It's not often that folkloric things appear in the media, but several interesting articles recently appeared so I thought I'd devote a blog post to them.
My friend Ed told me about the first: the Taunton Gazette ran an article this week about a new documentary on the Bridgewater Triangle, a large area in Southeastern Massachusetts well-known for supernatural and paranormal phenomena. Ghosts? Bigfoot? UFOs? Mysterious animals? They can all be found in the Triangle.
At the heart of the area is the Hockomock Swamp, whose name means "place of spirits*" in Algonquin. Forty-seven percent of respondents to a poll run by the Taunton Gazette said they felt something supernatural was behind all the occurrences in the Bridgewater Triangle - and that they wouldn't step foot in the Hockomock Swamp. Ed told me his parents forbid him to pick berries in the swamp, but they never told him why. Cue the eerie music...
Here is the trailer for the documentary:
You don't need to travel to Bridgewater to see a UFO, however. Dozens of people in Amherst, Massachusetts reported seeing a strange, low-flying object in early January. Described as triangular, illuminated with dim white lights, and the size of three cars, the object was seen at night flying about 100 feet above the ground. It moved slowly and quietly.
Officials at Westover Air Reserve Base initially said that no aircraft had appeared on their radar on the night in question. However, the FAA later released a report saying a C5 cargo plan was flying over the area at the time. This was intended to explain away the UFO, but it didn't. The C5 is larger and noisier than the object reported, and isn't triangular. If it wasn't a C5 what was it? I guess this UFO will stay truly unidentified. You can see a news clip here:
Last week I posted about rum, molasses and sugar, and their connection to slavery. Interestingly, the online magazine Slate ran an article about an 18th century merchant from my hometown of Haverhill, Massachusetts who told his customers he would no longer sell sugar because of it was produced by slaves. This was clearly centuries before the concept of "fair trade" caught on. New England was once again ahead of the curve.
*A lot of people think Hockomock means "place of evil spirits", but I think it more accurately means just "place of spirits." The morality of the spirits there is left ambiguous.