The Bennington Triangle has had several disappearances and oddities over the years. Native American legends say the land is cursed because all four winds met one spot in an eternal struggle. They also have legends about a man-eating stone. The Glastenbury Mountain is said to have trails that stop part way up and a deafening silence. There are several theories about the disappearances such as: a serial killer, alien abductions, wormholes, hypothermia, and even the Bennington Monster.
The Green Mountain National Forest occupies roughly half of the Bennington County, Vermont, and the Glastenbury Mountains are in the middle. The Bennington Triangle is a phrase that was coined by New England author Joseph A Citro during a radio broadcast in 1992. This was used to describe the area of southwestern Vermont where a number of people went missing between 1945 and 1950. There are many different legends and the details can vary, but most people agree that everything started with a curse. Native Americans called Glastenbury Mountain, cursed and they hated it so much, they used it strictly for burying their dead. Native American legends say that this land is cursed because all four winds met in one spot in an eternal struggle. The wind patterns on the mountain are so erratic that the weather changes very suddenly and plants grow at odd angles. The mountain is said to have trails that just stop part way up and a deafening silence. There aren't any noises from wildlife, no birds, no squirrels, nothing.
Now, if you're anything like me, the curse saying all four winds met in one spot, drove me bananas. I could be wrong about this entirely, but it seems to be a biblical reference and I'm going to ATTEMPT to explain. The fours winds means the directions or four corners of the earth. North, South, East and West. Revelation 7 talks about four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. This isn't Dr. Seuss.
North winds: Rain and judgement.
South winds: Can be hot or gentle. If it's gentle, it brings peace and tranquility.
West winds: Brings rain and restoration.
East winds: Strong and can affect lives negatively. This brings crisis, tragedy or destruction. From what I gather, the winds are supposed to be separate and it's pretty much bad news bears if they're all together.
There is another Native American legend that talks about the man-eating stone on Glastenbury Mountain. Basically, if someone stepped on the stone, it would open up and swallow you. The Bennington Triangle is most famously known for the disappearances that have happened, but there have also been other strange events including sightings of UFOs, bigfoot and strange lights and sounds. “The Bennington Monster” sightings date back to the early 1800s. We will actually come back to this later on in the story as well.
Glastenbury was mostly uninhabited by European settlers before the 1700s and it started off as a ghost town. In 1761, Benning Wentworth drew the town boundaries on a map without ever going there. The land was rough and the growing season was short.
In 1791 there were six families that lived in the tiny community and it became a logging town. By 1870, there were about 240 people living in this town, but they had stripped too many trees from the mountain and this led to the town's decline. The logging damaged the landscape and wildlife and suddenly, the mountain was turning into a ghost town again.
In 1892 there was a fight between two loggers. Henry McDowell (his real name was William Conroy) murdered John Crowley. Henry hit John in the head with a piece of wood or a rock. John didn't die right away from this injury and Henry ended up waiting around in the area until he did die. Then, he took off riding the rails into Canada. He was tried and sentenced to Waterbury State Mental Hospital for the murder. While he was there, he worked on the grounds each day. One day, he hid in a load of coal and was able to escape. Henry disappeared and was never seen again.
In 1897, John Harbour, father of four children, was murdered. He was killed on opening day of the first dear season that Vermont ever held. John's body was discovered in the woods and they never figured out what happened.
In the summer of 1898, the people in the area decided to turn the mountain into a tourist attraction. The loggers boarding house was turned into a hotel, the apartment house and store was turned into a casino, and they ditched the work trains for trolleys.
This was only able to run for one summer because there was a massive flood during the fall season and it destroyed the buildings and the railway into Glastenbury. That was it, no one attempted to rebuild, everyone just moved out.
In 1943, a man named Carol Herrick went missing during a hunting trip. He was about 10 miles northeast of the Glastenbury and his body was discovered three days later. He was surrounded by huge, mysterious footprints and had been squeezed to death. Now, this death doesn't show up in many of the articles that discuss the Bennington Triangle disappearances. I believe it's because this is the only one that has footprints involved and it wasn't technically in Glastenbury, but I think this one belongs in the story because it ties in with the Bennington Monster theory.
Middie Rivers, was a lifelong resident of the area and he was an experienced hunting and fishing guide. On November 12th, 1945, he was leading a group of hunters through the mountain and the weather was pretty mild. Middie was 74 years old, but he was in great health. During the walk, Middie got slighly ahead of the group and just disappeared around 4PM. Middie was never seen again. There were massive search efforts to locate him, but the only thing they could find, was one rifle cartridge. This was actually believed to be from Middie's own bullet belt and it was discovered on the banks of the nearby creek. Searchers looked for him for over a month, but the seasons changed and snow began to fall. They realized that they weren't going to find him and the search was called off.
Paula Jean Welden was 18-years-old and disappeared on December 1st, 1946. Paula was a sophmore at Bennington and she went for a hike on the Long Trail. Many people saw Paula head out on this hike, including an employee who gave her directions. Paula was also spotted on the trail by others. There was an elderly couple that said they were about 100 yards behind her and at one point, Paula turned a corner in the trail around 4PM and she was gone. The couple turned the corner and they could no longer see Paula. When she didn't return to school, a search was conducted and the FBI got involved, but there wasn't any evidence that was ever found. People that saw Paula, said she was wearing a bright red jacket when she left and the temps dropped from 50 degrees to 9 degrees that night. Some rumors claimed that Paula moved to Canada with a boyfriend or just became a recluse living in the mountains. She didn't bring clothes, documentation, or money. Some witnesses from college say that Paula was acting pretty strange on the day of the disappearance, she was in a funk. One of her friends suggested that she go out for a walk to see if that helped her mood.
James E. Tedford was a veteran who went missing on December 1st, 1949. This was three years, to the day from Paula's disappearance. James was a resident of the Bennington Soldiers' Home. He had visited some relatives and took a local bus to return home. According to witnesses, he got on the bus and was still on it at the last stop before arriving in Bennington. Including James, there were only 14 people on the bus that were heading to the last stop. Between the last stop and Bennington, James vanished, but his luggage was on the rack and his bus timetable was on his vacant seat. There are some sources that say this story has been blown out of proportion. He wasn't actually reported missing for two weeks, and if that's true, the people that were interviewed from the bus, probably wouldn't remember if another passenger got off the bus or not.
Paul Jephson was 8-years-old and disappeared on October 12th 1950. Paul and his mother were in a truck and she left her son unattended briefly while she tended to the pigs, when she came back, Paul was gone. He was wearing a bright red jacket that day, which should have made him more visible, but no one saw anything. There is a story that claims bloodhounds tracked the scent to a local highway and this was the spot Paula Welden disappeared from four years prior. It actually gives me the major heeby jeebies because Paul's story intertwines with Paula's and they were the only two that were wearing bright red coats. Also, Paul's fathers said his son had been talking for days about visiting the mountains. The rain was pouring on on this particular night and there were mud slides, so it was hard to search. Many people accused Paul's parents of murdering him and feeding him to the pigs.
The last disappearance happened sixteen days after Paul. On October 28th, 1950, Frieda Langer, age 53, was with her cousin Herbert Elsner. They left their family campsite near the Somerset Reservoir and they planned to go on a hike. During the hike, Frieda slipped and fell into a stream. She wanted to change her clothes and asked Herbert to wait for her. She would run back to the campsite, change, and catch up with him. They were only about 100 yards from the camp and she knew this area very well. Herbert finally made his way back to the campsite when Frieda didn't return. The family members told him that Freida never came back. Searches were conducted over the next two weeks and there wasn't a trace of Frieda. This disappearance is different than the others. On May 12th, 1951, Frieda's body was discovered near Somerset Reservoir. This was an area that had been extensively searched previously. The had up to 300 searchers and used aircraft and helicopters. No cause of death was ever determined.
One story says that in the early 1800s, a stagecoach driver and some passengers, reported a sighting of a hairy beast aka The Bennington Monster. There was a sudden downpour and they had to pull over to wait for the rain to stop. The driver noticed that something was spooking the horses and when he got out, he saw some enormous footprints in the mud that clearly didn't belong to a human. He asked the passengers to come out and take a look. Everyone gathered around the footprints. They heard a loud thud and then the stagecoach was attacked by a large creature and then knocked on it's side. The passengers saw a pair of red eyes and they said the creature was eight feet tall. There have been other sightings of The Bennington Monster throughout the years. The monster is typically described as large, hairy, black, and stands over six feet tall. Many people believe that the Bennington Monster is responsible for some of the disappearances.
One interesting thing to note is that there are reports from the first colonists in the area that say they often heard strange noises coming from the mountains and they reported extremely awful odors. One thing that is reported often with Bigfoot sightings, is awful odors.
Maybe there's a serial killer in the area, but there are a wide range of ages and genders for the missing persons.
Alien abductions or wormholes.
Hypothermia may be to blame. The temperatures on the mountain can drop very low and the disappearances tend to happen in the winter. It's possible that people that go missing are burrowing in small spaces to survive and that's why the bodies can't be located.
The mountain has many unmarked mine shafts and wells, and hikers may accidentally fall in.
Curse of Glastenbury Mountain
The Bennington Triangle and the Man-eating Stone of Glastenbury Mountain
Bennington Triangle, Vermont
The “Bennington Triangle”
Spiritual Warfare: The Four Winds & Prayer
10 Creepy Mysteries Of The Bennington Triangle