Thomas Benton was born in Benton, N.H., around the middle of the 18th century. An excellent student, by his late teens he was attending medical school in Heidelberg, which at that time was a university of great renown. A bright and aspiring student there as well, he was soon introduced to one Professor Stockmeyer.
Professor Stockmeyer, while brilliant, was viewed as an eccentric by his colleagues. After his death in 1779, the professor left all of his belongings -- including all of his research -- to his young partner, Thomas Benton.
Thomas Benton went on to graduate from medical school. Now Doctor Benton, he lived for some time in London and Boston, but fled both after being accused of or somehow involved in a number of mysterious "disappearances."
Eventually, Doctor Benton returned to the town where he had spent his youth and established a successful medical practice. He practiced medicine for years, and gained the respect and love of the community.
He never aged a single day.
Years passed, and Doctor Benton`s behavior grew more irregular. Benton`s erratic actions led to the failure of his practice and he lost the centricity he once had held in the town. He aged suddenly, with his hair turning white and his skin wrinkling.
Doctor Benton abruptly abandoned his fine house and moved to a shack outside of the town. His only contact with the outside world was a monthly trip to buy food and other supplies. Or so it seemed.
When a group of pranksters tried to scare Doc Benton late one evening, they were greeted by a vision out of a horror story -- a crazed, withering hermit, barely more than a skeleton, bent over tables of bubbling tubes and wicked instruments.
They ran, and the legend of Doc Benton was born.
A short time later, a cow was found dead. The cause of death was a small red swelling, with a white pinprick in the middle, behind the left ear. Next was a horse -- and the marking was the same.
When a local noticed that Doc Benton was no longer visiting town every month, he visited the shack where the old hermit lived.
Inside was Doc Benton, with the same red swelling and white pinprick behind his left ear. Dead.
What happens next is where the legend begins. All that is known for sure is that one night a family in town woke to the screams of its six-year-old child. She had been kidnapped. Four would be rescuers chased a black cloaked figure in the falling snow to the base of the headwall of Moosilauke. There, they found an impossible sight. The black cloaked figure, carrying the child, had ascended the unascendable headwall in the midst of a vicious snowstorm. To the horror of the men below, the figure whirled around and threw his victim into the air.
She fell, screaming, to her death. And who was the figure cloaked in black? All four witnesses agreed -- it was none other than Thomas Benton.
Doc Benton was never seen again, but it is said that he still roams the mountain, and somehow possesses the key to eternal life -- haunted, surely, but eternal.
Years pass, and the tale grows in its telling, resurging after incidents like an incident that occurred in 1860. A cable to the Tip-Top House on Moosilauke`s summit was cut by an unknown hand, and the logger that went out to look for the problem was found dead minutes after he had ventured out into the raging snowstorm.
He had a red swelling with a white pinprick in the middle behind his left ear.
Ask around, and you may hear more recent stories. One is told by Evan Skow `03, who found an old print in the mud from a style of boots that are not worn anymore on an old, unused trail near the summit of Moosilauke while hiking alone. There had been no tracks fifteen minutes earlier.
Look at the records and you will find evidence of the life of Thomas Benton as well as other, more sinister events. Much is known, much can be explained, but there is still much which remains unexplainable. At one time, Thomas Benton did live. Does he still?
Spend a night on the summit of Moosilauke and find out for yourself, or sit by the fire and listen to the tale as it is told. The choice is yours.
Update: We now know what happened to Doc Benton and why he disappeared. As it turns out, two guys by the names Sam and Dean Winchester chained him inside a refrigerator and buried him on the mountain.