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How did I end up in Vermont? I had been working all day in Massachusetts and thought, “hey when’s the next time I’m going to be this close to Bennington?” Well apparently the answer was far enough in the future for me to rent a truck and head out on my nine hour adventure.
But really as my grandma Feutz says about traveling, “now that’s something they can never take away from me” though now I wonder who they are and if I need to visit them. I also have to consider if this was going to be an experience nobody could take away from me. Perhaps this was to be the a trip that took everything away from me, life included. I don’t think she had this type of location in mind when she said that about traveling but it had always stuck with me none-the-less. The Bennington Black hole had always stuck with me too, ever since I became aware of the area and the unusual history connected to it. It had been gnawing at me, "how could people disappear under mysterious circumstances with no clues or leads to be had?" It was enough people in a small enough area, and in a short enough time "at least five people in five years, maybe many more." What would the people in the area think about their history, would they even know about it, was there still a danger there or was there never? This very wilderness area of Vermont holds heavily wooded, mountainous terrain, and when coupled with the lineage of events help to make this area an ideal legend tripping destination. Some of the first odd accounts reportedly come from indigenous peoples that once occupied the area warning of cursed ground. Through the 1800s odd reports continued including supposed sightings of “wild men” in the woods. It seems that something else strange was again noticed starting in 1945. Mysterious disappearances totaled five verifiable accounts with the last being in 1950.
Not just never showed up for work kind of disappeared, but we're talking experienced adult outdoorsman like Middie Rivers. He disappeared after simply rounding a corner first on a trail with three other hunters behind. To make things more interesting, it was unseasonably warm that November day, and in broad day light. The next disappearance was on December 1st, a young college student named Paula never returned from a day hike. Witnesses were found that recalled seeing her alive and well on the trail though she was never seen again. Then in 1949 James Tetford seemed to have disappeared from a moving bus. If I was lucky I thought maybe his ghost would appear to help me navigate my rental to his remains, should he no longer be with the living. The driver and passengers on the bus in 1949 confirmed his presence. They recalled seeing him from the beginning of the trip. Then again witnesses were found that recalled him re-boarding the bus after the last stop before Bennington. He never arrived at the bus stop in Bennington though a few of his effects were rumored to have been found laying on his seat in the bus. The date should sound familiar to at least one other disappearance as it was again December 1st the same exact day three years after Paula’s disappearance.
Two weeks after the blood hounds lost the scent of 8-year old Paul Jepson, Freida Langer disappeared while hiking with her cousin. There seem to be plenty of unexplained events, so what do we know? One body did turn up. Of course unusual circumstances surrounded that grisly discovery. Despite multiple days of searching over the following weeks by military, police, fireman, and volunteers by foot, plane and helicopter Freida Langer’s remains weren’t found until the following May. The discovery was reportedly made in a grassy clearing that had already been searched in the weeks surrounding her disappearance. Her remains would not likely have been originally overlooked. Much of what we know today is thanks to the work compiled by Joe Citro in his book "Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls & Unsolved Mysteries," and later Paul Begg's work of "Into Thin Air."
It is now quickly nearing dusk when I first enter the Bennington Black Hole. The mystery area expands out past the town of Bennington and helps build the anticipation as I draw nearer one epicenter. The town of Bennington is my destination tonight. I drive through a few other small townships also within the grasp of mystery before reaching Bennington. Winding roads, and steep hills help hide the one block deep bergs. Most towns seem to pop into existence out of the forest. Barely before you realize you've entered you can see the road leaving on the far side. Glastenbury is one such type of town. I believe its population has dwindled in recent years to a few dozen or less. Many consider this another center of the unusual mysteries in the area but I'll save my words on Glastenbury for another journal entry. It must be lonely or at least a different life style when winter arrives here. Especially back in the 1940s. I wonder if these type of disappearances were more common half a century ago in rural areas? The environment was different, fewer luxuries maybe many variables came together to make the disappearances just a product of the time? I concede more research is required to answer these questions. I'll have plenty of time to ponder these questions and more on my long drive home, but for now I'm on the edge of Bennington. Time to focus on the situation in front of me. At this point there is a steady downpour of rain, and I'm blind to any situation twenty feet past my windshield. From what I can see of it, I am surprised by the size of Bennington. The town is much larger than I anticipated. I was also not expecting the liberal looking stores lining its restored main street area. From my research before I left it seemed as if most roads were listed as un-maintained, and numerous towns surrounding Bennington had become unincorporated over the decades since the disappearances. I was expecting to pull into a one horse town and riskily get all my answers from the only saloon. As it was, most places were closed for the evening, other than one or two upscale restaurants. As I made another pass through town it became clear I wasn't going to find any answers the easy way this evening.
Unfortunately I was not able to reach Glastenbury Mountain, depending on what story you read, a possible epicenter of weirdness for the area. The mountain has access through a hiking trail, of which permits, time, and equipment would be a welcomed addition. On such outings a co-adventurer is always a smart idea too. I definitely feel this is a location deserving of further research and investigation. The age range from 8-75 years of age, along with other obvious discrepancies between missing persons rules out normal profiles for a serial killer explanation. Though as I hiked by myself through the darken groves deep in the forests and drove down many mountainous roads in the fog and rain, the serial killer explanation was ever present in my mind.
Image: Adventurer Noah 'Winchester' Voss peers into the darkness for answers.
Is the Bennington Black Hole simply nothing more than a living or rather death example of the law of large numbers? A small documented statistical anomaly that is bound to happen when searched for on a global scale? This has frequently been one explanation used for The Bermuda Triangle or the less discussed Dragon's Triangle. Joe Citro discusses in his later book "True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors" the possibility of some inter-dimensional gateway between worlds or realities. He talks about some Bennington locals that believe maybe people don't disappear because they die, rather they are living out the rest of their life trapped in some alternate reality or world.
The most interesting thing I could learn from the locals that evening was the official arrest warrant for the Vice President of the United States of America, Dick Cheney. Apparently this town is quite liberal as I learn many townsfolk became so disgusted with so many of the wrong doings that Mr. Cheney had perpetrated during his term in office they passed a local ordinance of sorts. I'm told that if the Vice President ever passes through the town they are well within their rights to arrest him. Whether you agree with the folks in Bennington, I think that would be something super interesting to watch play out. Though I doubt I'll get the chance. With the mountain road quickly turning into a mountain river I was pleased with my rental decision of a large four wheel drive truck. As the rain lightened the fog thickened. I was careful not to get too excited about one leaving as the other would certainly arrive shortly after. This was going to extend my drive back to the hotel a state away. With work quickly approaching only a few hours from now, I was looking at another sleepless night of legend tripping. As far as I know I survived The Bennington Black Hole. If you’re reading this, it is a good sign I made it out. Then again, I could wake up from this work filled dream to find myself, there still, foraging through the forest, hoping for help, asking the air for answers, and looking for a way out.
Until next time, remember, adventures come to the adventuresome!
Noah Voss (Bio)
But wait there's more!
More than a dozen Legend Trippers Journal entries! Follow the Legend Trippers on such adventures as:
Unexplained Gravity Hills in Pennsylvania
The Mystery of the Michigan Paulding Lights Solved
Lake Monsters of the Mississippi River
Satanic Murderous Murmurs Investigated in the Bridgewater Triangle of Massachusetts
Werewolves in Wisconsin
The Lost Port of Ulao discovered on Lake Michigan
Looking for the Lost in the Bennington Black Hole of Vermont
Phantom Baby's Screams in the night at Cry Baby Bridge of Illinois
West Virginia's Mothman Sightings
and many, many more!
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