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The Bennington Triangle (page 3 of 3)

. . . until May 12, 1951. Her body so badly decomposed that no cause of death could be determined, Freida Langer surfaced in an area of Somerset Reservoir that had been combed thoroughly not seven months before. This is what most sources claim. One source, that could not be substantiated, quoted the police chief at the time as saying that it appeared her "body had dropped dead of shock ten minutes earlier." Whatever version you choose to believe, she was the only one of the disappearances between 1945 and 1950 to ever "return."

There are other rumors of children, hunters and others disappearing around Bennington during this period, but all disappearances seem to have stopped at the end of 1950. What caused all these disappearances, in such a small geographic area and over such a short timeline? Theories abound, of course. Bigfoot, who gets blamed for so much, seems to be a leading theory with Internet groups that discuss such things (as is the aforementioned Bennington Monster). Indian legend holds that there is an "enchanted" stone that consumes anyone who gets near it. Others believe that the area is home to some sort of inter-dimensional gateway that people cross, never to be seen again. In his book Passing Strange: True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors, Joseph A. Citro expands on this by touching on local speculation that this is some sort of a "Yankee Shangri-La," where people pass from one reality to another. And of course, there's always alien abduction.

Those looking for less fanciful solutions to the Bennington Triangle look to the possibility of a serial killer, although this creates problems of its own. While the short time frame and geographic consistency seem to indicate that some form of "Bennington Ripper" could have been operating in the area (given the autumn time-frame of all disappearances, perhaps an out-of-state hunter?), serial killers tend to target a certain type of person, and the disappearances ran the gamut from young male to older woman.

Tyler Resch, librarian at the Bennington Museum, thinks that Middie Rivers was probably the victim of a homicide (accidental or otherwise), and that Paula Welden, who had been having troubles at home, had most likely headed off to Canada with a boyfriend. Whatever the explanation, it's a popular topic.

"We get enough inquiries about the so-called Bennington Triangle that I keep a file on the subject," Resch says. He's not the only one. . . the Travel Channel did a bit on the Bennington Triangle a few years ago, and Unsolved Mysteries was looking to cover it as well. For the moment, Glastenbury Mountain is quietly keeping its secrets, and the mystery continues.

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This article originally appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of the Wilmington VT publication The Cracker Barrel.

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