Pictured: John Quidor, 1801–81, The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, 1858, oil, 26 7/8 x 33 7/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum
Sleepy Hollow is the small burg in Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was a short story written by Washington Irving, one of America's earliest authors who also wrote "Rip Van Winkle." Both of these stories took place in colonial upstate New York.
Plot Summary from Wikipedia:
The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarrytown, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a priggish schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who lost his head during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head." Crane disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related."
"Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast; dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod.… An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered."
— Washington Irving
duration: 83 minutes
plez sez: I grew up in Sleepy Hollow (the name of the town was changed from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow in 1996), which is a small town about 20 miles north of New York City. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was trotted out every Halloween to scare the bejesus out of us in elementary school; what better way to get a good fright than to actually live and go Trick or Treating by the Old Dutch Church or near the old wooden bridge where Icabod Crane met his fateful end at the hand (or pumpkin) of the Headless Horseman.
The ability to see and walk upon the actual sites in the legend made the story so much scarier to a young 7- or 8-year old kid while tagging along with my older brothers on Halloween night. Imagine being able to walk by the Old Dutch Church (which still stands), or Van Tassel, or the Tappan Zee Bridge, or Phillipsburg Manor (where my mother worked as a hostess). The name of the high school is Sleepy Hollow and their mascot is - you got it - the Headless Horseman (complete with pumpkin in hand). I attended Washington Irving Junior High School and Washington Irving's home (Sunnyside) was just up the road in Irvington, New York.
Many a Halloween night, I could hear the Headless Horseman's steed's galloping hooves as they crossed the wooden bridge by the Old Dutch Church. I hope you enjoy the scare as much as I did.