Bennington, Vermont is a beautiful town that boasts beautiful views of the Green Mountains and the Walloomsac River. Although this town may sound wonderful for hikers and tourists, it’s also sparked the interest of the paranormal community. Why? Well, there is the so-called Bennington triangle which centers around Glastenbury Mountain and boasts a large array of Fortean phenomena including bigfoot sightings and UFOs.
Although the anomalies are said to go back to the 1940s, it wasn’t dubbed the Bennington Triangle until the mid-1990s when folklorist and author Joe Citro wrote about it in a book compiling local lore and legend.
One of the earliest and most cited examples of the high strangeness occurring in the Bennington Triangle takes place in 1945. On November 12th, Middle Rivers, 75 at the time, led four hunters through Glastenbury Mountain. While the group was returning to the camp, Rivers left the group and was never seen again. His inexplicable disappearance was made even stranger as he was a longtime woodsman and had an intimate knowledge of the woods. A little more than a year later, on December 1st, Paula Welden, an 18-year-old college sophomore, hitched a ride to Long Trail. Interestingly enough, Long Trail was where Rivers had disappeared. However, Welden didn’t seem worried and looked forward to her day hike on the beautiful mountain. Whatever ride she hitched was likely reliable, as several people mentioned seeing her hiking that day. However, she never returned from the mountain. Despite a $5,000 reward and help from the FBI she was never found.
Several other prominent missing persons cases erupted between 1945-1950. Only in one instance was a body ever discovered. Frieda Langer was with her family camping in the woods on Glastenbury Mountain. On October 28th, 1950 53-year-old Langer and her cousin, Herbert Elsner, left the campsite to go on a hike. Langler, just a few hundred yards into the hike, slipped on a rock and soaked herself in a stream. She asked Herbert if he would wait while she rushed back to camp to change her clothes. After waiting for an extended amount of time, and likely annoyed, Herbert headed back to camp. However, Langler had never returned. She was missing and despite 400 volunteers, including soldiers and firefighters and even aircraft, she was not found. The search was called off. However, on May 12th, 1951 her body was discovered near Somerset Reservoir. Oddly enough, this area had been intensely searched given its proximity to where Langler went missing. No cause of death was ever determined due to the advanced state of decomposition. The case remains unsolved.
These are just a few of the strange and unexplained disappearances that have given Bennington such a strange reputation. As of 2019, it is believed that there have been about 30-40 unexplained or strange disappearances on the mountain.
There are also tales of The Bennington Monster, whose sightings allegedly date back to the early 1800s. The legend goes there was a stagecoach full of passengers passing by the mountain. However, due to a washed-out road, the passengers disembarked. While they were figuring out how to get the stagecoach going again, the driver noticed several extremely large and irregular footprints in the mud. Then, before he could raise an alarm, the stagecoach and its passengers were attacked by a large creature who managed to knock the stagecoach on its side! The passengers were extremely frightened and dared not confront the creature. Eyewitnesses alleged they only saw a pair of eyes, heard a huge roar, and then a large, hairy figure shambling back into the woods.
Thanks to CJ C for the Blogstonishing suggestion!
The header image depicts the Green Mountains near Bennington, Vermont. It was shot by Doug Kerr and is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.