For Christmas Day, I chose to briefly pause the current FYC awards season in order to watch a new program that sparked my interest purely from its title. And it only seemed natural to watch today, offering Tidings of Terror through the holidays.

Freetown, Massachusetts has been haunted by a dark presence for hundreds of years. This small New England town with not much industry was first settled by the Pilgrims in 1659, making it one of the oldest communities in the United States. Ever since then, the locals have experienced sadness, despair, fear and a chilling sense of dread whenever venturing out into the nearby nature preserve.

Technically known as Freetown State Forest, the 10,000 acres of mother nature is affectionately known as “The Cursed Forest,” where unspoken evils have taken place for far too long. Eerie local eyewitness testimonies are what differentiates this program from big-screen fiction. Hearing real stories coming from real people is far scarier than anything a filmmaker could invent.

Flashbacks from a retired detective uncovering Satanic activity located deep within the heart of the forest gave me the creepy crawlies. Tales of black-eyed children and shadow figures emanating from there and the nearby Hockomock Swamp (which loosely translates into “place of the devil”) freaked me out a bit. But King Philip’s War is probably the one that affected me the most, as whole villages of colonists, as well as indigenous tribes, were totally wiped off the map while laying claim to property deeds.

“Freetown will always be haunted by its dark history…”

Could this previous violence be the cause of many modern-day suicides located in the same general vicinity? And what attracts the evil in this isolation horror story that’s still ongoing today?

As far as a historical mystery, I was totally intrigued. I’m sold on this program after watching “Silent Night, Deadly Fright.” These disturbing events are paired with supernatural themes that make me want to learn more about the local legends. Could the Wampanoag people have cursed these lands? That could explain why Route 24, Massachusetts’ deadliest highway, which runs directly through the forest, has seen many car accidents each year, usually exceeding the previous year’s total. The road was built parallel to an old Native American trail, harboring negative energy today.

The concentration of crime in this area kept my attention; however, I am kind of confused about the show’s format. Because my DVR listed this as the first episode, I assumed it was the series premiere. Upon further review, there have been four episodes so far, which basically have aired once a year around Christmastime, leading me to my second wish for this show: With that great title, why isn’t this the first-ever real-life holiday horror anthology series?

Seasonal true tales of terrors, unexplained events and bizarre accidents centered around a dreadful atmosphere… what’s not to love? If you’ve ever been told not to wander out into the woods at night alone, you’d probably agree. As long as there’s gripping scenarios to depict, who wouldn’t watch these in order to escape a dramatic family reunion around the fireplace?