FANDOM


The Headless Horseman appears in many stories from European folklore. In America, the image was popularized by Washington Irving's short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Since then, the Horseman has appeared in many movie adaptations. The most wildly excepted image of this ghostly figure is a man dressed in black who rides atop a black horse and carries a jack-o'-lantern under his arm which serves as his primary weapon though he can also be seen carrying an axe or sword.

History

In American Folklore

In Irving's short story, The Headless Horseman was a Hessian soldier in the American Revolutionary War who was killed in battle when a cannonball knocked off his head and has since been a spirit. He won't cross the church bridge. The story climaxes with his famous pursuit of Ichabod Crane, who disappears mysteriously from Sleepy Hollow. It is strongly implied, however, that the Horseman was Ichabod's love rival Brom Bones in disguise.

In Celtic folklore

The Irish dullahan or dulachán ("dark man") is a headless fairy, usually riding a black horse and carrying his head under one arm (or holding it high to see at great distance). He wields a whip made from a human corpse's spine. When the dullahan stops riding, a death occurs. The dullahan calls out a name, at which point the named person immediately perishes. In another version, he is the headless driver of a black carriage. A similar figure, the gan ceann ("without a head") can be frightened away by wearing a gold object or casting one in his path.

The most prominent Scottish tale of the headless horseman concerns a man named Ewen decapitated in a clan battle at Glen Cainnir on the Isle of Mull. The battle denied him any chance to be a chieftain, and both he and his horse are headless in accounts of his haunting of the area.

In the Walt Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, a headless dullahan appears driving the coisté bodhar, or Death Coach, which carries souls to the afterlife.

In English Folklore

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English poem which utilizes a decapitation myth. In this medieval story, the Green Knight rides into King Arthur's court and dares any knight to behead him with his own axe. After he is beheaded, the Knight simply picks his head up, and rides back out carrying it.

In German folklore

The German Legends of the Brothers Grimm (Deutsche Sagen) recount two German folk tales of a headless horseman.

One is set near Dresden in eastern Germany. In this tale, a woman from Dresden goes out early one Sunday morning to gather acorns in a forest. At a place called "Lost Waters", she hears a hunting horn. When she hears it again, she turns around she sees a headless man in a long gray coat sitting on a gray horse.

In another German tale, set in Braunschweig, a headless horseman called "the wild huntsman" blows a horn which warns hunters not to ride the next day, because they will meet with an accident.

In some German versions of the headless horseman, he seeks out the perpetrators of capital crimes. In others, he has a pack of black hounds with tongues of fire.

Navigation

           Legends

Notable Legends
Bigfoot | Chupacabra | Cyclops | Dragons | Fairies | Gremlins | Grim Reaper | Ghosts | Giants | Headless Horseman | Kraken | Loch Ness Monster | Minotaur | Monsters | Mothman | Ogres | Siren | Skeletons | Spiders | Vampires | Wendigo | Yeti | Zombies

Demonology Legends
The Devil | Demons | Fallen Angels
Abaddon | Abere | Abyzou | Angra Mainyu | Aka Manto | Apep | Asmodeus | Asuras | Antichrist | Baal | Balor | Banshee | Baphomet | Beelzebub | Beast | Behemoth | Behemoth the Elephant | Belphegor | Black Cats | Black Monk Pontefract | Black Shuck | Black Volga | Bogeyman | Buer | Cerberus | Crom Cruach | Demiurge | Eight Feet Tall | El Charro Negro | Enma Daio | Erlik | Hellhounds | Iblis | Kali | Kelpie of Loch Ness | Kitsune | Kroni | Krampus | Lamia | Legion | Mahishasura | Malsumis | Mammon | Mara | Mares | Mephistopheles | Moloch | Nure-Onna | Rakshasa | Ravana | Raven Monster | Samael | Six Demons | Stolas | Succubi | Termagant | Unholy Trinity | The Watchers | Whore of Babylon
Disambiguation Pages
Baphomet | Demon | Satan | Succubus

Gods & Spirits
Gods & Goddesses: Ares | Atë | Atlas | Camazotz | Damballa | Geb | Hades | Hera | Kali | Kronos | Limos | Poseidon | Set | Titans | Xolotl | Zeus
Spirits: Dybbuk | El Silbon | Fetch | Hinnagami | La Llorona | La Sayona | La Viuda | Mackenzie | Myling | Poltergeists

Humans & Humanoids
Ajax the Lesser | Ame-onna | Bandits | Baron Samedi | Black Rock Witch | Black Witch | Cain | Christie Cleek | Delilah | Draug | Doppelgangers | Fomorians | Goliath | Gomorrahites | Green Witch | Hags | Haman the Agagite | Hanako-San | Herod Antipas | Herod the Great | Herodias | Horsemen of the Apocalypse | Ixion | Jezebel | Jotunn (Loki, Hela, Skoll and Hati, Fenrir, Jormungandr, Surtr, Hraesvelgr) | Judas Iscariot | King Ahab | King Arthur | Kuchisake-Onna | Lilith | Louhi | Lucius Tiberius | Meg of Meldon | Nanny Rutt | Pandarus | Paris | The Pharisees | Polyphemus | Rich Man | Romans | Santa Compana | Saul | Sawney Bean | Sodomites | Trauco | Tydeus | Umibōzu | Yallery Brown | Ysbaddaden | Ysbaddaden

Monsters, Animals & Anthropomorphic Beings
A-mi’-kuk | Akkorokamui | Averesboro | Aye-Aye | Basilisk | Boneless | Cirein-cròin | Cockatrice | Devil Monkeys | Erymanthian Boar | Escornau | Fossa | Fouke Monster | Foxes | Giants of Voronezh | Golden Cicada | Groundhogs | Harpies | Hydra | Jackalopes | J'ba Fofi | Kappa | La Cegua | Lambton Worm | Leviathan | Madman Marz | Michigan Dogman | Mikari Baba | Mordred | Morgan le Fay | Onamazu | Otesanek | Paparrasolla | Pesanta | Scylla | Stymphalian Birds | Tailypo | Tarasque | Trolls | Tsuchinoko | Veles | Wolves

Common Legends
Amanda The Doll | Black Goo | Bunnyman | Bye Bye Man | Candyman | China Doll | Clown Doll | Cropsy | Crying Boy | Hairy Woman | Hatman | Homey the Clown | Hook Killer | John & Susan Buckley | Joliet The Dool | Licking Maniac | Melon Heads | Men in Black | Mystery Killer | Nain Rouge | Nameless Thing of Berkeley Square | Old Man Try By Night | Peeping Tom | Rain Man | Robert The Doll | Paimon | Patasola | Skinned Tom | Teke Teke | Killer in Backseat | The Man Upstairs

Cryptids
Beast of Beckley | Beast of Gevaudan | Black Eyed Children | Black Stick Men | Bloop | Cherufe | Devil Monkeys | Dog Headed-Men | Fallen Angels | Fear Liath | Flatwoods Monster | Goatman | Grafton Monster | Greys | Hoop Snake | Indrid Cold | Jackalopes | Jersey Devil | Kelpie of Loch Ness | Kongamato | Malawi Terror Beast | Mamlambo | Manananggal | Maricoxi | Mngwa | Momonjii | Nobusuma | Pope Lick Monster | Popobawa | Pukwudgies | Reptoids | Roc | Ropen | Salawa | Sea-Serpents | Shadow People | Sheepsquatch | Slide-Rock Bolter | Snallygaster | Spring Heeled Jack | Tanuki | Thunderbird | Two-Toed Tom | Water Horses | White-Eyed Children | Yowie

Modern Legends
Charlie | Bloody Mary | Bloody Mary (HHN) | Ghost | Momo | Orie Chef | Aliens (AC) | Martinez Dog Demon | Spirit of Water | Crisis | Jonathan Galindo

Possessed Objects
Coffin On Wheels | Ghost Trains

H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
Cthulhu Mythos Villains

Trevor Henderson Mythos
Trevor Henderson Villains

Creepypasta
Creepypasta Villains

SCP Foundation
SCP Foundation Villains

           Sleepy Hollow logo|Villains

Book
Headless Horseman

Movies
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: Headless Horseman
Sleepy Hollow (1999): Lady Van Tassel | Headless Horseman | Reverend Steenwyck

Television
Main
Moloch | Henry Parrish | Hidden One | Malcolm Dreyfuss

Moloch's Servants & Horsemen
Ancitif | Andy Brooks | Demons | Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse | Conquest | Headless Horseman | Famine | Hessians (Gunthur) | War | Headless Horseman's Head | Gina Lambert | Lilith the Succubus | Order of the Blood Moon | Pied Piper | Serilda of Abaddon | Tree Monster

British Army
Abraham von Brunt | Banastre Tarleton | Benedict Arnold | William Howe

Hidden One's Servants
Pandora | Kindred

Dreyfuss Enterprises
Abraham von Brunt | Logan MacDonald | Helen Donovan | Jobe

Others
Atticus Nevins | Carmilla Pines | The Devil | Evil Frank Irving | Golem | James Colby | Katrina Crane | Leena Reyes | Mary Wells | Orion | Ro'kenhronteys | Solomon Kent | The Four Who Speak As One

           WhiteDreamWorksLogo Villains

Animated Features
General Mandible | Colonel Cutter | Pharaoh Rameses | Hotep & Huy | Pharaoh Seti I | Egyptian Guard | Tzekel-Kan | Hernán Cortés | Melisha Tweedy | Willard Tweedy | Lord Farquaad | Thelonious | George Armstrong Custer | Roy, Bill, Jake, Pete and Joe | Eris | Cetus | Roc | Fairy Godmother | Prince Charming | Trees | Don Lino | Lola | Sharks (Frankie) | Luca | Fossas | Nana | Victor Quartermaine | Philip | Vincent | Gladys Sharp | Dwayne LaFontant | The Toad | Le Frog | Spike & Whitey | Thimblenose Ted | Fat Barry | Ladykiller | Henchfrogs | Rapunzel | James Hook | Evil Queen | Headless Horseman | Layton T. Montgomery | Ken | Tai Lung | Makunga | Teetsi | Tour Guide | Gallaxhar | Robot Probes | Red Death | Rumpelstiltskin | Fifi | Pied Piper | Megamind | Minion | Tighten | Lord Shen | Lord Shen's Wolf Army (Boss Wolf) | Jack & Jill | Humpty Alexander Dumpty | Chantel DuBois | DuBois' Men | Pitch Black | Nightmares | Guy Gagné | Ms. Grunion | Ay | Drago Bludvist | Drago's Army (Muddy Bewilderbeast & Eret) | Dave | Octopi | Captain Smek | The Boov (Officer Kyle) | Kai the Collector | Chef | Creek | King Gristle Sr. | Francis E. Francis | Eugene Francis | Professor Poopypants | Benjamin Krupp | Melvin Sneedly | Turbo Toilet 2000 | Tara Ribble | Talking Toilets | Bank Robbers | Grimmel the Grisly | Deathgrippers | Warlords | Dr. Zara | Burnish | Goon Leader | Queen Barb | Rock Trolls | The K-Pop Gang | Reggaeton Trolls

Live-Action Movies
The Mouse | Major Chip Hazard | Commando Elite (Butch Meathook, Nick Nitro, Brick Bazooka, Vasquez & Gwendy Dolls) | Gil Mars | General Roth'h'ar Sarris | Commodus | Lamar Burgess | Connor Rooney | Harlen Maguire | Sadako Yamamura | Ocean Entity | Larry Quinn | Jackson Rippner | Rasputia Latimore | Big Black Jack Latimore | Blue Latimore | Earl Latimore | Deion Hughes | Buster Perkin | Robert Turner | Assef | Megatron | Decepticons (Starscream, Barricade, Frenzy, Blackout, Scorponok, Bonecrusher, Brawl & Dispensor) | Sweeney Todd | Nellie Lovett | Judge Turpin | Beadle Bamford | Jonas Fogg | Adolfo Pirelli | ARIIA | The Fallen | Decepticons (Soundwave, Sideways, Grindor, Ravage, Alice & Scalpel) | Constructicons/Devastator (Demolishor, Rampage, Long Haul, Mixmaster, Scrapper & Scavenger) | Theodore Galloway | Hilly Holbrook | Julian Assange | Dino Brewster

Shorts, Television and Video Games
Mr. Chew | Tour Guide | King Fossa | Boneknapper | Wu Sisters | Le Chuchoteur | Fearless Leader | Boris Badenov | Natasha Fatale | Arachne | Snidely Whiplash | Doom Syndicate (Psycho Delic) | Dr. Blowhole | Coverton | Sta'abi | D-Structs | Skrap-It | Splitter | Blayde | Pounder | D-Stroy | Goldtrux | Emperor Zarkon | Galra Empire (Prince Lotor, Haggar, Sendak & Lotor's Generals) | Bloodwolf | The Splotch | Socktopus | Theodore Murdsly | Smartsy Fartsy | Melvinborg | Teachertrons | Croco-bats | Butt-erflies | Dr. Disgruntled | Odlulu | Hordak | The Horde (Catra, Shadow Weaver, Scorpia & Double Trouble) | Horde Prime | Galactic Horde | Light Hope | First Ones | Scalemagne | Mod Frogs (Jamack, Mrs. Satori | Newton Wolves (Bad Billions and Good Billions) | Scooter Skunks | Humming Bombers | Tad Mulholand | Fun Gus | Human Resistance (Dr. Emilia, Greta, Zane) | Indominus rex

See Also
Tales of Arcadia Villains

           Shrek Logo Villains

Movies
Shrek: Lord Farquaad † | Thelonious | Pied Piper
Shrek 2: Fairy Godmother † | Prince Charming | Steve and Ed
Shrek the Third: Prince Charming | Rapunzel | James Hook | Evil Queen | Headless Horseman | Rumpelstiltksin | Steve and Ed
Shrek Forever After: Rumpelstiltksin | Fifi † | Pied Piper
Puss in Boots: Jack and Jill | Humpty Alexander Dumpty
Shorts: Lord Farquaad † | Le Chuchoteur

Television
Bloodwolf

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.