If you’re not from New England, more specifically Vermont, you may have never heard of a witch window. These are also commonly referred to as a Vermont window. There’s an interesting story about how it acquired the name of the witch window though.
The witch window serves a practical purpose, first and foremost. While it may look silly from the outside of the home, it allows for natural light, airflow and ventilation to the upper floors of a home. This was especially important in the ‘olden days’, because a homes insulation wasn’t very good and temperatures in the second and third floors of the home would skyrocket in the summer.
Because some roof lines have angles that do not allow for regular windows, a witch windows is placed at an angle along that line. This allows for full size, fully functional single hung or double hung window. The window can open fully and allows for air to enter the home and even create a cross breeze when the home’s architecture allows.
The witch window is also known as a Vermont window. This is because it made it’s first appearance in the state of Vermont.
After a carpenter built his home, he realized how hot it was during the summer months in the upstairs rooms. He cut holes and installed windows at an angle on the gable ends. This created the much needed air flow and cooled off the rooms immensely.
Many modern built homes or newly renovated older homes use the witch window as a design feature. It has a unique look and added value of increased natural lighting.
This might be a true story, or it might be a fun fable, nevertheless it’s a good story to tell around Halloween… As story has it, a 19th century Vermont homestead was having a problem with witches flying into their home at night. All hours of the night. Wreaking havoc every night. The homesteaders noticed that the witches only came at night and only flew through the upstairs windows.
Well, they certainly could not have the windows closed during the summer months, it was far too hot. These crafty homesteaders decided to take matters into their own hands. Using logic and a lot of muscle, they removed the upstairs windows and placed them on an angle.
A witch will bang her head if she tries to fly straight through an angled window. Thus the witches all banged their heads when trying to enter the home the next night. They left, never returned and will never try to enter a home with a witch window again!