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COUNTY: Bennington County
LOCATION DETAILS: You need to get on Vermont Route 7A and the turn-off for the park is labeled. I am not sure of exact directions before then but if you reach the Equinox Hotel you have gone too far.
NEAREST TOWN: Manchester
NEAREST ROAD: I don't remember but it was the main road that you turn off of to get to Hildene Mansion.
OBSERVED: I am a Civil War re-enactor and I was participating in an event on the grounds of Hildene Mansion, which is Robert Todd Lincoln's home near Manchester, Vermont. We were camped on the front lawn of the mansion, which is bordered on two sides by woods. The whole area is somewhat off the beaten path, the house is probably a half mile from the main road.
In the middle of Friday night, I would guess around 1-2 a.m., I woke up and was walking to the building beside the main house to use the rest room, and as I left my tent and was walking toward the restroom I heard footsteps walking near me in the woods. They seemed to follow me as I went to the rest room and as I walked back from the rest room they walked back with me to my tent. The whole time walking back I had an uneasy feeling like I was being watched.
The next night, Saturday, I was sitting around the campfire around 11:00 pm talking and we heard footsteps coming from the woods which we were right next to, but the noises were coming from inside the woods. We shined a flashlight on the area that the noise was coming from and it stopped immediatly and as we turned the flashlight off we heard the noises again heading away from us.
Both times that I heard the noise it sounded like a large animal and from what I could hear it sounded like a large animal walking on two feet. While there were other groups at the event I don't think that it was another person as there were trails that were clear that they could have used. Also of course it was so late at night and there was no light from a lantern or a flashlight.
OTHER WITNESSES: On Saturday night there were two other people with me around the fire and we all heard the footsteps. I have talked with them and tried to get them to submit a report but they have refused.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: On Friday, I heard the noise around 1-2 a.m. It was dark with just the moonlight, which was very clear. No wind. There was lighting over by the building with the restrooms.
The conditions on Saturday were the same and we were sitting around a fire.
ENVIRONMENT: The location is up on a hill overlooking a river valley. It was a regular wooded setting around a large house and grounds.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Christopher Noel:
I spoke with the witness. He is sincere. He reiterated to me that he was reluctant to file a report until, recently, he learned more about the subject. On the Friday night, what made him most nervous was not that the footsteps followed him to the restroom in the first place (he thought some animal may have been happening to walk in the same direction), but that they followed him back afterwards. Also salient was that the steps were distinctly bipedal and that they did not use the trails but rather proceeded through leaves and underbrush, back inside the woods, with no light. On Saturday night, he and a couple (whom he described as "very practical") heard the footsteps clearly as they sat around a campfire at the edge of the woods. Again, the sounds came from far enough inside the woods that a flashlight could not reach the source.
About BFRO Investigator Christopher Noel:
Chris holds Master's Degrees from Yale University and Vermont College and has been teaching at Vermont College for twenty years. He has published four books, both fiction and nonfiction.
He has attended several private and public expeditions and organized New Hampshire Expedition 2008.