The Unexplained Bennington Triangle

The Bennington Triangle, centered around Glastenbury Mountain in Vermont, has long been known for strange events including UFO activity, bigfoot sightings, strange lights and sounds, and the location where five people disappeared in the 1940s and 1950s. The area is said to be cursed according to Native American lore.

The Indians of the area had long been wary of the area and avoided it. An Algonquin legend warned of a malevolent stone in the mountains that would open up and devour anyone unlucky enough to step on it.

The phrase “Bennington Triangle” was coined by New England author Joseph A. Citro in 1992.

The stretch of woodlands around Glastenbury Mountain includes the towns of Bennington, Woodford, and Shaftsbury, as well as the ghost towns of Somerset and Glastenbury.

Bigfoot

For more than two centuries there have been numerous sightings of a bigfoot-like creature in the Glastenbury Mountain area which became known as “The Bennington Monster.” One of the first reported sightings occurred in the early 1800s when a stagecoach full of passengers was forced to stop on a washed out road. The stage driver first noticed very large footprints in the mud that was too large to be 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 off into the forest. Later sightings described the creature as a large, hairy, black monster standing over six feet tall.

There have long been stories of people going missing in the area, including a man named Carol Herrick in 1943. Herrick went missing during a hunting trip about 10 miles northeast of the ghost town of Glastenbury. His body was discovered three days later surrounded by huge, mysterious footprints. He had been squeezed to death.

The Missing

During a five-year span, beginning in 1945, people began to disappear with regularity.

The Bennington Triangle’s most enduring unsolved mysteries are the disappearances that plagued the area from 1945 to 1950. In that five-year span, several people went missing on or near Glastenbury Mountain. The first was a 75-year-old man named Middie Rivers, who often served as a mountain guide. He was leading a group back to their camp in November 1945 when he got ahead of them just enough to be out of sight. In that short time, he completely vanished. It’s unlikely that he became lost because he was highly experienced at navigating the mountain. Nonetheless, he was never seen again.

Paula Welden, an 18-year-old college student who had recently taken up hiking, went to explore the mountain in 1946. Welden was spotted on her way by several people, including drivers who gave her rides and fellow hikers who warned her that she wasn’t dressed warmly enough to hike the mountain. Welden’s red coat made her easy to spot, but baffled searchers later couldn’t find any sign of her or her brightly colored clothes. Her case became the most famous disappearance, mostly due to the fact that it caused Vermont to found its own state police force. With no police of their own, Vermont had only one state investigator to put on the case. Police from New York and Connecticut were eventually called in by Welden’s father, but she was never recovered.

In 1949, three hunters went missing on the mountain. That same year, James E. Tetford went missing while on a bus trip from St. Albans to the town of Bennington. In 1950, eight-year-old Paul Jepson went missing from his Bennington home. Police dogs were able to trace his scent to the highway but no further. He was, coincidentally, wearing a red jacket similar to Paula Welden’s coat.

That year would see the last of the disappearances with Frieda Langer. She disappeared while hiking with her cousin and friends. Her clothes had gotten wet during a hike and she went back to camp to change. When the group realized that she had never arrived, a massive search was launched. Volunteers, police, firefighters, and the military all joined together to search.

Frieda Langer’s body was found the following May. Search parties had previously heavily combed the field she was found in, leading authorities to speculate that there was foul play. Unfortunately, her body was too decomposed to give any insight into her cause of death.

Serial Killer or Something Paranormal?

Langer was the last person to disappear and the only one whose body was found. Though no direct connections have been found that tie these cases together, other than geographic area and time period, some claim these disappearances were the work of a serial killer. 

All of the people who vanished did so within the winter, which suggested something other than chance was at play. The first disappearances left no trace at all, and Langer’s body was discovered in a place that had already been searched. Perhaps someone was extremely successful in abducting and killing people near the highway or on the mountainside. And, like many other killers, maybe that person succumbed to the desire to show off when they moved Langer’s body into the open. It would explain why no traces have been found of the other victims and why Paul Jepson’s trail went cold on the highway. It would even make sense in Welden’s case, since she hitchhiked to the mountain and may have accepted a ride home as well.

The next most interesting explanations are the supernatural ones. There are reports of seeing strange floating lights and other mysterious woodland creatures. Could alien abductions be a possibility? High on that side of the spectrum is the man-swallowing boulder hidden among the cairns at the mountain’s peak. No one knows how the cairns rocks were assembled there or when, but they probably don’t actually eat people. Or maybe they did? However, this description of people being swallowed whole into a rock may have sparked the cross dimensional wormhole idea. Vanished people, odd lights, sounds, and odors have led to UFO theories in the area.

Cairns Rocks Bennington Triangle
Cairns Rocks, Bennington Triangle

Some blame the Indian curse or the paranormal, stating the place is a “window” into the unexplained. Others say the area is unstable due to wind patterns that are unusually chaotic and confusing, so people can easily get lost like Robert Singley. Read about his story here

The Bennington Triangle continues to be a place of mysterious unexplained happens. Have you visited Glastenbury or been hiking in the said areas? Let us know your experiences in the comments below or share in our Unexplained forum