Seeing a Witch Window in Vermont and getting confused, a tourist stopped a local on the street.
“Excuse me. Why does that window look so strange?” the tourist asked.
“Which window?” the local answered.
This is just one part of the folklore surrounding this oddly shaped window which seems to be found predominantly in Vermont.
What Are Witch Windows?
Witch Windows are basically tilted windows that fit into awkward spaces. They’re often installed places where other windows won’t fit properly. And very often, they’ll make you do a double-take because they look so incredibly strange.
These types of windows appear to have been installed incorrectly. They often look like they were installed at a 45-degree angle. What was the carpenter thinking when building this into the house? I mean, why not put in a few small windows. Or perhaps the space doesn’t need a window at all?
Why Are They So Common In Vermont?
It’s actually not known why these windows are primarily found in Vermont. For a long time, locals thought that they were only found in Vermont. However the internet reveals that this style of window is also found in rural areas of New Hampshire and Maine, and other parts of England.
In these other places, though, the windows are referred to as simply “crooked”. So they’re not quite a real Witch Window.
Folklore & Tall Tales
These windows are installed in the upper stories of the gable-end wall of old farmhouses. They’re normal, portrait-style windows, but they’re angled so that the long edge is parallel to the roof slope.
One story is that witches cannot fly in these crooked windows. Apparently witches cannot fly through angled windows because their broom handles won’t fit.
This reminds me of the dog meme that always makes me laugh no matter what.
The problem with this theory is that it begs the question: If witches getting in is the concern, then why aren’t all the windows in the house angled?
Surely, it would only take one vertical window for a witch (and her broomstick) to get in, right?
Another theory to the crooked window arose from the. name “coffin window”. This is another term used to describe the crooked windows. Supposedly when people in Vermont pass away, they do so in the upper levels of their house. Because of this, the window would allow the coffin to pass through easier.
This seems kind of silly though. The body isn’t placed in the coffin at home, it’s done so at the funeral parlour. Also, the windows are usually much too small for a coffin to fit through.
Makes you wonder why they exist in the first place, right?
What Is The Real Reason For Witch Windows?
The real reason for Witch Windows is much more useful and practical.
When people built and designed their homes, they added a side wing. Typically this new addition obscured the gable wall. This gable wall is also known as the old side of the house.
Because of this, the owner would lose much of the ventilation and light in the rest of the house. And at times there was not enough room on the outside wall to install a regular window. Of course, custom-built windows aren’t cost effective because of all the effort they take.
However, in the interest of practicality, someone in Vermont had an idea: Why not install a pre-made, cost efficient window… and put it at an angle?
The tilted window would allow for the goal of increased light and circulation. Furthermore, the windows were often also made from leftover building supplies. This made them even more cost efficient and effective.
How To See Vermont’s Witch Windows
Witch Windows of Vermont can be found throughout Vermont. You will especially find them in the north. The town of Craftsbury, in Vermont, has at least two examples of tilted windows.
Along the corridor of route 100 from Waterbury to Morrisville there are at least six more examples of these obscure, lazy-looking windows.