I know what you are thinking. This is going to be something about the Headless Horseman, and so on, and so on. Do not get me wrong. I LOVE the Headless Horseman. But this time he is not going to be in the spotlight. When I say Sleepy Hollow, I mean the Sleepy Hollow that belongs to my inlaws. Sleepy Hollow Farm to be more precise. And yes, it fully lives up to the name and the reputation of the legendary Sleepy Hollow.
There have been so many things that have happened right here in our little corner of the woods that the ghost stories and the experiences abound. This is probably the most appropriate time to share some of our stories of things we have experienced or that others have.
Long before I met my husband, he and his father and brothers had an experience while deer hunting one fall. Hunting is a tradition here and no fall would be complete without it. This one particular day was far more than just a day in the woods. My husband, his father, his brothers, and several of their friends were in the woods that day.
Keep in mind this is more of a forest- several hundred acres worth- and is part of Sleepy Hollow. These are not just any woods. They have a lot of history, much of it bloody history. From the earliest settlers who arrived here and fought the native tribes, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, family feuds, accidents, and unexplainable deaths, this area has seen more than its share tragedies and unspeakable horrors.
As I was saying, this particular day was much like many other days in the late fall here. The leaves were all but gone from the trees, the sky was grey with the first hints of snow, and the air had a cold crispness to it that left no doubt the earth would soon be under a blanket of winter white. It was mid-afternoon and time to head back to the house and get ready for the evening milking and chores.
It would take over an hour to make the walk back through the woods and then down through the pasture to the house and barns. The men met up on the trail and of course, took the customary time to shoot the breeze among other things. There had been a cold breeze blowing all day with squirrells, crows, and many other forest creatures making their noises as they went about their daily routines. As the men started to walk home, they noticed a strange feeling in the air. It was one of those feelings that you cannot explain. Shrugging it off, they continued to walk and watch the woods for any sign of deer. As they walked the cold breeze began to let up and then stopped altogether. The woods began to grow quiet. Too quiet. Before long the only sounds were the footsteps of the men walking through the fallen leaves.
They began to feel uneasy. Now this is something that these men rarely admit to. Being hardy Norwegians, they are not prone to being shaken or being scared very easily. Even if they were, they would never admit it. The group stopped and began to look around and listen. The unspoken question among them was understood without the use of words. They continued to walk and the temperature began to drop dramatically. It became so cold that ice crystals began to form on their rifles and their beards. There was no reason for it to become so cold so quickly. No wind was blowing, nothing had changed. Or had it?
By this point, there was no sound at all. The men had stopped walking at a spot where the woods climbed high on both sides. It was so quiet that all they could here was the sound of their own breathing. All at once some unseen force plowed through the middle of the men, knocking several of them down. At almost the same moment, a flock of crows began to attack the air as if they were attacking some living thing. They flew right down between the men, cawing loudly and furiously attacking something unseen by the men. They managed to shake the momentary shock of what was going on and get away from the frenzied crows. The birds continued to attack something unseen and began to get closer and closer to the ground, almost as if they were beating back the unseen force. When it was finally over, they were all on the ground with their wings spread open and clearly agitated. The men watched the birds for a while longer until they finally flew up into the trees directly above the spot. They sat on the branches, guarding and waiting. The men noticed that the air had grown slightly warmer by this point. They just stood there shaking their heads and wondering what had just happened. Needless to say, they wasted no time getting back home after that.
Now you may be skeptical or think this is just another Halloween story. I can tell you that it is true- it really happened. I have looked into the eyes of these men when they tell this story and I have absolutely no doubt that their words are true. I can tell you one thing, none of them has killed a crow since that day no matter how much corn they eat from the field.........
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