Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman

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Description:
The Headless Horseman is a fictional character from the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by American author Washington Irving. The story, from Irving's collection of short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, has worked itself into known American folklore/legend through literature and film.

Background information

The legend of the Headless Horseman begins in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The Horseman was a Hessian of unknown rank, one of many hired to suppress the American Revolution. During the war, the Horseman was one of 51 Hessians killed in a battle for Chatterton Hill, wherein his head was severed by an American cannonball. He was buried in a graveyard outside a church. Thereafter he appears as a ghost, who presents to nightly travelers an actual danger (rather than the largely harmless fright produced by the majority of ghosts), presumably of decapitation.



Literature

The headless horseman has appeared in many forms of literature throughout history and throughout the world. Many countries have their own unique version of the legend in which some form of the headless horseman appears. In the United States, various states have their own version of a headless horseman tale; Texas' version of the legend, written by Thomas Mayne Reid in 1865 or 1866, tells of ghosts of beheaded horse thieves, who roam the countryside.

The more noted and recognizable headless horseman of today imitates the one that appears in Washington Irving's short story,...
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