by Rebecca Hyman
The fog parts to reveal a satellite image of Southeastern Massachusetts.
The music is ominous and the words “Bridgewater Triangle” appear on the screen.
It’s clear the place we are about to visit is strange, mysterious and perhaps even sinister.
But it’s equally clear we are in good hands.
“Our goal from the start has been to present the information and the eye witness accounts to the viewers and let them decide for themselves,” said Aaron Cadieux, co-producer and co-director with Manny Famolare of “The Bridgewater Triangle Documentary,” the first feature-length exploration of the fascinating and forbidding subject.
Cadieux and Famolare seem perfectly positioned to guide us through this eerie landscape.
They are at once talented filmmakers and local residents — giving them an insider’s insight into the topic coupled with the tools to bring the story to life.
For the uninitiated, the Bridgewater Triangle is a 200-square mile hunk of Southeastern Massachusetts where reports of odd and malevolent occurrences abound, including sightings of UFOs, Bigfoot, ghostly panthers, giant birds and fiendish dogs. Also reported: grotesque cattle mutilations, a vanishing hitchhiker and unexplained disembodied lights and noises.
The Triangle contains the three Bridgewaters, Raynham, Mansfield, Norton, Easton, Brockton Taunton, Abington, Freetown and Rehoboth within its borders, including the Hockomock Swamp, “the beating heart” of the Triangle, as the documentary puts it, and Freetown State Forest, reportedly home to extensive satanic cult activity in the 1970s.
The documentary’s website, www.thebridgewatertriangledocumentary.com, features a quote from paranormal researcher Loren Coleman, who coined the term “the Bridgewater Triangle” in the 1970s: “I don’t believe in the Bridgewater Triangle, I accept it.”
Coleman is just one of the many experts in the film’s impressive cast, which also includes Chris Pittman, who has appeared on “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel; John Bright, founder of New England Paranormal; Wayne Nye, founder of East Bridgewater Ghost Tours; Ann Kerrigan, founder of East Bridgewater’s Most Haunted; and Chris Balzano, author of “Dark Woods” and “Ghosts of the Bridgewater Triangle,” Famolare said.
And the narrator is John Horrigan, a professional sports announcer for the Boston Bruins Alumni.
Cadieux and Famolare have spent countless hours researching the subject, poring over newspaper archives from the 1700s to the present, visiting historical societies, reading book after book and interviewing eye witnesses, many of them on the very spot where they report having experienced something inexplicable, often deep in the Hockomock Swamp, which not coincidentally means “devil’s swamp” or “place where evil spirits dwell” in Algonquin.
The film’s trailer has created quite a buzz in the paranormal community and beyond, Famolare said.
“We feel when this film comes out, it will change the way people see Southeastern Massachusetts,” Famolare said.
Cadieux and Famolare come to the project from very different perspectives, and combine to bring both balance and passion to the documentary.
Cadieux, a self-described “skeptic” when it comes to the paranormal, is a trained filmmaker with his own production company, bigoperations.com. While still in college, the Dartmouth native, now 29, made a short documentary about the Bridgewater Triangle that quickly developed a cult following. He realized he’d hit a nerve and a decade later decided to revisit the topic with a more serious effort.
“I don’t consider myself a paranormal researcher or enthusiast. I consider myself a storyteller. And this is a fascinating story,” said Cadieux, who also serves as the documentary’s writer and editor.
Famolare, on the other hand, is more inclined to believe in a world beyond what science can explain.
A lifelong East Bridgewater resident, the Brewster paramedic grew up at the center of the Triangle hearing tales of disappearances and ghosts and developed a keen interest in such mysteries. Now 36, he has been investigating the Triangle for a quarter century.
He has also had a lifelong love affair with photography and the documentary gives him a chance to combine his two passions.
“The most believable stories about the Bridgewater Triangle come from people that have never heard of the Bridgewater Triangle but will tell you something strange that happened to them there,” Famolare said.
In his line of work, he hears stories about the Triangle all the time from patients and co-workers.
“It could be a hunter who said he feels like he lost time or like he was being watched. People see orbs. They hear drums. They get touched but there’s nothing there,” Famolare said.
He has never experienced anything so unmistakable himself, but he would welcome such an experience and would not fear it, he said.
Cadieux said he hasn’t had any remotely paranormal experiences but ironically Halloween has always been his favorite holiday and he “loves a good scare.”
“Part of the reason people find the Bridgewater Triangle so interesting is just the sheer fun of it. People enjoy a thrill. It’s the roller coaster effect,” Cadieux said.
Famolare said there are many explanations for the “negative energy” within the Bridgewater Triangle, from “a gateway to another world” to a consequence of the bloody and brutal King Philip’s War, like a psychic scar.
“We may never know the answer, but the stories just keep coming. We’ve heard from people all around the world who feel it’s one of the most haunted places,” Famolare said.
Cadieux and Famolare, who began work on the documentary in 2010, are nearly done shooting and Cadieux has begun the editing process. They are aiming for an October release.
“The Bridgewater Triangle Documentary” will be available on their website www.thebridgewatertriangledocumentary.com and they also hope to release it in independent theaters and elsewhere. Watch the website for more details.