Do you need some reading to get you in a Halloween Mood? Here are some suggestions from the pages of A Traveler’s Library, and one deliciously scary tour we found at Sophie’s World.
Whether it is Halloween or Day of the Dead, your mind may turn to Cemeteries and funersals, right? So here are unusual sight-seeing suggestions with a definite spooky feel. Click on the link if you dare learn more.
1. Making An Exit, a review of a book that talks about funeral practices around the world, and made me want to see the artistic coffins from Ghana, not to mention attend a funeral in Bali and many more travel possibilities.
3. The Bates Motel ranks WAY high on places that planted a permanent fear in people’s minds. What’s behind that shower curtain? Now you can travel to the locale of the Hitchcok thriller.
4. The Highwayby C. J. Box really has no competition for scariest book I’ve read this year. In fact, I suggested that although a Montana Road Trip is lovely, you DO NOT want to listen to this book on tape while driving down the highway in the west, nor leaf through it when you stop at a truck stop.
Book: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
A headless horseman, riding through the night; the disappearance of the schoolteacher; the tale of unrequited love – all these come together in the classic and much-beloved story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Beautifully written by Washington Irving, this short story is a creepy tale, one that sneaks up on the reader and lodges in the memory, several turns of phrase coming back at you at odd times throughout your life.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was published in 1820, and is set in Sleepy Hollow, which is located near Tarrytown, New York. You may have read Washington Irving’s many other tales, including Rip Van Winkle. The treasures of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow lie in the compelling descriptions, which make you feel as if you are there in the story with Ichabod Crane…
“Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley among high hills which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook murmurs through it and, with the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks the uniform tranquillity. From the listless repose of the place, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow.”
“Just ahead, where a small brook crossed the road, a few rough logs lying side by side served for a bridge. A group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grapevines, threw a cavernous gloom over it.”
In the story, Ichabod Crane is a schoolteacher – quite a learned man, having “read several books quite through.” He (rather unsuccessfully) courts the beauty Katrina van Tassel, who is also being courted (successfully, we might add) by the strong Abraham “Bram Bones” van Brunt. One night after a harvest party at the van Tassels’, Crane rides home. He meets and is chased by a headless creature, riding hellbent alongside him with a specific purpose in mind. And what comes next will send shivers down your spine…
“Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash – he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider passed by like a whirlwind.”
Ichabod Crane was never seen again.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (get it free here on Guttenberg) is one of those classics I read again each year – along with Robert Burns’ poem Halloween, Robert Burns’ tale Tam O’Shanter (1790), and tales of the Wild Hunt (epitomized by Bürger’s Der Wilde Jäger [the Wild Huntsman], 1796).
If you, too, are a fan of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you can visit the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, where the main spooky action of the tale was set (you can also visit another legend of Sleepy Hollow, this one in the cemetery of the church.
“An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the church bridge was at hand. He saw the whitewashed walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones’s ghostly competitor had disappeared. ‘If I can but reach that bridge,”‘thought Ichabod, ‘I am safe.’ Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath.”
And if you’re lucky to visit the Hudson Valley around Halloween, book a ticket to see Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk, accompanied by Jim Keyes on the organ, bring The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to life at the Old Dutch Church.
Like to read scary stories? How about tracking the authors and the stories to their origins? Ghost Tours for Travelers Who Read….
Edgar Allan Poe
You can’t beat Edgar Allan Poe for scary stories. He invented the modern detective novel, but also thrilled with his eerie tales like my favorite, The Cask of Amontillado and Murder in the Rue Morgue, or the Tell Tale Heart. Poe is associated with several cities–-Baltimore where he is buried, Richmond, Boston, and Philadelphia. A New York City tour promises to introduce you to Poe’s haunts in that city with their “Edgar Allan Poe and His Ghostly Neighbors of Greenwich Village” walk around New York University Library, Washington Square Park and Poe’s former residence. They say that E.A. Poe is their most popular ghost. Continue reading Ghost Tours by the Book→