The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
How we cite our quotes:
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 church-yard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head […] (1.4)
What are historians doing collecting "facts" about ghosts? Shouldn't they be writing about wars and economic policy in a dark room somewhere? Who gets to decide what history is, anyway?
However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative—to dream dreams, and see apparitions. (1.6)
Do you think Irving is trying to drop us a hint here with that word "imaginative"? As in, it's in their (and our!) imaginations?
There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. (1.52)
Is superstition a disease? If so, Ichabod needs to get a cure—and quick.