There are places in the world where, for one reason
or another, people just seem to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda
Triangle is probably the best example of this. This stretch of sea,
running from Bermuda to Miami to Puerto Rico, has claimed countless
numbers of planes and ships over the years. Just off the coast of
Japan on the other side of the world, the Dragon's Triangle has also
swallowed up its share of ships and planes, including, oddly enough,
a Japanese research vessel that was sent to investigate other disappearances.
A little closer to home, we have what has come to be called the Bennington
The area surrounding Glastenbury
Mountain has always had a bit of darkness associated with it.
To the Native Americans, it was alleged to be "cursed land,"
a region where all four winds met. What few Indians there were
in the area largely shunned it, using it solely as a burial
ground for their dead. The first European settlers to the land
told of strange lights in the skies over the mountain, sounds
from the woods they couldn't identify and strange odors that
seemed to have no source. There were rumors of creatures lurking
in the swamps surrounding the mountain, rumors backed up by
the frequent recounting of a large "Bigfoot" type
of creature that attacked and overturned a stagecoach on Route
9. Stories of sightings of the "Bennington Monster"
continued throughout the years.
Communities in the area itself seemed plagued
by these occurrences. The original town of Glastenbury, once
thriving, succumbed to disease, bad weather and deaths and was
eventually "unorganized" as a town in 1937. The latest
numbers put the population in single digits. Surrounding towns
such as Fayville fared little better, which is not completely
surprising considering how isolated and harsh these communities
were in the early years of Vermont's statehood.
Isolated incidents such as Henry MacDowell's 1892
murder of fellow millworker Jim Crowley in a drunken brawl also
didn't have people pointing to the possibility that perhaps
something wasn't right with the region. It was certainly a big
story of the day, much talked about among the local residents.
Particularly when MacDowell was declared insane and sentenced
to Waterbury Asylum. Particularly when he escaped. Particularly
when he disappeared without a trace. The Bennington Triangle
as an idea wouldn't really gain traction for another half-century,
November 12, 1945. Seventy-four year old Middie Rivers
was an experienced hunting and fishing guide who was familiar with
the area and knew how to "get along" in the wild. The day
of November 12th, he was leading a group of four hunters up into the
mountains. On the way back to camp, he got a little ahead of the hunters
and vanished. An extensive search of the area by police and volunteers
turned up just a single clue: a bullet resting beside a stream bed,
leading investigators to speculate that he had knelt down there to
take a drink, and the bullet had fallen out of his pocket. No other
trace of him has ever been found.