The Headless Horseman gallops into my classroom each October. His eerie presence send chills down my students’ spines. Who is this creepy character? Why does he show up in folklore around the world? It’s time for some comparative analysis!
The Headless Horseman – Legends from Around the World
My students love reading tales of the headless horseman from around the world. They list the characteristics of each horseman. In the end, they use Venn diagrams to compare and contrast these scary ghosts.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” written by Washington Irving, is an American classic. Two men, Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane, compete for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel. Brom tells the story of the headless horseman, which scares the superstitious Ichabod. On his way home one night, Ichabod meets the horseman. The next day, no one can find him. Did the ghost of the Hessian soldier get Ichabod, or was he simply scared away by a prank played by Brom? Debating what really happened engages my students every year.
This video clip (3:10) from Disney’s 1969 movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, sheds light on Brom’s possible involvement.
Let’s Have Some Fun
It’s time to watch some parodies (and have some fun!) These television advertisements have used the horseman as a gimmick. Kids compare and contrast the ads with legends and literature they’ve already explored.
- The Headless Horseman Rides Again (0:47) – Walt Disney World Theme Parks
- Horseless Headsman (0:31) – SNICKERS
No mystery series is complete without reference to the Headless Horseman. We’ll wrap it up with a little Scooby Doo!
Ghost stories are fun, motivational, and a little creepy. Enjoy!