Whenever people think of Sleepy Hollow, they tend to think of Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman and what happened the night Ichabod disappeared.   My story doesn’t involve anyone  of these people, but it does involve the town of Sleepy Hollow  and how it changed my perspective of the supernatural.

But before I tell the tale, I think it’s important to know a few things. First, I have gone to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow a couple of times before this. Usually as a class field trip. And while I definitely was creeped out by the stories, I never believed wholeheartedly that there was something supernatural. 

Second, my perspective on the supernatural has always been foggy to say the least. Because my father is a devoted Catholic and my stepmother is a protestant. But my stepmother and my sister have always had the ability to see spirits and were always more connected to the supernatural than I was. But because of my parents different viewpoints, I was never quite sure which one to believe more. Of course I believed in the supernatural, but I never thought it would ever affect my life.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll continue my story.

This happened either my senior year of high school or after I had graduated.  I remember it happening in the fall. More specifically, just before Halloween started.

My girlfriend at the time, Victoria, always had a great love for anything that came from the American revolution. And although the Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place after the revolution, it is still tied to colonial America. And like my sister and my stepmom, Victoria had a connection with the supernatural that I didn’t. And so, we always took trips over to Sleepy Hollow. And the one place we usually visited, was Sleepy Hollow cemetery. 

So one day, Victoria and I are visiting the cemetery like we always do. But on this day, we decided to do something a little different. We had it a little further into the cemetery. I thought nothing of it. After all, a lot of people were buried there. One of the tombstones we came across was that of Washington Irving, the man who wrote about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

And as we headed further into the cemetery, we came across a mausoleum. And it belonged to a woman named Leona Helmsley. We couldn’t go into the mausoleum, because the doors were closed and locked but that didn’t stop us from trying to look through the glass doors. 

After trying to peer through the glass doors for a few minutes, Victoria’s mother was waiting for us at the car just a few feet away from where we were standing. We headed for the car, but as soon as I got into the car, I had a really bad burning feel on my left shoulder. 

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, so I rolled up my shirt so that I could see what was going on. I used the window from the car as a mirror. And I will never forget when I saw. 

On my left shoulder, were claw marks the size of the tiger claws. And they were fresh. Victoria and her mother were completely shocked when they saw them. I knew for an instant, that these were not made by human hands. Because if they were, I would have felt them the instant I got them.  And they weren’t made by any tree branches passing by, because there were no trees above us or near us when we are at the mausoleum. After seeing my scratches, her mother took us out of the cemetery immediately.

And I think after this experience, it was the last time I ever went to that cemetery. And if it wasn’t, I never went near that mausoleum ever again. I can’t even recall the last time I’ve ever been to that cemetery after this. 

 I think the only reason that I didn’t get more permanent damage done to me, was because I was wearing my chain and the medallions that I have had on my neck ever since I was a baby. My chain includes a cross and a St. Joseph medallion that were given to be by my godfather.  So in a way, I had avoided something far worse than just a few scratches.

I don’t know what it was that attacked me, or why I was the only one that was affected by it. But I do know this, after this experience, I wholeheartedly believe in the supernatural. If someone were to ask me, do I think that there is such thing as spirits, I say to them “I don’t think. I know they exist.” 

And I may not ever see the headless Horseman, but there are definitely evil spirits in Sleepy Hollow. So if you ever plan to go there, you best be prepared.
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Reba Petro
Now that's very scary, I don't think I want to visit there eighter. Thanks for the story.
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