Haunted Happenings in the Bennington Triangle and Beyond
October 11, 2023
For decades, the mysteries of the Bennington Triangle have captured our imaginations.
The Bennington Triangle is a term coined by author Joe Citro that refers to strange happenings in Bennington County, including unexplained disappearances, UFO sightings, and other odd activity. The epicenter of the Bennington Triangle is in Glastenbury, an unincorporated, remote town with rugged, mountainous terrain and a handful of residents.
-The unincorporated town of Glastenbury is the epicenter of the Bennington Triangle.
The most famous was the disappearance of Bennington College student Paula Jean Welden, who went missing in the 1940s near The Long Trail. She was never found.
Over the years, several mysterious happenings have been reported in the area, leading some to speculate that Glastenbury Mountain could be an energy vortex or exist in an alternate dimension. There is also a legend about a cursed boulder that engulfs hikers into a bottomless pit and a story about a creature, possibly Big Foot, that resides in the woods.
Disappearances, Shirley Jackson and the Unknown
-Author Shirley Jackson moved to North Bennington in 1945. (Photo source: Wikimedia)
Bennington Museum curator Jamie Franklin opened an exhibit earlier this year titled Haunted Vermont, which explores verified disappearances in the Bennington Triangle and the work of mystery writer Shirley Jackson. Jackson lived in North Bennington, and the strange happenings in this part of Vermont inspired some of her work, including The Haunting of Hill House and arguably Hangsaman.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction,” Franklin said during an interview at Bennington Museum in September. “And one of the things that I think makes stories wonderful is that there’s always an element of the unknown.”
A fan of Jackson’s work, Franklin has collaborated with the author’s children over the years and secured some of Jackson’s belongings for the exhibit. Those include a music box, photographs, and a dining room table that Jackson wrote many of her last works on in North Bennington.
“Many of the stories and people featured in the exhibit have been swirling around me since I’ve been living here for the last 18 years,” Franklin said. “I think each of these stories has something to teach us. As a curator and a historian, I think and believe and hope that history always has something to teach us about our world, who we are and what we might strive for moving forward.”
Franklin includes a quote in the exhibit by horror film director Guillermo del Toro that perfectly captures the spirit of Haunted Vermont: “To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.”
Bennington Museum’s Haunted Vermont exhibit runs until Dec. 31, 2023.
-Main image: A family outside of a Glastenbury Camp in 1933. Photo courtesy of the UVM Landscape Change Program.
Happy Vermont Podcast
-Jamie Franklin, Bennington Museum’s curator. Courtesy photo.
In this Happy Vermont podcast episode, Jamie Franklin talks about disappearances in Glastenbury, witches in Pownal and vampires in Manchester. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you find podcasts.