What Is Massachusetts’ Bridgewater Triangle?
For years now, southeastern Massachusetts has been a major focus of those interested in paranormal activity, mainly due to the hauntings, sightings and experiences that have occurred in the Bridgewater Triangle.
The term “Bridgewater Triangle” was coined in the late 1970s by researcher and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who now runs the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine.
At the time, Coleman was living and working in Massachusetts and had been collecting stories of anomalous phenomena in a very particular region of southeastern Massachusetts. He was getting stories about ghosts, about UFO sightings, about cryptid creatures spotted throughout the area – the stories ran the gamut of paranormal activity, playing into what noted researcher John Keel called “window areas,” where a greater concentration of high strangeness occurred compared to the baseline reports of the surrounding area.
Because Coleman noted that the three towns involved this area – West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and Bridgewater proper – made up a natural sort of triangle shape, and because the term “Bermuda Triangle” was popular due to Charles Berlitz’ 1975 book of that name, Coleman dubbed his window area the “Bridgewater Triangle.”
When Coleman was writing his 1983 book Mysterious America, he put in a chapter on the Bridgewater Triangle and the reports he had collected from it. From there, it entered the paranormal zeitgeist but didn’t really begin to become a true phenomenon until the early part of the new millennium.
Chris Pittman, who has been featured on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, was one of the first to pick up the mantle of the Bridgewater Triangle from Coleman and continue chronicling the strange goings-on in southeastern Massachusetts. At the same time, Christopher Balzano – who, ironically enough, had once worked at a sandwich shop with Pittman – was also writing about the Triangle on his now-defunct Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads website.
By that time, the defined borders of the Bridgewater Triangle had to be expanded beyond Coleman’s initial layout of the three Bridgewaters and even beyond some of the region he later included as part of the window area; by the time Pittman and Balzano were writing about the Triangle, its accepted definition encompassed about 200 square miles with Abington to the north, Freetown to the east, and Rehoboth to the west comprising its three vertices.
Pittman and Balzano wrote about places Coleman had investigated, including the Hockomock Swamp, which had become known for UFO and Bigfoot sightings, as well as rumors of a long-standing Native American curse. But they also began further exploring some of the other areas with paranormal reports and legends that seemed to tie into the Triangle concept, such as the folkloric pukwudgies of the Freetown State Forest and the ghostly redheaded hitchhiker of Route 44.
Their websites caught the eye of Dartmouth filmmaker Aaron Cadieux during his college days. He created a half-hour documentary Inside the Bridgewater Triangle as a class project in the early 2000s, and although garnered some buzz when it aired a few times on cable access and was uploaded to Google Video (the precursor to YouTube) by someone who had obtained a copy, Cadieux always wanted to revisit the Triangle for a feature-length documentary.
He did so with his 2013 documentary The Bridgewater Triangle, co-directed by Manny Famolare. The documentary took the paranormal world by storm, and an edited version aired on Destination America as America’s Bermuda Triangle. Interest in the Triangle exploded, and it has now been featured in various paranormal media, and there are reports that no less than two television programs are being planned for FX that will feature the Triangle as a backdrop, including a dramatic anthology series from Fargo creator Noah Hawley, and a potential upcoming season of Ryan Murphy’s hit American Horror Story.
As attention to the concept of the Bridgewater Triangle has grown, so too have the number of reports that come out of it. Back in 2006, when WBSM’s paranormal program Spooky Southcoast first aired, the Triangle was a little-known local legend and Pittman and Balzano had been chronicling mostly stories that had occurred years, if not decades, prior. A few newer stories would trickle in here or there, but the Triangle was largely unknown because some felt it had gone dormant.
After interviewing Balzano, Pittman, Cadieux and Coleman on the subject, the Spooky Crew decided to have an edition of the Saturday night program in which paranormal teams and investigators could go out to some of the reported hot spots, conducting investigations while the program was airing live on the radio, and call in with reports about what was going on. For almost 15 years now, the “Bridgewater Triangle Investigation Episode” has become an annual feature on the program and helped foster an interest in Massachusetts’ own “window area” that now extends worldwide.