October 18, 2009

October Monster Mania: the Bennington Monster

In the early 19th century, a stagecoach full of passengers was traveling by Glastenbury Mountain near Bennington, Vermont. The night was rainy, and the horses were skittish - perhaps more skittish than they normally would be in bad weather. Eventually, the driver brought the carriage to a halt and dismounted because the road had been washed out.

And that's when he noticed the enormous footprints in the muddy road. Were they human? Were they animal? He couldn't tell. The other passengers left the coach to look at the prints, but no one could ascertain what type of creature made such unusual tracks.

And that's when some thing, unseen in the dark, attacked the coach and knocked it over with several blows. The passengers saw a pair of eyes staring at them from the dark, and then heard something roar and rush off into the darkness.

They had an encounter with the Bennington Monster.

The Bennington Monster has been seen many times since then. For example, in September 2003, Ray Dufresne of Winooski Vermont was driving by Glastenbury Mountain when he saw a large "black thing" by the road. It was well over six feet tall, and was "hairy from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet."

On September 16 that same year, a writer named Doug Dorst was driving near Bennington College when he saw something he at first thought was a man in a snowsuit. As he got closer, he realized the enormous, stocky creature he saw wasn't quite human. Several other sightings occurred around the same time in 2003.

I remember reading about this in 2003. At the time, local law enforcement officials thought it was Michael Greene, a known prankster who lived in the area. But Mr. Greene denied it, saying he wouldn't be dumb enough to run around the woods in a furry costume in hunting season.

So what is the Bennington Monster? A Yankee relative of Bigfoot? The folks over at the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization certainly have collected reports from Vermont, so maybe it is.

Or maybe, like the other creatures I've posted about this month, it's just another reason to keep your doors and windows locked when you're driving through the dark woods.

(I got most of this information from Joseph Citro's book Weird New England.)

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