Because It's Friday

Secrets of the Bennington Triangle

A look into the mysterious disappearances

Paula Welden (center) and Frieda Langer are just two of the string of unsolved vanishings that occurred in the Bennington Triangle from 1945-50.

by Timothy Page

Nestled within the picturesque wilderness of southwestern Vermont lies an area shrouded in mystery and eerie tales—the Bennington Triangle. This region, encompassing the towns of Bennington, Woodford, Shaftsbury, and Glastenbury, has gained notoriety due to a series of unexplained disappearances that occurred between the 1940s and 1950s. The enigmatic nature of these events has fueled speculations and given rise to numerous theories attempting to unravel the secrets hidden within the Bennington Triangle.

The Disappearances

During the period from 1945 to 1950, a string of unsolved vanishings sent shockwaves through the local communities, leaving investigators and residents alike puzzled. Let’s examine some of the most notable cases within the Bennington Triangle.

Middie Rivers – November 1945

The first mysterious disappearance involved Middie Rivers, a 74-year-old experienced hunting guide. In November 1945, Rivers was leading a group of four hunters near Glastenbury Mountain. During the excursion, Rivers became separated from the group and was never seen again. Despite extensive searches by law enforcement and volunteers, no trace of Rivers was ever found. (Source: [1])

Paula Welden – December 1946

One year later, on December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old college student named Paula Welden vanished while taking a hike on the Long Trail near Glastenbury Mountain. Welden had informed her roommate that she intended to go for a walk, but she never returned. The subsequent search involved hundreds of volunteers, including military personnel, but no concrete evidence was discovered. Welden’s disappearance remains one of the most perplexing cases in the region’s history. (Source: [2])

Circulated photograph of Paula Jean Welden; clipping from missing persons flyers

James E. Tedford – October 1949

In another baffling incident, James E. Tedford, a 68-year-old World War II veteran, disappeared under inexplicable circumstances. On December 1, 1949, Tedford boarded a bus in Bennington bound for St. Albans. Witnesses later testified that they had seen Tedford on the bus, but when the bus arrived at its destination, Tedford was nowhere to be found. Strangely, his belongings, including an open bus timetable and an unclaimed bus ticket, were discovered on the bus. Despite extensive searches, no trace of Tedford was ever uncovered. (Source: [3])

The circumstances of Tedford’s disappearance from the bus remain unclear. There are no reliable accounts or eyewitness testimonies describing the exact moment or manner in which he vanished. It is as if he simply disappeared during the bus ride without anyone noticing his departure. This puzzling aspect of the case has fueled speculation and various theories attempting to explain what might have happened to him. However, the lack of concrete evidence or witnesses has made it difficult to establish a definitive explanation for his disappearance from the bus.

Clipping from The Burlington Free Press – Thu, Dec 8, 1949, Page 4

Paul Jepson – October 1950

The fourth case within the Bennington Triangle that gained significant attention involved the disappearance of three-year-old Paul Jepson. On October 12, 1950, Paul vanished while his mother was tending to the family’s pigs at their Glastenbury farmhouse. A massive search involving the Vermont State Police and the U.S. Army was launched, but no conclusive evidence or clues were found. The disappearance of such a young child only added to the haunting mystique of the Bennington Triangle. (Source: [4])

Frieda Langer

Frieda Langer – October 1950

Frieda Langer, the final victim of the “Bennington Triangle,” disappeared on October 28, 1950, just sixteen days after Jepson. While camping near the Somerset Reservoir, Langer fell into a stream and needed a change of clothes during a hike with her cousin, Herbert Elsner. Despite assuring him of a prompt return, she never came back. Elsner’s search for Langer yielded no results, despite extensive efforts involving multiple searchers, aircraft, and helicopters. This case would prove to have a different outcome compared to the previous four disappearances in the area.

It wasn’t until May 12, 1951, over six months after Langer’s disappearance, that a skeletonized body was discovered three and a half miles away from the family’s campsite. Interestingly, this particular area had received only a cursory search during the initial investigation. The remains were positively identified as those of Frieda Langer, yet due to their deteriorated state, the cause of death remained undetermined. The North Adams Transcript reported that officials believed Langer had “fallen down [a] bank and drowned in [a] hole on the dark and rainy night of her disappearance.”

Theories and Speculations

The unexplained nature of the disappearances within the Bennington Triangle has led to a multitude of theories attempting to shed light on the mysteries. Let’s explore some of the most prominent hypotheses:

Serial Killer

One prevailing theory suggests the presence of a serial killer operating within the Bennington Triangle. Proponents argue that the similarities between the cases, such as the remote location and the victims’ disappearances, indicate a possible common culprit. However, the lack of physical evidence connecting the cases and the diverse profiles of the victims cast doubt on this theory. (Source: [5])

Supernatural Forces

Some speculate that supernatural or paranormal entities may be responsible for the disappearances. The dense forests and the region’s rich folklore about ghosts and spirits have fueled beliefs in otherworldly involvement. However, such theories lack concrete evidence and rely heavily on folklore and personal accounts.

The Long Trail in the Bennington Triangle. Photo: M. Thompson/Shutterstock

Wilderness Hazards

The Bennington Triangle is known for its rugged terrain, unpredictable weather, and vast forests, which pose inherent risks to hikers and travelers. Proponents of this theory argue that the disappearances could be attributed to accidents, animal attacks, or natural hazards. However, this explanation does not account for the lack of evidence or the unusual circumstances surrounding some of the cases. (Source: [6])

Interdimensional Phenomena

An unconventional theory suggests the existence of interdimensional portals or vortexes within the Bennington Triangle. According to this hypothesis, individuals may unknowingly cross into alternate dimensions, leading to their disappearance. While highly speculative, this theory attempts to explain the mysterious nature of the vanishings.

Bennington and Glastenbury signs. Photo: Twitter

The Bennington Triangle, a place of mystery and intrigue, holds an uncanny allure that transcends the boundaries of the ordinary. It is a realm where the preternatural seems to weave seamlessly into the fabric of reality. Within its boundaries, stories of inexplicable phenomena, strange disappearances, and eerie encounters abound, leaving an indelible mark on the collective imagination.

The mysteries of the Bennington Triangle remain elusive, defying easy explanations. It is a testament to the power of the preternatural, the inexplicable, and the enduring allure of the unknown. In the heart of this bewitching realm, one can’t help but question the boundaries of reality and ponder the enigma that lies just beyond our grasp.


[1] Vermont Folklore: Middie Rivers.

[2] Unsolved Mysteries: The Disappearance of Paula Welden.

[3] Bennington Triangle: James E. Tedford.

[4] The Charley Project: Paul Jepson.

[5] The Bennington Triangle: A Modern Mystery.

[6] The Bennington Triangle Disappearances.

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5 replies »

  1. Its just very rugged terrain, and easy to become disoriented in. Nothing suspicious about the area.

    40 years ago I was working for the Soil Conservation Service. One project I had was to walk down 100 five acre plots and map any erosion or unusual features I found. that data was then used to verify Landsat imagery. One plot was in Glastonbury, and even though I had maps, and two sets of aerial photos of the area, I could not find the plot. — The project soil scientist said don’t worry about it. We will fly over it in a chopper and get the information. A few months later I asked if they had gotten the data, and he said they flew over it twice on different days, and could not verify they found the right plot.

  2. A refreshing alternative to the typical fare on this site… but I think this article must be a re-post because all of the reference links are broken. However, there is actually quite a lot of interest in the Bennington triangle and similar areas of high paranormal activity, and many radio talk shows or podcasts have covered the topic as well. There are hundreds of fascinating anecdotal observations which reveal some recognizable patterns: strange lights, time distortion, nature goes silent, et cetera — but the tales from survivors of these strange encounters rarely get the sort of attention that missing persons cases do.

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  3. I think it’s really fascinating: if things from another dimension or parallel universe can come through these portals, it might be possible to leave by the same way. While there might be predators of a different sort on the other side, they might be preferable to the ones who come after you for income or property tax — or the ones who dictate how you can experience life, and what you can grow in your garden, and what you can eat, drink or smoke in the privacy of your own home!