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The Strange Disappearances in Bennington Vermont

The Bennington Disappearances

The small town of Bennington Vermont was the center of several high-profile disappearances in the 1940's and 1950's - two of these disappearances occurring on the date December 1.

One of the most mysterious is the case of Paula Welden, a blonde, blue-eyed 18-year old Bennington College sophomore who disappeared on December 1, 1946. On that Sunday afternoon, Paula told her roommate, Elizabeth Johnson, that she was going for a hike.

According to the Bennington Evening Banner of December 1, 1955, college friends noticed her on the path to Bennington. Several others noted having seen or encountered her, including Danny Fager, proprietor of the gas station at the college entrance, Louis Knapp, a contractor, and Ernie Whitman, the night watchman. Paula's father, W. Archibald Welden of Stamford, Connecticut arrived shortly to help in the search for his daughter.

Sheriff Clyde Peck led men into the deep woods surrounding the disappearance area looking for Paula between Glastenbury and Bald Mountain. Soldiers from Fort Devens searched the Long Trail area. Despite help from the FBI, the governor of Vermont, Vermont State Detective, and even State Police from Connecticut and the converge of over 100 reporters from the East Coast, no trace of Paula has ever been found.

Other notable disappearances included:

1] Middie Rivers - age 75 - a local Bennington hunter and fisherman. He disappeared November 12, 1945, somewhere around Hell Hollow, between Bald and Glastenbury Mountains. Searchers were able to find no trace of him.

2] James E. Tedford - age 65. It's not known if Mr. Tedford actually vanished near Bennington, but on December 1, 1949, his relatives reported him upon a Bennington-bound bus from St. Albans. Other passengers reported seeing him sleeping, but when the bus arrived in Bennington, James was nowhere to be found, his belongings left behind. No trace has ever been located.

3] Paul Jepson - age 8 of Shaftsbury. On October 12, 1950, this little boy wandered away from his mother's truck in a wooded area, close to where Paula Welden had vanished. A search of the area with bloodhounds ended abruptly on one spot on the trail.

4] Two weeks after the Paul Jepson disappearance on October 28, 1950, Frieda Langer, age 53 of North Adams, Massachusetts disappeared in the vicinity of the others. Frieda, left her husband Max, age 58, resting in camp with a bad knee. She then embarked on a hike with her cousin Herbert Elsner. Walking through the woods of Mt. Pisgah, she fell crossing a creek. She left back for camp on her own at 3:50 p.m. taking a shortcut. At 4:45 she had not arrived back at camp. Her remains were located seven months later, although strangely, they were located in an area that had been thoroughly searched.


Bennington Evening Banner - December 1, 1955
Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal - November 30, 1950