A look into the theory, evidence and history of “The Big Lick Triangle”, the beloved paranormal hot-zone of Indiana and Kentucky.
Children, have you ever heard of “The Bridgewater Triangle?”
Go and google it … I’ll wait.
OK, as we all now know, “The Bridgewater Triangle” refers to this vague geographic area in southeast Massachusetts. Weighing in at about 200 square miles, the Bridgewater Triangle is claimed to be a hotbed of paranormal activity — like every X-File you can image: UFOs, ghosts of all kind, Bigfoot, Thunderbirds, cattle mutilation, satanic activity, black helicopters, phantom pumas …
Back in the 1980s, a paranormal researcher was looking at a map and noticed that a lot of his ghost, Bigfeet and flying saucer reports happened in southern Mass, a few hundred miles around a town called Bridgewater. So he got his magic marker / sharpie, drew the rough borders on the map, and BAM! Instant paranormal fame. [UPDATE: the researcher has been revealed! See addendum at the end of this article]
Here’s the thing — I’ve always thought this “Triangle” was kind of a scam. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT accusing the good people of Massachusetts of pulling a hoax or telling lies. The weird stuff that’s reported there probably DOES happen. No, I’ve always thought the whole “Bridgewater” phenomena was kind of a scam because — when you think about it — ALL of the crazy things said to happen within the boundaries of the triangle are also reported … well … EVERYWHERE. As in the entire country.
But by giving this one random area a set of definite boundaries you sort of make it “REAL”, you know? Something substantial you could put your finger on. Borders turned it into a destination, a definite place on the map where paranormal researchers could travel to and focus their time, energy and … wait for it .. money!
That’s right, cash! Drawing a triangle on the map was one of the best PR moves that southern Massachusetts ever did. Ever since the word got out about all the spooky goings on at the “Triangle,” the communities there have been cashing in with all kinds of festivals, special events, paranormal tours, TV documentaries, movies, books, t-shirts ….
Of course Bridgewater is not unique in this regard. Just look at Point Pleasant in West Virginia, Roswell New Mexico, or even all the little towns around Loch Ness in Scotland. They have all managed to turn local folklore into high-dollar tourism that their economy now depends on.
Can you blame them? I don’t … it works! The placebo effect alone on the people living in these places is probably enough to make them think they see half this stuff anyway, with the added side effect of inspiring them to make t-shirts and bumper stickers.
But again, the particular thing about the “Bridgewater Triangle” that bothers me is the subtle implication that it’s somehow unique, somehow weirder than other places. I don’t buy it. Because I truly, honestly believe that you could arbitrarily draw a triangle ANYWHERE on the map, give it a snazzy name, and there would be enough ghost and UFO sightings in that area to justify claims that you’ve drawn the boundaries to America’s next “paranormal hot spot!!”
So, I thought I’d do just that right here, where I live.
I got a map of the south Indiana / north Kentucky area, went onto the googles, and then just started searching for Bigfoot, ghosts, UFO’s … all the crazy stuff that draws in the paranormal dollars. And then I started marking them down on the map, county by county, and saw where it lead me.
Now I did have some loose parameters, such as I tried to keep it within a half-day driving distance from my house. Also I vaguely pointed my search north because I like to travel around south Indiana, a truly a weird place. But I also wanted to include a good portion of the Ohio River valley, because all sort of weirdness seems to get funneled through there as well.
And you know, a triangle DID start to form!
A really marketable — and completely paranormally valid triangle!
(I’ve included my internet evidence at the end of this article, so you can see that it’s totally legit. It works!)
Of course I can’t just start willy-nilly writing books, selling t-shirts and appearing on cable reality shows — one thing was missing.
The one final piece of the puzzle that we need to really cash in is a catchy name:
I figured we need to keep the “triangle” part, because that reminds people of the famous Bermuda Triangle, and they’ll therefore naturally equate it with all things spooky. So next I searched around the center of the triangle I’d drawn on my map, looking for a really catchy town name … just like they did in Massachusetts with the town of Bridgewater. But honestly, nothing was jumping out. Who would go to a Sellersburg Triangle?
And then it came to me … like a flash! Something told me: Look at the corners man … look at the corners of what you have created: Big Bone Lick state park ….. Pope Lick train trestle … French Lick …
After three licks the name was obvious: THE BIG LICK TRIANGLE!
(Copyright 2013, Tower of Technobabble)
(CLICK on map image above to EMBIGGEN!)
I would like to officially welcome you to The BIG LICK TRIANGLE, roughly 2269.9 square miles* of weird! Compare that monster to the meager 200 square mile triangle in Massachusetts. Yup, around these-here parts, we super-size yur paranormality!
And THIS is where our podcast broadcasts from, this is where the Tower of Technobabble is standing! Ky Slim, the Conduit and I are all living in the southern corner of the Big Lick Triangle — we’re essentially straddling the crotch of this creepy, paranormal cul-de-sac. It’s like all the weird is just running down the sides into our backyards, where we’re soaking it all up
Now … what if you don’t agree with the boundaries I’ve drawn?
Who cares?!? That’s the beauty of this!
Yes friends, I maintain that this country is so full of weirdness that you could literally throw a dart at the map and anywhere it lands would be a squatchy, ghost-filled, alien abducted area.
So you can go and draw your own damn triangle, because there is enough crazy to go around in America!
As for me, I am firmly committed — from this day forward — to thoroughly investigating the BIG LICK TRIANGLE.
It’s my backyard, and I gotta keep it mowed.
Here fellow researchers, let me walk you through the highlights I found via my internet search of America’s newest paranormal destination, the Big Lick Triangle. I am in no way saying this is a complete report, just the tip of the spooky iceberg. And if you have some good info feel free to share. So, grab a map and follow along — it’s fun!
We’ll start out near the bottom of the Big Lick Triangle in my home sweet home, Floyd County Indiana. Then we’ll work our way northwest to the next corner, then turn east, and finally come back around south-west through Kentucky ending up at the bottom corner located in Jefferson County Kentucky, aka the city of Louisville.
And remember, these are just selected highlights!
Bigfoot: 1996, creature seen sitting on a log at night on Corydon Pike Rd hill.
UFO: -Two separate men see same UFO in late September 1987
-Large craft seen outside Greenville in 2010
Ghost: At New Albany’s Culbertson Mansion, the ghost of the guy’s first wife haunts the 3rd floor, looking for her children.
– Several native American ghosts reported in various downtown locations, probably from extreme violence and battles with pioneers in late 1700s.
Bigfoot: 1991, a creature broke into a cabin between Lanesville and Corydon on Corydon Ridge road.
-Lanesville, mid 1970s: The Repeater’s aunt totally claims she saw Bigfoot looking in the window … one mile from where the Repeater’s parents live … you know … where the Repeater grew up. YIKES!!
UFOs: Huge UFO flap happened around Corydon, with many saucers seen all through 1987.
– 2009, Lanesville, two green chevron-shaped craft seen.
Ghost: Blue River, a headless ghost is looking for her head. Story says a fishing line was tied across the river, and victim was in a canoe paddling downstream really fast, and the fishing line cut her head off. Ghost still looking for her head.
Bigfoot: 2004, rocks thrown by creature on Blue River.
– Large footprints are often found in Hoosier National Forest.
Ghost: The Carl Smith House in Marengo, said to be very haunted, many have died here, believed to be a portal to the ghostly realms. Spooky.
Orange Co: FRENCH LICK:
Bigfoot: During the 1960s a creature was seen several times around French Lick, and the locals named it “Fluorescent Freddy” due to its glowing red eyes.
– Large footprints often found in Hoosier National Forest.
UFO: Paoli, June 2009, orange oval craft spotted.
Ghost: In French Lick, sometime in the late 1800s, three lightning bolts came from the sky and killed two black horses and their colt in a field. If you go to the field now when a storm is coming you can see the three ghost horses running for shelter.
– Paoli, Bon’s Chapel: The glowing headstone. Story is a soldier was going to marry a local girl, but he was sent off to war and killed before the ceremony. Now on some nights his headstone will glow, and watching from a distance is a ghostly woman dressed in black
Bigfoot: 1999, creature seen walking in field near Pekin.
– Cambellsburg, a creature enter a campsite twice, once in 1997 and 1998. The second time it looked directly through the tent’s rain-flap.
UFO: 2006 and 2010 sightings, both in Salem.
Ghost: Washington School in Pekin is haunted by a ghost in the 3rd floor girls’ bathroom. Also a bloody handprint will appear on the back of the basketball goal in the gym.
Bigfoot: 1992, creature screaming near Austin
Ghost: In Austin High School, the ghost of a dead Spanish Teacher roams the halls. She was killed due to a car wreck in the late 1980s on her way to school.
– In Scottsburg, the Bridgewater / Owens Cemetery is haunted by an entity called “Old Red Eyes.” It is often seen glowing at the back of the cemetery. A black form or object will often circle around cars, and handprints will appear on the windows. A white phantom horse sometimes chases gawkers away at night, and there is also the glowing tombstone of a man who awakens at night and guards the front gate
Bigfoot: 1998, creature screaming and haunting the former Army ammo plant in Charlestown.
UFO: Clarksville, in 2006, a “fireball” is seen making figure 8s in the sky
– Charlestown, in 2007, a large black triangle with three lights reported.
Prince Madoc: In Charlestown State Park is a ridge overlooking the Ohio River called the Devil’s Backbone. It was here, local tradition says, that an ancient Briton (Welshman) named Prince Madoc had set up a colony after leading a fleet of 10 ships across the Atlantic Ocean.They landed in Mobile Bay Alabama and then worked their way north, eventually reaching the Indiana shore of the Ohio River. Researchers disagree over when this happened — some swear it was around 560 AD, others maintain it happened in 1170 AD. But either way it was long before Columbus. The colony was eventually wiped out by native tribes who chased them out of their fortress and slaughtered them further down river near Clarksville IN. Was it true? In 1873 an official Indiana state geologist surveyed the backbone, and reported “prehistoric fortifications” consisting of a man-made wall 150 feet high and 75 feet wide. The ruins are long gone, it’s believed the stones walls were pulled down in the early 1900s and reused to construct a train bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville KY.
Ghost: The former Colgate Plant in Clarksville reported to be haunted, especially the basement. Originally the building was used as a prison.
– Clarksville restaurant the McCullough Steak House is haunted by the former family residents.
– Sellersburg, gruesome murders were once committed at “Old Man Ike’s house”, and today screams and loud banging can be heard of the man torturing the family.
– Charlestown: 10 Penny Bridge, On Tunnel Mill Road, story is that a poor bum had died there. If you put 10 pennies on the bridge in a straight line and turn off your car’s lights and engine, when you turn the lights back on the pennies will be gone or scattered.
– Henryville, the “Green Lady” in Mt Zion cemetery. Story is that a young woman was killed on Henryville Blue Lick Road after car wreck in early 1900s, and she was buried in nearby Mt Zion Cemetery. Her glowing green ghost now roams the cemetery, and she will jump on your car if it’s parked there at night, looking for a ride home. Green goo will be left on your car.
– Jeffersonville, Census Bureau warehouse. Haunted by German-speaking ghosts … supposedly the grounds were a holding camp for Germans during World War II.
Jefferson Co (Indiana):
Bigfoot: 1999, creature seen by hunter outside Jefferson Proving Ground.
UFO: Madison, December 2012, a Black Triangular UFO with 2 flashing lights sighted.
Ghost: Hanover, entity known as the “Preacher’s Ghost”, story is preacher was drowned while swimming into Ohio River to help victims of sinking riverboat. It usually appears around 2 am when really foggy.
– Hanover College: Parker auditorium is haunted by past president of the college, a Dr. AG Parker. Donner Residence Hall haunted by student who committed suicide in one of the rooms.
– Madison, an old river town full of ghosts: Jefferson County Library has a ghost named “Charlie” who rides the elevator and feels up young women. The town’s Ohio Theater has a haunted upper balcony by the ghost of a broken-hearted chorus girl who leaped to her death there. The old State Hospital used to house violently insane people in cages, they still haunt it.
Ghost: Vevay, county museum haunted.
UFO: Florence, 1960, Farmer sees object with three bright lights.
Mud Mermaids: 1891 – 1894, Vevay, along Ohio River. Two horrible creatures found on river bank, newspaper dubbed them the “Mud Mermaids”. Said to be amphibious in nature, like huge lizards with “strikingly human” faces. They also had dog-like ears, limbs with clawed hands and a tapered hindquarters that “in no way resembles a tail.” Witnesses say they showed no signs of intelligence, and ate fish and river mussels. The two seemed to be a mated pair, so they were actually a mud merman and mud mermaid.
(OK, this is technically OUTSIDE of the Big Lick Triangle, but I loved these reports!!)
Bigfoot: 1980, State Road 56 between Rising Sun and Aurora. Guy sees Bigfoot in his driveway as he’s getting out of car, Bigfoot takes swipe at him and hits car as he drives off. Next night the guy takes a shot at him.
Bigfoot and UFO: 1969, Rising Sun: A farmer’s power goes out, as his neighbors report seeing several UFOs overhead. Then the farmer sees a large shaggy ape-like creature in their barnyard, and later makes cast of a 4-toed footprint.
Boone Co: BIG BONE LICK:
Bigfoot: 1980, Bigfoot harasses a trailer in Big Bone, family takes a shot at it, and Bigfoot escapes by jumping into the Ohio River and swimming away.
– In the 1950s, newspapers reported a strange creature bothering people in the Big Bone area, and the locals nicknamed it “SATAN.”
– 1994, Richwood, a lady walking her dog in middle of the day sees a white Bigfoot staring at her 50 feet away.
Ghost: Boone County is home to lots of hitchhiking ghosts for some reason.
– Big Bone Lick park has native American ghosts haunting, and you can hear the cries of children lost in the woods, stolen by an evil spirit who was himself murdered there.
UFO: 1997, in Sparta, a round silver saucer seen floating.
Ghost: in the 60s, a family in Warsaw killed by house fire. Now people see ghostly fire trucks, as well as hearing phantom sirens and people screaming. This story was once featured on the Syfy channel apparently, so there you go. I guess.
Bigfoot: 2010, outside Sanders, a Bigfoot almost gets hit by a truck in the road.
UFO: Carrollton, large sighting in 2007.
Bigfoot: It’s believed that before Europeans arrived the Native Americans avoided the Trimble County area, and they called it “the land of the wild people.” Early settlers reported hairy men throwing rocks and tree limbs at them, and later reports claim they stole livestock, broke into outdoor freezers and even looked into farmhouse windows.
UFO: Milton, sighting reports in 2004.
Frogman / Lizardman: Milton, in October 1975, witnesses report seeing a giant biped lizard man roaming the woods near an automobile junkyard. It was described as having a foot-long forked tongue and big eyes that bulged out, a bit like a frog’s eyes. Creature was dull white with black and white stripes across its body, with quarter size speckles over it.
Bigfoot: 1978, Bigfoot harasses a farm, throws rocks at family.
– Lockport, in late 1970s, a Bigfoot would regularly come to a different farm and steal chickens and cans from their root cellar. The farmer’s wife called it a “Wood Bugger” and often chased it off with a broom.
Ghost: La Grange has many reports of haunted buildings.
UFO: Goshen, 2012, large triangle seen hovering for over 15 minutes.
– Crestwood, 1986, a saucer seen emitting beam of white light.
Jefferson Co (Kentucky): LOUISVILLE, POPE LICK
Bigfoot: 1971, Pleasure Ridge Park near Shively, screams and howls all summer bother neighborhood
UFO: I found a site listing over a hundred UFO sightings in the Louisville area alone, one of which dated all the way back to 1953, where a witness says he was contacted by a “grey” alien
Ghost: Waverly Hills, that’s where I wanna be. This former tuberculosis hospital from the 1920s is famous in ghost-hunting circles as one of THE BEST haunted locations in the country. When it comes to ghosts, many believe this place in ground-zero, a veritable “Spook Central.” Just about every paranormal reality show on cable has been here at least once, including those fancy ghost plumbers. (Interesting sidenote, yours truly and the Conduit once toured this ruined hell-hole, and what was our boots-on-the-ground report? Meh …. The ghosts must have had the night off. Also, it’s realllllly hard to record EVPs and see Shadow People when you’re forced to go on a tour with 25+ people.)
BLACK SPOOKY SILENT HELICOPTERS: Occasionally seen in south of county, silent unmarked black choppers, coming to and from Fort Knox
Pope Lick Monster: South-east of Louisville is the Pope Lick train trestle, a rusty old iron train bridge roughly 90 feet in the air and 772 feet long that crosses over Pope Lick Creek. It’s said to be the home of the Pope Lick Monster, aka The Goat Man (some say the Sheep Man). The Goat Man is basically just like it sounds: a two-legged upright hybrid creature with the body of a man and the head of a goat. Actually the lower half of the body is furry with cloven hoofs for feet; in other words we’re talking about the classic Satyr-looking thing from Greek mythology. A sort of pissed off Mr Tumnus. Sightings are said to have began in the late 40s and early 50s, and the creature lures unsuspecting teens to their death on the bridge, as he summons a ghost train to scare them into jumping.
So anyway … there you go. The Big Lick Triangle. Spooky, huh? We hope you enjoy your stay, buy a souvenir or two, and maybe stay in one of our many fine and haunted B&B’s.
* 2269.9 square miles is a true figure! Using the internet I calculated the distances between the Big Lick Triangle’s three corners, and I roughly came up with:
Louisville (Pope Lick) to French Lick: 58 miles
French Lick to Big Bone: 116 miles
Big Bone to Louisville: 83 miles
Plugging that into some triangle formula i found online gives us an area of : 2269.9 square miles. Dude, numbers don’t lie!
In what has to be the most pleasant surprise I’ve ever had regarding this topic, the Big Lick Triangle was ranked #6 on a list of the most Bridgewater-esque paranormal triangles in America. And who assembled that list? Why it was none other than the very guy who originally coined the Bridgewater Triangle in the first place, Mr. Loren Coleman!
I am humbled, amazed, and still a little in shock! Check it out for yourself HERE
A little inside Wiffleball here for you guys: when I originally came up with the Big Lick Triangle and wrote this post, I purposefully played dumb regarding the identity of the unnamed “paranormal researcher” who first drew the Bridgewater Triangle boundaries and named it (see the second and third paragraphs of this post above). Truth is I always knew it was Loren Coleman, but for the purposes of the bit I didn’t want to name him because … (embarrassed sigh) … I didn’t want to drag his name through my faux comedic mud!
Yes, even though I was playfully poking at the legacy of the Bridgewater Triangle, the reality is that lots of paranormal fans on this here internet be cray-cray, and I didn’t want to risk in any way possibly tarnishing the reputation of Mr Coleman. Loren is without a doubt the most respected crypto researcher working today. I have several of his books, and always look forward to his interviews on TV shows and radio like Coast to Coast AM because … well … Loren takes it seriously. He approaches a very bizarre topic with skepticism, scientific curiosity, thoughtful reasoning, and a historical perspective. In short, he has always brought a covered dish of sanity to the insane picnic of cryptozoology.
And he’s a great guy too! We exchanged a few emails, and Loren told me that he totally got the joke and point of this article, and would not have minded being credited as the Bridgewater guy. And looking back, I really should have done just that in 2013 when I wrote this. Because in all honesty even though Loren is the guy who originally recognized the area and named it, what came after that was the equivalent of the the first domino falling over and setting off a chain reaction. I can only hope that our own little Big Lick Triangle will itself inspire a t-shirt or two some day!
If you want to learn more about the work of Loren Coleman check out his books over on Amazon (I particularly enjoyed “Mysterious America”). Loren also runs the world’s only crypto museum, the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. It is constantly included on lists of the “must-see” attractions when in New England, so if you’re ever in town be sure to stop by and wave at Loren for me. Just say “Big Lick” … he’ll understand. — Ben Schneider, August 2015