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Hollywood Graveyard in SLEEPY HOLLOW


In 1798 a young man of about 15 named
Washington Irving left his Manhattan home to avoid the yellow fever outbreak.
He made his way up the Hudson River to healthier climes staying with friends in
Tarrytown. Irving was an imaginative boy proudly bearing the name of our nation’s
founder, George Washington, who he had a chance to meet as a child. It was while
he was in Tarrytown that he learned of nearby Sleepy Hollow, and along with it
it’s Dutch heritage and local ghost stories. He would wander the graveyard at
the old Dutch Church, read the names off the stones, and imagine these ghost
stories come to life. Sleepy Hollow’s most infamous spectre was the headless horseman, a Hessian soldier who is said to have had his head blown off by a
cannon in a battle during the American Revolutionary War. The Hessian was buried
in an unmarked grave here in the church burial ground, and was said to rise from
the grave, tormenting the local townsfolk in a nightly quest for his head. It was from these stories and the people
he met and places he saw in and around Sleepy Hollow as a youth that years
later, while in Europe, Washington Irving would penned the short story for which
he is best known: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in 1820. Tales of Headless
Horsemen were a familiar part of European folklore dating back to the
Middle Ages, but The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, one of America’s very earliest
pieces of folklore, is perhaps the most widely known today. It tells the tale of
a lanky schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane, a newcomer to Tarrytown from Connecticut.
He had the appearance of a scarecrow eloped from a cornfield, and an appetite
for the finer things in life. He could nary afford them, but as schoolmaster his
pension came in the form of room and board, of pastries and pies, sweet meats,
and apple cider, courtesy of the local housewives.
Ichabod also had an eye for the young ladies of the town, who saw him as a
gentlemanly personage, a learned man of letters with vastly superior eloquence
and taste when compared to the rough country boys. Strolling the church burial
grounds he would recite for the damsels’ amusement all the epitaphs on the
tombstones. And by night he would share in the telling of tales of ghosts and
goblins with the old Dutch wives as they sat spinning – particularly, tales of the
Headless Horseman. And though he had seen many spectres in his time, he would have
passed a pleasant life of it, in spite of the devil and all his works, if his path
had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man
than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together. And that was… a woman. One of his singing pupils was a coquettish blooming lass of fresh 18
named Katrina Van Tassel, plump as a partridge ripe and rosy cheeked is one
of her father’s peaches. Her character was based on a real resident of Sleepy
Hollow, whose grave can be found here in the old
Dutch Church burial ground. Ichabod had a soft and foolish heart,
which quickly fell for the young Katrina, and he began to vie for her hand in earnest. But
Ichabod had a rival in his romantic pursuit: village hero and town prankster,
Brom Bones, who also vied for Katrina’s affections. To try and deter Ichabod, Brom
Bones played a series of pranks on him, but Ichabod was unswayed in his
pursuits, see, Ichabod was as interested in Katrina’s inheritance as he was in
Katrina herself. So he may Bend easily, but he does not break. One fine autumnal
day a messenger arrived inviting Ichabod to a party at the Van Tassel’s. Donning
his very best in order to impress his mistress, he mounted a borrowed
broken-down plowhorse and issued forth to the Van Tassel estate. After filling
his belly with every sweet morsel offered in the fall harvest buffet, music
from the Great Hall summoned Ichabod and all the partygoers to the dance. The Lady
of his heart was his partner in the dance, while the sorely smitten Brom
Bones sat alone in a corner. As the evening wore on the gaiety gave way to
the more somber activity of reciting tales of ghosts and apparitions,
particularly, those in neighboring Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion that blew from the very air of that haunted region; it
breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies. The chief part of the
stories turned about to the region’s favorite spectre: the Headless Horseman,
who had been heard of late patrolling the countryside, and tethered his horse
nightly among the graves in the churchyard. The old Dutch Church was a favorite
haunt of troubled spirits. Nearby rolls a large brook, spanned by a wooden bridge
that leads to the church. This was the place where the horseman was most
frequently encountered, and was said to disappear upon arrival at the bridge.
Brom Bones affirmed that even he had been overtaken by this midnight Marauder,
racing him to the bridge when suddenly the Hessian vanished in a flash of fire.
Ichabod Crane was a superstitious man, easily spooked quick to believe the
ghost stories told sotto voce in the dark. When the party ended and the
revel gradually broke up, Ichabod lingered in hopes of finalizing his
courtship of Katrina. But in the end she rejected him, and Ichabod, crestfallen, was
forced to make his way home through the dark countryside alone.
It was the witching hour, and as he sojourned his mind replayed the tales
told this evening, and all things became menacing spooks to him: a large crooked
tree, the guttural twang of a bullfrog, and the rustling of the wind. Then, in the
dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge
and towering. It was a horseman, mounted on a powerful black steed. He came up
alongside them on the road. Ichabod quickened his steed in hopes of leaving
this unwelcomed companion behind. But the horseman kept pace. Ichabod was
horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless – but his horror was still more
increased on observing the head that should have rested on his shoulders
was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle. Ichabod’s terror rose to
desperation, and with several kicks to his horse he sped away. They dashed
through the woods, the horsemen ever on his tail. They plunged toward the bridge
and church where Ichabod was sure the horsemen would disappear. He fought with
his might to stay atop this broken-down plowhorse, despite losing his saddle in
their flight. “If I can but reach that bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I’m safe.” He heard the
black steed panting and blowing close behind him. Another kick and his horse
thundered across the bridge gaining the opposite side. Ichabod cast his gaze
behind to see if his pursuer would indeed vanish according to the legend.
Just then he saw the Goblin rising in his stirrups and in the very act of
hurling his head at him. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash, and he
tumbled headlong to the ground as the horseman passed by like a whirlwind. The next morning Ichabod’s old horse was
found back at the farm, but there was no sign of Ichabod. Only his hat was
discovered on the ground near the bridge, next to a shattered pumpkin. Some said
the events were a prank by Brom Bones to eliminate his romantic rival, and
finally win the hand of fair Katrina. But the old country wives, who were the best
judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod Crane was spirited away by the galloping Hessian. After living in various places in the US and
Europe, Washington Irving spent his final years in and around Tarrytown and Sleepy
Hollow. He died on November 28th 1859 at the age of 76. He was buried here in the Sleepy Hollow
cemetery. Over the years treasure hunters would chip away at pieces of his
gravestone, so it’s had to be replaced, his grave now gated off in this private
area. Sleepy Hollow was a town, Irving said, where a drowsy dreamy
influence seems to hang over the land and to pervade the very atmosphere. 200
years later that still holds true. If you come to visit Sleepy Hollow,
come in October, but be wary at the stroke of midnight on Halloween, for you
might just lose… your head.

100 Comments

  1. Lee McCormick Author

    I absolutely LOVE your videos. I watch them over and over again. Finding out little tidbits I hear the first time. Keep up with wonderful hard work you do It doesn’t go unappreciated.

    Reply
  2. Cecily Erker Author

    I love the ending of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Because it basically implies to the reader that Ichabod married a rich widow and had a bunch of ugly kids with her and she fed him a bunch of food and they all lived happily ever after

    Reply
  3. Richard Olson Author

    Seen the movie. Always wondered where the real story took place & where. Bit satisfy but still like to know more about the Sleepy Hollow legend or is it?

    Reply
  4. Caro Wells Author

    I love the raised pulpit and its wooden hood in that 1685 stone church. It's said to have been made completely by Frederick Philipse himself, the first lord of the Manor of Philipsburg.

    Reply
  5. darthdmc Author

    Washington Irving had relatives in Birmingham UK, and thanks to a short stay in the city, there is a blue plaque to commerate this, plus Irving Street and Washington Street are named after him.

    Reply
  6. ReXrig G R Author

    #SleepyHollow #TheHeadlessHorseman #HessianSolider #IncabodCrane #MyFavoriteHalloweenStory used to scare me as a kid!😵😵😜 #GoodJob #ArthurDark #HollywoodGraveyard🌻🌻🌻🌻😎👍👍👍❣️

    Reply
  7. C Hartman Author

    Well done video as always. I came across Sleepy Hollow while driving to NYC. We stopped at the cemetery and it is amazing! My favorite I have seen of all time.

    Reply
  8. Su Duhm Author

    I couldn’t agree more, with all my fellow Arthur Dark/Hollywood Graveyard Groupies!! You ALWAYS knock it out of the park. This special “travel” edition, is sooooo appreciated by all of us. Thank you!!

    Reply
  9. september quest Author

    you are a great narrator and storyteller.. you have one of the rare channels where the viewer is captivated and watches the contents in completion…. thanks for posting…👍

    Reply
  10. Bob Morgan Author

    At first, I thought this was about the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA. There are the four authors buried there…Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott and Thoreau

    Reply
  11. Davie Dood Author

    Loved the part where ickabod was running from the horseman. The squeal of the horses with the epic music sent chills honestly. And the breathing of the horse made it real for a quick moment. Well done good sir.

    Reply
  12. Cathy White Author

    "THAT WAS "AWESOME!!!!!!, I got "GOOSE-BUMPS" listening to that, the way you told the legend was riveting, great for Halloween"!!!!! 🎃👻

    Reply
  13. Alton Williams Author

    The Headless Horseman 👍 One of the few scary stories I like. Today’s scary movies are too much. I like the old scary stories and movies.

    Reply
  14. Mike 1958 Author

    If the Hessian is missing his head how can it see where he's going? Just saying.

    Awesome video by the way. Your delivery on these videos are second to none.

    Reply
  15. Craig G Author

    In other videos I was going to say you should try to get to Sleepy Hallow. Then I looked and there it was . Great video.Washington Irving wrote books about my mothers maternal family, the Knickerbockers.My mother's side remained dirt farmers lol. Irving was friends with the rich side of the family .The name is in The Legend Of Sleepy Hallow .Irving used it throughout his works to make it seem more real. https://www.litcharts.com/lit/the-legend-of-sleepy-hollow/characters/diedrich-knickerbocker

    Reply
  16. Ron Ratcliffe Author

    That was Awesome!! Got the book, been reading it, up to the part where Ichabod falls in love with Katrina… Can't wait to get further.. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Javiere Mejíar Author

    Really interesting and well-said story, I watched the movie of Sleepy Hollow so I have enjoyed the story of this video. Well done, thank you.

    Reply
  18. Norah Gomez Author

    Great video of Sleepy Hollow. I saw the Disney version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow . Do they still tell stories of the headless horseman in New York

    Reply
  19. Pam Author

    🎃👻☠️ love the story legend of sleepy hollow 💀 R.I.P 🌹Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was first published in 1820

    Reply

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