History of Triangles and the paranormal:
Triangles and the paranormal have gone hand in hand for quite a while now. The Bermuda Triangle, the Bridgewater Triangle, and others spring to mind when talking about this phenomenon. So what exactly is this triangle thing about anyway? To put it simply, someone noticed that in an area between three points, usually cities or towns, that a lot of weird crap was going on and decided to draw a triangle instead of another shape…Ok not exactly. In 1952 George Sands wrote a short article in FATE magazine, delineating the now infamous Bermuda Triangle, and this was the first time that I could find that someone used a triangle to pinpoint areas of paranormal concentration. The phenomenon is called, shocker here, paranormal triangles. Now obviously with an intro like this youd think we’d be talking about the Bermuda Triangle. Its probably the most famous of the infamous paranormal triangles, but this is not so, my dear listeners. No for today we talk about my, my being Rangers, favorite paranormal triangle…the Bennington Triangle!
What/where is the Bennington triangle:
Now precisely what area is encompassed in this triangle is not clear, but it is purportedly centered on Glastenbury Mountain and would include some or most of the area of the towns immediately surrounding it, especially Bennington, Glastenbury, Woodford, Shaftsbury, and Somerset. These towns and communities sit in the south western corner of Vermont in Bennington County. The “triangle” by some is the area between Bennington, Glastonbury, and Somerset. The former 2 sit smack bang in the middle of the Green Mountain National forest and hosts a portion of the Appalachian Trail! As such it is a rather popular area for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Now the triangle first got its name when Joseph Citro coined the term in his 1987 book Shadow Child and the name stuck as paranormal enthusiasts picked up the name to describe the area.
What happened there:
Now for some background information on the area in question. In the Green Mountain National Forest there are 2 ghost towns, Somerset and Glastenbury. These are the only 2 towns in Vermont that are unincorporated. The 2020 census says that Somerset has 6 residents, 2 residences (homes) and 1 family. Basically it is a ghost town. There are no government facilities and any thing in that regard is handled by a government supervisor. Glastonbury has a more colorful history, and is in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest. Glastenbury was first chartered in 1761 by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth, but settlers did not begin trickling into this rocky, forbidding mountainous area for some years after. At the time of Vermont’s first census as a new state in 1791, only six families inhabited it. These first settlers found life on Glastenbury Mountain difficult, as would residents ever after, and by 1800 they had been replaced by eight entirely different families. Of these eight, only three would stay on until the next census ten years later, and only one of these would remain in later decades.
Despite the many hardships that greeted Glastenbury settlers, newcomers continued to arrive in small numbers, and the population grew slowly to 76 in 1810. But the years following 1810 were hard ones for all of Vermont, and by 1840 there were only 53 left in Glastenbury. After the Civil War, Glastenbury finally began to experience more rapid growth. Business interests in nearby Bennington were eager to take advantage of the vast timber resources there, and by 1872 had finally begun construction on a railroad trolley which ran up the mountain. The line ran along Bolles Brook and terminated at the place where the brook forked. It was an improbable achievement, with some parts of the line climbing as much as 250 feet (76 m) in altitude per mile. Remains of the old trolley tracks can still be seen today.
Two additional sawmills were built in the 1870s, one at the original settlement, called Fayville, and one at the new settlement at the railroad terminus, which became known as South Glastenbury. Dozens of kilns were built at South Glastenbury for converting the lumber to charcoal. At this time Glastenbury was one of the three foremost sites in Vermont for producing the charcoal which was feeding iron production in nearby Shaftsbury and in Troy, New York.
By the late 1880s, however, the mountain had been cleared of nearly all of its mature trees, and the town’s economy dipped dramatically. In 1889 the railroad operation ceased. It was revived briefly in 1894 as an electric passenger trolley run by the Bennington & Woodford Railroad, and a brief and initially promising effort was made to convert South Glastenbury to a tourist attraction. A small fortune was spent to convert the area into a mountain resort area which opened in the summer of 1898, but a freshet wiped out the railroad tracks that winter, marking the beginning of the end of Glastenbury as a functioning town. Population dwindled in the early twentieth century, down to only seven in 1937, when the legislature unincorporated the town. As of the 2020 Census it has a whopping 9 residents. Infrastructure currently is non-existent. As far as I can tell it just has the Appalachian and Long trail going through the area so these people that are there are really in the sticks.
Ok now with all the boring, or for me not boring, part overwith lets get to the shpoopy shiz. So, its no surprise that the big fella has decided to show his hairy arse in this region. The first, and most famous, story is about the Bennington Monster. In the early 1800’s there was an incident where some folks were taking a carriage through the Green Mountains and had to stop due to a road being washed out by a flood. As the carriage came to a stop the stage driver noticed very large footprints in the mud that were too large to be a human. Then, the coach was attacked by a large creature who knocked the vehicle on its side. The frightened passengers could only see a pair of eyes before the monster roared and ran into the forest. Later reports said it was a hairy bipedal creature with long black hair that stood about 6 feet tall. Since that time there have been other sitings. The most recent, that I could reliably find were on the BFRO, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, site. There is a case in 2005 about 30 minutes north of Bennington in the city of Manchester where a civil war reenactor was camping at a spot near Hildene Mansion. He reports that he was stalked by something large and bipedal that walked alongside him in the woods as he was walking down the trail to the restroom. He wouldnt have reported anything if it had not been for the fact that it did the exact same thing as he was walking back to his tent. The witness also reported another incident during that same time where he and 2 others were sitting next to a campfire and they heard something large and walking on 2 feet near them in the woods. When they shined a flashlight into the woods the noises stopped but as soon as they turned it off they heard it again seemingly walking away from them further into the woods. Both events happened in between the hours of 1-2 am.
Another siting happened in the town of Brattleboro, which is about an hour away from Bennington. A couple were driving at 5:30 am on their way to the gym (Ew who the heck does that??? Psychos and serial killers) and saw a small figure, approx. 4 foot tall, dash in front of their car. It was running on 2 legs and had dark brown or black fur. It moved exceptionally fast and was across the road in the blink of an eye. Spoooooopy!!
Ok, thats cool and all but its not very well documented(I had to hunt all over for any of these stories) so lets get to the meat of the episode. The disappearances and the MURTHUR(s).
Disappearances and MURTHUR
Ok so whats a good Bermuda Triangle story without disappearing boats, planes, and people? It sounds like a very expensive vacation. Anyway, the Bennington Triangle also has its fair share of missing people’s as well as a fun true crime story for Mo!
We’ll start with the Murthur. (Gods, thats such a fun word to say!) In 1892, in the town of Fayville, which is considered to be the heart of the Bennington Triangle, a 38-year-old “jobber”, which is a person or company that buys large quantities of goods to sell to other companies or directly to the public, for the Eagle Square sawmill, John Crowley, was bludgeoned with a rock by fellow millworker Henry McDowell. No one is certain what led to the murder, but local historians agree that the men had been drinking heavily and arguing the previous night. After it was discovered that Crowley was dead, McDowell hopped a train in an attempt to flee to Canada. He would later turn himself over to South Norwalk, Connecticut authorities and confess to the murder. McDowell was declared insane after complaining of “voices in his head” and was ordered by a judge to serve out his sentence in the Vermont State Asylum. McDowell, however, had other plans.
McDowell was able to make an escape. Concealing himself inside a train car hauling a load of coal, McDowell was never seen again. Some believe he may have made his way back to Glastenbury to roam the forests for eternity, while others believe this story may have been confused with another legend from neighboring New Hampshire concerning a distraught doctor who fled to the forests of the White Mountains in hopes of achieving immortality, only to become the embodiment of evil.
Five years after McDowell’s escape, a second murder would occur within the Bennington Triangle. It was the first day of deer season and 40-year-old John Harbour, a prominent Woodford citizen, set out to Bickford Hollow in hopes of shooting down a buck. Instead, Harbour was shot dead. When his body was discovered it appeared that he had been dragged several yards from where the shooting had taken place and left beneath a cedar tree where he slowly bled out with his fully loaded rifle beside him. Although the murder would come as a shock to the community, police never located any suspects and the unsolved murder of John Harbour would long be forgotten.
Things were quiet for 50 years. As stated previously the town of Glastenbury was a ghost town by this point. Only 3 people lived there and it was a family. However, things were about to get stirred up, and they wouldn’t settle down for 7 years.
In November of 1943 Carl Herrick was out in the Green Mountains. He’d been hunting with his cousin, Henry, when the men became separated. Henry returned to camp; Carl didn’t. He contacted searchers immediately and eventually was the one to find Carl three days later. The cause of death was macabre. He’d been squeezed to death, stabbed in the lungs with his own ribs. Henry reported bear tracks around the body but whether a bear was responsible or just investigating the body is unknown. Some reports say that the tracks were not of a bear but were unidentified and very large. Bigfoot anyone?
Now on to the disappearances. The first disappearance is that of Middie Rivers. He was a 74 year old hunting guide. On November 12, 1945. Rivers, who knew the area well, was leading a party of four hunters in the area of Hell Hollow in the southwest woods of Glastenbury. As he led the group back to their camp, he got ahead of them and never returned to camp. Initially, the other hunters weren’t concerned as their guide was a skilled woodsman. However, when Rivers didn’t resurface, an extensive search was conducted by 300 concerned locals and U.S. Army soldiers dispatched from Massachusetts’ Fort Devens. Though they combed through the vast wilderness for eight days, the only thing found was a rifle cartridge of the same type that Rivers used. There was no evidence of an animal attack, and his body wasn’t found. Even after this exhaustive search, many locals believed that the knowledgeable woodsman would be able to survive and would soon resurface in town. But he never did. Rivers disappeared along the Long Trail Road area and Vermont Route 9.
The second was Paula Welden, probably the most known disappearance in the group. On Sunday, December 1st, 1946, a year after Middie Rivers disappeared, 18-year-old Paula Jean Weldon finished her job at the Commons at Bennington College. She had worked two shifts at the dining hall and then went back to her dorm room and changed her clothes. She told her roommate that she was going out for a hike.Her roommate later reported that she remembered Paula saying how she was feeling a tad depressed in the previous days. Paula had told her roommate that she was homesick as she hadn’t been home over Thanksgiving (for unknown reasons). Paula was the eldest of four daughters, was 5’ 5” and weighed 123 lbs. She had a grayish scar on her left knee, a vaccination mark on her right thigh, and a small scar under her left eyebrow.
That day, the last time she was seen by anybody, Paula was wearing a Red jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, blue jeans, and white sneakers. She had a small, gold wrist watch with a narrow black band. It was 50 degrees when Paula left the campus, which explained her light clothing, but by the evening, temperatures dropped dramatically. By Monday morning, it was 9 degrees in Bennington. Paula was seen by a few other students heading towards Route 67A. Danny Fager, who was at the gas station across from the college’s entrance, saw Paula walking down the road at about 2:30 pm. Louis Knapp picked her up at around 2:45 pm and drove her as far as his home on Route 9, which was about 3 miles from the trail where she planned to hike.
Sometime around 4pm, Ernest Whitman and three of his friends came out of a camp in Bickford Hollow and saw Paula. She had asked Ernie about the length of the trail before she headed towards a bridge that led to the trail. Other students claimed to have seen her in the area of Fay Fuller Camp, which was further up the trail, but the reliability of those reports aren’t clear. With darkness soon falling, Paula was on the trail with inadequate clothing and no supplies whatsoever. The teenager was never seen again. After Paula didn’t show up to her classes on Monday, December 2nd, the director of admissions, Mary Garrett, called State’s Attorney William Jerome, Jr. to the college by noon. Paula’s father, William, was also called in. Someone remembered how Paula once said that she would like to visit the Everett Cave on Mount Anthony, so a man named Henry Steele, who worked as a guide, along with some students, headed to the Cave that afternoon to search for her, but they found nothing. A local taxi driver, Abe Ruskin, told authorities that he took a student to the bus station on Sunday afternoon, but he wasn’t able to positively identify her as Paula.
There were a number of possible buses that she could have taken, but the clerks at the station didn’t remember anyone of her description – it was a busy day. There was a waitress at a local restaurant, called Ora Telletier, who served a girl matching Paula’s description at 9:30 pm that Sunday night. Ora, the waitress, said the girl was with a young man around 25 years old who was drunk and abusive. When he came up to the counter, the girl signaled to Ora to come over. She asked Ora how far it was to Bennington Vermont, and even asked the waitress where she was. She told Ora that she had to get to Bennington and that she had arrived there with $1000, but it was all gone now. Ora said the girl had not been drinking but seemed a bit dazed. On Monday evening, the media reported about Paula being missing. Authorities in NY and Massachusetts were alerted, and photographs started circulating. Since no one knew where Paula went, no formal search or rescue effort began yet.
On Tuesday, December 3rd, searches were carried out on the college campus and the section of the Long Trail that led to the Glastenbury Fire Station, which crosses Route 9. Many people were involved in the search, including the superintendent of the college, a hunter named Herman Spencer, fellow college students, Boy Scouts, members of the Green Mountain Club, and 30 others from the area. At 5:30 pm that Tuesday, Ernie Whitman, night watchman for the Banner newspaper, saw the photo of Paula on the front page. He told reporter Pete Stevenson that he spoke to that same girl at about 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon in Woodford. He was the one that Paula asked for directions and about the length of the trail. Three residents of Woodford confirmed that they saw the girl walking towards the Long Trail. She was last seen by a camp called Hunter’s Rest. Three men on a smaller search for Paula walked towards Glastenbury, but the going was tough due to the three inches of snow that fell Sunday night – the night Paula was missing. It was unlikely that Paula could have reached Hunter’s Rest because she would have had too much trouble crossing the stream. And she was only wearing sneakers. The camp was owned by a man named William Lauzon. Lauzon also said how a deer hunter named Middie Rivers had disappeared from his camp a year prior. The Authorities came to the conclusion that there must have been two girls around Long Trail on Sunday.
Paula and another young woman who was with a man who had a car. They both fit the description, except the other woman was taller than Paula, which might have caused some confusion among the witnesses. By Wednesday night, the college president issued a statement, saying that the authorities suspected foul play. They believed Paula’s body had been hidden.
The searches for Paula grew larger and more elaborate by Wednesday afternoon, including five aircraft as well as 120 men from the State Guard. There were 500 searchers involved at one point. To keep things organized, each searcher carried confetti to drop to make sure each area was searched and not overlapped. Then a faculty member from Bennington College found footprints that might have been made by sneakers. But that was the only thing remotely connected to Paula. The 500 searchers found nothing. The authorities believed Paula was not in the area. A $500 reward was offered to anyone who had any information leading to Paula. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but this was the 1940s…Despite the account given by Paula’s roommate, who reported that Paula was depressed, girls in Paula’s dorm said she was “extraordinarily happy” on Saturday night. And so they suspected that she might have decided to make a big change in her life, and used the hike as a diversion.
On December 15, the search for Paula stopped. The following May, when the snow melted, Paula’s father organized a two-day search, but no trace of his daughter was found. At first, he was content with how thorough the authorities’ searches were, but by now, he criticized their lack of sophisticated methods in the case. His complaints were the catalyst for the founding of the Vermont State Police just seven months later. Paula’s body nor her possessions were ever found, and the case remains open to this day.
The third, and actually the most bizarre if you can believe it, is the disappearance of James Tedford, which occurred 3 years to the day of the disappearance of Paula. On December 1st, 1949, a 68-year-old man named James E. Tedford, a veteran, went on a bus heading back to his home, the Bennington Soldiers Home, after visiting family in St. Albans, Vermont. Multiple eyewitnesses, including the bus driver, confirmed that Tedford was still in his seat as late as the last stop before reaching Bennington. Yet when the bus pulled into Bennington, Tedford was gone. After the man seemingly vanished into thin air while he was inside a moving vehicle, passengers were baffled and noted that Tedford’s luggage and an open bus timetable were still on his seat. If the witnesses were correct, Tedford disappeared from his seat as the bus was moving down Route 7 through the Bennington Triangle. Weird, however, it needs to be stated that the investigations were conducted days later as the Soldiers Home didnt call for an investigation yet as they thought he was still visiting with his family. So we’re talking days old memories of people who were either transporting people every day, like the bus driver, or people who didnt give him a second glance, like his fellow passengers. However, some people speculate that this might be a case of Alien Abduction what with his sudden disappearance and his belongings just being left and the open time table still on his seat. It should be noted however, that Tedford had stated previously that he didnt want to go back to the Soldiers Home and so he might have just decided to start a new life. You be the judge on this one.
The fourth disappearance is that of Paul Jepson, an 8 year old boy. On October 12, 1950, an eight-year-old boy named Paul Jepson went missing in the area. Jepson was playing in Bennington’s cab of a pickup truck at the local dump where his family had pigs, weird I know but hey they eat most anything. His mother left him to tend to the pigs but when she returned, the boy was gone. After looking for the boy in the immediate area, he was reported missing and hundreds of people assembled in a search party. Bloodhounds were also brought in to search for the boy, which picked up his scent and followed it toward Glastenbury Mountain, but it was lost at a nearby crossroads, suggesting a possible abduction by a motorist. The boy’s father said that Paul had been talking about visiting the mountains for several days. Though the area was searched for several days, no clues or remains of the boy were ever found. Some people speculate that he may have gotten too close to the pigs and ended up in the pig pen…and possibly met a grisly fate. Some people speculated that his folks had done something with him, but that was and still is hotly disputed and no evidence ever came up in that regard.
The fifth and final disappearance is also the only one that came up with a body. Just 16 days later, Frieda Langer went missing on October 28, 1950. She and several other family members were camping in the woods near Glastenbury Mountain. The 53-year-old Langer, along with her cousin, Herbert Elsner, left their family campsite near the Somerset Reservoir to go on a hike. However, when they were just a few hundred yards from their campsite, Langer slipped and fell into a stream, soaking her clothes and shoes. She then asked her cousin to wait as she ran back to the camp to change her clothes. After Elsner waited for a while and Freda didn’t return, he also returned to the camp to see if everything was alright. It wasn’t. Freda hadn’t returned to the camp. Instead, she had seemingly disappeared in broad daylight in the short distance. In the next few weeks, several search parties, which included some 400 people including police, volunteers, firefighters, soldiers, and aircraft, searched for her and turned up nothing. The search was finally called off. Then, seven months later, on May 12, 1951, her body was found near Somerset Reservoir, in an area that had previously been extensively searched. Due to the body’s decomposition, no cause of death could be determined. The case remains unsolved.
Ok so on to the theories of the disappearances, as theyre what the Bennington Triangle is known for.
First on the list is that a serial killer was on the loose. Given the time frame, a max of 7 years if we take the case of Carl Herrick, thats a decent time frame for a serial killer to operate. However, the methodologies, and “habits” that are the hallmark of serial killers are not present. Usually serial killers have a “type” with their victims. Gender, age, and time of the killings all come into play. With these disappearances none really seem to line up except they were roughly in the latter part of the year. It also doesnt explain James Tedford’s disappearing off a moving bus seemingly by magic. So Idk about this one.
Second is paranormal reasons. Now according to the interwebs, and possibly some other information I found, the local Indigenous peoples, the Abenaki tribe, said that the mountain was cursed and that they buried their dead at the base of the mountain. Their name for the mountain, I couldnt find the actual word, thanks internet, is translated to “the place where the four winds battle” and this is actually true scientifically. There is also, according to the internet, a man eating stone somewhere on the mountain side that will swallow anyone foolish enough to stand on it. Now, I found that multiple places but couldnt pin point exactly where it came from, so take it with a grain of salt. HOWEVER, I WAS able to find that the Abenaki people had a mythical creature called the Kee-wakw or the Giwakwa. These beings are said to be giants made of ice that used to be human. These creatures sound a lot like the other more famous Indigenous creature that we wont say here on the show. However its name begins with a W. So, all of this to say that there might be some credence to a bigfoot like creature that is in the area, but thats a stretch. Then there are the Missing 411’s. A group of people that have gone missing from the National Parks and the phrase Missing 411’s was coined by David Paulides, and I assure you that we will cover this in detail at some point on the show. Suffice it to say that for now, a lot of these cases tick off the boxes proposed by Paulides when catagorizing Missing 411s like bad weather coming right after someone goes missing, like in the Welden case with the snow, or that if there is a body recovered it is in an area that has been searched before, like in the Langer case. So there is that as well.
Third, and the most boring but also cautionary, is that this area was not only a logging area but a mining area as well. So apparently there is apparently a large amount of old mines that have not been filled in as you go further off the path, and so this might account for some of the missing people. Some people put forth the idea that wildlife is to blame like Bobcats, Lynx, and Cougars. Bobcats and Lynx are afraid of humans for the most part and according to the DNR that Cougar or Catamount has been extinct in the area since before the 1940’s. There is also Hypothermia to take into account. In hypothermia one of the symptoms is terminal burrowing. It is where a person will try to find a small spot to curl up in to conserve heat however this usually occurs too late to do much in saving the person and makes it extremely hard to find them later.
As a final note I will leave you with 2 recent events that happened to people in the Bennington Triangle.
Some adventurous souls who’ve heard the rumors have set out to explore the trail infamous for the five-year period of disappearances. One such adventurer is Chad Abramovich of the website Obscure Vermont. He reported on a trip taken to the mountain, saying, “Myself and a few friends departed in his pickup truck and drove up the bumpy forest road into a strange clearing in the middle of the hills. Here, underneath summer humidity, we found old cellar holes almost entirely hidden by tall grasses, beneath the shade of gnarled apple trees.”Shortly after this, Abramovich and his group experienced a sudden, drastic change in the weather. It was a sunny July afternoon when they started, but a torrential thunderstorm quickly appeared. The group was stranded for some time but finally managed to make it back to the flats. When they escaped the downpour, they found that the surrounding area was bone-dry. Locals later confirmed that no thunderstorm had passed through their area.
Robert Singley, a music composition teacher at Bennington College and an experienced hiker, became lost on the mountain in 2008. He took a trail he knew well to nearby Bald Mountain and then used the same trail to go back. However, the well-known trail didn’t lead where it should have. According to Singley, he walked 8 kilometers (5 mi) before realizing that he should have reached his car already. Just as he became concerned, a heavy fog rolled in, and the whole trail became hopelessly dark. He went to a maple tree that he felt called to him from the fog and tried to start a fire. Every stick he reached for turned out to be an animal bone. This would have distressed most people, but Singley was only upset about his fiancee. He imagined she was worried sick. He finally managed to light a fire and huddled by it through the night. In the morning, he found that he had somehow ended up on the other side of the ridge from his car. Luckily, he made it back to tell the tale.