(Host) It’s the beginning of a new year and commentator Joe Citro reflects on some new developments in a very old mystery.
(Citro) As 2003 changes into 2004, it’s like ending one chapter of a Vermont mystery and beginning another. Maybe this year “The Case of the Bennington Bigfoot” will finally be solved.
The strange events began at the highest elevation on Route 7 between Bennington and Manchester — that mysterious area near Glastenbury Mountain.
On September 26 Noah Hoffenberg of The Bennington Banner reported that a Winooski man, Ray Dufresne, was driving north after visiting his daughter at Southern Vermont College. Beside the road he spotted a “big, black thing,” over six feet tall, with extremely long arms. It weighed, he guessed, some 270 pounds. He said, “It was hairy from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.” Walking on two legs, it headed into the woods.
An experienced hunter, Mr. Dufresne was positive he wasn’t seeing a bear or moose.
At first he thought it was a joke – someone in a gorilla suit. But why there? Nothing was around: no houses, no empty cars. Nothing.
The mystery deepened as other people began reporting the alleged creature.
On September 16th at 7:45 p.m. writer Doug Dorst was driving along Route 7 toward Bennington College. Approaching the same spot he said he saw what looked like a “homeless dude. in a snowsuit.”
As Mr. Dorst got closer, the thing turned around, looking directly at him. This was no “homeless dude.” The creature’s face was light brown; its body black. It was over six-feet tall and stocky. Of course the possibility of trickery crossed the writer’s mind – but there was no evidence of a hoax.
When the story came out in the Bennington Banner, two women admitted to having seen the “beast” the same night as Mr. Dufresne. They got closer – just 10 or 20 feet away. Neither saw its face, but they thought it had a tail. They concluded it must be a big person in a costume.
Soon suspicion shifted to a known practical joker, a local man named Michael Greene. But Mr. Green denies any involvement. A hunter himself, he’d know the dangers of hoaxing. Armed men drive around down there. Anyone romping through the woods in a gorilla suite would be taking his life in his hands.
So the mystery continues. And has continued for hundreds of years. Great hairy beasts – long known as “The Bennington Monster” – have been spotted on the Glastenbury slopes since colonial times.
Mr. Dufresne, Mr. Dorst and the two ladies are just four in a long line of witnesses; Mr. Greene but one of many suspected tricksters. And “The Bennington Bigfoot” lives on among myriad Vermont mysteries.
This is Joe Citro.