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Earlier this month, we hosted a Genealogy Tea Time to cover the spooky topic of Revolutionary era ghost stories – and we started with the most famous one of all: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

The event was recorded and can be found in our Library/American Lineage Playlist on the SAR YouTube Channel. Join us for a literary tour of Revolutionary era ghost stories, starting with the origins of Washington Irving’s short story: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Other ghostly topics covered: Capture (and haunting) of Major John André, the Swamp Fox – General Francis Marion, the Actions of Tarrytown, other Headless Horsemen, Hulda the Witch, the Battle of Cowpens, the Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and many more! The stories covered come from: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Europe, etc.

We covered so many stories and resources, here is the full list of sources to dig into during this spooky season!

Books Referenced During Tea Time

Barefoot, Daniel W. Spirits of ‘76: Ghost Stories of the American Revolution. John F. Blair,  2009.

Bird, S. Elizabeth. “It Makes Sense to Us: Cultural Identity in Legends of Place.” Journal of  Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 31 No. 5, 2002, pp. 519-547.

Canning, Jeff, and Wally Buxton. History of the Tarrytowns: Westchester County, New York,  from Ancient Times to the Present. Harbor Hill Books, 1975.

Dominé, David. Ghosts of Old Louisville: True Stories of Hauntings in America’s Largest Victorian Neighborhood. University Press of Kentucky, 2017.

DuPont Lee, Marguerite. Virginia Ghosts. Virginia Book Company. 1966.

Hine, C.G. Woodside, the north end of Newark, N.J.: Its History, Legends and Ghost Stories  Gathered from the Records and Older Inhabitants Now Living. Hine’s Annual. 1909.

Irving, Washington. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories from the Sketch Book, edited by Wayne Franklin, Signet Classics, 2006, pp. 338-369.

Lecouteux, Claude. Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of  the Undead. Inner Traditions, 2011.

Scott, Sir Walter. “The Chase.” An Apology for Tales of Terror. Kelso, 1799, pp. 27-40.

  • “William and Helen.” An Apology for Tales of Terror. Kelso, 1799, pp. 41-57. sir_1799/mode/2up.

Sons of the Revolution of Tarrytown. An account of the action at Tarrytown on July fifteenth, 1781: and of its commemoration by the Sons of the Revolution of Tarrytown on July         fifteenth, 1899. New York, The Winthrop Press, 1899.

Steiner, Henry John, and Name. “Andre’s Tree – the Vanished Landmark.” Headless Horseman Blog, 14 Oct. 2022,

Additional Sources

Burgess, Thom. “Sleepy Hollow: The Headless Horseman’s European Roots.” FolkloreThursday, 15 Oct. 2020,

“Ghost Stories.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Accessed 19 Oct. 2023.

Gruber, Katherine Egner. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Hidden History in an American Ghost Story.” News List, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Accessed 12 Oct. 2023.

Hall, David D. “A World of Wonders: The Mentality of the Supernatural in Seventeenth-Century New England.” Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Accessed 12 Oct. 2023.

Jansen, Tiffany R. “Hulda the Witch: A Look at the Legend Buried in Sleepy Hollow.” Westchester Magazine, 22 Oct. 2021,

Meier, Allison C. “Hulda the Witch: The Other Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Times Union.” Times Union, 21 Oct. 2021,

Monnet, Agnieszka Soltysik. “American Horror: Origins and Early Trends.” Horror: A Literary History, edited by Xavier Aldana Reyes, The History Press, 2015, pp. 53-76.

Poole, W. Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsessions with the Hideous and the  Haunting. Baylor University Press, 2018.

Sparling, Reed. “Why the Headless Horseman Lives On.” Scenic Hudson, 29 June 2023,

Traynor, Jessica. “How Tales of the Headless Horseman Came from Celtic Mythology.” The Irish Times, The Irish Times, 23 Oct. 2019,

“The Death of John André.” UM Clements Library, 14 Aug. 2019,

Recommended Readings

Anderson, Jean. The Haunting of America. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973.

Ashley, Leonard R.N. The Complete Book of Ghosts and Poltergeists. Barricade Books Inc,  2000.

Bacon, Edgar Mayhew. Chronicles of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. New York and London,  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897.

Brewster, Paul G. “The Lineback Ghost.” Games and Rhymes; Beliefs and Customs; Riddles; Proverbs; Speech, Tales and Legends, Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Vol. 1. Duke University Press, 1952. pp. 672-73.

Crain, Mary Beth. Haunted U.S. Battlefields: Ghosts, Hauntings, and Eerie Events from America’s Fields of Honor. Globe Pequot. 2021.

Davis, Graeme. Colonial Horrors: Sleepy Hollow and Beyond. Pegasus Books, 2017.

Holzer, Hans. Yankee Ghosts: Spine-Tingling Encounters with the Phantoms of New York and New England. Yankee Books, 1986.

McInvale, Courtney. Revolutionary War Ghosts of Connecticut. The History Press. 2013.

Norman, Michael and Beth Scott. Haunted Heritage: A Definitive Collection of North American Ghost Stories. Forge Books, 2002.

Rogers, Diane. “Ghost Folklore: Hauntings and Graveyards and Ghosts…Oh, My!” Price Genealogy, 7 Oct. 2023,

Schenawolf, Harry. “Best Ghost Stories of the American Revolution.” Revolutionary War Journal, 15 May 2023,

Smith, Suzy. Prominent American Ghosts. The World Publishing Company, 1966.

Snyder, John J. Tales of Old Flatbush. John J. Snyder, 1945.

The Occult Museum. “5 Famous American Ghosts from the Revolutionary War Period.” The Lineup, 1 July 2019,

“Haunting Encounters with Revolutionary Ghouls.” American Battlefield Trust, 7 Sept. 2023,