Tales Told Two! A Vera Van Slyke Story Set Near Where I Grew Up

This week’s episode of Tales Told When the Windows Rattle spotlights a Vera Van Slyke adventure set not far from where I spent most of my childhood. In fact, I rode my bike to Stickney House once or twice. It’s great to see that there’s now a plan to renovate the weird, old place.

Stickney House as it looked around 1901, when Vera Van Slyke allegedly investigated it

What makes Stickney House weird are its corners. They’re rounded, and — despite a theory that’s widely accepted in the region — I don’t believe anyone really knows why. Voiced by the character Mrs. Haase, that theory involves the Stickneys being Spiritualists and the rounded corners being somehow involved with the séances they held inside. It might very well be true — and I sure believed it when I was a kid — but now? Now, I stand with the character Dr. Kling. I’ll remain skeptical until I see evidence from, say, a letter written by George Stickney, an entry in Sylvia Stickney’s diary, a blurb in a newspaper from the 1800s, or some other historical document that suggests the Stickneys actually did hold those séances. Not claims made a century or so later.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the legend. But I also know that some people lean hard on legends, and legends are often imaginative explanations of how something got the way it is. As also discussed in this week’s story, there are other possibilities. Boring possibilities, mind you. But possible possibilities.

To better understand whatever it is I’m talking about, listen to “Dark and Dirty Corners” at the Tales Told YouTube channel (and maybe subscribe while you’re there?) or in the rec room here.

— Tim

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