Monday, October 31, 2016

The "Other" Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Since it's Halloween, I thought I'd change things up a bit and tell a story that many people may not know.

We all know the famous telling of the tale of a Headless Horseman that terrorizes the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, NY in a small hidden glen called Sleepy Hollow.

The Headless Horseman, is believed to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper that had his head shot off by a cannonball during a battle of the American Revolutionary War. Story has it that he "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". 

Please enjoy the story below and read on to find out the "Other" Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells the tale of Ichabod Crane, a skinny, superstitious, scaredy-cat of a man who is a schoolmaster from Connecticut.  He is in love with Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a local wealthy farmer.  Unfortunately he is not the only one who wants Katrina's hand in marriage.  A local "hero" as some called him named Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt also had his eyes on Katrina.  For whomever was to marry her, was also set to one day inherit the farmer's wealth.   

One night, Ichabod decided to attend a harvest party at the Van Tassels' home. He eats, he drinks, plays games and listens to ghost stories just like the rest of the guests, but really only has one thing on his mind and that is to propose to Katrina at the end of the night.  For one reason or another, his efforts failed and was left to go home from the feast alone and defeated.

As he traveled his sad and lonely route through the woods between Van Tassel's farm and the Sleepy Hollow settlement, he passed many of the so called haunted spots the town folk had spoken about in there stories. Spot after spot, he grows more and more frightened of the sights and sounds and just after riding under a devilishly shaped lightning charred tree supposedly haunted by the spirit of a British Spy,  Ichabod is met by a tall, dark cloaked figure on a horse.  Horribly shaken by the size and eeriness of this sight, he is more frightened to see that this ghostly figure did not have a head on his shoulders, but it sat just under his ghostly arm along side his saddle. 

In a frightful race to the bridge next to the Old Dutch Burying Ground, where the Headless Horseman is said to "vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone" after crossing it, Ichabod rides like the wind, pushing his sluggish plow horse down the Hollow and over the bridge. As Ichabod looks back, he is met with the horror of the ghostly figure crossing over the bridge.  The horseman stops, rears his horse, and throws his severed head into Ichabod's frightened face.

As the towns people awakened the next morning, Ichabod was no where to be found as if he just completely vanished from existence. The only evidence that he was ever there was his horse found wandering, a tattered hat, a broken saddle and the puzzling remains of a shattered pumpkin.

With never hearing from Ichabod again, Katrina took the hand of Brom and was married shortly thereafter.   Many say that Brom was behind the whole thing and that he himself was the Headless Horseman as he always has a look of uneasiness as the story of Ichabod is being told.

Many people have different opinions of the story and interpret it in their own way, but usually come to the same conclusion that the ghostly Headless Horseman was really Brom in disguise. Still no one knows where Ichabod Crane has gone and as the story goes on generation after generation the old Dutch story tellers continue to believe and preach that Ichabod was "spirited away by supernatural means," and this leaves us with the legend about his disappearance and sightings of his lost and lonely spirit.

You may think that this is the only ghostly story to come out of Sleepy Hollow, but in fact you are wrong.  There is but another one and I am here to tell you, The "Other" Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It only seems fitting that is a story about a "bronze" statue.  Who knew bronze could be so scary?!

The Bronze Lady

Halloween night 1916, on the heels of a dare a little girl wanders into the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. She walks slowly and cautiously around and in between the mausoleums and headstones and then out of no where, she is stopped in her tracks by a sorrowful sound.  As she listens more closely, it is the sound of a woman crying.   

Pushing her fears aside, she follows the sound and is led to a larger than life statue of a seated woman.  The crying has stopped, but she notices something strange about the woman's face.  She climbs up in to the lap of the statue, caresses its face and finds tears falling from the eyes. 

Over the years, some just hear the crying, others just see the tears as the statue sits across from the tomb of the Civil War general Samuel M. Thomas.  Some believe she cries because of a tragedy in her life.  Perhaps, the death of General Thomas. The statue was in fact ordered by his widow shortly after his death in 1903.  The artist was Andrew O'Conner Jr. and he named it Grief.  It is said that she didn't really like the statue at first because she didn't think the woman was gay enough. 

I cannot find any stories or articles about any strange occurrences documented about this statue prior to 1916.  Is it possible that Mrs. Thomas passed in 1916 and maybe it is her spirit in the lady crying over her deceased husband? 

Some say the "tears" can be explained with a scientific theory that its just the statue interacting with the weather and the environment, but the question that always remains is, where is the crying coming from? and that is one question that has yet to be answered.

Tell me...are you brave enough to go visit this statue?

I hope you enjoyed my story telling Halloween edition of our Metalchic Blog.  I hope you have safe, fun filled, Happy Halloween!

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