Hockomock Swamp

“On still nights the evil glitter of fox fire or the demonic cackle of a barred owl sent chills up the spines of the early settlers. Hordes of crows rose each morning for the guts of the swamp to ravage farmers corn. And from time to time, young girls merrily picking blueberries along the fringes found themselves ‘drawn farther and farther along unfamiliar paths seduced by the increasing size of the berries until at last they were lost and claimed by the swamp forever."

Native Americans named the swamp “Hockomock” hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago. Hockomock in the Algonquin word for “place where spirit’s dwell.” The Indians had tremendous respect and awe for the swamp and regarded it as a “magical” place. There being no swamps in England, the colonists had a different take on the swamp. They were terrified by it. The fear that Hockomock Swamp instilled in the colonists of the 1600s inspired the nicknames “The Devil’s Swamp” and “The Devil’s Bowl.”
Hockomock Swamp is known as the “heart of the triangle.” Many Bigfoot, Thunderbird and monster snake sightings and other creatures have been witnessed just outside of the swamp and many believe that these creatures live within it. Others consider these creatures “spirit entities” that seldom appear in our realm. People have reported seeing everything from a four-foot high panther with glowing red eyes to ghosts of Native American spirits. One of the local legends is of a turtle “as big as a Volkswagen beetle“. Hockomock Swamp, along with Freetown Forest was named one of the USA Today’s “Top Ten Great Haunts” in 2008. Freetown Forest is in Freetown, the southeastern apex of the triangle. It is place filled with negative--many even say evil--energy. The forest is most famous for its murders--especially those of committed by satanic cults. To this day satanic activity is taking place in the forest and it is not uncommon to see the “hooded people” practicing rituals there. Hockomock Swamp is also a place where satanic activity is said to occur and every once in awhile, you will come across a tree in the swamp with strange markings. Voodoo is also practiced in the swamp. The word “Hockomock” is Algonquin for “place where spirits dwell.” The colonists called it “Devil’s Swamp,” no doubt because they feared the unknown terrain of the New England swamps. These thick, seemingly unsurpassable wetlands filled with wolves ready to attack, quicksand, and the sounds of nocturnal animals screeching in the darkness had the colonists scared out of their minds. One of the first recorded order of business for Bridgewater in 1659 was to order wolf traps to place around the swamp. Legend has it that more than a few colonists who entered the swamp, became disorientated and never came out. Many people have reported getting lost in the swamp, even those who are familiar with the terrain. Just two years ago two seasoned hunters suddenly became disorientated and lost their way. The two men had a terrifying ordeal being lost in the once familiar swamp for hours before being found. 

Six Bridgewater Triangle towns spanning two counties--Plymouth and Bristol--get to lay claim to Hockomock Swamp: Easton, Raynham, Taunton, Bridgewater, Norton and West Bridgewater.  Nearly 5,000 of its16,900 acres (nearly 27-square miles) are managed by the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area. At its heart, the swamp is a dense tangle of briar and trees, quicksand and mud, a vast no man’s land, with many parts—no doubt—having never been encroached upon by human feet. “Ice that forms through the winter months in some areas of the swamp is insulated and shaded from the warming, spring sun. Gradually, during early summer, it melts, and the resulting cooler temperatures offer refuge for sub-arctic plants and animals not indigenous to this area.” In sharp contrast, the past 50 years have seen major commercial development to the outer borders of Hockomock Swamp and swathes have been cut through the swamp to create highways such as Routes 24 and 495.

The Hock is host to animals not indigenous to southern Massachusetts, such as Cow Moose, black bears, Africal Sevrel and mountain lions. The tales of animals not indigenous to the area--yet have appeared here—are not told as loudly as the tales of animals not indigenous to this world,, for many believe that Hockomock Swamp is home base for a host of fortean creatures including giant pterodactyl-looking Thunderbirds, Bigfoot, anaconda-sized snakes, and giant monster black dogs.

Many people who have explored The Hock have reported abrupt feelings of terror and dread, coupled with the distinct feeling of being watched. Disorientation and losing track of time is another not so uncommon occurrence. Satanic cults, priests and priestesses of voodoo, and brothers and sisters of witchcraft are rumored to use parts of the swamp for ritualistic sacrifices and as places of worship. People who live on its fringes certainly have seen and heard it all, from strange human-like screams bellowing from the depths of the swamp, to reports poltergeist activity in their very homes. Some report the frequent appearance of “spooklights” lights hovering above the trees and larger, stranger lights coming from the area of the swamp.

This is what one Bridgewater Triangle resident had to say about growing up on the fringes of Hockomock Swamp: "The neighborhood kids often talked about feeling watched in the swamp, and hearing something bulling through the forest, knocking down trees. We'd also heard of people actually hearing loud, bloodcurdling screams. It wasn't until I was maybe ten or eleven that some friends and I experienced these things for ourselves...along with a whole slew of other phenomenon: disembodied voices, trees being "thrown" at us while deep in the woods, what looked like large human footprints in the corn fields, ghostly forms, strange lights, a strange squeaking sound that seemed to be coming from a plastic toy (a Native American head), that seemed to respond to questions and things we were saying), cult activity, you name it."

Others have reported experiences have the strange phenomenon of being out in the swamp in the middle of the afternoon, only to have it inexplicably turn into night. Here is one of those reports: "It happened a couple of time. I'd be by myself in the swamp near the Prospect Hill Extension. Sundown during deer season is usually between 5 and 6 o'clock. I went to the deer stand and in the swamp it seemed to get dark like an hour before it should have. I'd walk back to the street and it would still be light out." He added: "I lived in that area for over 17 years. I grew up in the swamp exploring it every day. But I always got this weird feeling that I was being watched when I would be coming back from the deer stands after sundown."

Another man who grew up in the triangle area had this to report: "I am very familiar with the Hockomock Swamp. I used to live in West Bridgewater. I have been deep that swamp many times, hunting. I never saw or experienced anything unusual until one day, when I has camping with a buddy on the Town River. We noticed something weird was going on in the sky. There must have been at least 20 of these crazy-shaped aircraft with all kinds of crazy lights going overhead, just above the trees. They weren't high up at all. We couldn't figure out what they were. They were silent. No sound at all. And they were not normal aircraft. That's for sure."

Hockomock Swamp and King Philp's War