I have three criteria for for judging non-fiction movies and TV shows about paranormal phenomena:
1. Did I learn something new?
2. Is it skillfully made?
3. Did it creep me out?
I'm usually satisfied if just one criterion is met. For example, I might enjoy watching a poorly made and laughably unscary show just because it teaches me about some new monster. "Oh, hey, I never knew there was a humanoid lizard monster in East Podunk. Cool!"
But happily, The Bridgewater Triangle meets all three. First, I did learn quite a few new things. I already knew that the Triangle's 200 square miles have been home to Bigfoot, giant black dogs, UFOs, monster snakes, and strange birds. But after watching I did learn that...
- The first UFOs in the area was seen by two undertakers on Halloween night in 1908!
- The red-headed hitchhiker of Route 44 has a rival, the mad trucker of Copicut Road, a phantom pickup truck that forces people off the road in the Freetown State Forest.
- In addition to Bigfoot, small orange ape-like creatures have been seen in the area.
- In 1993, a rare African cat called a serval was found dead on the Easton/Raynham border. Where did it come from?
The Bridgewater Triangle is also well-made and easily could air on any TV station. The film conveys its information through dramatic re-enactments, still photos, drawings, and a lot of interviews. The talking heads include paranormal investigators and cryptozoologists like Loren Coleman, Jeff Belanger, Tim Weisberg, Christopher Balzano, and Joseph DeAndrade, as well as former police officers, TV newscasters, and plenty of area residents. There's also lots of footage from notorious locations like the Hockomock Swamp, Anawan Rock, and the Freetown State Forest, giving the viewer a good feel for the area. Even suburban streets acquire a creepy vibe as the camera glides slowly past well-trimmed yards surrounded by deep, dark, woods...
I did find portions of The Bridgewater Triangle quite spooky. An account of some children seeing Bigfoot in 1970 creeped me out, as did Joseph DeAndrade's story about hearing a voice telling him to turn around while exploring a swamp. I won't tell you what he saw, but it was large and hairy!
For me, the creepiest part of the movie was the interview with Bill Russo, which is either a great report of a paranormal encounter or a fantastic campfire story.
In 1990 Russo lived in Raynham and worked the late shift. One night after midnight he took his dog for a walk near some high-tension power lines. As he walked through the deserted area he heard a high-pitched voice wailing the following words:
"Ee wah chu. Ee wah chu. Keer. Keer."
A strange creature stepped into the light cast by a streetlight. It was about three feet high, covered in brown hair, potbellied, and seemed to be old. It continued to cry out "Ee wah chu. Ee wah chu. Keer. Keer" and beckoned to Russo with one hand. It wanted him to join it.
|"Ee wah chu..." Image from The Bridgewater Triangle documentary.|
Even though it conjures a spooky atmosphere the movie includes multiple perspectives, and some of them are skeptical. Was the mysterious Dighton Rock carved by ancient Phoenicians or the medieval Portuguese? Well, maybe it was just carved by the local Indians. After all, one expert points out, it has the same carvings as documented Indian petroglyphs in Maine.
This inclusive viewpoint extends to explanations about the Bridgewater Triangle itself. Perhaps all the strange phenomena are the psychic residue of atrocities committee against Wampanoag Indians in the 1600s, or perhaps there's just something inherent in the land itself. Or maybe when we walk out into the dark woods or the gloomy swamp, something inside us that our modern society represses wakes up. The Bridgewater Triangle gives us an opportunity to fully experience something that is always with us but normally unseen.
If you like the paranormal and local folklore, or just like some scary stories, I would recommend watching The Bridgewater Triangle. It would also make a good Christmas or Halloween gift for that special person in your life. You can watch it online through Vimeo or buy the DVD. It's definitely worth 90 minutes of your time!
Special thank to Aaron Cadieux, one of the film's directors, for giving me free access to the movie online.