The chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman, who had been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.
My awareness of the Headless Horseman didn't come directly from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I grew up with a Disney Halloween special that included a sequence of Ichabod Crane fleeing the spirit across a covered bridge. Later, of course, there was the film starring Johnny Depp.
The story itself is so much more interesting. It is not only a ghost story but a cunning whodunnit (and, really, a what-exactly-was-done-at-all). The Horseman features only briefly (or not at all?) and yet the entire story is just steeped in a sort of atmospheric dread.
The text in this piece is an abridged version of the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.