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Witch Windows: Oddities in Old Vermont Homes

For many Vermonters, seeing a slanted window is so common you may not be aware of how unusual they are in other states or why so many older homes in our state seem to have them. Certainly, they were more difficult to install. Was it just a way to fit a window in without having to resize? Let’s dive into a few different reasons these slanted windows may have been popular and why we keep them around now.

Witch Windows in Vermont

witch windows in vermont

Apparently, it was known by many that witches couldn’t fly through slanted windows. In order to stop your home from some unwelcome evil guests, this slanted window was installed to prevent entry. Vermont is home to the most witch windows in the entire world, a fact that Gordon’s Window Décor suggests you add to your party conversation. However, preventing witches may not have been the only use for these unusual light sources.

Coffin Windows

If you thought preventing evil spirits was spooky enough, the other legend behind the slanted windows is even more grim. The coffin window theory suggests that it was more than just lore, but an actual purpose for these windows was a common part of Vermont life. 1800’s caretakers were said to use these windows to bring coffins in and out of the home to avoid having to navigate thin hallways and odd staircases. Calling hours were often held inside the home of the family at this time, so it seems very plausible that the easiest way to get the coffin in and out would be through the window and down the slanted roof.

Back to Witch Windows

vermont slanted windows

While some say the witch window were to confuse the flying ladies, others believe they were installed for easier entry and exit via broom. Suppose there was a meeting of the coven in your home, having the slanted window allowed for better transportation options for your guests.

Vermont Windows

With yet another reason behind their existence, this one is completely free of spooky folklore. Many older homes in Vermont have addition after addition, particularly when large farm families were adding their fifth and sixth children. In order to bring extra light into rooms that may end up packed inside the house, windows were simply added wherever possible and sometimes the angles were a bit odd.

No matter where or why these windows originated, it’s always fun to have a piece of Vermont history that ties us all together. We’re an odd group of people so maybe the windows just made sense for us.

Thanks to Gordon’s Window Décor for compiling all of this fun information!