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Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Dreaded Swamp Gas of Old Hockomock

Most people my age spend their Saturday nights at dance clubs consuming copious amounts of alcohol while concocting nefarious plans to work their way into the pants of a member of the opposite sex. I spent last Saturday night in a swamp.

Scary SignI figured the best way to kick off my investigation into Fortean phenomena in the Bridgewater Triangle would be to start at its exact center, and its apparent source of paranormal activity - the cursed Hockomock Swamp. Currently designated as an area of critical environmental concern, the swamp is home to around a dozen rare and endangered species, including some weird blue spotted salamander thingee. In his 1983 book Mysterious America, famed crypto zoologist (and former Mass native) Loren Coleman described it as "a place where people vanish and creatures like giant snakes, Bigfoot, Thunderbirds and phantom panthers are seen." It also smells probably as bad as a Sasquatch fart.

With my friend and fellow investigator J. by my side, I entered Hockomock last Saturday from its southern Raynham edge.

Let me take a few minutes to describe my partner in crime so you can fully appreciate my situation:

abbott!J. is the man who knows no fear. I've been on ghost hunts where I've been overcome by intense dread, and generally have to fight the urge to spin on my heels and run away with my tail between my legs. In these situations J. almost never shows any outward signs of being afraid. He's the Abbott to my Costello. While I'm busy panicking and rationalizing extremely good reasons to flee, he's telling me (in so many words) to stop being a fucking pussy. His iron will forces me to tread deeper into haunted locales than I normally would if I were by myself. He quite simply does this by walking further into the haunted area, and me, being too scared to limp back to the car alone have no choice but to follow him.

He's also a great person to have by your side if you're tramping through graveyards late at night. He seems to have a silver tongue whenever he's confronted by a police officer who questions our motives for being in a cemetery past moonrise. Thanks to J.'s quick thinking, and quick tongue, I have yet to be arrested for trespassing while seeking out the paranormal.

According to demonologists and occult theorists, the wetlands surrounding Hockomock would probably be considered a "Window," or "an area routinely visited by Fortean events". Every state seems to have one or two, be it Devil's Lake in Wisconsin, or Point Pleasant in West Virginia. On a cold March night, while trudging through frigid mud puddles, I found myself wondering if it was just my luck that the one closest to me had to be in a swamp.

radiation!We parked my car (lovingly called the Mirth Mobile) on a dead end street not too far from Hockomock's entrance. What really struck me was how close some houses actually are to the swamp. We left the car near one that had to be less than a hundred yards for its entrance. I can't even imagine what it would be like living so close to a paranormal hotspot. It must be like living a hundred yards from a nuclear power plant. You're never sure exactly what kind of horrible mutation is going to file out of there. I began wondering if the houses suffered from residual Fortean effects the same way a house near a nuclear plant may suffer from residual radiation. Do they have problems with poltergeists? Are their home appliances affected by the electro magnetic fields coming from the swamp? What kinds of strange beasts and weird occurrences have they witnessed throughout the years? If it hadn't been close to midnight I probably would've knocked on a few doors and asked.

After a few minutes of trudging through snow and muck, we were confronted by this:

haunted swamp

Pretty spooky, eh? Keep in mind that this is the place where folks have encountered all sorts of critters. While I was staring down this pathway I immediately recalled a story I had read online just before we left. Apparently there had been unsubstantiated claims that a Bigfoot -like creature had once startled a patrolling police officer by lifting up the back of his squad car and dropping it violently while he was parked near the Hockomock Swamp.

BigfootGhosts are scary, sure, but there are very few cases of a ghost causing bodily harm to an individual. If I was confronted by an apparition, I'd probably observe it, freeze in terror, and just wait for it to dematerialize or evaporate. If I was confronted by a crypto zoological oddity, like Bigfoot, I'm not sure exactly what I 'd do. Running would probably be at the top of the list but what chances do I have of outrunning a creature whose leg span is probably three times my own?

Challenged with these thoughts, and the visual above, I did what any God fearing (and Regis Philbin loving) person would do. I phoned a friend.

regisI called T., my only other friend besides J. who would understand the gravity of my situation (and who would hopefully be more sympathetic. To quote J. at the time: "You're really scared? Come on!"). For a Fortean hotspot, Hockomock has surprisingly good cell phone reception.

"I'm in the middle of the Hockomock Swamp, and I'm scared shitless!" I told her. T. was understandably jealous as her interest in the paranormal is probably as intense as my own. I assured her that if she could see what I was seeing right now she would be far from envious. I also told her that if she didn't hear from me after tonight it would probably be a good idea to send a search and rescue team out here. I was sure they would find a few of my teeth or even my glasses in a huge pile of Sasquatch dung. I unfortunately had to cut my phone call short as I had just stepped into a gigantic frigid mud puddle that soaked my socks.

"I was trying to tell you to watch out for the water but you were too busy gabbing on the phone," J. politely informed me.

red eyesWe continued on, despite my protests and hints that I wanted to turn back ("Man, my socks are really wet...!") The fear I was feeling wasn't of the supernatural variety. I don't think it was associated with any negative energy coming off the swamp. It was most likely just a product of my own over active imagination. The area was so dark, and so inclusive, my brain was on high alert, expecting attack to come from any direction. My greatest fear was that I would shine my flashlight forward and be confronted with two glowing red animal eyes.

"You're really gonna hate what we're going to do next," J. said.


"We're going to turn off our flashlights, stay real still, and just listen."


We stood in complete silence without the benefit of any light for about five minutes. Our ears strained to hear anything out of the ordinary. The closest we came was the sound of two small objects falling from a distant tree and landing with a thud in rapid succession. My heart skipped a beat for a moment, certain that the sound was actually some ravenous animal now heading towards us. We later determined that the noise was probably a few falling chestnuts or pine cones.

We both took numerous digital pictures that night with none yielding any positive results. We eventually gave up and headed disappointedly back to the car.

So the only thing I have to report is that we saw nothing to brag about. I sincerely wish I had something juicer to relay but sadly I don't. I didn't have to wrestle Bigfoot nor did I have to ward off a phantom panther with my camera bag. The area definitely deserves a return visit, solely because of its reputation and the sheer amount of eyewitness accounts associated with it. J. and I vowed to come back when the weather was a tad warmer, and the ground was a wee bit drier.

For now, all I have to show for our trip to the 'cursed' Hockomock Swamp is a pair of mud-encrusted Chuck Taylor's, some dark digital photos, and a set of clothes that reek of Sasquatch fart.

Do you live near Hockomock and have a strange or bizarre story to tell? Drop me a line, and share your experience!

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous VIsraWratS said...

I went to the Hock on 2/8/2006 with a friend of mine. Seeing it was night by the time we arrived we couldn’t see very much other than trees, rocks, and mud. We went in behind the Raynham Dog Track because we heard that spot had a lot of paranormal activity but we didn't see much. After we left the Hock we drove over to Anawan rock and took some pictures. Some of the pictures I took have strange fiery lines that curve and zigzag. My friend’s camera didn’t take any pictures of the lights but instead his photos show smoky areas. The smoke showed up most prominently in a video he took with his digital camera. The video was of me asking the rock if there are any ghosts around. In one of my pictures the fiery light is almost wrapped around my friend’s neck. We may be returning to Hockomock swamp sometime this week to continue our investigation. We will most likely have at least one other person with us this time and we will be documenting the experience on my camcorder. Last time we only took pictures (and one short video clip) on our digital cameras. We will be dedicating more time to this trip than the last and we hope to capture something significant on tape. The only strange things we got at the swamp last time were pictures of orbs (which I have doubts about) and a strange light by a tree which is solid white and has a bubbly disfigured shape to it. I have no idea what that is. Like I said I took the photos on a digital camera so it’s not a developing defect.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Erik said...

Me and my brother plan on heading to hocko swamp this summer over a period of attempts.I have checked out every thing from here to ct as a popular paranormal hot spot.I'm wondering if it would be wise to take my jeep in there and use a blow up raft or just camp out a night.I will post up my myspace page to anyone whos fom the area and is curious about the places ive been.I will be posting up pictures and personal experiances up on my page during the summer.I cannot wait to investigate this place soon!

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went to the swamp near an electric entrance in easton and was a little shocked by what went on. at first we ventured in there during daylight armed with flashlights and cameras. during this experience i wittnessed black figures, which are reported around there. the black figures had old man faces and were following slowly behind my friends who were about 50 yards ahead of me and my other friend. i tried to take a picture but instead of getting the black figure i got an old mans face, however it seemed to be distorted. i cant really explain it. also earlier in the day we found a street sign which my friend promptly picked up,we started walking. we took a picture of him from behind as he was walking holding it by the pole. once we got out of there and checked everything out a few days later we were shocked to see an apparition of a child holding his hand. the hockomock swamp is no joke, no joke period.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went into the swamp with two college buddies my first summer after graduation. They were both skeptics but I had heard the stories and wondered about the entire thing. It seemed normal at first but then it happened. We went in sort of near 138 Raynham/Easton line. It was not long before we were greeted by hill billy like spectral teens. They chased Timmy down a ravine and we did not think we were going to see him again. After they got to him the drug in a wooded area and beat him with sticks. John and I ran and ran until we got to this opening where we saw this far off figure. He looked like a man but was clearly not. He had a spectral hook nose, and had both hands lifted toward the air as if he were commanding the winds. He brought down a can of whupass on us like never before seen, and when he was down we ran naked back toward our cars. We never saw Timmy again which sucked cause he has Play Staion 3.

At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will never forget my one and only experience. i was 15 and was there alone. I walked along these lonely roads, the ones that i have walked a thousand times before. It was freaky. In the distance i say a "Marsh" like area. I see images floating over this Marsh as if they were beings unsure what to do next, the looked like they were working together but at the same time not knowing each other were there. Very weird... When i returned to meet my friends at the Merc, they were all in dis-belief. The Merc was just filled with cigar smoke and it was like it transformed to a gin joint from the time i was gone until i returned. So strange. it was all in one day and it came back full tilt the next day. I will never forget that confusing day as long as i live...

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One time we went in there and saw this fucking ghoul or something. The thing chased us down this hill and then it just beat the life out of my buddy Kenny with a tire iron.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous James Kirk said...

We arrived at the swamp about five in the early even on 6/6/06
Five red storks came out and surrounded us as the events of the evening took place. Fire escaped out of their beaks, and hit poor Jeb, he was the oldest of us, and we heard rumors that this was going to be an exciting time of his life as the sansrib, was about to take him into his loving heart for all eternity. eventually, we found his burnt remains, and returned them to his parents. Of course, the Snakes in there ate the storks, and returned things to normal.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel for Kenny... my brother told me he went there and he ran from some goth like figure, climbed a tree to get away, the fucking thing threw him 40 feet from the tree onto the hood of his car. Shatter his shoulder and broke the hood orniment off his car. Said he wanted redemption but when he went back, he never saw the thing. Dude, my brother is nuts, he would have crushed that Goth fuck!

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Carl F. said...

This one time I saw Bigfoot, I farted and thing just keeled over, I was like OMG, no way. My friend Paul took pictures of us playing with the dead carcass, until some park ranger name Willie showed up and told us to scram, or he'd run us in for killing an endangered species. That's when it woke up, and snapped him in two, Paul and I ran, but Paul crapped his pants, and attracted the thing to him. I miss Paul.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We may need to send your brother in cause Timmy aint never came out. And those Goth motherfuckers may be getting primative on his ass.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me, my friend and his sister went there to mess around, you know things you do with your friend and his sister type things. I went first because i hate when i have to follow Charles. When i was done i was watching Chales rail her and thats when i saw this thing that looked a little like Grace Jones. I ran like the dickens and Charles and his sister Sally jumped up and followed. This FN things was relentless. It was some sort of FROGAL type creature. I ended up getting into the car and taking off. F Charles and Sally, they can fend for themselves i thought. They dont speak to me anymore.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous James Kirk said...

Stan was sitting there in his boat when the snake came up and bit him. We were able to free him from its grasp, and got him over to Morton Hospital. The Doctor was there, and didn't believe us that he had been bitten by a snake. I yelled at him saying that the thing could have tipped the boat over. The Doctor said it was a shame it didn't. I called the Doctor out, and got into a fight with him, he hit his head on the side of the building, collapsed, and then turned into a younger man. The Bridgewater Triangle Swamp Gas makes you see weird things.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Jeb said...

I went in there to pee once, pissed right on a Yeti's head.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Teddy said...

I remember, this one time I saw some crazy looking amazon chick in there, she was all like WHOA, I was like NO WAY. THen She turned into Freddy Kruger, and made a path way with its razor hands for us to leave.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told my brother to go in there once because he didnt believe me. Well, he came out looking like Obama..

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marie Osmond is a babe now.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Tommy said...

I got lost in there once with some friends, we were looking for the hitchhiker girl's ghost. We stumbled upon what looked like an old Indian village, the smell of death was horrible there, but you knew there was something there. This force pushed my friend Jonesy to the ground, and started to choke him, and then we heard people chanting some kind of war cry in what I can only imagine as a native Indian tongue. Paul and Sarah screamed, and the force started to put my friend in unconsciousness, that's when we saw this little green thing with big ears show up and lift a plane out of the water. We all took off screaming, it took us about a day and half to get out of there, and when we did we found out that it had been only about an hour to our friends and family.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True that man. I hate that place.

At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i spend alot of time out in the swamp ive seen my share of crazy shit and had some fun times Someone should start ghost hunting in the swamp i would go in a heart beat grab some zigzag's a camera and lets go for a walk

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Jack D said...

My grandfather and aunt live pretty much next to the swamp on wilbur street right next to the huge blue water tower and i have ridden my quad alone hundreds of times through the swamp without knowing about its history and I never saw anything in there but there is one unsolved thing that me and my grandfather saw one may evening 2 years ago while playing basketball in his driveway. It was around 7:00 at night and while playing basketball we saw this huge blue light flash that looked like it was right behind the dogtrack. We both saw it and have the same exact explanation. It looks like lightening except without the bolt. We thought something blew up so we checked the news later that night and the next day and we saw nothing. Its almost as if us two were the only ones who noticed it.

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two days ago i went in there with my buddy justin and a few friends. As we walked in Peewee Herman laughed in his boyish voice and led us to the enchanted blue fairy. he gave us a lolipop and send us on our way. As we walked out i noticed my friends had been ravaged by a giant indian with an 8 foot long schlong. It was a bloody mess.. o well, atleast i got a lolipop.

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laugh if you want, but I live right next to the swamp, abutting an old cemetery. There are strange things that go on in the swamp, and I personally have heard lots of strange noises, and seen a few very weird animals. We had a stockade fence between us and the swamp, and every year or so, something bites its way through from the swamp side, starting about 4 feet from the ground...not a deer...were talking clawed its way in. Everyone I know has lost an animal, even in fenced areas.

Stange tracks on the trails, huge birds that look like vultures...and strange lights in the swamp. After 40 years here, you get used to most of it...except the wailing. The wailing happens all the time, and its not a coyote or idea what it is, but it makes you lock the door. At night, we dont look out the windows, and we dont go outside.

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