Native Americans called Glastenbury Mountain, in Vermont’s Green Mountains, “cursed”, and used it strictly for burying their dead. And it turns out, they had good reason to fear the mountain. Over the years there has been between 30- 40 unexplained disappearances of people, people who have never been found. The trails stop part way up the mountain, suggesting that no one ever goes up any farther. When you walk into the forest that blankets the mountain, the silence is deafening. There are no birds singing, no squirrels chattering or crows cawing. In fact, you hear nothing but your own heartbeat, as if the animals know enough to never enter.
People like Middie Rivers, a lifelong area resident and experienced hunting and fishing guide, who led a group of hunters into the wilds of Glastenbury Mountain in early-November, 1945. The weather was so mild that 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.
The following December, Bennington College student, Paula Weldon, 18, a native of Stanford, Conneticut, 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. On Monday, when 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. A clairvoyant was even brought in. The 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 packs of baying bloodhounds, shouting searchers, helicopters pounding across the sky and droning search planes criss-crossing overhead. Every square inch of the mountain was searched and re-searched, Daily, the headlines of The Bennington Banner screamed for anyone to come forward who might have any information. But, not one clue was ever found.
Three Decembers later, to the day, James E. Tetford vanished somewhere on the sinister slopes. Tetford had spent a holiday with relatives in northern Vermont. His 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. Only Glastenbury Mountain stood between him and his 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 just 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 and 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 Police lost the boy’s scent. It was at the exact spot where Paula Weldon was last seen years before. Paul Jepson Sr. would later comment that he found his son’s recent unusual yen to go to the mountain baffling.
Many more people have been reported missing on Glastenbury since. Local residents have reported strange, unearthly sounds, and strange glowing discs on and above the mountain. Glastenbury mountain, according to Joseph A. Citro, in his book “Passing Strange Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors”, is “an inaccessible region, remote, full of dark places, jutting outcrops, vast marshlands and quiet pools”.
In the travel brochure, ‘Towns And Villages’, one paragraph is devoted entirely to Glastenbury Mountain. The last seven words read: …”we don’t recommend you make the trip”.