In Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the legend of the Hessian soldier who lost his head during the Revolutionary War and every night rides his horse in search of his head, has greatly affected the impressionable Ichabod Crane, who is interested in spirits and magic. It also creates great fear in the urban man who finds himself trying to control a terrified horse on a rickety bridge as Brom Bones' ghostly competitor hurls his head at him.
The next morning Ichabod is nowhere to be found. (1) Old Gunpowder is discovered without his saddle; his bridle has come off, and he is grazing at his master's gate. Later, the schoolboys locate (2) the saddle, (3) Ichabod's hat, and a (4) shattered pumpkin.
Of course, the folktale that develops from Ichabod's disappearance is according to old country wives, who claim that Ichabod Crane "was spirited away by supernatural means" and the bridge became "more than ever an object of superstitious awe," so much so that the road was changed so that it borders the mill-pond.