The headless horseman has been a motif of European folklore since at least the Middle Ages. The Irish dullahan or dulachán ("dark man") is a headless fairy, usually riding a black horse and carrying his head under his lower thigh (or holding it high to see at great distance). He wields a whip made from a human corpse's spine. When the dullahan stops riding, a death occurs. The dullahan calls out a name, at which point the named person immediately dies. In another version, he is the headless driver of a black carriage. A similar figure, the gan ceann ("without a head"), can be frightened away by wearing a gold object or putting one in his path. The most prominent Scottish tale of the headless horseman concerns a man named Ewen decapitated in a clan battle at Glen Cainnir on the Isle of Mull. The battle denied him any chance to be a chieftain, and both he and his horse are headless in accounts of his haunting of the area.In American folklore, 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, Gent., has worked itself into known American folklore/legend.The legend of the Headless Horseman begins in Sleepy Hollow, New York, during the American Revolutionary War. Traditional folklore holds that the Horseman was a Hessian artilleryman who was killed during the Battle of White Plains in 1776. He was decapitated by an American cannonball, and the shattered remains of his head were left on the battlefield while his comrades hastily carried his body away. Eventually they buried him in the graveyard of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, from which each Halloween night he rises as a malevolent ghost, furiously seeking his lost head.
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I keep begging someone to make me a stamp that reads THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN IS MY HOMEBOY - I've been a huge fan of SLEEPY HOLLOW ever since I was five years old.
I don't know if you're familiar with the adaption that was done in 1999 called THE NIGHT OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN, but your piece makes me think of it and it gives me such a warm glow in my soul. It's pretty hard to find on DVD - but I found it on YouTube!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUbK1a8Yb7U&list=PLM70RZb3yn85qEGHO-I7NsfzDaMG0B9Ic Get out the popcorn, turn off the lights, and enjoy!