Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spirit Guide: The Headless Horseman


Class IIX Corporeal Entity

Also know as: The Horseman, The Galloping Hessian, The Hessian

The Headless Horseman is a malevolent spirit originating in the town of Sleepy Hollow, in upstate New York. He was first reported in the mid 1790’s. This account was later fictionalized in order to spread the knowledge of the Horseman further by Washington Irving, resulting in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

During a battle in the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow in the mid 1770’s, an unnamed Hessian was decapitated, according to legend by a cannonball, but in greater likelihood by a sword. As the forces of Great Britain lost that battle, his remains were taken from the field by his comrades as they withdrew. Due to their haste, however, they were unable to find his head. He was quickly buried, but later was exhumed and his remains re-interred in the churchyard of the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow proper.

There is an apocryphal legend that when the British forces withdrew, a Colonial militiaman found the head, and kept it as a souvenir. Otherwise the location of the Hessian’s head remains unknown.

Since his re-burial at Old Dutch Church, the Horseman has been known to rise and ride out into the surrounding countryside in search of his missing head. He is most often seen riding a black charger; with some accounts describing that the horse’s eyes can be seen burning like coals in the darkness.

The Horseman himself often appears garbed in the typical uniform for a Hessian officer in the period, that being black knee length boots, crème colored breeches and an undershirt, and a dark blue coat with red facings. This is often topped by a dark blue cape with a red silk lining. This would indicate his high status, as well as wealth while he was alive.

Some accounts also have the Horseman either wearing or carrying a jack-o-lantern in place of his head; however this is also unknown whether or not this is part of his regular appearance.

Should the Hessian be unable to find his own head, it is also known that he has taken the heads of others with a large cavalry sword.  As a result, he should be considered exceptionally dangerous.

At this time, there is no solid known defense against the Horseman. Therefore, if the specter is encountered it is highly suggested that the individual should flee in great haste. Some evidence suggests that possibly places of refuge include churchyards (due to being sanctified ground) as well as crossing over the covered bridge that leads into the town limits of Sleepy Hollow (This may be due to the inability of spirits to cross running water.)

In regards to actually stopping the spirit, there has been some progress made with silver bullets, as well as using torches to keep the Horseman at bay, but at this point there is no known way of putting the spirit down permanently.  It has been conjectured that whoever owns the skull of the Horseman can maintain some level of control of the specter, although this may most likely only be done through some form of dark magic. It is also believed that by reuniting the head of the Hessian with his body, one may finally put the spirit of the Horseman, along with his rampage, to rest. 

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