The ghost town of Glastenbury and mysterious Glastenbury Mountain where so many have disappeared lie just a few just a few miles northeast of Bennington , Vt.
Only now, with the recent interest of TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries” are people once again asking the heretofor un-answerable questions.
Middie Rivers, a lifelong area resident and experienced hunting and fishing guide, led a group of hunters into the wilds of Glastenbury Mountain. The weather was so mild, it was hard to believe that Thanksgiving was only two weeks away. Rivers was 74, but his excellent health had been confirmed by a recent physical.
Returning to camp for lunch, Rivers split off from the group at an area known as Bickford Hollow.
He was never seen again.
In spite of massive search efforts , only one clue emerged; a lone, unexpended bullet – believed to be from River’s bullet belt – lay on the banks of a nearby creek.
After more than a month, searchers reluctantly gave up the hunt. In the deepening twilight, as they headed for home, the season’s first snow began to fall.
It was mid-December, 1945.
The following December, Bennington College student Paula Weldon, 18, a native of Stanford, CT., decided to stretch her legs on Glastenbury’s Mountain’s Long Trail.
Donning a fiery-red jacket , the bright, spunky, five-foot-five blond, left the college. A local resident gave her a ride as far as his home in Woodford Hollow. Later in the afternoon she would ask directions from Ernest Whitman, an employee of The Bennington Banner Newspaper. Other trail hikers would say that Weldon waved to them on her way up the trail.
When on Monday she hadn’t returned to school, all hell broke loose.
A grim-faced Vermont Governor Ernest Gibson reached for the phone. Soon the FBI, along with New York and Connecticut State Police , joined Vermont authorities in the hunt. Immediately a $5,000 reward was posted. Even a clairvoyant was brought in. A search team that now numbered more than 1,000 began to scour the 27,341 acres of mountain wilderness.
In the days that followed the ghostly silence was shattered by teams of of baying bloodhounds. Helicopters pounded across the sky as droning search planes criss-crossed overhead. Every square inch of the mountain was searched and researched, Daily the headlines of The Bennington Banner screamed for information.
Not one clue was ever found.
Three Decembers later, to the day, James E. Tetford vanished.
Tetford had spent a holiday with relatives in northern Vermont. Family had put him on a bus for the return trip to the Old Soldier’s Home in Bennington. The bus only made one stop, where Tetford’s presence was noted. Now only Glastenbury Mountain stood between him and home. When the bus arrived in Bennington, Tetford was gone. The driver, dumbfounded, could offer no explanation. In spite of another massive search, not a trace of Tetford was ever found.
Ten months later, the mountain claimed a child
Paul Jepson, 8, jumped into the family’s truck with his mother for a trip to the town dump near the mountain. Once there, Mrs. Jepson left the truck for a moment. When she returned, Paul was gone.
It was mid-afternoon on a bright and clear Columbus Day. Mrs Jepson searched frantically , but couldn’t spot his bright red jacket. Civilian, as well as military searchers, were brought in. Just west of Glastenbury Mountain, at the intersection of Chapel and East Roads, a team of dogs provided by New Hampshire State Poilce lost the boy’s scent.
This was the exact spot where Paula Weldon was last seen.
Paul Jepson Sr. would later comment that he found his son’s recent unusual yen to go to the mountain baffling.
Sixteen days later Frieda Langer entered a small patch of woods that stood between her and her cabin on ther east side of Glastenbury.
She never came out.
However, Langer’s disappearance should have given police a clue, for after seven months she was found. Or rather, what was left of her was found.
Langer, 53, of North Adams, MA, knew guns and rough terrain. It was late in the afternoon when she and a cousin left the cabin to go hiking. About a half mile away she fell into a stream. Leaving her cousin there, Langer began the return to change clothes.
Seven months later her body was found in the middle of an open field, an area that had been thoroughly searched. Her remains offered no clueas to how she died because as the Bennington Banner reported “they were in grusome condition.”
Many more have been reported missing on Glastenbury. Local residents have reported starnge sounds, unearthly sounds and strange glowing discs on and above the mountain.
The mountain according to Joseph A. Citro in his book “Passinmg Strange Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors,” is “an inacessable region, remote, full of dark places, jutting outcrops, vast marshlands and quiet pools.”
In a travel brochuse, “Towns & Villages.” one paragraph is devoted to Glastenbury Mountain. The last seven words read: …we don’t recommend you make the trip.”