Doc Benton Legend

Legend                                                                                                     Mark Widerschein

“Doc Benton” (Verbal)                                                                                            Hanover



Informant Info: Mark Widerschein is from Cleveland, Ohio and is a student at Dartmouth College. He is a English major with a minor in environmental science in the class of 2017. Outside of the class room he is a lightweight rower for the Dartmouth Rowing Club and a member of Chi Gamma Epsilon.

Contextual Data:

Mark is a very active member in the Dartmouth Outing Club. He attended First-Year trips during the end of the summer of 2013 and led a trip during the end of the summer of 2015. Every DOC First-Year Trips, the students end their trip at the Moosilauke Lodge before college orientation. Since the 1920s/1930s, the first night at Moosilauke ends with the storytelling of the legend of Doc Benson. There are numerous contextual styles to the legend and the legend is passed down from generation to generation by members of the Lodge croo orally.

Type of Lore: Verbal, Legend, Urban Legend

Language: English

Country of Origin: USA

Social Context: This video was taken in his room in Chi Gamma Epsilon in a relaxed setting and conducted in English.


Item: The Legend of Doc Benton- There is this kid who grew up in Warren. He was an extremely smart child and would hike over Mt. Moosilauke to go a different school and eventually to Germany for medical school. Doc Benson finished his studies and was very involved with studying the idea of eternal life. He returned to Warren and became the town doctor but a pandemic killed a significant portion of the town, including his wife and kids. Following he receded from the town and hide in his shack in the woods. He was rarely seen by the town and only returned for supplies when necessary and became the town ghost. He developed a reputation as a strange and mysterious old woodsman in the area.

One Halloween, a group of boys decided to visit Doc Benton’s house on a cold foggy night. They approached the house to find bright lights coming from all the windows and approached the window to barely see anything because of the dense fog. Doc Benton notices the boys and stares at the adventurous boys as they run back to town.

The following winter was a brutally cold with a terrible amount of snowfall. For no apparent reason, animals have been randomly dying throughout the town with a white scratch behind the ear and a red dot on its head. The town is freaked out by the brutal winter and odd number of animals dying with strange signs. Later in the winter, a schoolgirl named Mary is disappears in her back yard and her mother notices footprints leading into the woods which make it seem like she was dragged out by an adult. Her mother panics and rounds up the entire town to search for her. The town follows the footsteps which led to a boxed canyon at the top of Mt. Moosilauke. There would be nowhere for the kidnapper to go since there are steep cliffs at either side. However, they get to the end of the canyon and do not find Mary! But, they look up and see Doc Benton climbing up the cliff with Mary on her shoulder with incredible ease until he gets to the absolute top of the cliff and throws her off.

(At this point the lodge croo screams and all of the trippees are frightened!)

Mary is then found dead at the bottom of the cliff when a white scratch behind her ear and a red dot on her head.

There have been other stories throughout the years from caretakers at Moosilauke and other people in the area that claim they have seen Doc Benton wandering the woods and haunting local townspeople and hikers.


Collector’s Comments: This is probably the most well-known Dartmouth legend because every student on DOC First-Year Trips has heard the story. It was very interestsing to get some more background and context to the legend and the more recent account of Doc Benton.

Tags/Keywords: Doc Benton, trips, Moosilauke, legend, hiking



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