Strange things happen everywhere, and Vermont is no different when it comes to local legends and folklore. Natural phenomena have always been a source of interest and today’s day in age is no different. Upon investigating some of these unusual Vermont events, several different theories were discovered. Some are reasonable and scientific while others are outrageous, but all are wildly entertaining! If you have any thoughts on these strange happenings, please share them – maybe together we can start debunking some of the myths… While others theories may make believers out of the most skeptical readers.
12. A Barking Beach
Somewhere between Cumberland Head and South Hero, there is a beach where the sand is said to make dog noises. Supposedly, if you fill 2 zip lock bags together with sand from this beach, and bang them together, the result is supposed to resemble a dog barking. Oh, and once you leave the beach, this strange phenomena is said to stop working.
11. Cars that roll uphill in Richford?
Along the Canadian border near East Richford, a mysterious dirt road is the talk of much speculation. On this rural stretch of gravel, cars are said to defy gravity and roll uphill! There have been quite a few reports of alleged experiences reported, one even claiming their car rolled up hill as fast as 15 miles per hour.
10. Burled Forest
On a remote stretch of the waterfront bike path, just south of North Beach in Burlington (an area locals call “the back 40”), is a natural phenomenon known as the “Burled Forest.” This patch of woods has been deformed by the fierce southwestern winds that blast off the lake and each tree sports multiple “burls” – enlarged growth areas – along its trunk. Burled trees may be found in many places here, but the strange part about the Back 40 is how this natural happening has not affected any of the trees adjacent to the area. It is contained in one specific area, and it’s truly spectacular.
9. Strange Hum in Newark
In Caledonia County, part of the Northeast Kingdom, residents in Newark hear a mysterious sound. It is often described as an elusive low-pitched humming resembling the distant drone of an engine. But no one knows what it is, also, not everyone can hear it – even if they are sitting in the same room. There is no electricity in the area, and even if the hum occurred from a great distance away, it can still be heard during power outages. That is, if you’re one of the people who can hear it… No definite answers have been brought forth, making this a modern day mystery.
8. Balancing Rock
The Balancing Rock, which rests high on the slopes of Mount Elmore, is a large boulder that seems to defy gravity. This boulder, roughly 20 feet long and 6 feet high, is poised off the ground by the significantly smaller rock that it rests on, after a glacier dropped the massive rock here (it is thought) during the last ice age. Though it’s safe to climb on, just be weary, you wouldn’t want to be the one to unbalance the balancing rock… or be standing under it when it does.
7. A Vanishing Roadway?
In the town of Lyndon, there is a dirt road that vanishes, and reappears. Not much is known about this baffling byway, even where exactly it is located, when it vanishes, and why (not to mention how!). While the folklore has been around for decades, the only real conclusion is that no one could possibly live on this road. How could they ever get home?
6. Vanishing town in the mountains?
In the late 1800s, Vermont lumberman and entrepreneur Silas Griffith established a lumber mill in the mountains of Mount Tabor in a town named Griffith, after Silas himself. The town later changed it’s name to Old Job, named after one of the mills, and boasted around 50 buildings including a school, store, boarding house, a blacksmith, and stable.
Expansive logging was done, and the mills produced great mounds of profitable sawdust. Today, the town has vanished, and the wilderness has since reclaimed what was once hers, but slight remnants of the former community can still be seen – such as a massive pile of sawdust, a barren and dry wasteland amidst a sea of nature.
5. Floating Islands
In Whitingham lies a small body of water called Lake Sadawga, which has a rare and intriguing feature… if you can spot it. Here lies a floating island about 100 acres wide, that moves around the lake. (Older newspaper accounts actually said that the island appeared to be growing in size at one point!) If spotted, it would be a strange and inspiring landscape indeed. Likely, the floating island is loosely tethered by roots to the pond’s bottom, but it will always be a major feature of Sadawga Pond and certainly worth checking out.
4. Did you hear something?
In certain parts of Burlington, it is said that the sound of rushing water can sometimes be heard faintly coming from below the YMCA building. While this puzzling experience is said to happen rarely, it’s possible that the answer may come from the lost ravine which was once filled with garbage in the 1800s to create more land for developing. At the bottom of the ravine ran a stream, a tributary of the Winooski River, which dumped into the lake around where Maple Street runs into Perkins Pier. Perhaps the stream is still there despite the ravine being filled in over a century ago. Listen up next time you’re in those parts and let us know if you hear anything strange.
3. Raining Stones
In 1874, Thomas Paddock from North Pownal claimed that his small farm in was under supernatural assault, when his property was pelted and battered by a mysterious shower of stones that rained from the sky. A sensible man, Paddock assumed a person or children must have catapulted the stones, but he never found the source.
The stones continued to rain day and night, and they hit his house, barn, yard, and various outbuildings. They varied in size from tiny pebbles, to four or five inches in diameter, and once a boulder weighing more than 20 pounds dropped out of nowhere, and made a three inch impression where it landed on the ground. To further add to the confusion, when the stones touched down, they wouldn’t skip or bounce as one normally would if thrown by human hand, instead, they would roll along, sometimes uphill and were said to be hot to the touch, even on cold winter nights. Pictured are children in North Pownal at the turn of the century.
2. The Orb Of The Valley
A strange light called “The Orb Of The Valley” is said to float around the deep hollows of the remote Lost Nation area in the hills that make up the Bakersfield-Fairfield town line. The orb is roughly the size of a basketball and hovers above the ground, and moves slowly through the woods. Is it a UFO, swamp gas, spirit, or something totally unknown? It also may also possess some sort of intelligence as it is able to navigate around trees and other obstacles, and has been claimed that it has stopped to observe a unexpected bystander. Now this we have to see!
1. Whispering Statue
Barre is well known for its granite and the amazing monuments carved from it. One statue named “Youth Triumphant” was erected in the 1920s, but its unofficial nickname, “The Whispering Statue,” might be a more accurate name. Local tales say that if you whisper to someone at the other end of the plaza, they will be able to hear your voice as if they were whispering into their ear. Those who have had it work say that the trick is that you have to sit so that the statue blocked your view of the other person.
Let us know if you’ve been to any of these places – what are your thoughts? What do you think causes these things?