Today’s weird tale comes from Vermont. It is referred to as the “Bennington Triangle.” Like all good yarns it has disappearances, potential murders and grainy black and white photos.
The so-called Bennington Triangle refers to an area in southwestern Vermont where a bunch of people vanished between 1945 and 1950. The first happenings occurred 70 odd years ago, so the cases are cold and answers were never forthcoming.
The centre of this badly described triangle is Glastenbury Mountain and the neighbouring town of Somerset (yes, the Yanks have stolen loads of our names). According to some, Glastenbury mountain has a long history of weird shenanigans and the Bennington disappearances were just one part of the whole bleak tale.
Over a five-year period, no less than five people vanished without explanation. It might be that the strange disappearances weren’t connected in the least, but that would make for a pretty crappy mystery. So, let’s jump on in and see what we make of it all, shall we?
Middie Rivers (1945)
The first person to fall foul of Bennington Triangle was 74-year-old Middie Rivers. This old dude was an experienced hunter and fisherman. He knew the area like the back of his hand. On the 12th November 1945 he was guiding a hunting trip of four men on Glastenbury Mountain.
The trip had gone well, they had shot four elk and a shit tonne of grouse; spirits were high and the men laughed as they made their way home. Tall tales and the promise of cold beers spurred them on (PS: I made that up to build a bit of intrigue).
Rivers got ahead of the group, but then totally vanished, never to be seen again. The only thing that was ever found was a single rifle cartridge in a stream.
Paula Welden (1946)
The very next year, 18-year-old Paula Welden became the Triangle’s next victim. She went out for a lively walk along a country trail on the 1st of December 1946, never to return. The last people to see her were an elderly couple.
The couple said they had followed behind her from a distance of about 100 metres. She turned a corner ahead of them, and when they reached the same bend in the road, there was no sign of her.
Welden never returned to college and the search began. A $5,000 reward was set and the FBI was all over the shop. But, no evidence was ever found.
Some rumours did the rounds speculating that she had moved to Canada with her boyfriend, others said she decided to live in the mountains as a recluse. Neither theory holds much water, not when you consider the Feds were on the case.
James Tedford (1949)
Exactly three years after Welden’s vanishing, on the 1st of December 1949, it was veteran James Tedford’s turn at the disappearing act. He was a resident at Bennington’s Soldier’s Home and was visiting relatives in St. Albans that day.
Tedford caught the bus home, and was never seen again. Witnesses confirmed that he had been on the bus, it was also confirmed that he was still on the bus the stop before Bennington where he was supposed to get off.
But, at some point between the penultimate and the final stop, he was gone. His luggage was still in the luggage rack and there was a timetable on his seat. Weird.
Paul Jepson (1950)
This time the mystery person is an 8-year-old boy called Paul Jepson. His mother had taken him for a ride in her truck while she went off to feed some pigs. She left the boy for about an hour (why would it take an hour to feed some pigs?… and an hour in a truck on your own as an 8-year-old is a looooooong time, what was she thinking?). Any how, when she returned, he was gone, gone, gone.
The police were called and the search began, but, despite wearing a bright red jacket, he was never seen again. According to a local (and slightly unbelievable) legend, bloodhounds tracked the boy to an area where a few years before, Paula Welden had disappeared.
Frieda Langer (1950)
Just 16 days after Jepson’s vanishing, the fifth and final mysterious occurrence occurred. Langer, 53, and her cousin were camping with friends near Somerset reservoir. They decided to go on a wander.
During their hike, Langer slipped and fell in a stream. She was all wet and probably a bit jazzed off, so she told her cousin to wait whilst she legged it back to camp to get changed.
She never came back, so her cousin decided she must be mucking about and headed back to camp himself. On his return, he learned that no one had seen her, she hadn’t been back to camp at all.
Over the following weeks, five searches were carried out including dogs, aircraft and at least 300 volunteers. Nothing was found and no clues surfaced.
Strangely, Around 7 months later, her body turned up in an area that had been heavily searched at the time. Because her body had been out in the open for so long, no cause of death could be ascertained. She was the only Bennington victim who ever turned up.
Well, these are my conclusions. You can decide which version of events you like best:
Goat sucking marmosets
Or, I guess, Rivers could have had a stroke or a heart attack and fallen in a gorge, Welden really did leg it off to Canada, Tedford had a funny turn, got off the bus at the wrong point, couldn’t find his way home and died as a tramp, Jepson was killed by his mother and fed to the pigs and Langer got lost in a cave and never saw the light of day again.
Personally, I’m going for aliens.