The Headless Horseman is the epitome of freakery due to his aesthetic appearance. He is a man draped in a cloak atop a dark horse. His freakery comes with the fact that he is headless and that his head is replaced by a Jack-o-lantern that he holds. The Headless Horseman was first popularized by Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, however it is said that the horseman’s origins lie within German and Celtic folklore. With stories like The Bronze Horseman originating from Germany, it is difficult to tell where the horseman first originated because the legend has been prevalent since the Middle Ages. Still relevant in our lives, The Headless Horseman has been referenced in films such as Keenan and Kel’s Two Heads Are Better Than None, where the villain is instead a headless knight and has been depicted multiple times in art galleries. The Headless horseman will also be a part of NBC’s Sleepy Hollow, keeping the legend alive longer.
In relation to freakery, The Headless Horseman is the embodiment of the fear of a physical disability. He has no head at all but still functions perfectly, and his lack of a head is the focal point for his horror. Championed by Halloween because of his surrogate head, The Headless Horseman’s horror originates from his lack of a body part. He symbolizes the complete function of a person with less than what the populace deems as suitable or normal. He represents the idea that we, people with all of their body parts, are in fact freaks do to all of our excess, when he can thrive with less. The uncovering of this idea through accentuating a prosperous person who is lacking in general is a scary one, forever adding to The Horseman’s terror.
The Headless Horseman pursuing Ichabod Crane
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