“The Place Where Spirits Dwell.” Seriously, that’s what the name Hockomock means in the Algonquin language. So, naturally the place has been filled with ghost stories long before the first settler arrived. Human artifacts dating back 9000 years were found there. When the settlers did finally show up, they renamed the place “Devil’s Swamp.”
Located in southern Massachusetts. The Hockomock swamp is a massive fresh water vegetated system. The largest in the state, and home to 13 rare and endangered species. This allows much of the area to remain protected as 5000 of the roughly 6000 acres are owned by the Fish and Wildlife Division. Which means there is a massive wetland, likely filled with anomalies. Indeed, all manner of high strangeness has been reported there. Cryptids, UFOs and Poltergeist Activity.
The Poltergeist activity reported covers both hauntings and phantoms. You can read more about how we classify these two types of reports in our Fortean Winds Poltergeist Activity Overview.
To sum up, a haunting is your classic ghost to us. Someone who used to be living returned from the dead in spirit form. A phantom covers a wider range of poltergeist activity, such as moving objects and disembodied voices.
Before we get into a few of the more well known Hockomock ghost stories, worth noting that Hockomock is home to the Bridgewater Triangle. This is an area of the country where all manner of strange and paranormal activity is reported. Sightings of Bigfoot, UFOs and ghosts are more frequently reported here than in most other areas of the country. It’s also been the home to some awful murders, and some researchers in the region believe these violent deaths (as well as suicides in the Freetown Fall River State Forest) contributed to the amount of hauntings and poltergeists.
The most well known of these Bridgewater Triangle ghost stories is the story of Anawan Rock.
Annawan was a sachem of the Wampanoag people. The Wampanoag’s assisted King Phillip of France in his war against the newly formed English colonies (what was then/now New England). Benjamin Church (who became a spiritual father of the US Army Rangers) had Native American allies of his own. Church utilized the tactics of his Native American allies against Annawan and captured him at what is now known as “Anawan Rock” in Hockomock Swamp. Church wanted to spare Annawan’s life, but while he was away, Annawan was beheaded.
It is around Anawan Rock many of the Hockomock ghost stories center. Rumors of a haunting in the form of Annawan(we won’t get into the different spelling of Annawan and Anawan…wikipedia it if you like…it’s a thing), have been around the area for centuries. We could only find one account of an eyewitness account (friend of a friend). Which was from a paranormal researcher Edward Lodi who said after giving a presentation at a high school, a woman he found credible told him she’d seen a vision of Native Americans from the past.
According to our veracity system, A single eyewitness account just isn’t enough, unless we flat out believed the witness telling us face to face. We’re all human and we all reserve the right to believe someone telling us something. Yet, this is the closest we could find to an eyewitness account of a haunting outside of anonymous internet stories. In our opinion, this makes the apparition/haunting portion of the Anawan Rock ghost story likely false.
The more interesting tales of Anawan Rock to the Fortean Winds research revolve around the tales of strange lights and phantom voices. Many accounts of strange “rotten” smells coming from the area of the rock and of course…wherever there is weirdness around…you find UFOs. We find that whacky and interesting. There are enough of these accounts en masse from multiple unfamiliar witnesses, and at various times over the last 30 years, that we can say there is likely something weird happening around Anawan Rock and the Bridgewater Triangle. We’ll just need to collect the data piece by piece and see if it all makes sense at some point.
Adding this one to the Bridgewater Triangle case file and filing it under Poltergeist Activity as it primarily deals with the Fortean Winds POV on hauntings and phantoms around Anawan Rock.
Conclusion – Hauntings: Likely False Phantoms: Likely True