The unsolved disappearance of Paula Jane Welden
Stamford college sophomore Paula Jane Welden, left her Bennington College campus on December 1, 1946 to hike along Vermont’s Long Trail, wearing a red parka, jeans, and sneakers but the police were alerted when she failed to return. Paula had been spotted shortly after she left campus running up and then down a gravel pit, and Louis Knapp said she’d hitch hiked a ride and he’d let her out near one of the entrances to the hiking route.
She’d also been seen in Bickford Hollow at 4pm, after Knapp dropped her off, making her way towards the trail. One of the people who’d seen her said he’d warned her about needing heavier clothing, but she’d ignored him and continued on. An elderly couple saw her turning a corner on the trail, but when they reached the same spot, she’d vanished.
A waitress in River Falls claimed she’d served dinner to a distressed woman fitting Paula’s description, so her father went to investigate. When he returned, he said he was certain her disappearance involved a man she was seeing, because a clairvoyant told him so.
Nine years later, Fred Gadette claimed he was responsible – then later he said he’d made the whole thing up. Gadette had been one of the last people to see Paula after an argument with his girlfriend, and had stormed off afterwards in a jealous rage.
As no body was ever found, Paula’s disappearance remains a mystery. Some have wondered if her death is connected to the infamous Bennington Triangle, an area where several people vanished between 1943 and 1950.