An unspeakable horror lurks in the secluded hills of rural Vermont, and after the historic floods of 1917, mixed in with news stories of human loss and suffering are multiple reports of weird, sponge-like life-forms floating in a local river. Albert Wilmarth, a literature professor and folklore expert, responds to the claims with a healthy dose of skepticism and chalks up the sightings to naive locals mistaking storm-battered human remains for imagined aliens washing down from the hills.
But Wilmarth agrees to take a closer look after he receives a letter from Henry Akeley, a reclusive academic who lives near the hills and claims to have proof of the aliens' existence. As the two men correspond, the tone becomes ominous when Akeley's letters are mysteriously intercepted, and unseen forces attack his farmhouse at night. After gunfire erupts and Akeley’s guard dogs are killed, he begins making plans to flee from his home.
Wilmarth is baffled by Akeley’s next letter, praising the aliens and calling them benevolent. He urges Wilmarth to take a train to his Vermont farm for a meeting and asks that he bring with him the letters, photos, and other evidence Akeley had sent to prove that aliens lurked in the hills.
Within hours of his arrival, Wilmarth becomes a terrified believer and flees the farmhouse in fear for his life. When he returns with the local sheriff, Akeley has vanished and so has the proof of the alien's existence.
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