Every town has its urban legends. Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. Mothman. The Jersey Devil. Chupacabra… The list goes on.
Living in southeastern Massachusetts, our myth goes beyond a single being or species. Instead, we have an entire 200-square-mile region with a storied past of strange sightings, known as The Bridgewater Triangle. There have been numerous books written about the area, but directors Aaron Cadieux and Manny Famolare are the first to explore the subject with a feature-length documentary. Aptly titled The Bridgewater Triangle, the film attempts to make sense of the unexplainable.
Likened to the the Bermuda Triangle, author Loren Coleman first defined the parameters and dubbed the area the Bridgewater Triangle in his 1983 book, Mysterious America. The name stuck and the legend has only seemed to grow stronger in the years since, but there is a longstanding history of unexplained activity in the area.
One of the most diverse hot spots of phenomena in the world, the Bridgewater Triangle has been said to include unidentified flying objects, animal mutilations, hauntings, apparitions, disappearances and inexplicable orbs of lights, among others. Cryptozoological animal sightings are a common occurrence; people have reported seeing Bigfoot, various large dogs, cats, snakes and birds, and several unidentifiable creatures. The film dedicates time to each of these mysteries and more.
Nestled in the middle of the Triangle is Hockomock Swamp, the epicenter of activity. The documentary explores this and other interesting landmarks, including Dighton Rock, a large boulder inscribed with indecipherable writing of unknown origin, and a Native American burial ground located within the region.
One potential source for the power behind the Bridgewater Triangle is King Philip’s War, a lengthy, brutal fight between the English colonists and the Native Americans in the 1600s. The bloodiest conflict in American history per capita, the war killed 5% of all New England residents at the time. Some theorize that the Native Americans placed a curse on the land, while others question if the war was merely another result of the existing evil.
The Bridgewater Triangle’s interview subjects consist of eye witnesses, paranormal researches, cryptozoologists, historians, authors (including the aforementioned Coleman), journalists and other experts. Naturally, their stories are largely comprised of second- and third-hand information, so it’s particularly exciting to see the bits of original footage and EVP recordings, unclear as they may be, provided by some of the witnesses.
The interviewees generally approach the subject matter seriously, although there are a few scattered moments of levity. Some of the people involved began as skeptics before firsthand experiences turned them into believers. That said, the folks interviewed are also able to recognize that some stories are little more than urban legends passed down without evidence. Others occurrences, however, are so common that they’re difficult to refute.
The Bridgewater Triangle is briskly paced; it packs a lot of information in 91 minutes without becoming overly dry. Like any documentary, some segments run a little long while others seem glossed over, but overall it’s well-balanced. The professional-quality production is reminiscent of something you’d find on the History Channel or Discovery Channel while channel surfing, only to be sucked in by its fascinating subject matter. My only gripe – and it’s a tiny one – is that the ambient background music borders on distracting during some interviews.
Regardless of if you’re a Massachusetts local or if you’ve never heard of the Bridgewater Triangle, the documentary is an undeniably interesting affair (as long as you can look past a few thick Bostonian accents). Even as a skeptic, I found it a bit creepy. More importantly, The Bridgewater Triangle will keep you wondering what other oddities are waiting to be discovered in your own backyard.