Tag: Vermont

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.

A Little Piece of American History – Green Mountain Boys

A Little Piece of American History – Green Mountain Boys

About ten years prior to the American Revolution, an area which is now Vermont, was part of larger region, called the New Hampshire Grants. The British crown had given legal control of that land to New York, refusing to recognize New Hampshire titles for property. Many settlers in the sparsely populated frontier, including Ethan Allen, did not want to lose their land. After discussions at the Catamount Tavern in Bennington, men from what is today southeastern Vermont formed a militia of several hundred members, calling themselves the Green Mountain Boys. Led by Ethan Allen and based at the tavern, The Green Mountain Boys effectively controlled the New Hampshire Grants area by the 1770’s, preventing the “Yorkers” from exercising authority. New York officials and settlers with New York issued grants, were frequently beaten and driven away.

 

A story is told of Sam Adams, also a landowner in the New Hampshire Grant, who sided with the New Yorkers, being tried by the Green Mountain Boys at the Catamount Tavern. Judged guilty, they punished him by forcing him to sit in a chair tied to the tavern’s sign for hours.

 

A mob of protesters took over a Westminster (Vermont), courthouse to attempt foreclosure on their land. Records are unclear as to what happened there, but when a sheriff and his men tried chasing them away, a fight ensued and two of the protesters were killed. This incident became known as the Westminster Massacre. The next day, the Green Mountain Boys took back the courthouse, placing the sheriff in jail.

 

Fate of the Green Mountain Boys

Ethan Allen Captures Fort Ticonderoga

When the American Revolution began in 1775, the Green Mountain Boys, still led by Ethan Allen, joined American forces to capture British military posts, Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Fort George in New York. They disbanded more than a year before Vermont avowed independent from Great Britain in 1777. The Vermont Republic operated for 14 years before joining the United States in 1791.

The Green Mountain Boys assembled again during the War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, Vietnam War, Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War. The Green Mountain Boys now is the informal title of the Vermont Nation Guard, including both Army and Air National Guards.

More Information about the Green Mountain Boys available at the Vermont Historical Society.

Update on The Green Mountain Boys

Information provided in this post is updated in a later post, Green Mountain Boys FlagThe update results from additional insights provided by the Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society.

Note: Subject of this post prompted by the following passage from The Field Trip:

Unexpectedly, she slowed, thereby allowing him to join her. Oswald flew off into the trees. As they walked a distance of a few feet together, he saw the reason for her abrupt permissiveness. A soldier wearing a Green Mountain Boys National Guard patch stood imposingly in the center of the trail, a M16 held diagonally across his chest.

 

Acid Rain

Acid Rain

This post is not about a new novel, movie, game, or action figure. It is about those water droplets that fall from the sky, commonly known as rain. The industrial revolution (1760 – 1840) brought dramatic improvements for the quality of life for many people, but it also precipitated new manmade pollutants into the atmosphere. As a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with droplets of water in the clouds to form sulphuric and nitric acids. The rain from these clouds falls as a very weak acid which is known as acid rain. In Manchester, England, Robert Angus Smith first showed the relationship between atmospheric pollution and acid rain. Although discovered in 1852, he it wasn’t until 1872 that he coined the term, “acid rain.”

Studies concerning acid rain effects on plants and trees date back to 1963 which revealed altered compositions of water vapors rising in the atmosphere. In recent studies made by scientists from the University of Vermont, wood cores showed rings forum in more that a hundred trees of varying species began a growth decline in the 1950’s. One of the most significant result of acid rain effects in the United States are the continuing decline of red spruce trees found in Adirondack Mountains, New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Those in the White Mountains of New Hampshire have already died. The University of Vermont study reported starling evidence of tree damage. Conifers are most affected because the needles are bathed in acid droplets all year. Other trees drop their leaves. Measurements of the total biomass in the balsam fir has declined 20% from 1965 to 1983. The red spruce declined 73% in the same time period. Population of lower mountain sugar maples and beech trees dropped 25%. For trees subjected to acid rain falls, the acid deposits strip the leaves and needles of their calcium contents. Indirect effects of acid rainfall on fertile soil also cause plants to lose their foliage, resulting in plants and trees withering and dying.

The Good News

Both Europe and the United States adopted clean air act amendments in the 1070’s. Those actions required filters in factories and reduced sulpher and nitrogen emission levels on vehicles. New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the major industrialization in the 1930’s. These results are from studies of the Greenland ice sheet by spearheaded by Helle Astrid Kjaer of the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Although damage from the effects of acid rain will continue to plague the planet for decades to come, it is a hopeful sign. It is one area of human assault on the environment where mitigation has begun.

New England Proverbs

New England Proverbs

Growing up in New England, proverbs were frequently thrown at me. Most related to weather, foretelling conditions for the near future, whether it be later in the day or the following morning. There were many others and I believe they weren’t exclusive to the region. But as a New Englander, proverbs ran rampant. The Old Farmer’s Almanac was a source of some of the proverbs, and a bible for a peek at the coming winter weather. My parents ensured a copy available for consultation at any time.

New England States

The following are a few insightful proverbs:

New England Proverbs

 

  • Evening red and morning gray sends the traveler on his way. Evening gray and morning red, stays the traveler home in bed.
  • Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.
  • If you wet your feet with dew in the morning, you may keep them dry for the rest of the day.
  • When the bubbles of coffee collect in the center of the cup, expect fair weather. When they adhere to the cup, forming a ring, expect rain. If the bubbles separate without assuming a fixed position, expect changing weather.
  • You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair.
  • The world is your cow. But you have to do the milking.
  • Take off you flannels before May , and you’ll have doctors bills to pay.
  • The quickest way to do many things is to do one thing at a time.

New England Winter

 

Now you’re prepared.

Note:

This topic inspired by the following passage in The Field Trip:

The pit-pattering sounds of rain reached Ross’ ears as he emerged from a restless sleep. His eyes opened slowly to the dimly lit tent, reinforcing his initial impression of it being a dismal day. Although he would have enjoyed the recuperative aspects of a day spent lounging lazily in the dry nylon shelter, such a waste of time was not consistent with his goals. A fine mist speckled his face when he poked his head into the early morning air. “So much for cute Vermont weather verses,” he muttered.

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