Friday, 8 June 2007
07:58:37 PM (GMT)
One cold winter night, early in the New Year, a certain Dutchman left the tavern in
Tarrytown and started walking to his home in the hollow nearby. His path led next to
the old Sleepy Hollow cemetery where a headless Hessian soldier was buried. At
midnight, the Dutchman came within site of the graveyard. The weather had warmed up
during the week, and the snow was almost gone from the road. It was a dark night with
no moon, and the only light came from his lantern.
The Dutchman was nervous about passing the graveyard, remembering the rumors of a
galloping ghost that he had heard at the tavern. He stumbled along, humming to
himself to keep up his courage. Suddenly, his eye was caught by a light rising from
the ground in the cemetery. He stopped, his heart pounding in fear. Before his
startled eyes, a white mist burst forth from an unmarked grave and formed into a
large horse carrying a headless rider.
The Dutchman let out a terrible scream as the horse leapt toward him at a full
gallop. He took to his heels, running as fast as he could, making for the bridge
since he knew that ghosts and evil spirits did not care to cross running water. He
stumbled suddenly and fell, rolling off the road into a melting patch of snow. The
headless rider thundered past him, and the man got a second look at the headless
ghost. It was wearing a Hessian commander's uniform.
The Dutchman waited a good hour after the ghost disappeared before crawling out of
the bushes and making his way home. After fortifying himself with schnapps, the
Dutchman told his wife about the ghost. By noon of the next day, the story was all
over Tarrytown. The good Dutch folk were divided in their opinions. Some thought that
the ghost must be roaming the roads at night in search of its head. Others claimed
that the Hessian soldier rose from the grave to lead the Hessian soldiers in a charge
up nearby Chatterton Hill, not knowing that the hill had already been taken by the
Whatever the reason, the Headless Horseman continues to roam the roads near Tarrytown
on dark nights from that day to this.