Where the four winds meet
The bennington Triangle
“Bennington Triangle” is a phrase coined by New England author Joseph A. Citro during a public radio broadcast in 1992 to denote an area of southwestern Vermont within which a number of persons went missing. Precisely what area is encompassed in this hypothetical “mystery triangle” is not clear, but it is purportedly centered around Glastenbury Mountain and would include some or most of the area of the towns immediately surrounding it, especially Bennington, Dudleytown, Shaftsbury, and Somerset.
Legends of the Triangle
Disappearances have happened with in this area for centuries, and the Abanaki, the local tribe of vermont, have long spoken of the mountain eating unwary travelers who wandered into this place unprepared. They considered it a place of Great power, and spoke of an ancient spirit of evil that had been trapped with in it due to some great crime it had committed towards the winds. They say that at the top of the mountain the winds Guard him, making sure he can never leave, but that his power is so great that it spreads out towards the other mountains on all sides.
The Settlers in the area had other ideas as to why the Mountain was cursed. Siting several rock formations that look like claw marks on them mountain itself, they claim that the Devil claimed the area for his own in a desperate struggle with god. They spoke of Demons shaped like Spiders and Apes, creatures that hunted the night and could not be dissuaded even by a locked door, insanity that took whole villages and most terrifyingly of all Deaths that left the body perfect save for one small raised bump behind the ear.
Stories are hard to follow as they seem disjointed and almost chaotic. There are though veins and themes that run through them:
There are said to be large Ape or Bear like creatures that roam the area. They, or perhaps it, are called all as one “Slippery skins.” by the white population, though the Native population calls him the Wihtikow, which appears to have ties to other native legends. While the Wihtikow/Slippery skin is considered a Cannibal who succumbed to the need for flesh during a long winter, he is also seen as a trickster in the region by both populations. Often there are tales of hunters being pelted with pine cones only to find themselves looking into the smiling eyes of an “Old slippery Skin” and being protected by it if danger comes. They are generally considered lesser dangers, and only once or twice have these creatures caused any great harm.
The best known story of caution is that of the carriages that crossed the mountains during the late 1800’s. It seems that quiet often a creature of “massive size and girth” with “glowing eyes.” would attack the travelers and flip the carriage of the side of the mountain, often killing or injuring those with in. The times that the carriages were not flipped it still would hold them still, and then let them go suddenly.
Well known for its marble and Slate quarries, southern vermont was a booming area during the late 19th century, and saw an influx of various immigrants. The Irish and Germans specifically seemed drawn to mining towns and many up and down the state of Vermont. In particular the area in the Triangle had many “Shanty” towns that sprung up to keep miners safe during their off shifts. They now are no more than stone foundations in the ground, but at the time they would house five to six men a piece.
These towns around Glastenbury were plagued by a strange set of monsters. Supposedly when ever a crew dug into Glastenbury mountain there was a chance of the “shriskee” so named because of their sounds they made, would enter your camp. Various tools would go missing or get broken, and there would be gouges in the doors in the morning. Many camps tried, and failed, to take care of the problems, and according to one story, some even were wiped out in a night of deadly claws and fangs.
To this day people still continue to See these creatures, and they are described as monkeys with spiders legs coming off their backs. Spotting seem rare now a days though.
Glastenbury vermont was once a thriving lumber town filled to the brim with people and wealth. While it never much got above 200 people, it was still a good town to be in. Unfortunately with new comes comes the possibility of stirring old spirits. Apparently the Abanaki who had inhabited this place found the land her perfect for burying the dead,and as such the land was sacred. A shaman placed a curse that if anyone were to try to use this ground for anything other than surviving that the forest would strike back and drive the people to the spirit world, leaving their bodies to roam with out direction. While the curse has never been proven there was a strange sickness that spread out through the town during the peak of its prosperity. People would stop being able to function, still living and alive but unable to communicate or move. They would stay this way for three days before their body would die. After a year of this there was a strange event. One day a train left with lumber, and when he arrived the next morning no one was there. The entirety of the 150 people left in Glastenbury had Vanished.
The Curse of Dudleytown.
Supposedly founded by Gideon Dudley in 1747 this small town was home to multiple incarnations of curses. Gideon was followed to the region by two brothers and Dudley’s have become known over the years as the men who brought a curse to this small town – a curse that has allegedly plagued the region ever since.
unfortunately when one looks at the facts the curse, said to originate from the failed attempt to overthrow Henry the 8th, there is no back ground. None of the Dudley’s who came over were part of that fated linage, and they never founded the town either. Rather a Man named Thomas Griffis founded the area in 1741. Regardless though town is considered cursed for many good reasons.
In the early 1740’s, the mentioned Thomas Griffis bought a parcel of land that would later be considered the first lot in Dudleytown. The woods were later dubbed with the rather ominous name of “Dark Entry Forest”. People long spoke of shadow people, and lights in the woods that would lead people off cliffs. These were called the “Presences.”
Still people moved in, the aforementioned Dudley, other families, The population of Dudleytown was never large and according to an 1854 map, the peak number of families who lived here only reached 26.
In spite of all of these things, the town did thrive for a time. Dudleytown was noted for its timber, which was burned and used to make wood coal for the nearby Rutland County Iron Furnaces in Somerset and other towns. The furnaces later moved closer to the railroads and the more industrial towns though and the lumber was no longer needed. Iron ore was used from the area for a time and there were three water-powered mills in Dudleytown as well. Most of the mills eventually closed because of the long trip down the mountain to deliver their goods.
Despite the outward signs of prosperity though, there were strange deaths and bizarre occurrences at Dudleytown from the start. Three of the Dudley’s moved out of the region and lived long and full lives, dying of natural causes and forever diminishing any possibilities of a curse. Only Abiel Dudley remained in town and after a series of reverses, lost his entire fortune – and his mind. He lived in town as a ward of the town until age ninty, Toward the end, Abiel was senile and insane and ranted about creatures coming from the woods to devour the souls of those in the town at night.
The Nathaniel Carter family moved to Dudleytown in 1759 and lived in a house once owned by Abiel Dudley before he was made a ward of the town, during an attack by the French, Indians slaughtered Nathaniel, his wife and an infant child. The Carter’s other three children were abducted and taken to Canada, where two daughters were ransomed. The son, David Carter, was never to be seen again. It is said that Nathaniel still haunts the house, trying to take revenge on anyone who enters the house.
And the list goes on and on. The town never stopped having strange happenings, and with no church to provide them shelter from it the people of Dudleytown could do nothing. Insanity was common and rampant, though many aruge that this comes from the isolation and possible incest among the people of Dudleytown,
After the Civil War, Dudleytown began to die and many of the villagers simply packed up and moved away. The demise of the town itself is hardly surprising, whether you believe in the so-called “curse” or not. Its geographical location was foolhardy at best. Surrounded by hills and at elevations of more than 1500 feet, there was little chance that a good crop would ever grow and sustain life in the village. The winters were harsh here and even the hardy apple trees were stunted from months of cold. As mentioned already, the soil was rocky and the area was plagued by almost too much water. It pooled into tepid swamps and seeped into the earth, creating a damp morass.
But even if you overlook the idea of an actual curse and admit that the location of the town must have had a hand in its undoing, the sheer number of unusual deaths and mental conditions in such an isolated area more than suggests that something out of the ordinary was occurring in the little town, and even after the towns death the curse continued.
This event occurred in 1901, at a time when the population of Dudleytown had dwindled away to almost nothing. One of the last residents of the town was a man named John Patrick Brophy. Tragedy visited swiftly and in several blows. First, his wife died of consumption, which was not uncommon in those days, but he was soon further stricken when his two children vanished into the forest just a short time after the funeral. They vanished and were never found. Shortly after, the Brophy’s house burned to the ground in an unexplained fire and not long after, Brophy himself vanished into the forest. He was never seen again.
By the early 1900’s, Dudleytown was completely deserted. The remaining homes began to fall into disrepair and ruin, and soon, the forest began to reclaim the village that had been carved out of it.
Around 1900, Dr. William Clarke came to Cornwall and fell in love with the forest and the quiet country life. Clarke had been born in 1877 and grew up on a farm in Tenafly, New Jersey. He later became a professor of surgery and taught at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as earning a reputation as the leading cancer specialist in New York. He purchased 1,000 acres of land in the wilds of Connecticut, which included Dudleytown, and began construction of a summer and vacation home here. Over the next number of years, he and his wife, Harriet Bank Clarke, visited the house on weekends and during the summer until it was completed. After that, it became mostly a holiday house for short trips in the summer and for Thanksgiving. Together, they maintained an idyllic second life near Dudleytown until 1918.
One summer weekend, Dr. Clarke was called away to New York on an emergency. His wife stayed behind and according to the story, he returned 36 hours later to find that she had gone insane, just as a number of previous residents of the village had done. The story also claims that she told of strange creatures that came out of the forest and attacked her. She committed suicide soon after.
Then the ghostly tales began to surface in the 1940’s. It was at this time that visitors to the ruins of the village began to speak of strange incidents and wispy apparitions in the woods. Even today, those who have visited the place boast of paranormal photographs, overwhelming feelings of terror, mysterious lights, sights and sounds and even of being touched, pushed and scratched by unseen hands.
Disappearances in the Triangle
Though the disappearances were common and indeed continue to this day, the most famous were between 1940 period. There were, all reported fifty or so disappearances, but few if any made it in to the papers. By the time this rash of takings had begun it seems the people in the area just accepted it. Five or so cases were able to reach headline status and another twenty got some mention somewhere, even if it was just in obituaries. No bodies were ever found during this rash of investigations, unlike the Somerset killer.
For nearly two hundred years, a black caped figure with long white hair has been spotted occasionally around Galstenbury. While the figure is definitely not a ghost, it is by no means entirely human. Supposedly, it’s the result of an ungodly transformation that started when young Thomas Somerset came back to Vermont from medical school in Heidelberg, Germany.
Because the town that bears his family name picked up the tab for Tom’s education, he dutifully returned to oversee the health of his benefactors. Apparently, he was a intelligent, talented and caring physician who could cure even the sickest of people and call them back from the dead. Touted as a miracle worker he was asked by many hospitals to work for them, but refused to leave those he cared for.
Then, around 1816, something happened. Stories range from loosing his wife to being called on by god. Whatever the case, Tom lost interest in his medical practice and took to the woods, where he set up a laboratory in a deserted shack.
Living like a hermit, he made only occasional forays into town for supplies. If anyone ventured to his cabin to beg for medical treatment, Tom would turn them away.
Eventually, a series of animal deaths startled the residents of the area. A cow, some sheep, various wild life and even a horse. Bloated sheep dotted the green hillside like balls of snow their guard dogs inflicted with the same death. The humans were baffled and tried to search out the killer, but there was only one clue to go on a: each animal had a fresh wound behind its left ear – a red swelling with a white pinprick in the center.
People ignored it, went about their business, but then things got strange. First, a corpse vanished from the back of an undertaker’s wagon. When it was later discovered discarded in some bushes, there was a second corpse beside it. Each had a wound behind its left ear.
A small cluster of citizens timidly ventured to Dr. Somerset’s cabin to see if he could shed some light on these medical mysteries, but they found his cabin deserted, only a cooling fire was left in the hearth.
However, in the months to follow, hunters and hikers would see him in some wooded part of the thirty-square-mile area near town. He was always said to be wearing a black cape, moving rapidly, with a long white hair flowing out behind him.
In November 1825, a Somerset woman heard her daughter scream. She looked up from her laundry to see a black-caped figure carrying her little girl into the woods. The woman’s husband rushed off in pursuit. Neighbors joined him. They followed the footprints to Little Tunnel Ravine, a box canyon from which there could be no escape. Yet weirdly, the footprints ended abruptly.
Suddenly, the bewildered men heard laughing coming from overhead. Above them, they recognized Dr. Somerset. Somehow, holding the struggling girl, he had ascended the stark cliff. When her father begged for her return, Doc Somerset obliged. He hurled the screaming child off the cliff. Unfortunately, no one was quick enough to catch her, and the child was dashed on the canyon floor.
And he was gone… still out there to this day.