"The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head was carried away by a cannon-ball, during some nameless battle of the Revolutionary War, who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of the regions, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts about this specter, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes through the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak."
- Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)