When describing and area known for five mysterious disappearances in five years, numerous sightings of UFO’s, strange lights and sounds, ghosts, and mysterious creatures, few people would think of a small area of forest in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Between Taconics and the Green Mountains in the town of Bennington was the mysterious Glastenbury Mountain. The area surrounding Glastenbury Mountain has been called the Bennington Triangle.
Native Americans shunned Glastenbury Mountain, using it only as a burial ground. They believed the ground was cursed because all four winds met in that spot. Native American folklore also mentioned an enchanted stone that swallowed anyone who stepped on it. Early European settlers to the area spoke of strange lights over the area, odors that had no source, and sounds from the woods they couldn’t identify. There were rumors of creatures who lurked in the swamp around the mountain. This was backed up by reports of a large Bigfoot-like monster, called the Bennington Monster, that overturned a stagecoach on Route 9. Sightings of the Bennington Monster continued through the years.
On November 12, 1945, 75-year-old Middie Rivers led four hunters into the forest. When the group was returned to camp, Rivers had been separated from them, never to be seen again. Police and volunteers searched the area, but he was never found. Rivers was an experienced woodsman and not the kind of person to get lost in the woods. The only clue to his whereabouts was a single bullet found beside a stream bed, which caused his friends to speculate it fell out of his belt when he stopped to take a drink of water.
On December 1, 1946, Paula Weldon, an 18-year-old sophomore at Bennington College, vanished without trace. Weldon hitched a ride to a Long Trail for a day hike. Several witnesses saw her on the trail, but when she didn’t return to school, a search time searched for her. Despite a $5,000 reward and assistance from the FBI, she was never seen again. Two rumors circulated at the time, but neither was confirmed. One rumor speculated that Weldon arranged her disappearance and moved to Canada with a lover. The other rumor speculates she lives a reclusive life in the mountains.
On December 1, 1949, James E. Tetford vanished. Tetford boarded the bus in St. Albans but didn’t get off the bus in Bennington. He presence was confirmed on the bus at the stop before Bennington, but wasn’t on the bus when it reached Bennington. His luggage was still in the racks and an open bus timetable was on his seat. No one on the bus had any idea what happened to him.
October 12, 1950, 8-year-old Paul Jepson became the next person to vanish without a trace. His mother was tending some pigs, leaving him alone for no more than an hour, only to return and find him gone. According to his father, the boy had a strange “yen” to go into the forest. Jepson was wearing a bright red coat that should have made him easily spotted by searchers. Blood hounds traced his scent to the highway and then suddenly lost it.
Two weeks later, on October 28, Freida Langer and her cousin, Herbert Elsner, were hiking in the woods. After falling in the river, Langer asked Elsner to wait while she ran back the half mile to camp to change her wet clothes. When she didn’t return, Elsner went back to the camp only to find Langer never arrived there. No one saw Langer leave the woods. Langer knew the woods well and was unlikely to get lost, especially during the day. The woods were searched for several days on foot, by plane, and by helicopter. Over 300 military, police, firemen, sportsmen, and volunteers came up empty-handed. On May 12, 1951, Langer’s body turned up in an open area where she would have not been missed during the search. The cause of death was unknown.
There have been rumors of children, hunters, and others disappearing around the Bennington Triangle, but there have been no mysterious disappearances since 1950. There have been many theories to explain where the people went. One theory speculates that the area is an interdimensional horizon people stepped into, taking them out of this world. Others suggest alien abductions, while others blame the Bennington Monster. One of the more logical theories proposed is the missing people were victims of a serial killer. However, serial killers usually target a certain type of person. In this case, there was no pattern for to the victims. The victims were of all ages and genders. The only link was that all of the disappearances happened in October, November, and December.
Whatever happened to all those people is still a mystery and Glastenbury Mountain is keeping its secret.