The series of missing person cases in the Bennington triangle
Between 1943-1950, several people vanished in The Green Mountain National Forest, in Bennington County, Vermont, an area of woodland nicknamed The Bennington Triangle.
First was Carl Herrick, who became separated from his cousin on a hunting trip in 1943. Carl’s cousin discovered his body three days later – someone, or something had squeezed him until he passed away. There were bear prints around Carl’s corpse – but apparently, a bear wouldn’t squeeze a man like that. Middie Rivers vanished in 1945, while heading up a hunting party in Hell Hollow, after he got ahead of the group. His party wasn’t worried, as he knew the Vermont woods well, but the only trace left of him was a spent rifle cartridge, of the sort he used.
Sophomore Paula Jean Welden, whose disappearance already made our top twenty, was another of the Bennington Triangle vanishings. The red jacket she wore to hike the Long Trail in 1946 would have been hard to miss, yet a couple who saw her turn a corner said she vanished after they caught up. In 1950, 8-year-old Paul Jephson vanished, after his mother hopped out of the truck she drove to run an errand. She told Paul not to leave, but when she came back, he was missing. Paul wore a red jacket, like Paula, so it would have been impossible not to spot him. According to superstition, it’s unlucky to wear red in the forest.
Frieda Langer went missing on a hike with her cousin, after returning to camp to change her wet clothing. Seven months later, her body was discovered in an open field that had been searched repeatedly, in such a state it was impossible to say why she’d died.
Local tribes believed the woods were cursed, with one legend telling of a “man eating stone” that would swallow a person if they stepped on it. Others believe the changeable wind can disorientate – though this couldn’t explain all the cases. Aliens, wildmen, or the Bennington Monster, a giant hairy beast like Bigfoot, have all been said to be responsible. Until these cases are solved, the string of disappearances are so eerie, people will continue to speculate.