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Sleepy Hollow

Eastern New York

History

"From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW... A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his pow-wows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson... The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols."
 - from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving

Probably one of the most famous haunted towns in the country, Sleepy Hollow village in Westchester County seems to live up to its ghostly reputation. The village dates back to the 1640s, though no one is certain of exactly when Europeans first settled in the area. The towns name was derived from the name given to it by Dutch settlers: Slapershaven ("Sleepers Haven"). For most of its existence, the town was actually part of North Tarrytown and was not actually renamed Sleepy Hollow until 1996.

Though Irving based his story on fact, the characters were simply based on people who once lived and died in the town.

For more information on Sleepy Hollow, check out the following websites:

Sleepy Hollow Chamber of Commerce
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Historic Hudson Valley

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Hauntings

Old Dutch Burying Ground and Church
One of the oldest cemeteries in America, the Old Dutch Burying Ground contains graves dating back as far as 1650. Among the most interesting figures buried here are Eleanor Van Tassel Brush (Irving's model for 'Katrina'), Samuel Youngs (the real 'Ichabod'), and Abraham Martling ('Brom Bones'). Some speculate that the real headless horseman can be seen roaming the cemetery at night, as well as its modern neighbor, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Washington Irving himself is buried.

Patriot's Park
This small park can be found between the towns of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Major Andre, Irving's model for the headless Hessian soldier, was captured and executed approximately at this location by Americans during the Revolutionary War. He is believed to haunt the park to this day.

Sparta Cemetery
Not far from Sleepy Hollow along Route 9 in Scarborough, this old cemetery can be found. Details of the many spirits haunting this cemetery are unknown, but unexplained voices and mists have been reported here late at night.

Captain Kidd's Bride
Legend persists that the famous pirate Captain Kidd once landed at Sleepy Hollow in search of a place to hide his bride from an enemy. His plan failed, and she was taken to Leeds where she was incarcerated and later executed. Her ghost is said to be pulled by horses through the streets of Sleepy Hollow at midnight.

Sunnyside
Washington Irving purchased this house in 1835 and renovated the simple cottage until it became the glorious landmark it is today. It appears that his home was so well-loved, it was difficult to leave. Visitors and guides have reported unusual phenomena here, from Irving's nieces keeping the house clean and tidy to Irving himself pinching the occasional woman in good-hearted fun.

 

 


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