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Episode 67: The Red Coats


There are some locations that seem to draw humans closer. Places that are away from the bustle of everyday life, that almost seem part of our soul. We go there for solitaire, or for rest, or recreation. Sometimes, though, we don’t return.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
If you live there, you just sort of accepted the fact that at some point things were going to disappear. But of course that was the price you had to pay. If you wanted to live in one of the most beautiful parts of main, it was a vast expanse of old growth, forest, just twenty miles, north of Augusta Mains Capital city, Those miles and miles of deep green treetops are only broken by the occasional lake, great Pon EAST Pon, narrows and for as long as anyone could remember. If you had a cabin in that area, you'd be wise to lock it up
things pan away of going missing. Then, on April fourth of two thousand and thirteen, a police officer responded to a silent alarm in a cabin at pine tree summer. Camp minutes later he arrived and caught the thief. His name was Christopher. Thomas night he'd lived there in the forest for near, thirty years subsisting, entirely off nature and stolen supplies and he'd been perfectly happy doing so. Until his arrest, though he was just one of hundreds of people who step into America's forests each year and just vanish after he would, missing. Everyone just assumed night was dead because when you slip away like that into the dark, embrace, of the wild and wooded back country. Your chances are pretty slim. We humans have tamed much of the world with our roads and
Perhaps there are still a lot of unknown places out there and the UN and always has a way of inspiring fear ad in the chair. The disappearing and never coming back in the woods can be downright terrifying. Some locations, though, seem to attract a disproportionate amount of mystery. They act like magnates for tragedy or a dark beacon, does to lure people to their doom, and one of the most mysterious places of all is right here in the wilds of New England. So let's take a walk Let's wander along the trail and explore The shadows within the trees but watch your step. You never know, what's waiting for you just beyond the edges of the path, I'm Erin Mahnke. This is lore.
Wedding Wentworth was a greedy, egotistical man which made him a perfect fit for the age of british colonial expansion into the new world. In one thousand, seven hundred and forty one at the age of forty five Appointed governor of the colony of New Hampshire, eight years later, the crown gave him the power to distribute land grants in one thousand seven hundred and sixty one. He drew up charters for new territory in what would one day become Vermont arbitrarily drawing townships squares all over the map. One those random boundaries was drawn around a mountain in the south western corner of the state just northeast of Bennington. A town of course named by Bennington Wentworth after himself and this mountain and the town.
Around it borrowed a magical name from England, Glastonbury. This mountain is an interesting piece of folklore. Jutting up from the landscape. Long before the British began to spread into the and the land, their belong to the Algonquin nation of native Americans, specifically the Abbe knocking tribe, and they have stories about the mountain, their stories that are not tourist friendly We have an ox stayed away from the top of the mountain because they believed it was cursed. Hunters would frequently get lost their thanks in part to the erratic wind that seem to change direction every few minutes, but the big The reason for staying away was the legend of the enchanted stone. They say it looked like any other bolder on the mountain. But if you were unlucky enough to step on it, you would vanish into thin air so quickly, in fact, but you wouldn't even have time to scream.
because of all of that, when the first settlers arrived in southern Vermont, the avenue Aki strongly urged them to avoid settling on the mountain, which, of course, they did anyway in seventeen. Ninety one at the time of the first state census, Glastonbury Township had a total of six families living. There It wasn't until after the civil war was over, that the population broke. One hundred that some people started to realize the hey. There are a lot of trees So they built a Samuel and then another They were building kilns to dozens of them. All running nonstop to create charcoal. That was then export to places like New York for use in iron production and with all that economic growth came a lot more people in Tina. Seventy two, the banning single Temporary railroad was constructed as a way to move the charcoal down the mountain faster and to bring settlers back up, but where
ever humans gather in large numbers. So this darkness. It's like a cloud that follows us around wherever we build communities, tragedy and loss and death just sort of come with the package. In eighteen. Ninety two sawmill worker name, Henry Mcdowell, attacked another man, John Crawley, by picking up a rock and beating him to death. Before the authorities could capture Macao, he skipped town, and headed self, he made it as far as Self Norwalk Connecticut before he was taken into custody, but it only got weirder from there. He confessed to the murder but blamed it on the voices in his head. They wouldn't stop, he said, and he wanted him to kill again. So he was returned to Vermont and placed in this state asylum there. For a while at least,
Local legend says that Mcdowell escaped the facility and made his way back to Glastonbury by hiding on one of the train cars that headed up mountain. If the legend is true, he lived out the rest of his days right there in the forest. Five years later in eighteen, ninety seven John, barber and his brother Harry we're out hunting just south of Glastonbury Mountain. They had separated a bit, although The forest- all you really needed was a few dozen feat of distance before you felt isolated and alone that one point the Hairy heard a gun go off and then a cry for help from somewhere near by I've, been shot. The voice of John had shouted Harry search. The area many couldn't find his brother. He gathered some friends to help but still they had. No luck. It wasn't until the following morning that he finally stumbled upon his body, but there is something new quite right about the scene. They discovered first job
his body was found lane under the wide branches of an old cedar tree with his rifle lane beside him, but the gun was loaded and seem to be just out of reach, as if some one else had placed it their later never also drag marks in the pine needles and dirt, indicating that John had been dragged to the tree. No, never figured out how John Harbour had been killed. No other hunter came forward to confess they accidentally shot the man and no other clues came to light. It was murder how much was clear, but it would forever remain a tragic cold case which, in most other towns mites and out on the pages of local history as a major story,
I am very wasn't like most towns, the people. There were no stranger to unusual occurrences. Yes, John harbours death was mysterious, but it also wasn't the first time something unexplainable had happened and, tragically it wouldn't be. The last
there's a story about something that happened. Your Glastonbury way back in the middle of the nineteenth century, a few decades before the murders of John Crawley and John Harbour. If it's true, though, it paints a frightening backdrop for a lot of the events that followed through the years before the train right was constructed between Bennington Glastonbury people who didn't want to hike all the way up. The mountain were transported by state. go to this particular trip departed. Bennington late in the evening, and by the time they were halfway to their destination, the skies had opened up in a terentius. Downpour had begun to fall, which wasn't a great place to be asked him very mountain is steep, rising an average of two hundred and fifty feet every mile, but the stagecoach would have been.
keen that journey on a wide dirt path, dirt mind you that would have quickly transformed into mud, as the rain continued to fall at first the driver slow down, but then he was forced to pull over and stop. Despite the rain he picked up his glass covered, lantern and climb down from his seat, then careful not to slip. He began to inspect the wheels and the depth of the mud they were buried in and that's when he noticed something odd. There were footprints in the mind around the coach footprints that were much larger than his own and if the impressions were any indication, the feet that made them were wearing shoes, so like it, expendable extra in a horror, flick. He turned and followed them only to. Cover that they vanished into the forest when something large and powerful slammed into the side of a carriage passengers began to exit the coach spilling out
to the mud and rain a moment later. The stagecoach toppled onto its side there, slowly emerging from the darkness. At the side of the road, a shape stepped into the weak lantern light. They say it was Tom. Perhaps two heads taller than a grown man, the thing whatever it was covered entirely in wet matted hair and its eyes seemed to reflect a yellow light. Mac from the lantern were along tense moment. The creature stood there beside the wreckage of the overturned stagecoach before tee. in a way blending into the shadows once again, Life in Glastonbury was certainly never boring. we in the night time encounter with what would become known as the Bennington monster and the murders to follow a couple of decades later in the area never really felt completely safe in their isolated woodland community, but there was
more to worry about than mysterious creatures, Glastonbury Easy was dying. It was inevitable when you're only business is cutting down, trees, chopping them up and then burning them It has a way of transforming the place by the. It eighteen eighties, all the local forest was gone stripped away by. the economic greed of the town they try to fight it, though beginning in eighteen. Ninety four everything was right: invented with an eye towards bringing in summer tourists the local coal powered train was converted over to electric passenger travel. Buildings in town were guided in remodelled to serve his hotel and a casino. It was expensive. George It was also the only hope if they could not longer sell the forest they had to market something else to the community. And for one season it worked.
During the summer of eighteen. Ninety seven scores of people travelled far and wide to experience life in a frontier resort town. The hotels were full in the casino offered, ample entertainment. But a mountain stripped of its forest is a mountain ill prepared for. bring in the calendar rolled around and the snow began to melt. Something happened: a flood the technical term, for it is a fresh it Winston, in rain, overfill, a river and cause flooding and in the spring. One thousand eight hundred and ninety eight a powerful flood rush down the mountainside it washed away the trolley tracks. In one tragic moment, the town's new lifeline had been severed and like a garden without water, everything began to dry up and die. Over the years to come, Glastonbury all but vanished tells and casino fell apart homes. The synagogue, did until nothing but their foundation. Stones remained by then,
team thirty's, the entire population of Glastonbury consisted of just three people: IRA Madison, his wife and his mother. in nineteen thirty, seven Glastonbury became the first tone in Vermont to be officially disorganized and then for the next two decades empty. Well, not entirely you see the trees eventually returned and with them came that sirens call that lures people into the woods accept. These were probably not the best way.
To wander around in the Abbey Aki tribesmen had been pretty clear about that. After all, despite all of that, people are returned to Glastonbury Mountain, but when they did, they discovered a very difficult truth. It seemed that the darkness TAT inhabited the mountain had never really left under November upper of nineteen forty three two men wit. Dean, just north of Glastonbury Mountain there was a chance in the air that morning, as Karl Erik and his cousin Henry set up their camp.
And then the men grand their rifles and headed out into the woods. It was dear season and they wanted to make the most of their time. During the hunt the men split up. It was common thing to do, even though it left each of them alone in a forest full of dangers. By afternoon Henry had given up and wandered back to camp, but Carl wasn't there yet so he waited daylight had faded into that grey hazy twilight between day and night, Henry and finally decided something was wrong, so he hiked his way back out of the trees and ran to the police after gathering some help together, every one returned to the woods near the campsite to begin their search for coral It took them three days three days of slowly walking through the trees three days in the snow and cold three days and worry, but in the end they found him Girls body was lane flat on the ground and his rifle was near.
We one hundred feet away, just leaning against a tree Interesting, interestingly, the ground around his body was covered in enormous footprints, hunters who found him weren't sure what sort of animal had made them, but they guessed it had been a bear. The which was odd because Herrick hadn't been mauled or injured. In any way, consistent with a bare attack he'd been squeezed to death, Ellie Carl, wouldn't be the last to experience the dangerous nature of the woods around Glastonbury Mountain just two years later in nineteen, forty five, A seventy four year old hunting guide me. Mickey rivers was leading a group of visiting hunters through the trees when he slipped out of you ahead of them, one of the others hurrying to catch up to rivers, but he wasn't there. After searching for over a month locals
I hope, no one ever saw many rivers again. Paula Weldon was the next to go a year after rivers vanished into the unknown Paula left her college Dormann Bennington to go for a hike ppm on December. First, she pulled on her bright red jacket and hiking choose Set off on the well known long trail, where many people remember seeing her, but she never return. One elderly couple that saw her that day claim this had been about one hundred yards ahead of them, but they lost sight of her when she round the bend were to trails intersected when they reached the same crossing. They were surprised to no longer see her she'd simply vanished. There was a massive search effort: there was a large cash reward, they had helicopters and dogs and over a thousand people. Everything that could have been done was done to fight.
her and with their bright red jacket on you'd, think she'd be easy to spot, but after that, the long weeks of fruitless searching. We all went home empty handed four years later, on October, ninth of nineteen fifty Paul Jeffson was out with his mother in their truck. I've read that the Jackson's ran the town dump or were maybe pig farmers. So I'm not exactly sure what Paul's mother was doing that day, but she pulled over there near the tree line and got out of the truck for a moment. Leaving eight year old, Paul inside. When she returned, he was gone. She shouted for him, but no one answered overcome with panic. She called the authorities for help and soon a whole team of rescue workers began to scour the woods there. It also might be worth pointing out that, like Weldon Little Paul was wearing a red jacket
but it wasn't meant to be Paul. Sent was followed by bloodhounds all the way to an intersection where it vanished the same intersection according to some locals, were Paula. Weldon, disappeared in front of the elderly. Couple Glastonbury woods: it seems a claim another life later that same month, Frida Langer her family were camped on the east side of the mountain. Frida was fifty three. Incredibly now, Jumble of the area around the mountain and a skilled hiker. So when she and her cousin Herbert Elsner headed out for a hike on October, twenty Eightth, they expected a good work out. Some beautiful scenery, nothing more about ten minutes into the hike Frida slipped while crossing a small stream. She wasn't her, but the fall had soaked her clothes and shoes which she knew was not going to make for a comfortable hike. So she told her cousin to hold tight and ran back toward camp to quickly chair
after waiting for almost an hour, Elsner started walking back toward camp He wasn't sure what had been taken, Frida so long, but he assumed he would bump To her on the trail at some point, but he didn't and when he stepped out of the trees and into camp, no one else had seen her either over the decades. It's all of the disappearances occurred. There have been a lot of theories tossed around. Perhaps that creature wit in the rain that night near long trail was still active and alive or maybe other humans are to blame, even a local serial killer. Some have even suggested that after Henry Migdol escaped from the Vermont State Asylum, he took up residence in the forest right there and was
help still alive and healthy enough in the nineteen fortys and fiftys the kidnap and kill people. It's all guesswork, though unclear and open to speculation. What is clear is the historical record. Real people have stepped into those woods and vanished people with lives in families and futures that all came to an abrupt end in the shadows between those trees in all about loss comes with its own fair share of real pain. It's a sobering thought. The one thing we all wish would vanish into the woods. All of that loss and pain and grief seems determined to stick around
The woods have always been a dangerous place. We can hurt ourselves there. We can get hurt by other things, it's wilderness after all, so it's about as far from safety as we can get. But when you take all of the story, into account. It feels like there's something more than dangerous about Glastonbury Mountain, so I believe the wearing the color red, is a sure fire way to guarantee your disappearance, as noted in some of the cases
I can't find any evidence that Frida had been wearing a red coat the day she disappeared. The same for many rivers, sometimes coincidence, is nothing more than that random details that appear to line up in a neat row when maybe they really don't our brains liked to connect. The dots, though we look for patterns like red coats or geographic epicenter is patterns. Are like tire tracks in a dirt road because their easy to slip into and hard to avoid, they feel sick. if against, even though they often aren't rationally. All of these disappearances could be viewed as nothing more than pure coincidence. These are dense woods. After all, Eggers go missing all over the world. Every single day, for a variety, simple reasons: they lose their way they get hurt. Or they encounter a wild animal. Whenever that happens, there
chance of survival drops below one hundred percent. The truth is a bitter pill. Sometimes people just don't come home. Still. We whisper stories. Local Vermont, folk Loris, Joseph Citroen, was the first to call the area, the Bennington Triangle, drawing comparisons. More famous triangle off the coast of Bermuda rather than ships in fighter jets. Bennington triangle just seems to be interested in people, and the name has stuck probably because it feels like such a good fit. Some people think it's all, because the mountain is curse. those enchanted stones, the ones the obnoxious claimed would swallow. People whole are like supernatural fly traps and the hunters in hikers who encounter them can never return Interestingly, a number of small cairns stone, mountains or towers used to mark special locations have been found
on the mountain local native Americans, won't take credit for them and there too, high up to Then built by the loggers and farmers who once inhabited the town below no one knows where they came from its just mysterious enough, make you wonder, isn't it That wonder, has a way of inspiring us. The legend horror, writer, surely, Jackson connected so deeply with the story of, Paula Weldon Machine. colluded elements of the disappearance in her nineteen, fifty one novel handsome and then again in nineteen, fifty seven in a short story called the missing girl to Jackson. There was a disturbing beauty, in a life that was alive and thriving one moment and completely gone the next others, though Are drawn to the story of Frida Langer and for good reason, but the thing that makes her disappearance so different from the others.
Isn't some small detail in what happened or how or where it's the conclusion of it all you see long after the search and rescue teams had given up and gone home after autumn and winter and well into spring. Someone finally found Frida Langer her body was discovered in a wide open area that had been thoroughly searched by hundreds of volunteers. Seven months before, just lying in the grass. In plain sight, no cause of death would be determined. This episode of war was researched, written and produced by me. Aaron monkey Lore,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-13.