Monday, November 28, 2016

Washington Irving: Father of American Ghosts

On November 28th, 1859, Washington Irving died in his bed in the town that is now known as Sleepy Hollow, New York. To be sure, he was a celebrated author in his time and if there had been airplanes would have been called a jet-setter. Irving was recognized around the parts of the world that cared as a full-fledged American writer and was considered a master of the short story. Edgar Allen Poe asked for his advice. He was also a diplomat, but that's for some other blog.

Where would Halloween be without The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? It's so ingrained in our American psyche that I almost don't even notice it. From cartoons, to plays, to our love of pumpkins, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is everywhere.  Even Tim Burton would have to admit his remake of the story is one of his best movies.

"On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!" 
(The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

To be fair, Irving wrote that story and "Rip Van Winkle" while traveling in Europe and both were most likely based on folk tales he heard there, but he tailored them to create a classic American tale. And really, what could be more American than that?

Raise you glass to Irving today and look out over a cemetery to see if the headless horseman rises. And, while you're thinking about Irving, pick up one of these decals. How awesome is this?

Headless Horseman Laptop Decal from Suzie Automatic

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