Last week I watched the premier episode of Sleepy Hollow, and have to admit that after that first episode, I’m a bit hooked. So of course I watched the second episode last night as well. I was attracted to it for several reasons: the previews looked intriguing and creepy, it’s getting into fall when atmospheric movies/shows are even more called for, I like history and liked this concept, among other reasons. I also have a little bit of history with the headless horseman. And by history, I mean that this story used to keep me awake when I was quite a bit younger.
And why wouldn’t it? It’s a headless man with an axe, on a horse thundering down cobblestone streets and lurking in graveyards. The headless horseman has always creeped me out. I have to admit to even being creeped out watching the Disney version with the flaming jack-o-lantern.
I’ve seen other variations since, but the one thing I haven’t done? I haven’t actually read Washington Irving’s original story. I’ve been so intrigued by the different variations, and thinking of course that it really is kind of the perfect Halloween story, but how much do these version stray from the original? I doubt there was any sort of flaming jack-o-lantern, but was the horseman a British soldier? Was he a contracted Hessian? Was the timing even during the Revolutionary War, or before? Or after?
In the first episode, the series notes that the horseman wore a British red coat during the Revolutionary War. After recently reading Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, I thought of the Hessians who were contracted by the British in the War. Which then made me remember in Tim Burton’s film, the horseman was referred to as The Hessian. What were the original circumstances surrounding the horseman?
So all of that being said, this past weekend I stopped at the bookstore and picked up a version of The Works of Washington Irving. I’m really excited to read it, but…I’m going to wait a couple of weeks until we’re well into October. It’s kind of the thing to read around Halloween, I think.
If you’ve read it, what do you think of the original? How does it compare to recent versions of the Legend? And how are you liking the series?