The “Real” Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Real Legend of Sleepy Hollow
“From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW. . . ”
Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Welcome to “Sleepy Hollow” 1640
This eerie, sequestered Glen in New York’s Hudson Valley, has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow. Some say that the place was bewitched during the early days of the Dutch settlement; others believe that an old Indian chief, the wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. No matter which thought your mind follows, the place still continues under the mastery of some witching power that holds a spell over the minds of the descendants of the original settlers. Today, they are still given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, some still feel that as they walk cautiously through the Cemetery, they are subject to trances and visions, and frequently hear music and voices in the air.
Sign at the Entrance to the Cemetery
One of Icabod Crane’s sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives as they sat spinning by the fire, and listen to their marvelous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him; all the while trying to win the affections of the Lady Abigail Van Tassel.
The Old Dutch Church – Built 1685
The Old Dutch Church was one of the favorite haunts of the Headless Horseman, and the place where he was most frequently encountered. Not far from the church, along the Hudson River was a wooden bridge; the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night.
Tombstones dating back to the 1600’s
As one strolls past the Old Dutch Church on a dark Halloween night, it is easy to imagine the shadow of the horseman rising up from behind the gravestones, many dating back to the 1600’s. Armed with a jack-o-lantern, the Horseman gallops along in search of his head; wherein lies the history of the Headless Horseman of Sleep Hollow which began over 200 years ago, and his spirit has lived here ever since.
The Graves of the Inhabitants of “The Old Dutch Church”
A Halloween View along the Hudson – From Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Last year for my birthday, my sons surprised me with tickets for a “midnight” Halloween Walk through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. We were each given a lantern, and then followed our tour guide through the darkness, as we walked among the many tombstones. Along the two hour walk in 2-degree weather, the guide stopped at many of the Tombstone’s and gave a historical vision of the person that once was a member of Sleepy Hollow. I thought I knew so much of it’s history, but after the tour I learned more about some the strange events that have occurred at night in the Cemetery!