were camping out off the town river one day and there must have been at least 20 of these crazy shaped aircrafts with different crazy lights go over head, just above the trees. They weren’t that high up at all. WE could not figure out what they were, they were silent, made no sound, and were not normal aircraft. Just puts into mind that there are strange things among the Hockomock Swamp.
  • There are Army helicopters that fly over REALLY low over the parking lot of the school I teach at in Brockton (East Side) Sometimes we see men hanging out of them. The WHOLE SCHOOL sees this! Yeah! Try teaching a class and hearing/seeing the helicopters flying low over the parking lot/house.
  • It happened like one or two times. I’d be by myself in the swamp near the Prospect Hill Extension. Sundown during deer season is usually between 5 and 6 p’clock. I went to deer stand and in the swamp it and it seemed to get dark like an hour before it should have. I’d walk back to the street and it would still be light out.
  • I camped on the island in the Nip once with a friend and my friend all of a sudden felt suicidal and went blank and he tried to walk into the water. I had to stop him. Another time on the beach at the Nip, a friend and I were camping we felt the presence of like a dog. I've heard the term hellhound but it had red eyes.  When I would approach it, it would be behind me somewhere and then move again. It seemed huge. It was not of this world.
  • I lived in that area for over 17 years. I grew up in the swamp exploring the swamp every day. But I always got this weird feeling that I was being watched when I would be coming back form the deerstands  after sundown. 
  • On September 16, 2012, Benoit witnessed a very bright stationary light that she focused on because of its unusualness. It was too bright to be a star and definitely not a plane. Others in the area saw the same thing in the sky that night between 8:45 and 9:10 that night. “When I was leaving work at about 8:45 there were three black helicopters flying low toward the direction of the light. I must say it was the first night I ever had an eerie feeling driving near those woods. (Route 105/Halifax/Middleboro line.
  • Tonight at 9:15 while traveling on Slab Bridge Road heading home a large orb like light (larger than a bird and quite bright like a meteor) passed over the road from tree top (arched) to tree top and disappeared. This was just before we passed the entrance of the Freetown State forest. My daughter has seen many unusual things happen on this road at night. This one gave me goose bumps, and we both saw it at the same time. Any idea as to what it could have been?

  • My cousin and her friend claim they saw something right after Halloween. They were in Brockton, close to 24 and the West Bridgewater/Easton line. They were outside and they said the sky turned turned green all of a sudden. It was after dark, so the sky had been pitch black beforehand. Around the same time, her sister was inside and said the power flickered off and then on.
  • I spotted a shiny saucer about 2 miles away on the 30th of December 2011 floating over south Weymouth, it was a Friday morning and as I did every morning I got ready for work, went to the bus stop and waited for the MBTA. I was in east Weymouth watching at the sky (because I was bored killing time) around 7:55 A.M I glanced up at the sky and saw something that had been reflecting a glare from the sun, I thought it was a plane at first but upon further examination I concluded it was a saucer shape, and was metallic. It stayed for about 2 minutes, and then I glanced away to attempt to re-adjust my eyes the object vanished. If anyone saw the same thing on the same\or close to the 30th please contact me, I’d like to learn more! 
  • Hi! I am Michelle's friend! Yesterday afternoon my husband and I saw a UFO hovering over 106 on the Plympton/Halifax line. It looked almost clear and then it disappeared..Had it been a plane or helicopter it wouldn’t have been gone like that!! Sky was clear blue. Had I not been driving I would have took a picture...very strange experience!
  • I don’t know if it’s part of the triangle, but I’d say about six years ago, my brother-in-law and I were coming back from Attleboro. We were heading East on the same stretch of road going through Plainville we came upon a  stretch of road with fairly  new homes....on the way back,  looking out the car window on the side with the homes on it. Just as I was looking, my brother-in-law says, “Where are the houses? The ones we passed on the way here? Somehow we skipped the houses we had seen

  • I was walking back from Marciano Stadium, and I was looking over towards the Asiaf skating rink, when I saw a really bright light... without blinking lights a plane would have. I pointed it out to my friend who was with me and we both watched as it as it sped up and disappeared. I talked to a few other friends about it, and two of them admitted to seeing it as well.
  • Location: Bridge Street, Bridgewater / East Bridge Water line (just around the corner from CN Smith Farm) I grew up in Whitman on Pleasant Street with access to wooded areas with rivers, swamps and old homes built before the Civil War and older. I say that to say that I have had my share of creepy, weird places which may or may not have had spiritual influences… good or bad. I do not consider myself a psychic but someone who discerns. I have been able to discern when someone has committed suicide in a structure without having any prior knowledge or history. I have had visions, heard demonic voices and seen demonic manifestations, it is not something that I look for but it is something that finds me. I was visiting a close friend of mine’s house that was set back off of Bridge Street, nestled behind trees and undergrowth that had a long drive-way running through it. The property was large and reached back as far as the Matfield River and had swamps and a small pond on it. I remember there was always an unsettling feeling about the wooded area and the pond, it always seemed dark even on the brightest day. There are also the remains of what seemed to be a very large brick structure, we were told that an explosion killed some people there many years ago but I have no proof of that occurrence. The two family dogs always acted strange and very protective when walking the paths to the pond in this area as if they sensed something that the rest of us did not. I distinctly remember walking to the pond with the dogs, one on either side of me and as we passed through two trees (which resembled an airport security metal detector) the dogs both stopped at the same exact time staring at something in front of us but I saw nothing. They didn’t growl, they didn’t move, they just stood still I thought it was a bit creepy and decided to return to the house and not go on my walk through the woods on that day. Just before midnight in mid-November I was spending the night, my good friend in his bed and me on the floor in a sleeping bag, the only light was that of the moon which filled the room. We talked about our favorite bands, hottest girls we knew and what things we wanted to accomplish before we were 40. What I am about to write changed my life and is still very real to me even now 22 years later. Something made a noise in those woods that was like nothing I had ever heard, it was like a scream and a roar mixed together with frequencies so low is rattled the windows and the floor that I was laying on. We both asked, “Did you hear that, what was that”? The both of us too afraid to get up and look out the window eventually fell asleep. In the days that followed we would experience things that can’t be explained without including the supernatural. We heard heavy footsteps running in the woods around us without ever seeing anyone or anything. I personally saw an eight foot humanoid shadow walk out of the woods, stop and turn and look directly at me, what happened next is unclear due to my running away like a small child who had seen a ghost. Then there was the 14 ft. white ghostly apparition that flew from one side of the yard to the other, it had a head and a tail (for lack of better terms) with a face that could not be described other than “fucking scary”! There is much, much more to tell but this is what I wanted to start with more than anything.
  • Both my sisters went to Bridgewater State College and they were friends with some guy who went to school with them, but live in a house off campus. On April 24, 1980 as these guys were asleep thy heard and felt a crash. One of the guys ended up having a body fall on him in bed. He was screaming and his roommates rushed in to his room turned on the lights and saw a charred body lying on him they could actually smell the burned flesh and then it just disappeared!
  • I want to relay this story about, for the lack of a better term, “Bigfoot” sighting me and my best friend Dave had in September 1972 in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. The date was Friday, Sept. 29th, 1972 at about 7:30 pm. Dave and I were 14 years old at the time and had known each other since 1st grade. What happened that night is as follows: Dave’s family just moved to a new neighborhood they were building behind my street (Courier Street). His family lived in my neighborhood before that. That’s how we knew each other for so long. We were walking around his street (Lintric Drive) which is a loop. We all hung up there because there weren’t many houses up there yet, especially on the farm side of his development and we went to school with other kids up there. We happened to run into his 15 year old sister who was babysitting one of the kids who lived there. The girl she was babysitting was about 6 or 7 years old.  Dave’s sister wanted to go over to the old farm field and smoke a cigarette. The incident happed at the old farm field. The field was part of a large horse farm, but not kept up. The grass probably stood 3 feet high. The field was between my street, a new elementary school (Union Street Elementary School), and Lintric Drive. There was a pond in the field to one corner and woods on 3 sides. Other fields, heavier woods, swamps, and creeks went on for quite a distance plus there was a sandpit and the Old Swamp River out in those woods. Dave’s neighborhood was built over the dirt access road that used to be the right of way to the farm. Most of it was still there in 1972. We walked over to the farm field using the old dirt road. Because of the lights around the school, the field was quite brightly lit once your eyes became accustomed to the available light.  The vegetation between the school and the field was low enough at that time to allow a lot of light into the field. We stood in a circle under one of the two large trees that stood on the field. I stood facing Dave, with the school to my left. Dave was busy talking to his sister when I heard or sensed something was with us in the field and at the same time it caught my eye. It was to the left of me, no more than 30 to 50 feet away!  It was a large, hairy creature walking parallel to the school to my left. It kind of looked like a gorilla, but was huge. I remember it had huge shoulders and head. The shoulders looked to me like they were six to eight feet off the ground. The head just went into them, maybe with a slightly conical shape, with no real neck to speak of. Its arms were quit long and the legs short. It looked hairy, but was really just a dark shape against the lights of the school. It crept in short movements. By that I mean it put its arms out, hands down on the ground, and then moved its back legs forward about the same distance...  I saw it do this a few times.  I never saw it walk upright. Although the creature was silhouetted in the light, I could tell it was watching us. I believe it did not want us to see it and was trying to move quietly through the grass on the edge of the field. It did not make any sounds.  It had large shoulders, no neck and a large head. The body was heavily built. The head profile looked like the “Bigfoot” in the 1967 Patterson film when it turned and looked at them as it walked away. Needless to say I must have looked freaked out and turn to look at Dave who also looked the same. I said to him,” do you see that” and he said “yeah”. We just started to run away up the dirt road by to his neighborhood.  We didn’t even say why we were running to his sister. Naturally she and the kid ran when we did. Once we got safely back to Lintric Drive and stopped running Dave’s sister asked why we ran. When we told her, she called us a couple of jerks and thought we were trying to just scare her. She went back to the house she was babysitting at and Dave and I hung out in front of a house that was under construction, 94 Lintric Drive that boarded the field.  There was a small strip of woods between the house and the field. It was right in front of the sighting spot. We wanted to go back and see if the creature was still there, but were too afraid. We heard some noise, wood banging or wood being knocked around at the house under construction and decided that it was in our best interest to leave the area and see if we could find some of our other friends to tell them what we saw and maybe to go back there "in force". As we were walking back to a house where our other friends usually were hanging out at, things got weirder if you can believe it. After walking maybe a couple of hundred feet we were in front of 69 Lintric Drive when the second strange thing happened that night. We had a beam or a ray shoot in front of us. It was higher than the tree tops, but went right across our path. It looked like a blacklight stretched across the sky because it was purple. It was bright but did not illuminate anything. It was almost like it was a solid rod of purple light. It actually hummed and had a feeling of power to it. Very strange! It lasted only a second or two, but truly shocked us.  I’d say it was like 6” in diameter and shot across the sky like a laser beam. We lived less than a mile from the South Weymouth Naval Air Station which was active at the time. I would say the beam would have to cross over the air base and maybe even came from it.  I lived around that base for over 30 years and never saw any beams come from the base before or after that event. I never saw anything like the beam or the creature again. We were always in those woods and fields AT ALL HOURS after that and never saw anything else strange or unexplained again. Although, my youngest sister saw a large UFO come in over the trees and hover over her car at the Union Street Elementary School in July 1983. She had 3 other people in her car and they all saw it. A year later a person I worked with described seeing a UFO in Weymouth, MA in July 1983 that matched my sister’s EXACT description! Unfortunately the farm field, woods, and sandpits are gone, all developed, although the field remains as a golf course. I cannot say if the creature and the light beam were related, but they happened within 10 minutes or less of each other. Dave and I always felt the creature was not of the world and the beam had something to do with it.
Non-Specific Year
  • I used to see the black helicopters all the time in West Bridgewater. They used to fly over the high school.
  • I'm a 4th generation Bridgewaterian. My great-grandfather had a friend who had a dairy farm back in the day (many, many years ago). His friend's fences started to fall apart one year, and every day he would find a few of his cows dead from suffocation due to all of the "quicksand" type mud holes out in the back section of the Hockomock Swamp. There is still a circulating legend that on certain evenings, when the moon is just right, you can hear the agonizing cries of drowning Holsteins, though there are no dairy farms in the area any longer.
  • When I was 14, my dad worked at the Murray Carver Cotton Gin building in East Bridgewater. Every weekend, we would do night man watch. He would send me out alone with time clock and the things I saw scared the hell out of me: Shadows, glowing yellow eyes, doors being opened, even though I had closed them tight. Now keep in mind that these doors were heavy steel sliding. This stuff went on until the company moved to Georgia.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Top Ten Quirky Quincy "Firsts"

It is well known that John Adams and John Quincy Adams--the second and sixth presidents of the United States--were both born in Quincy. A father and son both becoming president was an unbroken record for 175 years, until George Bush Jr. was elected president in the year 2000. But this claim to fame is certainly not Quincy's only "first." From being home to the first Dunkin Donuts in America to housing the world's "largest most nearly perfect sphere," Quincy is a city of many quirky "firsts." 

America’s First Sin City 

What happened in Merrymount, stayed in Merrymount. Merrymount, the first colony of Quincy, was settled in 1625 by Thomas Morton….who was sick and tired of all the pilgrim rules and just wanted a place to have a little fun. So he made this town his own, erected a may pole, started brewing some beer and got his party on. Everyone was welcome--both pilgrim and Indian alike--to eat, drink and be merry (and partake in the utopian free love atmosphere, if that was your thing.) 

Home of America’s First Political Satirist 

 Today we have Saturday Night Live and Stephen Colbert. In colonial times, offbeat colonists had Thomas Morton. The same man who founded the experimental utopia of Merrymount was not only a party animal, he was also how they say in Boston, “Wicked smaht.” And witty! He satirized the rigid puritans of Plimouth Colony in his lengthy “The New English Canaan,” referring to Miles Standish as “Captain Shrimp,” infuriating Standish, whose ego far surpassed his physical stature in enormity. Morton referred to himself as “The Great Monster” in what historians call a “mock heroic epic.” 

First Establishment to Ban Woody Allen in the Northeast 

Recently Woody Allen was banned from the VIP section of Madison Square Garden for refusing promotional work for the MSG network--the corporation who also owns the Knicks--who recently acquired the rights to some of Allen’s films. But over three decades ago, Woody Allen was banned first in Quincy. His films that is. Some people like Woody Allen films. Some not so much. Arthur Chandler--owner of the now defunct Wollaston Theatre--loathed them. So much in fact, that he banned all Woody Allen films from every showing there. The theatre closed before the ban was ever lifted.  

 First Commercial Railway in the United States

Built in 1826, the “Granite Railway” was designed for a very specific reason. The granite for the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument was transported from the Quincy quarries to Charlestown via this railways system, the first in the country. "The remains of the railway’s incline are located at the end of Mullin Avenue in West Quincy." 

 First Dunkin Donuts

Photo by Kristen Good. 2014.
“America runs on Dunkins,” and the starting line was in Quincy on the Southern Artery. Opening under the name “Open Kettle,” the coffee shop was incorporated in 1948. Two years later owner Bill Rosenberg would change the name to “Dunkin’ Donuts and would begin franchising in 1955. Flash Forward a short eight years and the Dunkin Donuts empire had a healthy start, with 100 restaurants in its back pocket. Recently, the Quincy Dunkin Donuts store, in honor of it being the very first, was renovated to it’s original look--the only store in the country to get this retro makeover.  

First Place in the World Where “Kilroy Was Here” Was Written

Writing "Kilroy was here" on strange places was at one time one of America's favorite past times. It was written in Quincy first at the Fore River Shipyard. Though he had never traveled farther than the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire, James Kilroy’s last name literally journeyed the world over. The simple phrase “KILROY WAS HERE” boosted the morale of the entire country during World War II and gave the GIs a much needed bout of fun. They scrawled the phrase anywhere they could...the more unusual the place, the better. For GIs to discover a KILROY WAS HERE signature in a foreign place gave them a sense of home and most definitely put smiles on the faces of thousands.  

 First Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in the United States

Ho Jos was an American icon, it’s famed orange roof a beacon for millions of road trippers for decades. Seeding his roots with ice cream stands, Howard Johnson opened his first restaurant on Hancock Street in Quincy in 1929. This flagship restaurant was in a prime location: right near City Hall, the Quincy theatre and the Church of Presidents...a major tourist attraction then. And then a stroke of luck fell upon Johnson, further solidifying his success. A controversial Eugene O’Neill play dealing with the subject of abortion was banned in Boston. The play was called “Strange Interlude.” The play was moved to the Quincy Theatre, directly opposite Howard Johnsons. With a running time of over five hours, the play had a long intermission. Long enough for people to have a full dinner right across the street. The play ran for years. 

First City in America to Get a Giant Ball as a Birthday Present
Photo by Kristen Good. 2014.

In 1925, Quincy turned 300. As a tribute to the birthplace of the quarrying industry, the Granite Manufacturers Association granted a present of an almost 10-ton, 6-feet in diameter sphere of granite to the city of Quincy for it’s birthday. The giant granite ball is located at Quincy City Hall Plaza. "Ripley’s Believe It or Not" declared the ball “The World’s Most Nearly Perfect Sphere.” 

First Large Scale Quarry In the United States

In 1825, a huge area of granite rock in West Quincy was chosen as the site to start a large scale quarry. The genius behind the project was Solomon Willard, Willard was known as the “Father of the Granite Industry,” for his novel approach to stone cutting and construction techniques. After an extensive search for the perfect site to quarry, Quincy was chosen out of all the proposed granite areas across New England.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Legend of The Smoot

Researching Boston legends recently, I stumbled upon the story of Harvard Bridge and the the birth of the "Smoot." What on earth is a smoot, you ask? Well, I will tell you. A smoot is a unit of measurement equal to the length of exactly one Oliver R. Smoot. Jr. 

Harvard Bridge measures precisely 364.4 smoots (plus one ear.) In 1958, the young Mr. Smoot was used to measure the length of Harvard Bridge. MIT students wanted to mark to bridge's distance in increments as to determine how far they had crossed. A group of Lambda Chi Alpha members set out under the guise of night to complete the task (this was of course illegal) and brought with them the freshman Smoots. That's when the idea hit them. Why use the string they had brought for measuring when they could use an Oliver Smoot instead? They had him lie down over and over again until he tired so much they had to carry and drag him. Each smoot was measured and marked on the bridge, as well as every ten Smoots. To this day, the pledges of Lambda Chi Alpha repaint the Smoot marks on Harvard bridge a different color ever two years.

The following appeared in "People's Weekly" in the late 1980s:

"Harvard Bridge spans the Charles River linking Boston and Cambridge.  In 1958 Lambda Chi Alpha took 5' 7" MIT freshman pledge Oliver R. Smoot, Jr. and rolled him head over heels the entire length of the bridge.  Every ten smoots they calibrated the bridge, painting marks. The bridge was found to be exactly 364.4 smoots plus an ear.  Successive pledge classes repainted the markings.

In 1987 the Mass. Dept. of Public Works decided the concrete of the bridge was due for replacement.  They had no plans for smoot preservation.  The Boston Press tracked down Oliver R. Smoot, Jr. who was then age 48, and executive vice president of Computer and Business Equipment Manufactures Association in Washington D. C.  He had no plans of being reused for new markings.

The Mass. Metropolitan District Commission, the government body in charge of the bridge went on record in support of smoots.  They stated, "We recognize the smoots' role in local history.  That's not to mean that the agency encourages graffiti painting.  But smoots aren't just any kind of graffiti.  They're smoots!  If commemorative plaques and markers are not installed by the state once the bridge work is done, then we'll see that it's done."

Stephen Smoot, a son of Oliver R. Smoot, Jr, was then age 21 and attending MIT was ready to redo the smoot measurements, although he was 5'11", so everything would be off."

Distances on the bridge are indicated with a colored paint mark every Smoot and a number every ten Smoots. Biannually, the pledge class of Lambda Chi Alpha repaints the markings with a new color. The police have come to accept the Smoot marks. In fact, they use the markers to indicate locations when filing accident reports. After the bridge was rebuilt in the late 1980s, the Smoot markings reappeared and the tradition continued. For the record, one Smoot is 5' 7" long."

Here are the words of Mr. Oliver Smoot himself, recalling the incident in "The Journal of the Institute for Hacks, Tomfoolery & Pranks at MIT"

"As all who walked the bridge in those days will remember, it was difficult, especially in the rain, sleet, snow, and fog of which Boston gets its share, to know how much further you had to go to get to the Institute. So in October 1958, [Tom] O'Connor [Lambda Chi pledgemaster] ... devised the idea of marking off the bridge in pledge lengths. Scanning the assembled pledge class, he determined that I had the short end of the stick. As with many pledge tasks, there was an easy way out if a little ingenuity was exercised -- namely use a string. In any case, Pete, Gordon, Nate and Bill agreed to help us and we set off with the paint, chalk, etc. Unfortunately, a brother in the class of '61 thought this task was so hilarious that he accompanied us. With him there, we had no choice but to do the actual measurements. I can tell you that even then I could not do the equivalent of 365 push-ups, so much of the way I was carried or dragged. Luckily for the five of us, we were cold sober; in any case, when an MDC [Metropolitan District Commission] black [police] van appeared at about the 300 mark, we cut for the dark recesses of the Great Court and waited for them to leave."

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Clear "Class-A" Bridgewater Triangle Bigfoot Sighting in Freetown

2009 was a hot year the Bridgewater Triangle for Bigfoot sightings in the vicinity of Freetown, the town that serves as the western angle of the delineated map of this bizarre area.  The most interesting of these accounts happened on July 14th of that year, when a young man and his girlfriend spotted a "large brown hair-covered "man" standing up from a crouched position on the side of a two lane highway."

This witness immediately reported his sighting to the BFRO, who interviewed him three weeks after the incident. The following is the witness' report to the Bigfoot Field Research Organization:

"My girlfriend and I were riding in my Jeep on Route 140 from New Bedford to Freetown tonight and at about 11:00 my girlfriend saw this large brown hair covered "man" standing up from a crouched position on the side of the two lane highway. She lets out a scream prompting me to look at the creature standing there. He made fluid movements like a man and had an almost ape-like quality. We couldn't see his face but upon returning to the area we saw the "man" there was nothing. After calling 911 and telling them that someone was running in the median of the highway they told us that they had similar reports of what we saw on the stretch of highway between exit 7 (Braley Rd.) and exit 8 (Chase Rd.) They then told me that they were sending state troopers to investigate."

And here is is BFRO Investigator D.A. Brake's Official Report on the incident:
The witness (driver) was phone interviewed approximately three weeks after submitting the report. The girlfriend did not want to talk about the incident since the memory of it still upset her. A 30 minute inquiry and site visit to the specific area of the sighting provided some additional details summarized below. The witness was driving northbound and traveling approximately 70 mph in the left/passing lane closest to the divided highway median. The depressed grass median between Exits 7 and 8 of the north and southbound lanes is approximately 40 yards wide. The witness stated that the animal had a wide midsection covered in brown body hair, darker brown, long arms and was approximately 7- to 8-feet tall based on the height of a highway mile marker that was just adjacent to where the animal was standing. The witness also stated that the animal had a long chiseled jaw. The total duration of the sighting was approximately 3 seconds from the time the witness turned his head and first saw the animal until his car passed the creature. As his car passed the animal which was standing only 3-4 feet to the left of the hood of his Jeep, the witness reported having a scared sensation and noted that the animal had one arm down and the other arm up in a bent position as if getting ready to cross the northbound lane. The witness exited the highway approximately two miles north of the sighting and traveled back southbound to the point of the sighting but did not see anything unusual.  Although the placement of the 911 call by the witness was not confirmed, the witness reported that he subsequently had an informal discussion of the sighting with a friend who is a Massachusetts State Trooper whom was on call that night. The police officer told him that the local dispatcher did receive several related calls around the same time that evening, and he and several other troopers responded to the call and arrested several teenagers who were in the general area. However, upon receiving this information, the witness remained steadfast in his belief that what he saw was not a teenager playing a prank. The location of this sighting is immediately west of the Bolton Cedar Swamp, recognized as an important conservation land tract comprised of wetlands, ponds, bogs and acidic swamps vegetated with Atlantic White Cedar, pitch pine and scrub oak. The sighting occurred approximately three miles southeast of the eastern border of the Freetown-Fall River State Forest. This state forest marks the western point of the ‘Bridgewater Triangle’, an area of approximately 200 square miles that has had numerous reports of paranormal activity dating as far back 350 years when Native American Tribes and colonists co-inhabited the area.”

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flying Saucers, Baseball & Fireballs in the Bridgewater Triangle

1-23-2014 Correction: The Abington sighting was in October of 2012, not October of 2013.

A recent wave of UFOs have been sighted in the area of the Bridgewater Triangle, as well as all over the world. These sightings differ immensely from the flying saucer, metallic-colored disk shaped sightings of the crafts sighted in 1940s to the 1960s and the triangle-shaped  craft seen by many in the area in the 1970s. These UFOs are glowing fireballs flying in formation. Usually five—sometimes six--glowing spheres, sometimes moving at incredibly high speeds, sometimes rotating in formation.

The first of these local sightings was on October 12, 2013. Five orbs floated in over the Boston skyline and were captured on video by a witness in a nearby Boston skyscraper. Here is a clip of the sighting.
Two nights later, these same objects would be seen and captured in Abington, this time zipping toward Boston.

A month later, on November 20th, A Bridgewater University student would see them again in Bridgewater, and would also capture the sighting on video.
Many others saw this sky event in the area. And some were reported to the National UFO Reporting Center. Two of these reports were also about sightings in Bridgewater on the night of November 20th. One witness saw six “orange fireballs” in the sky moving “slowly in a pattern” and then disappearing one by one. Another reported seeing the “orange lights rising into the sky”, subsequently curving into a circle formation and again, disappearing one by one after about five minutes. Another Bridgewater witness reported seeing “six lights in formation of the Big Dipper-then looking closer, they moved changing formation. They were hovering over a house fairly low. I pulled over to photo them. As I did again they changed formation till they were in a vertical straight line. Then they went up and disappeared.”

Many other sightings of the same phenomenon were reported from the towns of Hanover, Weymouth, New Bedford, and Swansea, as well as Bridgewater, in a ten week span from October to early December.
This recent rash of sightings inspired me to research waves

of UFO activity in southeastern Massachusetts, from Boston to the South Shore. I dug into newspaper archives to see if there were other times in history where mass sightings were documented. I wasn’t disappointed. There was indeed. I found some absolutely intriguing (not to mention BIZARRE) accounts documented in the Boston Globe. The most unusual of these being a mass sighting in Boston over Braves Field in 1947.

On July 11, 1947--just two days after in infamous Roswell Incident--the Boston Globe reported the following: 

"Greater Boston stepped into the lead in the new American past time--spotting flying saucers--when 200 persons in one group 200 sighted one of the elusive disks flying over Brave's Field floating so low over the field during the game that it was in danger of being shattered by a high flying ball.” 

Nearby at the Magazine Beach Club in Cambridge on the Charles, an estimated 200 beach goers witnessed the “flying disk.” 

Irving Appleby, manager of the Magazine Beach bathhouse in Cambridge, backed up by 200 persons who were on the beach who saw the disk. And 200 people can’t be wrong. Appleby was quick to declare, “I don’t know what it was, and I am not a crackpot. But we saw something and looked like a saucer. He claimed the disk was only about four feet in diameter and appeared out of a large cloud floating by. The disk then “glided toward earth” appearing to land someone around Brighton, after a near collision with power lines.

Another very unusual mass sighting occurred in 1972 when hundreds of South Shore residents witnessed a “silvery, triangle transparent object” moving west between 8 and 9 pm on the Fourth of July. The craft was seen in the towns Cohasset, Hingham, Marshfield, Hanover, Rockland, Hanson and Whitman.

Dozens of calls came into Weymouth and Hanscom Naval Bases. An Air Force representative confirmed that they received many calls about the craft from nervous citizens, but declared, “We don’t know what it was.”

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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bridgewater Triangle King Philip Curse Myth

Metacom, From "Legends of New England" (1831) By John Greenleaf Whittier

Yet, Brother, from this awful hour The dying curse of Metacom Shall linger with abiding power Upon the spoilers of my home. The fearful veil of things to come, By Kitchtan's hand is lifted from The shadows of the embryo years; And I can see more clearly through Than ever visioned Powwah did, For all the future comes unbid Yet welcome to my tranced view, As battle-yell to warrior-ears! From stream and lake and hunting-hill, Our tribes may vanish like a dream, And even my dark curse may seem Like idle winds when Heaven is still—No bodeful harbinger of ill, But, fiercer than the downright thunder, When yawns the mountain-rock asunder, And riven pine and knotted oak Are reeling to the fearful stroke, That curse shall work its master's will! The bed of yon blue mountain stream shall pour a darker tide than rain—The sea shall catch its blood-red stain, And broadly on its banks shall gleam The steel of those who should be brothers Yea—those whom one fond parent nursed Shall meet in strife, like fiends accursed—And trample down the once loved form, While yet with breathing passion warm, As fiercely as they would another's!"A very well known theory about why the Bridgewater Triangle is a hotzone for strange and tragic events among other bizarre phenomenon is that King Philip cursed the land. This theory is based on fiction. Where did the legend originate from that King Philip cursed the land of the Bridgewater Triangle? From a book of very fictional legends written in 1831 called, "Legends of New England."  Metacom

[Metacom, or Philip, the chief of the Wampanoags, was the most powerful and sagacious Sachem who ever made war upon the English. He had all the qualities of a high statesman—a noble monarch, and a courageous warrior. The rude majesty of untamed and unchastened nature was never more boldly developed than in the character of Metacom. He had the elements of a giant mind—the unformed chaos of a world of intellect. He perilled his all in one fast enterprise—in one mighty effort to shake off the White Vampyre which was draining the life-blood of his people; and had his enemies been any other than the stern settlers of New-England, they must assuredly have fallen. The War of King Philip forms a dark page in the history of New-England.—It is red with blood,—with the blood of the strong man and the meek and beseeching woman, and the fair-haired child, and the cradled infant.] 

RED as the banner which enshrouds The warrior-dead, when strife is done,A broken mass of crimson clouds Hung over the departed sun. The shadow of the western hill Crept swiftly down, and darkly still, As if a sullen wave of night Were rushing on the pale twilight—The forest-openings grew more dim, As glimpses of the arching blue And waking stars came softly through The rifts of many a giant limb. Above the wet and tangled swamp White vapors gathered thick and damp,
And through their cloudy-curtaining Flapped many a brown and dusky wing—Pinions that fan the moonless dun, But fold them at the rising sun!

Beneath the closing veil of night, And leafy bough and curling fog, With his few warriors ranged in sight—Scarred relics of his latest fight—Rested the fiery Wampanoag. He leaned upon his loaded gun, Warm with its recent work of death, And, save the struggling of his breath That, slow and hard, and long-suppressed,Shook the damp folds around his breast. An eye, that was unused to scan The sterner moods of that dark man. Had deemed his tall and silent form, With hidden passion fierce and warm, With that fixed eye, as still and dark As clouds which veil their lightning spark—That of some forest-champion, Whom sudden death had passed upon—A giant frozen into stone! Son of the throned Sachem!—Thou, The sternest of the forest kings,—Shall the scorned pale-one trample now, Unambushed on thy mountain's brow, Yea, drive his vile and hated plough Among thy nation's holy things, Crushing the warrior-skeleton In scorn beneath his armed heel, And not a hand be left to deal A kindred vengeance fiercely back, And cross in blood the Spoiler's track!

He started,—for a sudden shot came booming through the forest-trees—The thunder of the fierce Yengeese: It passed away, and injured not; But, to the Sachem's brow it brought The token of his lion thought. He stood erect—his dark eye burned, As if to meteor-brightness turned; And o'er his forehead passed the frown Of an archangel stricken down, Ruined and lost, yet chainless still—Weakened of power but strong of will! It passed—a sudden tremor came Like ague o'er his giant frame,—It was not terror—he had stood For hours, with death in grim attendance,

When moccasins grew stiff with blood, And through the clearing's midnight flame, Dark, as a storm, the Pequod came, His red, right arm their strong dependence—When thrilling through the forest gloom The onset-cry of "Metacom!" Rang on the red and smoky air!—No—it was agony which passed Upon his soul—the strong man's last And fearful struggle with despair.

He turned him to his trustiest one—The old and war-tried Annawon—"Brother!"—The favored warrior stood In hushed and listening attitude—"This night the Vision-Spirit hath Unrolled the scroll of fate before me; And ere the sunrise cometh, Death Will wave his dusky pinion o'er me! Nay, start not—well I know thy faith—Thy weapon now may keep its sheath; But, when the bodeful morning breaks, And the green forest widely wakes, Unto the roar of Yengeese thunder, Then trusted brother, be it thine To burst upon the foeman's line,

And rend his serried strength asunder. Perchance thyself and yet a few Of faithful ones may struggle through, And, rallying on the wooded plain, Strike deep for vengeance once again, And offer up in Yengeese blood An offering to the Indian's God."

Another shot—a sharp, quick yell—And then the stifled groan of pain, Told that another red man fell,—And blazed a sudden light again Across that kingly brow and eye, Like lightning on a clouded sky,—And a low growl, like that which thrills The hunter of the Eastern hills, Burst through clenched teeth and rigid lip—And, when the Monarch spoke again His deep voice shook beneath its rein, As wrath and grief held fellowship.

"Brother! methought when as but now I pondered on my nation's wrong, With sadness on his shadowy brow My father's spirit passed along! He pointed to the far south-west,

Where sunset's gold was growing dim, And seemed to beckon me to him, And to the forests of the blest!—My father loved the Yengeese, when They were but children, shelterless,

For his great spirit at distress Melted to woman's tenderness—Nor was it given him to know That, children whom he cherished then, Would rise at length, like armed men, To work his people's overthrow. Yet thus it is;—the God, before Whose awful shrine the pale ones bow, Hath frowned upon, and given o'er The red man to the stranger now!—A few more moons—and there will beNo gathering to the council tree—The scorched earth—the blackened log—The naked bones of warriors slain, Be the sole relics which remain Of the once mighty Wampanoag! The forests of our hunting-land, With all their old and solemn green, Will bow before the Spoiler's axe—The plough displace the hunter's tracks,

And the tall Yengeese altar stand Where the Great Spirit's shrine hath been!

Yet, brother, from this awful hour The dying curse of Metacom Shall linger with abiding power Upon the spoilers of my home. The fearful veil of things to come, By Kitchtan's hand is lifted from The shadows of the embryo years; And I can see more clearly through Than ever visioned Powwah did, For all the future comes unbid Yet welcome to my tranced view, As battle-yell to warrior-ears! From stream and lake and hunting-hill, Our tribes may vanish like a dream, And even my dark curse may seem Like idle winds when Heaven is still—No bodeful harbinger of ill, But, fiercer than the downright thunder, When yawns the mountain-rock asunder, And riven pine and knotted oak Are reeling to the fearful stroke, That curse shall work its master's will! The bed of yon blue mountain stream shall pour a darker tide than rain—The sea shall catch its blood-red stain, And broadly on its banks shall gleam The steel of those who should be brothers Yea—those whom one fond parent nursed Shall meet in strife, like fiends accursed—And trample down the once loved form, While yet with breathing passion warm, As fiercely as they would another's!"

The morning star sat dimly on The lighted eastern horizon—The deadly glare of levelled gun Came streaking through the twilight haze And naked to its reddest blaze, A hundred warriors sprang in view—One dark red arm was tossed on high—One giant shout came hoarsely through The clangour and the charging cry, Just as across the scattering gloom, Red as the naked hand of Doom, The Yengeese volley hurtled by—The arm—the voice of Metacom!—One piercing shriek—one vengeful yell, Sent like an arrow to the sky, Told when the hunter-monarch fell!
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bridgewater Triangle Alligators: Eight Gator Sightings Documented By Newspapers

An alligator in Brockton is captured by a local firefighter in the summer of
2010 after it is seen crossing a residential street. 

1. July, 1929. Abington
A five-foot long alligator is seen “roaming about wherever he chooses and devouring whatever appeals to his taste." The gator is not captured.

2. March, 2005. Rehoboth 
A local boy encountered two alligators. He kills one, while the other gets away. The second reptile is never found.

3. July, 2005, Middleboro
A 5-foot alligator is found in Stump Pond in Middleboro. Police lure the creature out of the water with a chicken as bait. 

3. July, 2005, Brockton
A 4 ½ foot alligator makes an appearance at D.W. Field Park in Brockton. After a small chase, police are able to capture the gator.

4. August, 2005, Brockton
A second alligator is spotted at D.W. Field Park in Brockton.

5. September, 2005. Abington
A five-foot long alligator takes up residence at Island Grove pond. The creature is not caught.

6. May, 2010. Brockton. 
Yet another rash of alligator sightings at D.W. Field Park. The gator is not found.

7. July, 2010. Middleboro 
A fisherman in Middleboro catches a 2-foot long baby alligator out of the Nemasket River and brings it to the nearby State Police barracks.

8. August, 2010
A Brockton firefighter on his way to work one morning spots a 3-foot alligator crossing the street. The alligator is wearing a leather spiked collar and is dragging behind him a leash. The firefighter swiftly captures the gator.

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