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Abraham Van Brunt

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Abraham Van Brunt

General information
Alias: Headless Horseman
Horseman of Death
Species: Horseman of the Apocalypse (currently)
Human (formerly)
Profession: Horseman of the Apocalypse
Physical description
Gender: Male
Personal information
Allies: Moloch
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Shadow Warriors
Andy Brooks
Banastre Tarleton
Tree Monster
Gina Lambert
Enemies: Ichabod Crane
Katrina Crane
Abbie Mills
August Corbin
Jenny Mills
Alfred Knapp
Westchester County PD
Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart
Frank Irving
The Kindred
Further information
First Appearance: Pilot
Portrayed by: Richard Cetrone (Weapons)
Jeremy Owens
Craig Branham (Horseback)
Neil Jackson (Abraham)

Abraham Van Brunt is an undead man who sold his soul to Moloch after being killed by The Shadow Warriors. His head was later severed by his former best friend, a former history professor-turned Revolutionary War captain Ichabod Crane, causing him to become known as the Headless Horseman.

Both Abraham and Crane were later resurrected in 21st-century Sleepy Hollow, where he was revealed to be the First of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death.



Originally, the Horseman was a human man named Abraham Van Brunt, from a prosperous family, and a friend of Ichabod Crane. He was betrothed to Katrina Van Tassel in a arranged marriage in 1774. He would purchase expensive gifts for her to show his love. One time, he sought to buy her a necklace and initially chose the most expensive one; however, Ichabod suggested another simpler one as being more suited to Katrina's taste. During a soiree, unbeknownst to him, Katrina told Ichabod that she was going to break off the engagement that evening because she loved him. The following day, Abraham and Ichabod were sent on a secret mission to deliver the Declaration of Resolves of the First Continental Congress, the predecessor to the Declaration of Independence. As the two men made their way through hostile territory in Pennsylvania, Abraham's mind was on Katrina's break up with him. During a discussion over the matter, it came out that Katrina had feelings for Ichabod instead, which angered Abraham. Ichabod tried to reason with him and ask for his blessing, but to no avail. Abraham forced Ichabod into a duel with their sabers. Ichabod quickly yielded, but Abraham refused to accept and continued the fight. Abraham disarmed Ichabod and forced him to the ground with his sword at Ichabod's throat. However, without warning, Abraham was shot by a Hessian soldier who came on the scene. Ichabod slew the Hessian and another, but more approached. Ichabod went to try to help Abraham, but he told him to leave. Ichabod saw the Hessians dismount and approach the mortally wounded Abraham before he ran. What Ichabod didn't know at the time was that Moloch came to Abraham and made a deal with him. Abraham sold his soul to Moloch who made him the Horseman of Death in exchange for Katrina being his once more. He then went under the guise of a Hessian soldier who was part of the 5th Battalion, also known as The Shadow Warriors. He was also the unknown assailant who chased Paul Revere and his allies murdering all three of them whilst Paul barely escaped with a manuscript containing his only known weakness.

Season One

Later on while in the 21st Century, not only does he have the use of his ax, but at the end of the "Pilot", he acquires a Mossberg 500 shotgun and a Colt M4A1 Carbine that is modified with a fore grip and holographic sight. He is also seen carrying a Glock 17 pistol as a sidearm.

Aside from his weapons, the Headless Horseman also has a bandolier of 12 Gauge shotgun shells he uses for his shotgun. He also has another bandolier where he stores clips for his sidearm and carbine, as well as a belt that contains more clips. He got most of this from Andy Brooks's home in Sleepy Hollow when he broke in and took them from the weapons safe. After being captured and held prisoner temporarily, it's likely all these weapons were taken from him, though it's likely that he will obtain a new set later on. In the season finale, he is seen with at least his Mossberg 500 again, implying that he has obtained firearms again (or at least his shotgun). Also, he relied on the use of a white horse as a mode of transportation, symbolizing his status as the Horseman of Death.


In his human life, Abraham was a proud man and a clear product of his time and family. He would go to extremes when buying gifts for Katrina while Ichabod was more subtle. While initially a good man, he was devastated and angered by Katrina's decision to leave him upon the discovery that Ichabod had been the true love of her life. Abraham challenged his friend to a duel and when he apparently won, he was mortally shot by a Hessian soldier. Moloch then approached him and offered Katrina to him in exchange for him becoming the Horseman of Death, an offer he accepted without question, as it also gave him what he wanted in the process: Revenge, though what he truly wanted was to be with Katrina once more.

As a Horseman of the Apocalypse, his anger and hatred may be further augmented toward Ichabod Crane and anyone else that stands in his way of his objective, though without his head or a necromancer, his only means of expressing himself are through his physical actions.

While able to hold grudges and the desire to obtain revenge, Abraham still demonstrates that his desire for Katrina to love him the way that he loves her is still strong, and that he would do nearly anything to see her happy to be at his side. In The Weeping Lady, he asked War to strengthen the protective spells over the house where they kept Katrina to ensure that she couldn't get out, but when he discovered that she had been captured by the Weeping Lady (a fact that he may not have known who was responsible for this), he left out to find her, a sign that he views her safety as one of his priorities, even as one of the Four Horsemen. He even spared Ichabod when Katrina revealed who the culprit was when he found them together.


Abraham Van Brunt, being a Horseman of the Apocalypse, is a non-social individual, preferring to work alone. He will work with other people, but only for as long as Moloch requires him to. The only possible beings he might be willing to work with on a long-term basis are the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Moloch himself. However, due to The Weeping Lady and Deliverance, he may not work well with War

So far, he has shown utmost loyalty to Moloch and his goal of starting the Apocalypse.

As the Horseman of Death, Abraham Van Brunt is to be considered an enemy of all people living. He seems to hold special resentment towards Ichabod Crane as Crane was responsible for him losing his fiancee, his defeat during the American Revolutionary War, and his subsequent decapitation. It was later revealed in "Necromancer" that he was once Ichabod's friend and Katrina's former fiance until Katrina chose to be with Ichabod instead of him, which led him to assume that Ichabod had stolen Katrina from him.

In his human life, Abraham was a proud man and a clear product of his time and family. He would go to extremes when buying gifts for Katrina while Ichabod was more subtle. While initially a good man, he was devastated and angered by Katrina's decision to leave him upon the discovery that Ichabod had been the true love of her life. Abraham challenged his friend to a duel and when he apparently won, he was mortally shot by a Hessian soldier. Moloch then approached him and offered Katrina to him in exchange for him becoming the Horseman of Death, an offer he accepted without question, as it also gave him what he wanted in the process: Revenge.

He also has displayed a great amount of animosity towards anyone who he sees as an obstacle in retrieving his skull and completing the Apocalypse such as Sheriff August Corbin (for reasons currently unknown), Captain Frank Irving, Reverend Alfred Knapp (who wouldn't tell him where his head was located), and Abbie Mills. He has displayed great animosity towards Ichabod as he took Katrina and his head from him.

As a result of The Weeping Lady, Abraham may possess some resentment toward Jeremy Crane, as he was the one behind the summoning of the Weeping Lady that endangered Katrina when all he asked of him was to strengthen the protective spells over the house they had her confined to in order to keep her from escaping.

After Deliverance, Abraham may see Jeremy as an enemy and question Moloch's own role in endangering Katrina, who was made sick in And The Abyss Gazes Back, as he was forced to contend with Jeremy's men to free Katrina from them.

Powers and Abilities

Being one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Headless Horseman is practically immortal and possesses minimal invulnerability as he is capable of withstanding multiple gunshots and he was not fazed when Ichabod Crane hit him repeatedly with a shovel. However, Ichabod was able to decapitate him with a sword in their initial encounter.  It's possible that the Horseman may possess a limited healing factor (hence him surviving various injuries, though he may not be able to regenerate severed limbs). The Horseman can also heat the blade of his broadax to 500 degrees at will, he can also do the same with a smaller throwing Ax which he uses.

He also appears to have enhanced strength as a horseman, as shown when he uses both his Mossberg 500 and Colt M4A1 in the Pilot episode without suffering from any recoiling or ricocheting backlash from them. He was also able to rip apart several chains which were holding him in place, the moment the spell stopping him from escaping was broken in "Necromancer."

The Horseman could also possess his necromancer Andy Brooks, and use him to speak through him.

One of the Headless Horseman's only known weaknesses is that he is apparently weakened by sunlight, which would make him easier to capture as he hid beneath a river during the day. He also immediately rode off on his horse in the middle of a gunfight with the police when the sun began to rise, causing his uniform to sizzle when touched by its rays. Also, while gunshots don't kill him, they do seem to temporarily stop him in his tracks.

Another potential weakness is that the Headless Horseman may be only at less than half his true strength, so long as he stays separated from his head, which he needs to be whole again and to hasten the Apocalypse by bringing the other Horsemen.

Since he is Death itself and one cannot kill Death, the only way to stop him is to detain him with sunlight or artificial sunlight, (as Abbie and Ichabod used ultraviolet lights to capture him) and shackle him in a spell-protected area.

The Horseman is also a very powerful fighter, armed with his broadax. He proves to also be an accomplished duelist, able to defeat Ichabod in a fight with a Rapier. And is a brilliant marksman, he quickly adapts to using modern weaponry, mastering an assault rifle and a shotgun shortly after getting his hands upon one.


Back in the 18th Century, the Headless Horseman had the use of a broadax, which appears to be his main and favorite weapon, and it was later that he would wield this same weapon. The ax is known to heat up to 500 degrees at the Horseman's will in order to cauterize the wound of the victim's head every time the Horseman decapitates his victims. In addition, he carried another small throwing ax on his person, which could also heat up to 500 degrees (seemingly on command), seen when he tried and failed to strike Ichabod and hit the tombstone of Katrina Crane instead.


  • In the actual Book of Revelation, Death is the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, who rides a pale horse with Hell right behind him. In the series, Washington's Bible has the Headless Horseman as the First Horseman of the Apocalypse with the description of what in the actual Book of Revelation is Conquest. Though they have changed the description of Death in Washington's Bible with what is accurately stated in the Book of Revelation in newer episodes, his horse is still white and he is still the First Horseman of the Apocalypse.
  • As a result of the revelation behind the origins of the Headless Horseman/Death being a former human in "Necromancer", it's possible that the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse are former men from different times and parts of the Earth made into the Horsemen they would become later on by Moloch after each encounter with him. This seems to be true as War also made a deal with Moloch.
  • As a result of The Kindred, Death may not be able to reclaim his skull unless the Kindred is decapitated, which could prove difficult.


"And there before me stood a white horse, and its rider held a bow, and his name was Death." -Ichabod Crane quoting the Book of Revelations in Washington's Bible

"When I beheaded him, that man didn't die because he was never a man at all. He is Death itself, lieutenant, and somehow...he has returned to Sleepy Hollow to finish what he started." -Ichabod Crane

" can't kill him, Abbie. He is Death." -Andy Brooks

"You can't kill him. HE WON'T DIE, ABBIE!!!!" -Andy Brooks

"And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder. One of the four beasts saying: 'Come and see...'. Then behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death.....and Hell followed with him." -Sheriff August Corbin quoting the Book of Revelations

"The Redcoats had just ambushed us in the Hudson Valley. In a desperate hour, Washington called me to his tent. The Revolution, he explained, wasn't merely a war for the future of our country. It would determine the fate of every man, woman, and child on Earth. He gave me a mission: To kill a man who revealed himself in the Hudson shore. An unknown mercenary recognizable by a mark on his hand...that of a bow." -Ichabod Crane talking about why George Washington assigned him to kill the Horseman

"Do you have a name? Or should I just call you Death?" -Ichabod Crane interrogating the Horseman

"Washington's prized soldier... You were my mission. Then and now." -The Headless Horseman, speaking through Andy Brooks, talking to Ichabod Crane

"I will kill you!" -The Horseman threatening Ichabod

"I TOOK YOU! I TOOK YOU ON THE BATTLEFIELD! I SLAYED YOUR MASON BRETHREN! I HUNG THEIR HEADS LIKE LANTERNS! I KILLED HER PARTNER!" -The Horseman yelling at Ichabod about the deaths he has caused, including the death of Abbie's partner, Sheriff August Corbin

"I have long awaited for this day. This moment." -The Horseman confronting Ichabod

"Now, Ichabod... You shall learn." -The Headless Horseman, before he breaks free from his chains

"He (Moloch) has given me what I have always wanted... Revenge. But my prize is not just revenge... It is Katrina. Her soul...will be mine once more." -The Horseman about his deal with Moloch, his resurrection, his goals, and claims that Katrina will be his forever

"You may have taken my head, but Death will not be silenced." -The Headless Horseman speaking to Ichabod Crane

"All that time you were searching for me out in the battlefield, I, too, was searching for you, Ichabod Crane." -The Horseman telling Ichabod that he was looking for him as well during the Revolutionary War

"In time, you will learn, Crane...before you die." -The Horseman giving Ichabod a warning

"You ask why I remained here: To finish what I started. And as you lay dying, think about all the bloodshed that will follow and know...that it will be on your hands." -The Horseman mocking Ichabod

Image Gallery

Behind the Scenes


Season 1
Pilot Blood Moon For the Triumph of Evil... The Lesser Key of Solomon John Doe
The Sin Eater The Midnight Ride Necromancer Sanctuary The Golem
The Vessel The Indispensable Man Bad Blood


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