This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.



America's First Ghost Story

America's First Ghost Story


@jointhecovn Americs’s First Ghost Story #sleepyhollow #thelegendofsleepyhollow #ichabadcrane #daystilhalloween #jointhecovn #westchester #birmingham #katrinavantassel #tarrytown ♬ original sound - Covn | Days Til Halloween 🎃


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is a short story by Washington Irving, first published in The Sketch Book in 1819–20. It is called the first ghost story of America.

For a summary of the story check out our TikTok above. 

Now lets see how many facts about Sleepy Hollow You Know

 Fact 1: Sleepy Hollow is a Real Place, where Washington Irving lived for a time of his life. 

 Irving’s story takes place in the New York village of Sleepy Hollow, in Westchester County. Washington’s family was one of means so when a mosquito related fever broke up Iriving was sent to live up in Sleepy Hollow. 

Iconic locations from the story such as ‘Old Dutch Church’ and The Bridge where Icahbad was chased have real real life counterparts. Some actual local family names were also used in the story, including van Tassel and Ichabod Crane, weaving fact and fiction together.


Fact 2: Tales of the a Headless Horseman has been around for centuries

 Tales of headless horsemen can be traced to the Middle Ages, including stories from the Brothers Grimm and the Dutch and Irish legend of the “Dullahan” or “Gan Ceann,” a Grim Reaper-like rider who carries his head.


Fact 3: But A Local Ghost tale was most likely the main inspiration 

A popular myth following the American Revolution was the story of the headless Hessian soldier. Hessians were German troops called upon to aid in Britain’s fight against the American colonists, and one particular Hessian was reportedly decapitated by a cannonball during the Battle of White Plains in 1776.  As the story goes, the corpse of the beheaded Hessian was buried soon after his death at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, near the small village of Tarrytown, New York. It was believed that the Hessian would arise at night in search of his head, and anyone who was ill-fated enough to come across his apparition was condemned to death.

 While skeptics of the supernatural could argue against the existence of this headless horseman, historical records show, according to the New York Historical Society, that there actually was a real decapitated Hessian soldier. In his 1798 memoir, Major General William Heath wrote: “A shot from the American cannon at this place [White Plains] took off the head of a Hessian artilleryman.” 


Fact 5: The character of Ichabad Crane was most likely based off of real people  

The character was said to be inspired by Jesse Merwin, a teacher from upstate New York who had kept Irving company during his stay in Kinderhook in 1809.

Others claimed, as reported by The New York Times, that the bookish schoolteacher was inspired by Samuel Youngs, a lieutenant from Tarrytown who was friends with the Van Tassel family, who also inspired Irving and appear by name in the folktale. It’s likely that Ichabod Crane’s character was a composite of both of these men.


Fact 6: 1949 Disney adapted the story into ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.’ 


Fact 7: Washington Irving wrote the Sleepy Hollow and his other collections of stories while staying with his sister and and brother-in-law in the Birmingham in the UK. A conversation with his brother-in-law had awakened in him old memories of his time in the Hudson Valley and with it Irving’s fascination with the community’s Dutch past and local lore.


Fact 8: It was an instant classic with rave reviews, and became embedded in the American culture of halloween forever.

Further Reading:

What Inspired 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Purchase options
Select a purchase option to pre order this product
Countdown header
Countdown message