Bennington Triangle – The Long Trail Mystery

Bennington Triangle – The Long Trail Mystery

The Bennington Triangle encompasses a section of Long Trail. Long Trail is a hiking trail located in Vermont and is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. It is 273 miles long, running from the Massachusetts state line, north through Vermont to the Canadian border. Construction began in 1910 and completed in 1930. The Green Mountain Club was responsible for the construction and has been the primarily caregiver for the trail ever since.

Bennington Triangle

The trail crosses nearly all the Green Mountains summits, including Jay Peak.  The trail can best be categorized a back country, climbing rugged peaks, pristine ponds, hardwood forests, swiftly flowing streams, and alpine bogs. Traveling the trail, a hiker will experience a wide diversity, ranging from muddy conditions to rocky and rugged ascents. The variety of terrain is part of Long Trail’s charm and appeal. It is known as Vermont’s “Footpath in the Wilderness.”

Bennington Triangle

Bennington Triangle

There is a 10-mile stretch of Long Trail beginning east of Bennington, Vermont that came into the limelight when five people vanished in that area between 1945 and 1950. The fate of all but one remains a mystery. The following are brief summaries of the incidents:

Experienced 74 year old Middie Rivers guided several hunters the southern Vermont Mountains in 1945. Middie was very familiar with Long Trail, it is said he knew it as well as we know the way around our homes. Heading back to camp for the night, he got ahead of his party. The party arrived safely at camp, but no trace of Rivers was ever found.

An 18 year old Bennington College student developed a passion for botany, intending to explore nearby Long Trail seeking knowledge. Venturing out on her own, she hitched a ride to a spot near the trailhead. She spoke to a few other hikers as they were leaving the trail and then struck out on her solitary trek. Paula was never heard from again. A massive search of the area turned up nothing. “I’m going to hike Long Trail,” were the last words anyone heard from Paula Jean Weldon.

Bennington Triangle

On the same day of the year as Paula Weldon’s disappearance, but three years another incident occurred in the area. James E. Tedford was traveling by bus to Bennington. Other passengers said they saw him asleep during the trip. James was not on the bus when it arrived but all his belongings were.

Eight-year-old Paul Jepson took a trip to a farm in 1950 where his mother worked near Long Trail. Paul left to play by a pig sty while his mother attended other animals on the farm. When she later checked on him, he was gone. Bloodhounds followed his scent to the area Paula Weldon disappeared years earlier, but Paul Jepson was never found.

Bennington Triangle

Two weeks after the Paul Jepson incident, 53 year old Frieda Langer was on a family camping trip. She and her cousin decided on a short hike. She fell into a stream, and not wanting to continue in wet clothes, decided to head back to camp. When her cousin returned to camp later, he discovered Frieda had never returned. Her body was discovered after winter at an area that had been previously searched numerous times. This is the only case in these disappearances where a body was found. Cause of death could not be determined.

If interested in more detailed accounts of the disappearances, an article at All That’s Interesting, is one good resource.

Theories on disappearances near the Bennington area on Long Trail abound in number. It is even told that the number of disappearances numbers closer to ten. The area became known as the Bennington Triangle because of the incidents. Some believe the area is the home of the Bennington Monster, a legendary creature similar in description to Bigfoot.

Bennington Triangle

 

Note:

I am a fiction writer, but research topics and provide posts like the one above for enlightenment and entertainment. If you liked it, please take a look at some of my other posts and my home page, R. A. Andrade. This post was prompted by the following passage in my novel, The Field Trip:

The regional branch of the U.S. Forest Service was not difficult to find as it was situated on the opposite side of the road, only a few hundred feet north of the service station. The most notable features evident on the property were signs. One, of enormous proportions at the entrance to the parking lot read “Parking,” of all things. This sturdy, rustic cabin stood as a snapshot of the American journey. Nearby Long Trail was the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, being constructed between the years 1910 and 1930. It ran 272 miles through the state between the Massachusetts and Canadian borders.

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