The Obscure Story Of Vermont’s Frozen Hill People Will Give You Goosebumps

Once upon a time, the United States was buzzing with news of the Polar Vortex. On the tail of such frigid temperatures, we’ve pulled this story out of the frosty archives of the Green Mountain State’s folklore. Settle yourself in for a chilling winter tale, the story of Vermont’s frozen hill people will send shivers down your spine. The account was originally published on the front page of the Montpelier Argus and Patriot, on December 21, 1887. Reported to be true, the reporter “found” entries in his Uncle William’s diary detailing one family’s ritual of freezing their elderly and weak and putting them into literal cold storage for the winter. It’s one of those creepy urban legends in Vermont that can’t be true, right?

Have you ever heard the story of these frozen hill people? Do you believe it could have happened? Share your thoughts in the comments section: we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Vermont is full of local folklore and legends. For example, the tale of this haunted bridge in Vermont is downright spooky.

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Frozen People in Vermont

July 11, 2022

What is the legend of the deep-frozen folks in Vermont?  

The legend of the Frozen Hill People of Vermont is a strangely eerie one. It may or may not be true, much like any old legends in Vermont you might hear, but it sure is spooky nevertheless. It first came to light in 1887 on the front pages of the Montpelier Argus and Patriot. According to legend, Vermonters would save room and resources during the winter by freezing their elderly, sick, and otherwise high-maintenance family members until spring, when, like frozen vegetables, they would be thawed out. Of course, this isn’t physically possible – or is it?  

Have there been any literally frozen Vermonters who have survived?  

Though there are no known stories or cases in which someone who has frozen to death in Vermont was able to be “brought back” to life, there are some incredibly harrowing stories in which folks in other parts of the world – and the United States – survive cold conditions. Several stories come from Michigan, New Jersey, and other notably cold states. One famous night in 1980, a woman named Jean Hilliard survived the unimaginable: stranded in the snow, she was found the next morning frozen nearly solid and thought to be deceased. She was brought to the hospital where, shockingly, she was found to be somehow alive. She was thawed out and made a full recovery, seemingly miraculously. This is not the norm; typically, those who freeze overnight die, but not Ms. Hilliard.  

What is there to know about strange Vermont history?  

Vermont is a beautiful place, but it’s also pretty strange sometimes. Did you know that Vermont was the first state to have a community that practiced “free love,” way back in the 1930s? Yep. It wasn’t San Francisco – it was us! In 2007, Springfield, Vermont, was named the “Simpsons Town” for one day in honor of the legendary, long-running cartoon sitcom. Anyone who’s watched it knows that it’s never been made clear just where Springfield in the show is, but hey! For one day in 2007, it was right here in Vermont.

Another weird-but-fun Vermont history nugget is Brunswick Springs, a rare set of natural springs in Vermont that spit out six important minerals. What’s weird about it is that Native folks placed a curse on the area to make sure there were no commercial ANYTHINGS built here, and it appears to have worked – all four attempts burned to the ground, and never again did anyone try to develop the land there. Vermont might just be as weird as it is beautiful.