Tethering Our Horse Among the Graves: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

October 8, 2019 — We’ve taken a lot of photos of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery over the years (see many of them here), so it’s almost a psychological exercise to see what photos we take these days when we visit.

This time, we took plenty of photos of Headless Horseman Bridge, despite how many we already have (compared to the fact that we took zero of the Old Dutch Church). It’s just hard not to. We basically use that bridge to document the way our family changes more than the bridge itself. Washington Irving’s grave all done up for Fall is an automatic click (unless we’re using a phone, then it’s an automatic tap).

We also photographed the crypt form the first Dark Shadows movie because it feels like we might have skipped that site on our past few visits. Also some random shots of funerary sculptures that I’m not sure if we’ve taken photos of before (but we probably have).

Most notably, we took photos of the gravestone of Hulda, the Witch of Sleepy Hollow. This is a new edition to the graveyard. At least what’s above the soil is a new edition. See, Hulda was buried in an unmarked grave right up against the Old Dutch Church back in 1777. She was what the village considered a witch, and what we would consider today a woman who digs gardening.

So she was ostracized…until she was killed protecting the village from a British raid during the Revolutionary War times. They say she fought so fiercely that the British targeted her specifically. That put the residents of Sleepy Hollow (or Tarrytown, back then) in an awkward spot. You technically aren’t allowed to bury a witch in Christian soil. But she was a hero now. A martyr to the star-spangled cause. A patriot. The people of the village seemed to have compromised by burying her in the churchyard, but not marking her grave, an error in judgement that was rectified this year by the members of the Old Dutch Church.

Finally, the Bronze Lady got plenty of memory space on our phones. She’s been there for decades, but I only found out about her story this year. She’s cursed. If you abuse the statue or look through the keyhole of the mausoleum she faces and guards, she’ll visit nightmares on you in your sleep. Maybe worse.

And maybe one day I’ll put together a comprehensive photo guide to all the wormy wonders of this magnificent cemetery. I just need to find all the spots in the cemetery where the Ramones stood in their Pet Sematary music video first.