One of your favorite news sites has an article about it: ''The Bennington Triangle.''
What? You think to yourself before reading further. Everyone knows about the Bermuda Triangle, a section of ocean in the Atlantic known for strange and unexplained occurrences including the disappearance of aeroplanes and sea-faring vessels. The Bennington Triangle lies not in an ocean but instead a dense forest in southern Vermont, located in the northeast United States. Roughly centered around Glastenbury Mountain, the area covering over 36 square miles of wilderness is known for its odd and intriguing history of over 200 years.
You read on and learn about how the native people would not hunt on the mountain for fear of a reported “dark presence”, and only used the land for burials. Other stories suggest some tribes believed there was a god atop the mountain, or spoke of a man-eating stone. In the 1890s in South Glastenbury, there were a series of murders, a carriage was attacked, and a flood washed away the railway leaving it a ghost town.
By the 1930s the three members of the Mattison family were the entire town, and held every town office. The state of Vermont unincorporated the town in 1937, and some of the strangest disappearances happened afterwards in the years between 1943 and 1950.
1943 - Carl Herrick, age 37, went hunting about 10 miles northeast of Glastenbury. During the hunt, he became separated from his cousin Henry, who eventually returned to the camp to see no sign of Carl. Henry contacted police and a three day search concluded with him finding Carl’s body on the ground and his hunting rifle loaded and propped up against a tree some 70-feet away. He reported large bear tracks, but reports also say that Carl’s lung was punctured by his own rib, as if he were squeezed to death.
1945, November 12 - Middie Rivers, age 74, was an experienced hunting and fishing guide who was leading a group of four hunters from the mountain to their camp and after getting a bit ahead of the group was never seen or heard from again.
1946, December 1 - Paula Welden, age 18, was a student at Bennington College who went missing despite having been reported wearing a bright red coat, and many people confirming that they saw her that day. An incredible search effort was made, including the use of bloodhounds, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
1948, May 5 - Betty Fraser, age 26, was reported missing by her husband after she didn’t return home one evening. A patron from a bar she was at was implicated after another man alleged that he had given her a ride home, but the theory was disproved. She was last seen by her neighbor walking along the side of the road in the direction of Bennington reportedly as if in a trance, and did not seem to hear the offer to drive her home. Her body was discovered not two months later on a forest trail in Dover, and her case was closed as “death by misadventure”, though details of the case led locals to be suspicious.
1949, December 1 - James Tedford was a soldier on his way home from visiting family in the north. He got on the bus at St. Albans bound for Bennington, and was even allegedly seen at the last stop before Bennington, but at some point seemed to vanish. His luggage was untouched, and a bus timetable was still upon his seat. His disappearance also occurred on December 1st, exactly three years after Paula Welden.
1950, October 12 - Paul Jepson, age 8, was waiting for his mother supposedly near their truck, but when she returned he was gone. Young Paul was wearing a bright red jacket, and a vast search effort was made. The bloodhounds even lost his scent somewhere nearby to where Paula Welden had gone missing years earlier. As the legends go, it’s back luck to wear red on Glastenbury Mountain.
1950, October 28 - Frieda Langer, age 53, was hiking with her cousin when she fell into a small stream. She said she would return to camp and change clothes, then come back. After a while, her cousin returned to their camp and found no trace of her. Five searches over two weeks discovered nothing, though her body was found six months later three and a half miles from their camp in the Somerset Reservoir. Somerset is a sister to Glastenbury in that they were both unincorporated in the same year.
In addition, there have been numerous sightings of Sasquatch, Bigfoot, and/or a creature called the Bennington Monster. Multiple reports of UFO sightings including a strange flying silo shaped object. Rumors of a potential serial killer in the mountains during the time period of the disappearances. The last bit of the article talks about strange stone cairns and posits theories as to how or why they are there; that farmers had built them while clearing fields, or hikers to act as guide markers. However, the cairns are built at elevations in the mountains where farming didn’t happen, and many of them are located far off any trails.
There is but one road in town surrounded by a vast, enigmatic wildland that draws in hikers, hunters, paranormal investigators, and others to the myriad trails, adventure, and mystery that awaits in the fabled triangle surrounding Glastenbury Mountain.
What really draws you in however, is your interest in the obscure, strange, unknown places in this world. You’ve always felt this pull, uncertain whether it will tug you into the depths of the sea or launch you into the cosmos, and yet this time you find yourself chasing the breadcrumbs of mystery into a green mountain wilderness. You’ve hiked before, and you’re certainly fit and sane enough to make arrangements for a week-long camping trip to explore this newfound gem.
You do your due diligence to prepare, and find a cheap flight into Albany, New York in early November. Taking care to be sure to pack the 10 essential categories for any hiking trip, you’re equipped with the following:
1. Local map and compass.
2. Can of sunscreen and a ball cap.
3. Rain jacket and long-johns.
4. Flashlight and spare batteries.
5. First-aid kit and hand sanitizer.
6. Magnesium fire rod and lighter.
7. Hunting knife and a roll of duct tape.
8. Bag of trail mix and energy bar.
9. Water bottle and a bottle of water purification tablets.
10. One person tent and a space blanket.
Oh and you've packed a red sweatshirt, just in-case.
From Albany you plan to take a bus to Bennington. The way it works out, you’ll be able to spend the first day in Bennington and then rent a car to explore from there. You definitely want to check out Glastenbury Mountain, and try to talk to some of the locals. It might result in a fun story to tell around a fire the next time you go out camping with friends. After all, legends and folklore are supposed to be just stories, right?
The weeks leading up to your trip are filled with telling friends and family about everything you uncovered and being met with a variety of responses. Your best friend can't believe you didn't invite them, your sister thinks it's hilarious, and your mother is worried sick about something happening to you.
The day you fly out finally arrives, and you awake at the crack of dawn, as if you could sleep-in through the nervous excitement anyway. Despite feeling drowsy by the end of the flight, everything goes as planned. You arrive at the bus stop in Bennington, Vermont by noon and take a quick glance around. It's a small town dotted with old brick buildings, and while the weather is only partly cloudy there's a chilly breeze in the air. You expected the leaves on the trees to be awash in the gorgeous yellow, orange, and red tones of autumn, and though the colors are there, most of the leaves have fallen. You smell a hint of coffee, and swear you catch a whiff of a pumpkin pie as well.
So this is Vermont, huh? you think to yourself as you stand on the sidewalk. The air is crisp and clean, and the people milling about seem friendly enough but focused on their tasks. As the breeze picks up a small spiral of colored leaves, you shiver slightly, not having expected it to be this cold this early. At any rate, you double check your notes and itinerary and review the options you've been thinking about and planning for all day.
The first is to walk 3/4 of a mile to a local hotel, hopefully talk to the proprietor or other guests, and then get some rest to be able to head out towards Glastenbury in the morning. It's possible other tourists are here for similar reasons, or may have other information to share. A hotel worker must have heard some stories over the years. There's also no better way to start a trip into the woods than with a good night's sleep.
The second is to spend a few hours at a bar on Main Street to try and talk to some locals about the legends surrounding The Bennington Triangle, and turning in later on. There are probably more colorful people at a local bar than the hotel, besides you can check into your room at any time. Also since you're planning to be out alone in the woods a while, it would be nice to socialize before setting off, and a drink could settle your growing nerves.
The third is to skip the town altogether, rent a car, and drive the half-hour up to Glastenbury right now and get your tent set up and spend as much of your time here in the mysterious woodlands as possible. You've been reading and researching for weeks and everything happened so long ago, it's unlikely anyone local has any new takes. It will get dark in only a few hours so it makes sense to set out quickly. You came all this way to experience the mystery of the mountain, not the town after all.
[On the Spindle site, where this is a voting story, readers have the following options for voting on where the story goes next. The winning option is in bold.]
The Pleasant Inn
The Green Gopher Pub
Rent a car and go