“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a short story by Washington Irving, which was published in 1820. It is said that Irving based his characters on real people, residents of a small valley in New York:
“From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine-fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak. Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.”
Just a word of warning: don’t try to find this letterbox in the darkness of night. It is said that the Horseman rides in these woods, at times, still searching for his lost head.
From Hwy 290, go north on Telge Rd. In about 3/4 miles you will cross Cypress Creek. The park will be on your right, so turn right on Pleasant Grove, then a quick right into the parking area.
To the Box:
From the historical marker sign, go across the park at 130 degrees to the edge of the woods and a wooden bridge. Cross the bridge and then go left on a path heading east. At the next junction, stay left. Descend to the next trail junction, where you will find a short post with a triangle pointing right. Stand at this post, then walk 35 steps at a heading of 150 degrees, up a small social path to the top of the ridge. Look right. You should see a pine stump about 11 feet tall, with a small oak tree growing very close to it, about 8 steps away. The box is wedged between the two trunks, covered by debris. Be sure to recover it well.