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Vermont: Cross-Dimensional Portal or Simply a Creativity-Inducing Hot Spot?

By Willow Croft

Vermont: Leaf-peeping, maple syrup, snowy hills that sparkle under star-strewn

skies—it’s a state full of the magic of nature. But is there another sort of magic that is woven

into that gorgeous landscape? As a writer of speculative fiction, I spend a lot of time in

imaginary worlds, but I definitely embrace science and have a healthy skeptical side. So, when I

had some odd incidents happen to me while I was residing in Vermont, I was hard-pressed to

explain them. Because I haven’t been able to come up with a suitable rational

explanation—yet—they remain within the realm of (imaginative) personal experience—stories,


Back in 1998, I was in need of a total change. On a whim, I decided to apply to a college

in Vermont that embraced alternative methods of teaching and appeared to be nontraditional in

other ways. It seemed to offer a much-needed break from my home state of Florida, which I was

finding very restrictive due to its increasingly conservative nature. At this college, I found an

environment that not only embraced creative expression; it channeled that energy into social and

cultural activism.

Some claimed the campus was a vortex, and such a concept was a little too “out there”

for my practical side to entertain. So, of course, I had two very strange experiences happen to me

while I was on campus.

Haunted Dorms? Don’t Be Ridiculous!

The first one happened when I was in my dorm room, and I was awakened (or thought I

was) by a pressure at the end of the bed, like someone sitting on the mattress. I looked down at

the end of the bed, and there was an elder man in a tweed coat sitting in one of my desk chairs.

He told me his name was Herschel. I often have very lucid, vivid dreams, so I went along with

the odd experience, and looked around the room. I noticed there were no longer curtains at the

windows, and a woman with dark hair was standing by one of them, looking out into the night.

There was also a young girl sitting in the other desk chair, slouched down and with her head

bowed. I remembered thinking that this definitely had to be a dream, even though I felt like I was

awake, so I did a test—I looked up at the ceiling, and it was lit up by my nightlight that had a red

bulb, and I looked back around the room, and the people were still there. Then more people

started to show up, and, because there wasn’t anywhere else to sit, they started sitting on my bed.

I jumped up, grabbed my blanket, and sat out in the common room until sunup. When the RA

(resident assistant) came out into the common room, he told me that other students had

experiences where they felt like somebody was coming into their room or was in the room with

them. However, nobody else seemed to be able to describe the figures I saw with any sort of

detail, so, again, it remains just that: an interesting story about some unexplained, and purported,

paranormal activity.

That’s One Persistent Optical Illusion!

The second time was broad daylight, and I had just finished lunch at the cafeteria and was

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