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Posted: Nov 16 2006, 11:28 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 3-July 06
Of all the unexplained events throughout the world none were as puzzling as the mysterious disappearances of ten people in Vermont’s Glastenbury Wilderness—within the confines of what has become known as “The Bennington Triangle". It is home to several unexplained vanishings.
The Native Americans avoided the area completely, using it only for a burial ground, for they believed the land to be cursed, because all four winds met there. Too, there were legends of a mysteriously enchanted stone, said to literally swallow anything that steps on it. Whatever the cause, no one can deny that people have vanished within the boundaries of the Triangle, and only one has ever been found again.
The first recorded victim was a 13-year-old boy named Melvin Hills, who disappeared in the Bennington area on or about October 11, 1942. He was never found.
On November 12, 1945, 75-year-old Middie Rivers, a local woodsman, led four hunters onto Glastenbury Mountain on an unseasonably mild day. When the group was returning to camp, near Long Trail Road and Route 9, Rivers got ahead of the others and was literally never seen again! Police and dozens volunteers searched the area but never found him. The only clue was a single bullet found beside a brook. His friends speculated it had fallen out of his belt when Rivers stooped down to take a drink of water.
Just thirteen months later, on December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old sophomore at Bennington College vanished without a trace. Paula Welden hitched a ride to the Long Trail for a day’s hike. Several witnesses confirmed seeing her on the trail that day. But when she did not return to school, a search team scoured the area. Despite a $5,000 reward (equivalent to $50,000 today), as well as help from the FBI, Paula Welden was never seen again. Two unconfirmed rumors circulated about her whereabouts. Some say Paula arranged her disappearance and moved to Canada with a lover; while others speculate she still lives a reclusive life on Glastenbury Mountain itself. Neither story has ever been proven, nor has Paula Welden ever been found, alive or dead.
Three years to the day after Paula Welden's disappearance, James E. Tetford vanished in circumstances that defy the laws of physics. Tetford boarded a bus in nearby St. Albans after visiting relatives, intending to return to the Bennington Soldier’s Home where he lived. His presence on the bus was confirmed at the stop before Bennington city, but he was not on the bus when it reached the following stop, Bennington Soldier’s Home! None of the passengers, including the driver, had any idea what happened to him. He literally vanished!
Days later, in 1949, three hunters mysteriously disappeared in the Glastenbury Wilderness area. All were experienced in the wilderness. None were ever found.
On October 12, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson became another victim of the Bennington Triangle. His parents were caretakers for a dump. His mother was tending to some pigs, leaving Paul unattended for no more than an hour. When she returned from this routine chore, her son was gone, without a trace! According to Paul's father, the boy had recently expressed a desire to go into the mountains. Although Paul was wearing a red jacket, which would have made him quite visible, intensive search parties found nothing. Bloodhounds traced his scent to a highway and suddenly lost it, suggesting that Paul was picked up, or vanished into thin air. Neither he, nor his body, was ever found.
Two weeks later on October 28, 1950, 53-year-old Frieda Langer was hiking with her cousin, Herbert Elsner. After falling into a stream, Frieda told her cousin to wait there while she ran a half-mile back to their family’s camp to change clothes. When she did not return, Elsner went back to camp where he discovered that she had never arrived, and nobody saw her leave the woods. Frieda knew the area well and was unlikely to become lost, especially since it was still broad daylight. Subsequent search teams scoured the area on foot, by plane, and helicopter, but found nothing. Four more searches, on November 5th, 7th, 11th and 12th, involving more than 300 military, firemen, police, sportsmen, and volunteers all came up empty-handed. However, on May 12, 1951, Langer's body turned up, in an open area where she could not have been missed during the search. The cause of death was unknown. According to one witness, the body appeared fresh, as though Freida had dropped dead only moments earlier, “like she had died of fright”.
The disappearances stopped after 1950, and no one else has vanished in the area since then.
Many people have attempted to explain the strange Glastenbury area vanishings, but none satisfactorily. One speculation is that there are interdimensional portals that appear at random; people step into them and leave this world instantaneously. Others believe that aliens have a base nearby and periodically abduct victims at random. Then there is a suggestion that the Bennington Monster—a legendary creature said to lurk in the area—carried the people off to a grisly end. Another has it that perhaps the hikers simply fell into abandoned wells. Given the geographical spacing between the disappearances, however, this seems unlikely. Another, more logical theory, is that perhaps a serial killer was living in the area at the time, and is responsible for all the cases. However, there was no discernible pattern; serial killers usually target a specific type of individual, and the Bennington victims were of different ages and genders. The only known pattern was that all the disappearances occurred in late autumn and early winter, during the months of October, November, and December. Ironically (or perhaps, not so), this time of year is subject to frequent snowstorms, hampering the ability of searchers!
Today, the Glastenbury wilderness is host to many hikers and campers, all of whom have yet to encounter anything strange or unusual. The entire area is under consideration to become a state park. Whatever happened to those who vanished more than fifty years ago is still a mystery, and as the years pass, it becomes increasingly unlikely that we will ever know the truth.
Posted: Nov 16 2006, 11:30 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 3-July 06
Vermont mountains haunted by disappearances
By Helen Stock, The Bennington Banner
Seventy-four-year-old veteran woodsman Middie Rivers split off from his hunting group in Bickford Hollow, said he would be back to the camp for lunch, and was never seen again.
A year later Bennington College student Paula Welden hitched a ride to the mountains, started her hike on the Long Trail, and disappeared into oblivion.
Not four years later, within a period of two weeks, 8-year-old Paul Jepson and camper Frieda Langer also mysteriously vanished, launching massive searches into the local wilderness.
These are the mysteries of the Glastenbury Mountain area in Vermont, now 45 or more years old and still unsolved.
Glastenbury is a ghost town because of its scarce population, if not for intangible reasons. Some residents and nature lovers say it is merely the site of unfortunate but coincidental mishaps explainable by the harsh and disorienting nature of its wilds.
But author Joseph Citro has released a new book this fall -- "Passing Strange, True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors" -- that chronicles the 1940s and 1950s disappearances and other anecdotes as the mysteries of "the Bennington Triangle."
Glastenbury, a bustling town for a good part of the 19th century, died out with the timber and charcoal industry, and no longer has an organized town government as we know it. Today, in the 27,341 acres of mountain wilderness, it has only four full-time residents, all from the same family.
According to Mr. Citro, the mountain and surrounding areas have always been plagued with a "reputation." There have been strange tales of mysterious lights, untraceable sounds, and skulking specters since precolonial times.
Native Americans shunned the place, believing it was cursed. The few colonial families who settled there were plagued by more misfortune than normal, and in the 19th century, a coach full of travelers was attacked by the "Bennington Monster."
The area also owns the story of a mill worker named Henry MacDowell who murdered fellow worker Jim Crowley in a drunken fight in 1892, and ended up escaping from the insane asylum he was sentenced to, never to be found or heard from again.
And beyond the four more notable disappearances, there was James Tetford, an elderly man who was returning to the Bennington Soldier's Home in 1949 from visiting family in northern Vermont and never got off his bus, according to Mr. Citro.
Mr. Citro also mentions that the mysterious decade of the 1940s apparently claimed three hunters from Massachusetts and a 13-year-old Bennington boy named Melvin Hills.
The Glastenbury events recently drew the attention of the Unsolved Mysteries television show, which had considered doing a segment on them, according to Jim Henderson, Glastenbury's unofficial town administrator.
Most highlighted and speculated on over the years has been the baffling Welden case, which is approaching its 50th anniversary Dec. 1. Ms. Welden, a pretty, blonde-haired 18-year-old sophomore from Stamford, Conn., disappeared without a trace one Sunday after telling her roommate she was going for a hike.
Witnesses could account for Ms. Welden hitching a ride and then beginning her hike on Glastenbury Mountain's Long Trail, but more than 500 members of the Sheriff's Department, New York and Connecticut state police, National Guardsman, students and faculty, and Boy Scouts turned up no sign of her in a massive search.
The story stayed on the front page of the Banner for 42 days straight. Other media were drawn to the area, and the event provided for endless hours of speculation from mystified Bennington residents.
"I don't know what happened to Paula," said Arthur Cardinal, 85, one of the last living local people who searched for both Ms. Welden and woodsman Rivers. Mr. Cardinal said he guessed that Ms. Welden arranged to disappear.
"I've heard rumors that she had been seen later years," he said.
One rumor has her meeting a secret lover and moving to Canada. Another less serious theory is that she and Mr. Rivers live together somewhere on the mountain.
Mr. Cardinal called any perceived spookiness about the area "hogwash." "There are so many twists and turns," he said. An avid hunter and fisher himself, even he has gotten lost on the remote, crevassed mountain.
Mr. Cardinal guessed that perhaps Mr. Rivers got "twisted" himself, mistaken for a deer and shot, and then hidden by the killer in one of the mountain's many hidden notches.
Still, as Mr. Cardinal describes their search for Mr. Rivers, there is a certain mystique about the account. He and his friend, he says intently, were the ones who found what is apparently the only trace of him.
Mr. Rivers had borrowed a shell belt, he explains. "Middie Rivers must of bent down to get a drink of water," he says, and a bullet from his belt fell out onto the ground.
Mr. Henderson, one of the few unofficial experts on the town of Glastenbury, can also legitimately explain the disappearances, though he admits the mystery provides a nice touch to his slide show presentation on the town.
"I think it's quite possible they may have fallen into old wells," said Mr. Henderson. "There's a hell of a lot of wilderness out there... lots of potential to get lost."
Mr. Citro's chapter finds it more than odd that there have been so many mysterious vanishings and that only one person has ever turned up. He also emphasizes that both Mr. Rivers and Ms. Langer were experienced woodspeople.
Ms. Langer, a 53-year-old resident of North Adams, Mass. was hiking with her cousin from their summer camp on the Eastern side of Glastenbury Mountain, near Somerset Reservoir. After slipping and falling into a brook, Ms. Langer left her cousin to return to the camp and change clothes.
Ms. Langer's is the only mystery that has been somewhat solved. Her body, according to Mr. Citro, was found seven months later. In "gruesome" condition, it could not be determined what happened to her.
As for the 8-year-old Jepson boy, he was left in his mother's pickup while she tended to the pigs at the Bennington town dump that they managed. When she returned to the truck, Jepson, who was later reported by his father to have had a recent yen to go the mountains, was nowhere to be found.
The boy's disappearance also prompted a massive search. Some have rumored that he was eaten by the pigs, although a bloodhound's trail ended at a highway, leading others to believe he was picked up.
While Mr. Citro does not offer a specific theory of his own, his book mentions local speculation that there existed "something of a Yankee Shangri-La upon Glastenbury Mountain, a lost horizon into which people inadvertently step, never to be seen again."
Less hopeful are the possibilities of alien abduction and serial killings, Mr. Citro says.
But Larry Lauzon, owner of one of the few camps on the mountain today, said despite all the stories he's heard, he's never given it a whole lot of thought.
"I'm in the woods up there all the time," he said. "I've never had anything strange happen to me."
Posted: Nov 16 2006, 11:34 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 3-July 06
The Strange Disappearances in Bennington Vermont
The Bennington Disappearances
The small town of Bennington Vermont was the center of several high-profile disappearances in the 1940's and 1950's - two of these disappearances occurring on the date December 1.
One of the most mysterious is the case of Paula Welden, a blonde, blue-eyed 18-year old Bennington College sophomore who disappeared on December 1, 1946. On that Sunday afternoon, Paula told her roommate, Elizabeth Johnson, that she was going for a hike.
According to the Bennington Evening Banner of December 1, 1955, college friends noticed her on the path to Bennington. Several others noted having seen or encountered her, including Danny Fager, proprietor of the gas station at the college entrance, Louis Knapp, a contractor, and Ernie Whitman, the night watchman. Paula's father, W. Archibald Welden of Stamford, Connecticut arrived shortly to help in the search for his daughter.
Sheriff Clyde Peck led men into the deep woods surrounding the disappearance area looking for Paula between Glastenbury and Bald Mountain. Soldiers from Fort Devens searched the Long Trail area. Despite help from the FBI, the governor of Vermont, Vermont State Detective, and even State Police from Connecticut and the converge of over 100 reporters from the East Coast, no trace of Paula has ever been found.
Other notable disappearances included:
1] Middie Rivers - age 75 - a local Bennington hunter and fisherman. He disappeared November 12, 1945, somewhere around Hell Hollow, between Bald and Glastenbury Mountains. Searchers were able to find no trace of him.
2] James E. Tedford - age 65. It's not known if Mr. Tedford actually vanished near Bennington, but on December 1, 1949, his relatives reported him upon a Bennington-bound bus from St. Albans. Other passengers reported seeing him sleeping, but when the bus arrived in Bennington, James was nowhere to be found, his belongings left behind. No trace has ever been located.
3] Paul Jepson - age 8 of Shaftsbury. On October 12, 1950, this little boy wandered away from his mother's truck in a wooded area, close to where Paula Welden had vanished. A search of the area with bloodhounds ended abruptly on one spot on the trail.
4] Two weeks after the Paul Jepson disappearance on October 28, 1950, Frieda Langer, age 53 of North Adams, Massachusetts disappeared in the vicinity of the others. Frieda, left her husband Max, age 58, resting in camp with a bad knee. She then embarked on a hike with her cousin Herbert Elsner. Walking through the woods of Mt. Pisgah, she fell crossing a creek. She left back for camp on her own at 3:50 p.m. taking a shortcut. At 4:45 she had not arrived back at camp. Her remains were located seven months later, although strangely, they were located in an area that had been thoroughly searched.
Bennington Evening Banner - December 1, 1955
Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal - November 30, 1950
Posted: Dec 13 2006, 11:51 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 3-July 06
Posted: Jul 20 2008, 01:02 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 3-July 06
The ghost town of Glastenbury and mysterious Glastenbury Mountain where so many have disappeared lie just a few just a few miles northeast of Bennington , Vt.
Only now, with the recent interest of TV's "Unsolved Mysteries" are people once again asking the heretofor un-answerable questions.
Middie Rivers, a lifelong area resident and experienced hunting and fishing guide, led a group of hunters into the wilds of Glastenbury Mountain. The weather was so mild, it was hard to believe that Thanksgiving was only two weeks away. Rivers was 74, but his excellent health had been confirmed by a recent physical.
Returning to camp for lunch, Rivers split off from the group at an area known as Bickford Hollow.
He was never seen again.
In spite of massive search efforts , only one clue emerged; a lone, unexpended bullet - believed to be from River's bullet belt - lay on the banks of a nearby creek.
After more than a month, searchers reluctantly gave up the hunt. In the deepening twilight, as they headed for home, the season's first snow began to fall.
It was mid-December, 1945.
The following December, Bennington College student Paula Weldon, 18, a native of Stanford, CT., decided to stretch her legs on Glastenbury's Mountain's Long Trail.
Donning a fiery-red jacket , the bright, spunky, five-foot-five blond, left the college. A local resident gave her a ride as far as his home in Woodford Hollow. Later in the afternoon she would ask directions from Ernest Whitman, an employee of The Bennington Banner Newspaper. Other trail hikers would say that Weldon waved to them on her way up the trail.
When on Monday she hadn't returned to school, all h**l broke loose.
A grim-faced Vermont Governor Ernest Gibson reached for the phone. Soon the FBI, along with New York and Connecticut State Police , joined Vermont authorities in the hunt. Immediately a $5,000 reward was posted. Even a clairvoyant was brought in. A search team that now numbered more than 1,000 began to scour the 27,341 acres of mountain wilderness.
In the days that followed the ghostly silence was shattered by teams of of baying bloodhounds. Helicopters pounded across the sky as droning search planes criss-crossed overhead. Every square inch of the mountain was searched and researched, Daily the headlines of The Bennington Banner screamed for information.
Not one clue was ever found.
Three Decembers later, to the day, James E. Tetford vanished.
Tetford had spent a holiday with relatives in northern Vermont. Family had put him on a bus for the return trip to the Old Soldier's Home in Bennington. The bus only made one stop, where Tetford's presence was noted. Now only Glastenbury Mountain stood between him and home. When the bus arrived in Bennington, Tetford was gone. The driver, dumbfounded, could offer no explanation. In spite of another massive search, not a trace of Tetford was ever found.
Ten months later, the mountain claimed a child
Paul Jepson, 8, jumped into the family's truck with his mother for a trip to the town dump near the mountain. Once there, Mrs. Jepson left the truck for a moment. When she returned, Paul was gone.
It was mid-afternoon on a bright and clear Columbus Day. Mrs Jepson searched frantically , but couldn't spot his bright red jacket. Civilian, as well as military searchers, were brought in. Just west of Glastenbury Mountain, at the intersection of Chapel and East Roads, a team of dogs provided by New Hampshire State Poilce lost the boy's scent.
This was the exact spot where Paula Weldon was last seen.
Paul Jepson Sr. would later comment that he found his son's recent unusual yen to go to the mountain baffling.
Sixteen days later Frieda Langer entered a small patch of woods that stood between her and her cabin on ther east side of Glastenbury.
She never came out.
However, Langer's disappearance should have given police a clue, for after seven months she was found. Or rather, what was left of her was found.
Langer, 53, of North Adams, MA, knew guns and rough terrain. It was late in the afternoon when she and a cousin left the cabin to go hiking. About a half mile away she fell into a stream. Leaving her cousin there, Langer began the return to change clothes.
Seven months later her body was found in the middle of an open field, an area that had been thoroughly searched. Her remains offered no clueas to how she died because as the Bennington Banner reported "they were in grusome condition."
Many more have been reported missing on Glastenbury. Local residents have reported starnge sounds, unearthly sounds and strange glowing discs on and above the mountain.
The mountain according to Joseph A. Citro in his book "Passinmg Strange Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors," is "an inacessable region, remote, full of dark places, jutting outcrops, vast marshlands and quiet pools."
In a travel brochuse, "Towns & Villages." one paragraph is devoted to Glastenbury Mountain. The last seven words read: ...we don't recommend you make the trip."