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Haunted Destinations: Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Massachusetts

Dear Reader, I suggest every day, and especially when visiting haunted sites, put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11)

A forest stroll is usually a peaceful activity – unless you’re in Freetown-Fall River State Forest. The majority of these woods, usually referred to as Freetown State Forest, pass through the center of Freetown itself.  If you dare, you can meander the 50 miles of unpaved roads and trails, which cut through its 5,441-acres. Freetown State Forest regularly makes the list of “most haunted forests in the world.” It is part of the fabled Bridgewater Triangle and is known as the “Cursed Forest of Massachusetts.”

Behind Freetown State Forest’s comforting, shady paths and bright clearings lurk a dark reputation. Documented murders and tales of the paranormal surround these woods.

First, some of the murders:

In November of 1978, the corpse of 15-year-old Mary Lou Arruda was found tied to a tree in the woods. James M. Kater was eventually convicted of the murder.

In 1980, police investigated another murder near the forest. Several locals told them they witnessed Satanic cult activity in the woods. Some believed this activity to be connected to the so-called “Fall River Cult Killings” occurring during the same period. Suspicious clearings, stained with animal blood, were found in the forest. The oddly arranged carcasses of cattle were later discovered in the woods, giving more credence to ritual sacrifice rumors.

In 1987, a homeless man was somehow mistaken for an undercover police officer and killed.

In 2001, two bullet-riddled bodies were discovered on Bell Rock Road, which winds through the forest.

And, then, these bizarre instances:

 In 2006, reports of roving and aggressive dogs plagued the area, and an escaped emu was spotted wandering the forest and charging visitors.

In May of 2016, people discovered wires stretched across frequently traveled forest paths, strung in such a way as to catch off-road motorbike riders across the neck, and likely to decapitate them.

These explainable events are enough to give any place an eerie, unwelcoming feel. Add the forest’s supernatural reputation, and the area pegs the extreme creepy needle.

As mentioned initially, the forest sits in the infamous “Bridgewater Triangle,” a 200 square mile area within southeastern Massachusetts. The triangle is the epicenter of an astonishing collection of inexplicable, bizarre phenomena reported since colonial times, including strange creatures, Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, specters, ominous black helicopters, mysterious orbs of light, strange disappearances, giant snakes, poltergeist activity, and cattle mutilations.

The forest is rumored to be home to a race of diminutive humanoid creatures known as Pukwedgies, which have long been known by the native Wampanoag tribe. These creatures are described as troll-like beasts between 2 and 3 feet in height. They sport smooth, hairy grey skin that is said to glow on occasion. The Pukwedgies have a reputation for mischief and mayhem and are said to intentionally startle people, throw rocks or sand in their faces, push or shove them, kidnap them, hurl them from cliffs, wrestle with them or even attack them with knives or spears.

Legend says the Pukwedgies are competent magic users and shapeshifters. The Natives give these creatures a wide berth, claiming that they cannot be trifled with or approached. Numerous visitors to the forest claim to have seen such beings. The mischievous beasts are blamed for a high number of people supposedly falling from cliffs to their deaths in the area.

Freetown State Forest is littered with locations that seem to be possessed of some dark power. Perhaps the most well-known of these is an 80-foot-deep rock quarry known as the Assonet Ledge, or “The Ledge.” Visitors to The Ledge report being overcome with a burning, unshakeable sense of dread when nearing the quarry. It is rumored to be a hotspot for Satanists and other cults, as well as ghost sightings. Numerous people report seeing ghosts jumping from The Ledge only to disappear before reaching the water below. Others say they see a spirit standing ominously at the top of The Ledge.

In 1974, then-governor Ronald Reagan reported seeing strange lights in the sky within the forest. The story goes that Reagan was flying in a Cessna over The Ledge with pilot Air Force Colonel Bill Paynter and two security personnel. They noticed strange lights tailing the plane. The lights accelerated, decelerated, and elongated, all within minutes. It reportedly shot upwards at a 45-degree angle and disappeared. Reagan related the incident to Norman C. Miller, the Washington bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, in 1974.

A Wampanoag legend is related to Profile Rock, sometimes called Joshua’s Mountain. It reportedly takes on the image of Wampanoag Chief Massasoit, and, legend has it, is the location where the chief’s son died. The tribe has long held the rock to be a sacred place. To this day, the name Profile Rock conjures images of various ghostly phenomena from strange glowing, disembodied voices, to orbs of light, to sinister apparitions.

Then, there is the Hockomock Swamp. The swamp is a 16,950-acre wetland covering much of the northern part of southeastern Massachusetts and is the state’s largest freshwater swamp. The swamp gets its name from the native Wampanoag people and means “place where the spirits dwell.” Early settlers to the area quickly learned of the swamp’s dangers and numerous alleged ghosts prowling its darkness and called it “The Devil’s Swamp.”

Mysterious animals are said to prowl the swamp. These wetlands are also a hotbed of UFO sightings. There are regular reports of ghosts, specters, and phantoms in the vicinity.

Hockomock Swamp is the site of numerous massacres and brutal conflicts between early settlers and the native people. One theory is these horrors infused the swamp with an evil force and made it the haunt of vengeful spirits.

Adding to the list of strange places within Freetown State Forest is an immense, 40-ton boulder known as Dighton Rock. Numerous and mysterious petroglyphs, drawings of figures, geometric shapes, and alleged cryptic writing cover the boulder, none of which can be comprehensively identified and have unknown origins.

In summary, if you decide to visit Freetown-Fall River State Park, be ready to see more than beautiful scenery. Prepare yourself to encounter UFOs, ghosts, and mysterious animals. You never know who—or what—will join you.


Source: The Hartford Extra Mile


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