Tag Archives: ghost stories

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Thomas Baurley

Based in the town of “Sleepy Hollow”, New York formerly known as “North Tarrytown” experiencing the name change to honor this story in 1996. The tale is not documented as an actual legend, but rather a tale by the American author Washington Irving while he was traveling abroad in Birmingham, England. He was a resident of North Tarrytown, New York and used the area as a setting for his short story. Irving included it in a collection of short stories and essays he wrote in 1820 called the “Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic example of American fiction, alongside his masterpiece “Rip Van Winkle” which made Washington Irving become a legend in the literary world. As of an “actual” headless horsemen, there exists no evidence of a prior legend or reporting in the means of how Washington Irving told the tale, though there does exist a headless corpse buried in a unmarked grave in the Old Dutch Burying Ground (Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) that matches the “Headless Horseman’s” lack of a head and being a Hessian soldier. (The Full legend and short story can be read here: http://www.sleepyhollowcemetery.org/sleepy-hollow-country/the-legend/. )

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The story details Sleepy Hollow and its inhabitants living there in 1790 around the historical Tarrytown as it existed in that day. The area was inhabited by all Dutch settler descendants who moved to this sleepy little glen called “Sleepy Hollow” by Irving’s story which was already basked in myths and legends making it a dreamy and drowsy place even before this tale came to be. Full of ghost stories and the paranormal, Sleepy Hollow was the perfect place for the existence of the spirit of a Headless Horseman. He was seen by some as the most popular curse upon the village, as he was apparently a ghost of a angry Hessian trooper who lost his head by a stray cannonball during the American Revolution and “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head” eager to victimize those of ego and arrogance. The tale involves the local superstitious ego-centric school master named Ichabod Crane who was after the hand in marriage of 18 year old farmer’s daughter Katrina Van Tassel. He was in competition for the proposal with the town mischief maker named Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt. Crane was after the farmer’s wealth, Van Tassel estate, and saw marriage to Katrina as a way to obtain that status. “Brom Bones” however, also interested in Katrina, was interested in her for love. In his fight for the bride, he tries to mishap and veer Ichabod away from Katrina by performing numerous pranks on Crane, based around Crane’s paranoia and superstitions. Tensions become high, and during the annual Van Tassel harvest party, Crane is told ghostly legends of the area by Brom Bones and the locals. Crane is made so jumpy and nervous on that night that his intended proposal to Katrina was interrupted. He rides home “heavy-hearten and crest fallen” through the ghostly woods that the locals and Brom Bones told the tales of … edgy and spooked traveling from the Van Tassel farm to the Sleepy Hollow settlement. He passes by the tulip tree that had been struck by lightning and was reputedly haunted by Major André, the British spy. Instead of seeing that specter, he sees a cloaked rider at an intersection to the menacing swamp. This cloaked rider approaches him and rides alongside Crane. The man, large stature and size, appears to Crane not to have a head on his shoulders, but rather a decapitated cranium sitting on his saddle. Crane becomes spooked and races off to the bridge next to the Old Dutch cemetery. Upon reaching the bridge, the Headless Horseman vanished “in a flash of fire and brimstone” upon crossing the bridge. Ichabod crosses the bridge, but not before the specter re-appears on the bridge and hurls his head into Crane’s face. The next day, Ichabod could not be found except for his wandering horse, trampled saddle, discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin. With Ichabod Crane nowhere in sight, the match with “Brom Bones” for Katrina’s hand in marriage was forfeited. Brom and Katrina married. Suspicion amongst the villagers bounced between believing the legend and “Brom Bones” being the villain who had the stature and size of the Headless Horseman. Many believe it was Brom in disguise, playing on Ichabod’s fears, and as a prank used to scare off Crane. However the Old Wives tales prevailed, stating that Crane indeed was “spirited away by supernatural means” and thereby increasing stories (mainly fabricated) of numerous sightings of the Headless Horseman to this very day.

Folklorists compare the American short story to the German folktale of “the Wild Huntsman” when a phantom races through the woods atop a horse scaring trespassers out of the forest. This tale most probably was the one that inspired Irving during this travels through Germany to concoct the tale of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

The German folklorist Karl Musäus states that the Headless horsemen was a staple of Northern European storytelling especially in Germany (“The Wild Huntsman”), Ireland (“Dullahan”), Scandinavia (“the Wild Hunt”), and English legends. These “headless” horsemen would race through the countryside with their decapitated heads tucked under their arms, often followed by hordes of coal-black hounds with fiery tongues (demon dogs). Folklore would talk of these as being omens of ill-fortune for those who chose to disregard their apparitions. These ghosts would mainly focus on individuals who had egos and arrogance, were overly proud, and/or scheming persons with misguided intentions such as the likes of Ichabod Crane. There are other folk tales and poems of a supernatural wild chase including Robert Burns’ 1790 “Tam o’ Shanter” and Bürger’s Der wilde Jäger, translated as the 1796 “The Wild Huntsman”.

The legend of Sleepy Hollow is classified as a fictional tale. It was set on a local bridge in Sleepy Hollow that crossed the Pocantico River into the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Irving most likely incorporated local residents as characters in the tale, whereas Katrina’s character has been matched by folklorists to local resident Elanor Van Tassel Brush. However, there is ample evidence to make it an actual legend based on place names, characters, and history leading to the fabricated tale by Washington Irving. There was a farm owned by Cornelius and Elizabeth Van Tassel that was raided by English and Hessian soldiers in November 1777. They tried to fight off the invaders which led to their farmhouse being burnt down and their family being held hostage. While they watched in horror as their farmhouse was burning, Elizabeth could not find their baby Leah anywhere, and upon trying to run into the flames to search for her baby, was interrupted by a Hessian soldier who led her to a shed where Leah was safely wrapped up in a blanket safe and sound. The family was so grateful to this soldier for the safety of their baby. After the event, when a Hessian soldier was found in Tarrytown (around the area now called Sleepy Hollow) dead missing his head, they gave him a proper Christian burial and buried him in the Old Dutch Burial Ground (now Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) in case he was the soldier who saved their baby.

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Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow was one of the historical sites where many battles and events of the American Revolutionary War took place, and was a great backdrop for this invented myth as many matching actual reports of hauntings and ghostly sightings that pervade the area. After these battles were done, a 30 mile stretch of scorched desolated lands were left to outlaws, raiders, and the corpses of the dead. One of those corpses was indeed a headless corpse of a Hessian soldier nicknamed Mr. Jäger found in Sleepy Hollow after a violent skirmish took place there. He corpse was buried by the Van Tassel family in a unmarked grave at the Old Dutch Burying Ground. While Washington Irving served New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, he had met an army captain named Ichabod Crane during an inspection tour of the fortifications in 1814. This meeting took place in Sackets Harbor, New York and not Sleepy Hollow. This meeting most likely inspired him to name the character as the schoolmaster for the name, and the schoolmaster image as Jesse Merwin, a local teacher in Kinderhook, New York he also inspired Irving.

This short story has been one the most well studied and examined of tales of its time and of Washington Irving’s works. Numerous re-tellings and re-writings have come about through the ages. Numerous plays, films, and television shows were done to memorialize the legend such as Edward Venturini’s silent 1922 silent film “The Headless Horseman” playing Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane; 1948 Broadway Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; Walt Disney’s “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” in 1949; Disney’s 1958 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; the 1980 Henning Schellerup “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” television classic; 1988 PBS adaption; The one-act stage adaptation by Kathryn Schultz Miller in 1989 called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; Nickelodeon’s 1992 “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” episode “The Tale of the Midnight Ride”; Rocko’s Modern Life “Sugar-Frosted Frights” parodie; Canadian television’s 1999 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; The 1999 Speaker and Orchestra 15-minute composition by Robert Lichtenberger called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; and the most famous 1999 Tim Burton’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper Van Dien, and Christopher Walken. The Legend continued through film and audio tellings with the 1999 computer animated classic “The Night of the Headless Horseman” by Fox; Porchlight Entertainments 2002 “The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow”; Steven J. Smith, Jr.’s 2004 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Concert”; the television movie by ABC Family Channel in 2004 called “The Hollow”; 2004 “Charmed” episode of “The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell”; PBS “Wishbone” series “Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars”; The 2009 Opera “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Robert Milne; William Withem and Melanie Helton’s 2009 Legend of Sleepy Hollow Opera; the Jim Christian and Tom Edward Clark 2009 Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; The 2011 Hunter Foster book and play called “The Hollow”; Darkstuff Productions 2012 adapted Legend of Sleepy Hollow; and in 2013 a Fox TV series pilot called “Sleepy Hollow” is in production as a modern tale.

North Tarrytown in 1996 changed their name to “Sleepy Hollow” as a memorial to Washington Irving, and its local high school team are called “The Horsemen”, by 2006 a large statue of the Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod Crane was erected, and since 1996 at the Philipsburg Manor holds a Legend Weekend where the story is retold and played out just before Halloween.

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Ghost Stories on Wreck Beach …

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Wreck Beach Ghost Story, Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia


Wreck Beach Ghost Stories

Wreck Beach- Vancouver, B.C.

Some say, that if you visit Wreck Beach at night, and are away from the camp fires or the crowds, you can hear a woman screaming as if she’s being brutally murdered. Some say, you can see a apparition of a bloodied naked young girl stumbling around on the sand or walking the trails. Others claim to have seen a mist that floats with a shape of a young woman. Some have said to hear screams coming from the bushes. Others have reported seeing a ghost of a male wailing in agony.

Evidence of these tales have not been proven. Some say the ghost tales are hearsay. In 1990, Kevin Ladouceur was brutally murdered on the beach. He was the first reported murder at Wreck Beach. The horrid death of Christina (Tina) Joy Thompson who was murdered at the top of Trail Six in August 1993, inspired a local play called “Wreck Beach” that tells the tale, and could be the source of the tale. Apparently this was the 2nd murder committed at Wreck Beach by 1993. Not aware of any other murders since that date.

In 1995, after two years of angst in the community as rumours circulated over who murdered the popular girl, Joseph Daniel Hammond arrived with a priest at the Richmond RCMP detachment and admitted killing Thompson. He was jailed for life and is eligible for parole in 2004. Hammond said he had watched the woman argue with her boyfriend. He then offered to carry a bag for her up a trail. He began to touch her and a struggle ensued. The woman was quickly strangled. The Crown lawyer said that Hammond had intercourse with the deceased woman “a couple of times” in the bushes after killing her.

Links:
http://www.vancourier.com/issues01/08301/news/083101nn1.html
http://www.nsnews.com/issues98/w120798/12049801.html
http://www.nsnews.com/issues98/w102698/10239802.html
http://www.cms.uhi.ac.uk/publications/re/arp05.pdf

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The Haunting in Connecticut (PG-13: 2009)

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492044/ * PG-13: 2009 *

Director: Peter Cornwell. Starring: Virginia Madsen … Sara Campbell; Kyle Gallner … Matt Campbell; Elias Koteas … Reverend Popescu; Amanda Crew … Wendy; Martin Donovan … Peter Campbell; and many others.

An incredibly sensational film about the telling of the story about the infamous “Haunting in Connecticut” on the big screens with the horror-all of Hollywood special effects and dramatization. The film starts out with a struggling mother named Sara who is trying to deal with her son Matt’s battle with cancer. They have to get a new house in Southington in order to be close to the hospital. Matt choses the basement so that he doesn’t disturb the family with his treatment’s side effects of late night visits to the bathroom and screams of pain. The basement however turns into a perplexing mystery as there is a door that he can’t get open. Dreams (or hallucinations from the medication he is testing) start to show horrorful and disturbed spirit unrest. He starts seeing things during waking hours that no one else is seeing. His family becomes affected. He discovers that the door leads to a former morgue. The horrors of what took place in the morgue and the house begin to present violent and supernatural events upon the family as Matt becomes possessed by the spirit of Jonah who is involved with the horrors that the mad doctor conducted in the basement. Matt discovers photos of the dead, box of human eyelids, and records that seances were conducted in the basement as well. As Matt and his friends investigate the house, they find the previous owner, Doctor Aickman was the madman behind the madness that has trapped dozens of disturbed spirits in the house. Aickman was conducting necromancy on the corpses to enhance Jonah’s abilities as a medium, and instead of burying the bodies in the cemetery like the public thought he had, he ripped their eyelids from them and stacked the corpses into the walls of the house. A fellow patient of Matt’s, a former minister named Nicholas, helps unravel the haunting mystery. It’s a crazy story based on a true incident. Very exciting tale. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Haunting in Connecticut movie trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJA3lN0xCQ

What really happened with the Haunting in Connecticut

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100 Feet (R: 2008)

100 Feet (R: 2008)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0899128/

Directed by: Eric Red. Starring: Famke Janssen … Marnie Watson; Bobby Cannavale … Shanks; Ed Westwick … Joey; Michael Paré … Mike Watson; John Fallon … Jimmy; Patricia Charbonneau … Frances, and many more.

Its a ghostly and violent tale about Marnie Watson, a young woman who is released from prison for killing her abusive husband out of self defense. She’s sentenced to house arrest having to wear an anklet that doesn’t allow her 100 feet from the box in her house. As she attempts to carry on with life, constantly under the watchful eye of her husband’s best friend, she starts to notice things going wrong in the house. It turns out to be a malevolent poltergeist that is indeed her vengeful dead husband. As he torments her daily, and she doesn’t know how to tell her probation officer that the ghost is the one beating her up, it becomes a struggle for survival that leads to the most disasterous results. Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5.

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Ghosts of Williamsburg Candlelight Walking Tour – Williamsburg, VA

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 – Part 6 (8:00-9:30 pm)
Williamsburg, Virginia

So many people showed up for the Ghost walking tours this evening that they had to split us up into 4 separate tours. Interesting. This is with only one company. There were several other companies with the same amount of crowds, it was crazy.

Ghosts of Williamsburg candlelight walking Tour * http://www.theghosttour.com/ * meet in front of the William and Mary bookstore at the main gate for historic Williamsburg, Virginia * 757. 565.4821


numerous orbs in front of the George Wythe House

A crowd is led by lantern candle light down the streets of historic Colonial Williamsburg and on the site of the 2nd oldest University in the United States – William and Mary. For only $10 you get an hour long tour covering various subjects of folklore and haunted history in the area that eventually leads you to the graveyard. Based on the book The Ghosts of Williamsburg by L.B. Taylor. It was a very interesting and informative walk. I thought I caught a glimpse of something in the window of the Indian dorm on William and Mary, as well as something in the shadows near the George Wythe House. Looking over the photographs, lots of orbs and interesting elements and oddities to the pictures. Great tour! According to the tour guides it’s notorious that the cameras attract and capture unexplainable orbs, vapors, colors and shapes.”
Rating 4.5 stars out of 5. Taken 5/21/2008.

Afterwards, I returned to the hostel and had a good night’s rest. Tomorrow Yorktown and then a return to Washington D.C. for the remainder of the National Geographic Society Live events on the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan, as well as attending “Goth Prom”.

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