February 03, 2013

Media Mayhem: Bridgewater Triangle, UFOs in Amherst, and a Sugar Boycott

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. 


C.E. Wolfe said...

I live near Amherst and the UFO sightings sure got my attention. (I don't want to believe: I'm afraid of aliens!) It is true that sometimes the military planes fly quite low in this area. Around the same time that the sightings occurred, Westover made a press release stating they would be doing a lot of exercises, including nighttime training, so as not to alarm people. That same week, I was driving along the river on Rt. 5 in Holyoke and was watching what I think was a C-5 flying very low and slow over the river, canting severely to one side, then the other side, in what I also assume was a training exercise. Military planes are a regular sighting around here and I'm sure people know one when they see one. I also work in Chicopee and see the military planes from directly underneath when they are very low; I would never be inclined to mistake one for a UFO. They are all very loud and easily distinguishable. I suppose it's remotely possible that during this period of heavy training activity, they were testing out some new advanced aircraft. But it does seem suspicious as you say that at first they reported no aircraft and then said it was a C-5. Do you have a link to where it was reported it was a C-5?

Peter Muise said...

Hi C.E.! Thanks for the comment. The link in the blog post will take you to a Boston.com article where the FAA claims it was a C-5.

I feel like there is always a lot of evidence and counter-evidence whenever a UFO is seen. I think maybe it is in their nature to be ambiguous and confusing?

Scott Malthouse said...

I'm very much a skeptic, and don't believe the Sasquatch or UFOs (as in alien craft) are real, however I do find it interesting how such a place gets a such a name for itself. Any idea how far these sightings go back?

rhea said...

I am total believer in UFOs and I can't stand how the government always tries to explain them away as military vehicles. Duh!

Peter Muise said...

Hi Rhea and Scott M!

Thanks for the comments. Rhea, the best book I've ever read about UFOs is Patrick Harpur's book DAIMONIC REALITY. I don't know if we will ever prove what UFOs are, but I think they (or something like them) will be with us for a long, long time.

Scott, the name Bridgewater Triangle was coined by Loren Coleman in his book MYSTERIOUS AMERICA. The Triangle is quite large and encompasses some sites that have had legends associated with them for a long, long time, like Dighton Rock. I'm guessing the UFO and Bigfoot activity there dates back to the 1970s? If you read my post on Black Dogs (August 2012) you can read a little more about activity in the Triangle. Anawan Rock (which I wrote about in September 2010) is also inside the Bridgewater Triangle.

Miss Bacchus said...

Very intriguing about the Bridgewater Triangle occurrences. With all the recent "paranormal" viewings and movies on TV, this review seems fitting.

Soli said...

On the way home for my first Thanksgiving break as a (5) college student (two decades ago), I remember looking out of the window of the car and seeing something unknown in the sky. It was a few hundred feet up, somewhat W shaped, with large lights on the bottom. I think it was on the road around the CT/MA border.
Funny to see another possible story coming out of the area!

Peter Muise said...

Hi Soli! Thanks for sharing your story. It does get pretty dark out there in the western part of the state - I'm not surprised that there are some strange happenings out there.