Name:  Headless Horseman

Features:  Headless man that rides a ghostly horse

Source:  American Folklore

Habitat:  Around the Village of Tarrytown in New York

This creepy and scary headless ghost of a man is known to ride on an equally frightening horse all the while carrying his own severed head in hand.

He is said to hurl his decapitated head at people and scaring them to death with it.

He is also sometimes portrayed as using a flaming Jack-o-Lantern as a head and also hurling carved and burning pumpkins at his victims.  He also sometimes carries a sword or hatchet that he uses to behead anyone that crosses his path.

He is known to possess special powers like being able to disappear and reappear, sometimes in a flash of flames.  Anyone who tries to impersonate him eventually meets up with the real headless soldier and dies for it.

This character was made even more popular through the 1819 short story written by Washington Irving.  The story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a well known story about Ichabod Crane, a simple teacher in the small town of Sleepy Hollow.

One dark and spooky night, Ichabod Crane unfortunately meets up with the headless ghost and races towards a bridge – a bridge that the dead horseman cannot cross.

Ichabod runs desperately, in the hopes of reaching safety.  Unfortunately, the thrown severed head of the horseman hits him and knocks him down just before he reaches the bridge.

Older stories tell of a German solder that was hired by the British army to fight against the American colonist during the Revolutionary war.

In an unnamed battle near a small valley close to Tarrytown, the Hessian’s head is blown off by a cannonball.  He is then buried in a grave next to an old church.

After this, every night the spirit of the solder would return to the scene looking for his head.  He then would take revenge on everyone he would meet out of rage for losing his head. 

Some stories claim after each of his nightly crusades, he must always make it back to the graveyard near the church before daybreak.

In German folklore, their version of a headless horseman has him followed by a pack of dark black hounds that have tongues of fire.

So many stories and so many versions – still this mythical creature is extremely spooky and some might say even quite hellish.

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