Vermonters embrace the fact that you need to be a bit quirky in order to live here. In fact, it’s one of the things that we love the most about living in Vermont. But just when you think you’ve heard all the weird things that have happened here, you learn a few more things that may leaving you scratching your head. Could these be some of the strangest things that happened in Vermont?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Birthplace of "Free Love."
In 1938, Brattleboro native John Humphrey Noyes combined religious and social philosophy and formed the Perfectionist Community in Putney. Because Noyes preached that there was no marriage in Heaven, Perfectionists on earth could practice a "complex marriage" where the men were married to all women and therefore starting the first "free love" community. The town of Putney wasn't bothered by this community, that is, until they got wind of their sexual practices. Soon after they forced the group out of town and they moved to New York. Was this Vermont's first hippie commune?
In July, 2007, Springfield residents celebrated that their town was to be the home of the Simpsons. Despite getting a late start, Vermont's contest video won first place and Springfield, VT was awarded the claim to fame.
3. Freeze! You're under arrest!
Voters in Brattleboro and Marlboro approved a measure that would instruct police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution." Needless to say, Bush and Cheney have not attempted to visit these two towns after that.
4. What can be done behind bars?
Well, for Matthew Lyon, you can get re-elected to Congress while in jail. In 1798, Lyon was convicted and sentenced to four months in jail for defaming an American president. Lyon's crime was seemingly acceptable by the people, as he easily won the election.
5. Lookout Schoolhouse
The founding teacher and town physician, Dr. John Wilson, designed the only round schoolhouse in the Brookline countryside. Locals never understood what brought this dashing and educated man to the small town as well as wondered why he had a limp and always wore thick scarfs around his neck. It wasn't until after his death when an undertaker discovered his disfigurements that came from injuries from his sordid past. It was revealed that Dr. Wilson was really a famous British Highwayman known as "Captain Thunderbolt" who terrorized the Irish countryside and the England/Scotland border. A Robin Hood of sorts, he stole from the rich and gave to the poor before stashing enough away to afford an escape to America. Captain Thunderbolt spent the rest of his days hiding out in small town Brookline, watching for captors to come from the windows which faced every direction of his schoolhouse.
6. Healing or cursed?
Ripley's Believe It Or Not called the Brunswick Springs the "Eighth Wonder of the World." These 6 healing springs run next to each other and contain 6 different mineral content (Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, White Sulphur, Bromide and, for the most daring, Arsenic). The Abenaki used these springs and when businessmen tried to capitalize on them, they placed a curse stating “Any use of the waters of the Great Spirit for profit will never prosper.” It seems as though the curse worked because all 4 times a hotel was built there to capitalize on the springs they have inexplicably burned down before they could open for business. After the fourth try, no one has dared to build there again.
7 An unlikely love story.
A cow in Shrewsbury named Jessica had a surprising suitor - a 700 pound moose! The moose stayed for 76 days gazing at her, nuzzling her and making sure she always had enough to eat. The moose finally went back to the wild when his antlers fell off, which happens to coincide with when they lose their, um, urges.
8. A hole in the head.
On September 13, 1848, Phineas Gage was at work when an iron rod went completely through his skull. The craziest part? He survived!
9. When you gotta go...
The downtown streets of Bristol have livened up every 4th of July for over 30 years. Behold the annual Outhouse Races! Racers run with their handmade outhouses in heats, and the finish line is made of - you guessed it - toilet paper. Check out the video by stuckinvermont:
10. We were in a WHAT!?!?
In 1971, St Albans was delighted when a movie was filmed in their town. Locals were cast as extras and many of the town's higher-ups such as the mayor and police chief were invited to the premier in Montreal. You can imagine their surprise when the movie started and they learned that the movie had received an X Rating!
11. A counterfeit discovery
In 2006, two of Donald Trachte's children made a discovery within the walls of their late father's home. The prized Norman Rockwell painting "Breaking Home Ties" which had been seen by hundreds of thousands of people at the Rockwell museum was a fake, done by none other than Trachte himself. The original was found and sold at auction for $15.4 million. Read the whole story