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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