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Sunday October 2, 2011

GLASTENBURY -- A team of paranormal investigators hiked into Glastenbury over the weekend to survey the area known as the "Bennington Triangle."

Provided that they ever make it out safely, the group will use the experience along with any found phenomena in a hourlong documentary that will explore Glastenbury's rich and varied folklore.

"We're really trying to tell the accurate story of the area, and these unusual reports -- what's actually happened as far as these reports are concerned," said Nick Smith, founder and director of Crypto Paranormal Investigations. "Because there are crazy claims. Especially (regarding missing persons)."

Beforehand, the director of the Queens, N.Y.-based team said that he did not expect to capture any paranormal evidence.

"Real paranormal activity seems fairly rare," said Smith in the days leading up to the investigation. "When my group goes into a paranormal investigation we really go with the intent of trying to disprove. We do this about 96 percent of the time."

A three-person team -- two investigators and a camerawoman -- struck out Friday morning from a pull-off on Route 9 to hike to the summit of Glastenbury Mountain. Saturday, they planned to hike down the Long Trail to the Melville Nauheim Shelter, the last known location in one missing persons case.

The investigators brought a plethora of equipment, including infrared thermal imaging, night vision and full spectrum cameras, hypersensitive audio recorders with parabolic microphones, motion sensors, and other sensors measuring temperature, barometric pressure, and electromagnetic and gamma radiation.

Smith said that his group, founded in 2004, had never found "actual legitimate activity that, for lack of a better word, defies explanation." But, he went on to say, "even the most active places aren't active every day."

The team went unheard from Sunday evening -- whether due to paranormal phenomena or poor cellphone reception remains anyone's guess.

Past investigations in Vermont by Crypto Paranormal Investigations have included a private residence in Burlington, a college dorm at Green Mountain College in Poultney, and Golden Brook Bridge in Stowe.

In the Glastenbury wilderness, Smith said that his team would look for "anything anomalous, anything that can't be explained, any possible trace of these people that have gone missing."

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The group has worked on the documentary over the past year, filming, conducting research, and interviewing local residents, including Tyler Resch, the Bennington Museum librarian who authored the 2008 book titled "Glastenbury: The History of A Vermont Ghost Town."

Joseph Citro, the Vermont author who coined the term "Bennington Triangle" in 1992, has also written extensively about the area. Archival Banner reports also served to whet the appetite of Smith and his team.

The documentary film will revolve around Glastenbury Mountain, the surrounding area, and its history of unusual events, Smith said.

"In actuality ... most of the things reported there my group really doesn't deal with," Smith said. "We don't study bigfoot, we don't study UFOs. But in general we've found the overall story to be just so interesting that we really want to try to tell and explore, through a visual means, and document it."

Reports from Glastenbury over the years have run the gamut from suspicious to incredulous, and have included aforementioned UFO and bigfoot sightings, Indian burial ground rumors, and also many, many disappearances.

Glastenbury was unincorporated by the state in 1937, its status as "ghost town" perhaps intensifying later missing persons reports.

Despite as many as 30 reported missing persons in the area, Smith said that his research confirmed only two bona fide Glastenbury disappearances: That of Middie Rivers, a hunting guide who went missing in 1945, and Freida Langer, a local woman who went missing in 1950, and whose body eventually turned up near a flood dam at the Somerset Reservoir.

Crypto Paranormal Investigations' Glastenbury documentary is scheduled to be completed some time next year. Its focus, length, and even title remain heavily dependent on this weekend's investigation.

"If we find something (that) could be very impressive, if we don't find something, I think that tells us something entirely different about the location," Smith said. Either way, the timing couldn't be more opportune.

"Right now we're living in the biggest heightened interest in the paranormal since the Victorian Era, since the birth of the spiritual movement," Smith said, crediting that popularity to a slew of paranormal investigation television shows.

Contact Zeke Wright at


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