October Photo Challenge: The Headless Horseman

The Jack-o’-lantern Hallie and I carved for Halloween 2011.  The Headless Horseman (Legend of Sleepy Hollow).  I actually lived on a road called Sleepy Hollow when I was young.  😉  Spooky.  I LOVED it there!


The Headless Horseman  (http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/the_headless_horseman.html)

A New York Ghost Story 

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

Listen to the story (4.3 mb download)

One cold winter night, early in the New Year, a certain Dutchman left the tavern in Tarrytown and started walking to his home in the hollow nearby. His path led next to the old Sleepy Hollow cemetery where a headless Hessian soldier was buried. At midnight, the Dutchman came within site of the graveyard. The weather had warmed up during the week, and the snow was almost gone from the road. It was a dark night with no moon, and the only light came from his lantern.

The Dutchman was nervous about passing the graveyard, remembering the rumors of a galloping ghost that he had heard at the tavern. He stumbled along, humming to himself to keep up his courage. Suddenly, his eye was caught by a light rising from the ground in the cemetery. He stopped, his heart pounding in fear. Before his startled eyes, a white mist burst forth from an unmarked grave and formed into a large horse carrying a headless rider.

The Dutchman let out a terrible scream as the horse leapt toward him at a full gallop. He took to his heels, running as fast as he could, making for the bridge since he knew that ghosts and evil spirits did not care to cross running water. He stumbled suddenly and fell, rolling off the road into a melting patch of snow. The headless rider thundered past him, and the man got a second look at the headless ghost. It was wearing a Hessian commander’s uniform.

The Dutchman waited a good hour after the ghost disappeared before crawling out of the bushes and making his way home. After fortifying himself with schnapps, the Dutchman told his wife about the ghost. By noon of the next day, the story was all over Tarrytown. The good Dutch folk were divided in their opinions. Some thought that the ghost must be roaming the roads at night in search of its head. Others claimed that the Hessian soldier rose from the grave to lead the Hessian soldiers in a charge up nearby Chatterton Hill, not knowing that the hill had already been taken by the British.

Whatever the reason, the Headless Horseman continues to roam the roads near Tarrytown on dark nights from that day to this.

Author’s Note: This is a retelling of the folktale which was used by Washington Irving to create his masterpiece, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


The following is a hauntingly romantic poem that always comes to mind when I think of The Headless Horseman.

The Highwayman

by Alfred Noyes
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin; 
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh. 
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle,
   His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard, 
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
   Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like moldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter, 
   The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day, 
Then look for me by moonlight,
   Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand, 
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
   (Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead, 
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side. 
There was death at every window;
   And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest. 
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast.
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
   Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good. 
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood.
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
   Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest. 
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again; 
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
   Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill, 
The highwayman came riding,
   Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
   Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

He turned; he spurred to the west; he did not know who stood 
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood.
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew gray to hear 
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
   The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky, 
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway, 
   Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
   Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


Headless Horseman


The fictional tale of the Headless Horseman is based on some true facts.

The story of the Headless Horseman takes place during the 1790s in a community referred to as “”Sleepy Hollow”” near Tarrytown, New York. Ichabod Crane (a schoolmaster from Connecticut) competes with Abraham “”Brom Bones”” Van Brunt (the local thug) for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel (daughter of a wealthy farmer). According to the story, a Hessian trooper (who lost his head to a cannonball during the American Revolution) was buried near the Old Dutch Church and was known to haunt the area every night in search of his missing head, harming anyone who stands in his way. One autumn night as Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel Home, he encounters this Headless Horseman and is never heard from again.

Although the story itself is fictional, it is largely inspired by reality. The final showdown between Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman occurs on a bridge near the location where the Horseman is buried. The Old Dutch Burying Ground, the alleged gravesite of the Horseman, still stands in the Village of Sleepy Hollow. The bridge mentioned in the story is referred to as the “”Horseman’s Bridge”” and still exists as well although today takes on a more modern appearance. Additionally, the characters themselves are based on real residents of the area. It is believed that the character of Ichabod Crane was based on Jesse Merwin, a schoolteacher in Kinderhook. Although Kinderhook is further north in Columbia County, Washington Irving spent several months in Kinderhook during 1809, well before he published his story in 1820. Similarly, Katrina Van Tassel is thought to have been based Eleanor Van Tassel Brush, with her name coming from Eleanor’s aunt Catriena Ecker Van Texel. The gravesites of the Van Tassels, along with the supposed gravesite of the Headless Horseman, are still located within Old Dutch Burying Ground.

(Painting: “The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane” by John Quidor)


Please join in with the October Photo Challenge.  All ya gotta to do is:

(1) place “October Photo Challenge” as part of your Title,

(2) link to www.adjustingyourfocus.wordpress.com, so others can join in on the fun,

(3) comment me with your post link,

(4) post a picture every day showing what October means to you. Could be a harvest, delicious Autumn meal, hearty soup, eerie fog cascading over a glen, leaves falling off the trees, Halloween cookies, a Jack-o’-lantern, cute little Halloween costumes, the state fair coming to town, a special birthday, whatever is special to you during this October month.

Have a wonderful Thursday!!!  My baby is 13 today, so I’m going to go cry some bittersweet tears now.  B’-bye.  *sniff*


Spooky #2

Oh, these bones are great, with the birds mixed in. Tremendously spooky.

Ah, Sunday. A day of rest. NOT! I wish. Busy Saturday – mini road trip. Busy Sunday – going, going, going. Next weekend will be more of the same. However, the weekend after that, I am planning on having an entire day at home, doing as little as possible. We’ll see how that one works out. 😉 Best laid plans…

Love y’all! *squish*


Day 274 of my Project 366. I can hardly believe I have actually stuck with it for this long!!! Yea!!! Perhaps there is hope for me, after all?


Halloween is coming.  I am in a spooky mood.  I thought the great bones of these trees against a chilly, stormy sky was just the ticket today.

Hope y’all have a sensational Saturday. We sure plan to!!! *squishy hug*


(photo taken January 2012)

Photo Friday: Reflected

Yup, I’ve posted this photo in the past, but I thought it would make a suitable entry for Photo Friday’s theme of the week.  Hope ya like it, again.  😉

Happy Friday, y’all!  Sooooooo happy it’s Finally Friday!  Woooo-hoooo!  Here’s to hoping we all have a great one.  Cheers!  *squish*

If you’d like to join us in this entertaining weekly challenge, or see more amazing shots, check out the Photo Friday Weekly Photo Challenge:



What I call ‘Lost City of Atlantis’.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Sunday Post: People

This is just part of the line waiting to get in to experience The Haunted Mansion at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We were in this line at one point.  And just because we went in October does not mean it was a comfortable wait by any means.  It was as hot as H-E-double hockey sticks!  Standing in that heat for so long made me nearly pass out.  If and when you go, and I totally recommend you do, if you love a grand time, you’d be better off going in November or December, if you are a wimp like me when it comes to the heat and humidity.  Plus, the water parks are still open during those months, so you won’t miss out on anything.

We have been on cruises, visited Mexico, traveled by car and plane to many states around America, and I’d have to say that Disney was our best vacation to date.  Mama wasn’t even looking forward to going, except for staying in the Animal Kingdom Lodge since she knew she would be seeing animals outside her balcony.  However, once we arrived on the property, she magically turned from 60-something to 8 right before our very eyes.  I had been looking forward to Disney since I was a little girl, so I had been anticipating its aweseomeness since I was about 6.  We actually used to live in Florida when I was little, but my biological father never wanted to take us, so I finally did once I had a child.  Hallie was 8, Mama turned 8 once we got there, and I turned 8 the moment I knew we were going to plan the trip.  Oh, and when you do plan your trip, try to do so 6 to 9 months in advance, so that you can book all of your reservations for the restaurants in which you wish to dine.  There are princess breakfasts and brunches, awesome, awesome, awesome restaurants with awesome, awesome views.  If you want some recommendations, just let me know.  Let me just tell you that the food in all these establishments were magnificent and we have never eaten so good, nor have we since.  The dining experiences, as well as all the fun you could possibly have will blow you away.

Oh, and as far as the long wait to get into The Haunted Mansion, it was worth it.  Plus, that is the only thing we had to wait long for.  With everything else, the lines went pretty swiftly.  We did have a fast pass with many of the rides and shows, so we could get our tickets with the time to come back, and go do something else until our time came up.

Best.  Vacation.  Ever.

If you’d like to join us in this entertaining weekly challenge, or see more amazing shots and interpretations, the 2012 Water Dragon Weekly Sunday Post is led by Jake:


Y’all have a groovilicious Friday Eve!  😉   *squishy hug*


Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I am sure I have posted this one before, but it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the theme for the week. This seagull looks so peaceful, sitting, waiting, resting.

If you’d like to join us in this entertaining weekly challenge, or see more amazing shots and interpretations, the Weekly Photo Challenge posts a new theme every Friday, and is led by The Daily Post. Check it:


Hope y’all had a truly wonderful day! Mine was SUPER busy, but a good day. Went by with the breeze. Have a restful evening.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Your Favorite Image

‘Dog Tired at Disney’

I know I’ve posted it before.

This just has to be one of my favorites of all time.  Every time I see it, it makes me smile.  I remember sitting at Disney, taking a brief rest on a bench with my two girls (Hallie and Mama), and we had been watching this sweet family talking with each other. I turned away for just a moment, while chatting it up and just watching all the passers by and goings on.  I looked back over to these guys and they were all down for the count.

That’s why I try not to sit down when I’m at home cleaning, because I know if I do, that’ll be all she wrote.  Perhaps this is why my house is a mess.  😉

Disney is awesome fun!  But careful, ’cause it’ll wear you out!

If you’d like to join us in this entertaining weekly challenge, or see more amazing shots and interpretations, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge posts a new theme every week.  Check it:


Have a completely terrifical Tuesday!   Love ya!  *squish*


Disney, Orlando, FL, Oct 2007

Purple Cast Close Up

I took this of Hallie while we were at a Mercy Me concert. The lighting gave a purple cast at that moment. Wish it had been in better focus. I’ll try to sharpen later when I have time.

Hope you guys have had a great Monday. Mine was ok. Tomorrow will be awesome for all of us! Just believe it.

The Hills Are Alive…

with the sound of okies! Ah-ah-ah-ah

Ok, maybe not the Sound of Music, but I love the hills in Oklahoma and I LOVE the people! Everywhere we went in Oklahoma, the people were so gracious and kind and wanted to hold conversation. Beautiful state. So many awesome things to see and do. I want to live in Oklahoma.

May I Please Have Your Autograph?

My sweet little babe. Disney. We miss Disney!

October 2007