“Monsters and Mysteries” vs “The Bridgewater Triangle”
On December 22nd, 2013, Destination America aired an episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America featuring a creature encounter first covered in The Bridgewater Triangle documentary. The following is an account of how the interview came to be and an analysis of the content contained in the episode.
In the fall of 2012, Aaron Cadieux, Co-Director of The Bridgewater Triangle found a blog written by William Russo. The blog described a bizarre encounter Russo had with an unidentified creature near his former home just south of the Hockomock Swamp in Raynham, Massachusetts. Cadieux was intrigued by Russo’s story and immediately contacted him with a request that Russo tell his story on-camera for The Bridgewater Triangle. Russo was gracious enough to agree to appear in the documentary. The interview was shot in October of 2012, and much of its content was eventually incorporated into the final cut of The Bridgewater Triangle documentary. During the interview, Russo claimed that he was out walking his dog after midnight when he came across a three to four foot tall hair-covered creature beneath a street lamp. According to Russo, the creature attempted to communicate with him vocally and beckoned him to come closer. Russo went on to claim that he and his dog were frozen with fear and failed to get within less than ten feet of the creature. After concluding the interview, Cadieux informed Russo that his sighting shared striking similarities to reports of pukwudgies within the Bridgewater Triangle region. Pukwudgies are small troll-like creatures associated with Wampanoag Indian folklore. They are said to be two to three feet tall, have enlarged noses, enlarged fingers and ears, and covered with smooth gray skin. Sometime later, Russo updated his blog stating that, “I had never heard of the pukwidgies until Aaron Cadieux interviewed me for his upcoming documentary on the Bridgewater Triangle.”
In July of 2013, prior to the release of The Bridgewater Triangle, Cadieux was contacted via telephone by m2 Pictures, the production company responsible for Destination America’s show Monsters and Mysteries in America. Destination America is owned by the Discovery Channel. Monsters and Mysteries in America is a reality television series which features first-hand eyewitness accounts of bizarre creature encounters from across the United States. Unfortunately, Cadieux cannot remember the name of the gentleman who contacted him from m2 Pictures. However, Cadieux was soon handed off to Pamela Shulman, a Story Producer for m2 Pictures. M2 Pictures was planning to produce an episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America focusing on creature sightings in Massachusetts, and especially the Bridgewater Triangle. M2 Pictures was interested in interviewing William Russo regarding his creature sighting. Shulman claimed that they had been in contact with Russo, but that Russo declined their request for an interview. Apparently, Russo stated that he did not want to go behind the back of The Bridgewater Triangle producers and that he wanted The Bridgewater Triangle to have an exclusive on his story. Shulman then requested that Cadieux persuade Russo to give an interview for Monsters and Mysteries in America. Shulman reassured Cadieux that the episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America that would feature Russo’s story would not be aired until 2014, and that the episode would not interfere with the October, 2013 targeted release date for The Bridgewater Triangle. Cadieux concluded that Russo being featured on Monsters and Mysteries in America could serve to benefit The Bridgewater Triangle, and potentially raise national awareness regarding the film’s impending release. Thus, Cadieux agreed to reach out to Russo. After a conversation with Russo, it was agreed that Russo would do the interview for Monsters and Mysteries in America as long as The Bridgewater Triangle documentary was mentioned in the episode. Cadieux relayed the request to Shulman, and the request was denied. Despite the setback, Cadieux still believed that Russo’s interview would benefit The Bridgewater Triangle. Throughout the negotiations between Russo and m2 Pictures, Cadieux essentially worked as Russo’s agent. Russo was kind enough to allow Cadieux to make the decision regarding the interview on his behalf, as Russo believed strongly in the potential of The Bridgewater Triangle documentary. The producers of The Bridgewater Triangle were extremely appreciative of the fact that Russo would initially turn down an interview for a nationally televised show in favor of The Bridgewater Triangle. Eventually, it was agreed between all parties that Russo would do the interview for Monsters and Mysteries in America.
On October 20th, 2013, The Bridgewater Triangle documentary premiered to a sellout crowd of over 750 people at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. For the next two months, the film would be shown at a number of local venues, the vast majority of which were sellouts. On December 22nd, 2013, the episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America featuring William Russo’s encounter premiered on Destination America. The episode differed from The Bridgewater Triangle (BT) documentary’s segment featuring the same story in a number of ways. The following is a list of inconsistencies in the Monsters and Mysteries in America (MMA) segment.
1. MMA stated that Russo encountered a pukwudgie, when in reality, it has only been theorized that what Russo encountered was a pukwudgie. The creature Russo allegedly encountered has never been officially identified.
2. MMA promoted their episode by stating that Russo was “attacked” (see image below) by a pukwudgie. At no point in retelling his story did Russo ever indicate that he was attacked by the creature.
3. MMA stated that Russo’s encounter happened in 1995. In reality, as stated in BT, Russo’s encounter took place in 1990.
4. MMA depicts Russo encountering the “pukwudgie” while walking in swampy woods. In reality, as stated in BT, Russo’s encounter took place on a paved road beneath a street lamp.
5. MMA depicts the creature as looking very different from what William Russo describes in his account. During the production of BT, producers worked with both Russo and an artist to come up with an accurate representation of what Russo saw. Below are two images of the alleged creature. The image on the left, featured in BT, is an accurate depiction of what Russo claims he saw (a four-foot tall hair-covered creature with a pot belly, slightly enlarged eyes and the face of a chipmunk). The image on the right, featured in MMA, in no way reflects what Russo claims he saw. Also note that the image on the right features a creature wearing yellow shorts.
6. MMA features and interview with, and video footage shot by, paranormal investigator (and BT participant) Andrew Lake. The footage features an alleged demonic attack on a paranormal investigator. Some researchers theorize that the attack was the work of a pukwudgie. MMA states that the footage was taken in the Hockomock Swamp in the Bridgewater region of Massachusetts. In reality, as stated in BT, the footage was taken at the Assonet Ledge in the Freetown-Fall River State Forest in Freetown, Massachusetts. Although both locations fall within the boundaries of the 200-square-mile Bridgewater Triangle, the Freetown-Fall River State Forest lies 20 miles to the southeast of the Hockomock Swamp.
Upon the conclusion of the Monsters and Mysteries in America episode, Bristol County Media/Big Operations Productions, The Bridgewater Triangle documentary and/or its Co-Producers (Aaron Cadieux and Manny Famolare) all failed to appear in the closing credits. It is interesting to note that without the efforts of The Bridgewater Triangle producers, Discovery Channel/Destination America/m2 Pictures/Monsters and Mysteries in America would likely have never found William Russo’s story, and definitely would have have never been able to secure an interview with him.
The Monsters and Mysteries in America episode featuring William Russo’s creature encounter was a technically sound production. The cinematography, editing and special effects reflect the budget and manpower of the Discovery Channel and its sub-networks. However, the content of Russo’s alleged encounter was altered from the actual story. Details were added and omitted, and locations were intentionally misrepresented in an effort to sensationalize Russo’s account. Russo’s story is one of the most intriguing reports to ever come out of the Bridgewater Triangle region. It also stands as one of the most compelling segments in The Bridgewater Triangle documentary. It is the opinion of the producers of The Bridgewater Triangle, that Russo’s story can be effectively told without the need to embellish details or sensationalize his claims. The producers of the documentary also urge any viewers who want to learn the true story William Russo’s alleged encounter to see The Bridgewater Triangle.