Stranger Things in the Mountain Town of Chittenden
October 28, 2016
I used to think Chittenden was just a quiet little mountain town. Located between Killington and Rutland, Chittenden is tucked away in the Green Mountain National Forest and is home to the 750-acre Chittenden Reservoir, scenic Lefferts Pond (pictured above), and the secluded Mountain Top Inn & Resort.
But after visiting Chittenden a few times over the years, I’ve learned that there’s more to this Rutland County community than meets the eye.
Chittenden was once declared the “Spirit Capital of the Universe” from the activities of William and Horatio Eddy, two brothers who claimed to have psychic powers in the 1870s. Legend has it that their family, which had a long history of psychic ability, could be traced back to the Salem witch trials of the 1690s.
After their father died, the family operated a local inn in Chittenden, where the brothers performed séances to communicate with the dead. The brothers had legions of followers and quite a few detractors, and their story remains of interest today among paranormal enthusiasts.
The Eddy brothers are not the only mysterious part of Chittenden’s history. Chittenden is also reportedly where Vermont’s only photographic evidence of Bigfoot was captured on film in 1977. On top of that, there’s even another story about a vanishing doorway in the forest.
Chittenden has a small population of about 1,260 residents. However, the size of the town is 74.2 square miles—or 46,000 acres—making it the largest town by area in Vermont. The Green Mountains run along the entire eastern half of the town, making it even more secluded.
Spirits in Chittenden and Disappearances in Glastenbury
Chad Abramovich has visited Chittenden over the years and written about the town on his wonderful, well-researched blog, Obscure Vermont.
When you think about spooky towns in Vermont, a place like Glastenbury in Bennington County comes to mind. Glastenbury is also located deep within the Green Mountain National Forest, but its tales of paranormal activity are more dramatic and widely known than what’s happened in Chittenden.
I asked Chad how he would compare Chittenden and Glastenbury in terms of oddities and strange activity. Are the towns similar in their mysterious ways because of their remote locations in the Green Mountain National Forest?
“I would think that, because both towns are mostly wilderness, that there might be a connection, similarity, or perhaps a conduit between both areas,” he says. “Based on my research, I believe that there might be something inherently weird with Glastenbury’s topography, while Chittenden’s list of curiosities may be more coincidental. After all, large areas of hard-to-access land are pretty ideal for strange things, monstrous or human, because it’s land that is mostly free of interferences and prying eyes. I think that makes them all the more obscure.”
Glastenbury’s notoriety is more well known, with good reason. Chad points out that Glastenbury has tales of UFOs, monsters, an Indian curse, unsolved disappearances, and is in a location so hard to access that people can easily romanticize Glastenbury as an exotic, faraway place.
“I think if you hike into the Glastenbury wilderness area, you feel satisfied because it’s this huge area where you feel completely isolated and maybe a bit more out of your element, like anything has a possibility of happening. It really plays with your nerves, rationally or not. You’re much easier persuaded in that state of mind,” he says. “Chittenden never really had anything as dramatic happen up that way. And if it has, no one has told me yet.”
**If You Go: Chittenden can be accessed from Meadow Lake Drive off Route 4 in Mendon, or from East Pittsford Road off Route 7 in Rutland.
Mary-SuePosted at 15:29h, 28 October
Hi, I enjoyed this article about Chittenden and Glastenbury. Are there any hiking trails in Chittenden that you can recommend?
EricaPosted at 19:17h, 28 October
Hi Mary-Sue. Thanks for your message. Lefferts Pond in Chittenden is really beautiful, and there are some nice walking/hiking trails there. Here is some trail info from the forest service. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MEDIA/stelprdb5315847.pdf
Elliott SeltmannPosted at 04:58h, 30 October
Another wonderful commentary highlighting the the awesome beauty of Vermont. Do you have subscriptions to hard copy printed material ? Do you look for donations to support your work. Count me in, if so. Regards, Elliott
EricaPosted at 20:20h, 30 October
Hi Elliott — Thanks for your kind words. I don’t have any hard copy printed material (maybe someday!), and I don’t accept donations at this time. If you could just tell your friends about HappyVermont to help spread the word, that would be great. Thanks again! – Erica