Headless Horseman (Ulster Park, NY) has revealed the theme for their 2013 haunted hayride attraction. It’s an intricate back story related to fortune telling, gypsies, and tarot cards, cleverly woven with the mythology of the Headless Horseman himself.

horseman 2013



The history of the tarot card is clouded and full of mystery. What is known is that in the late 1700’s one of the oldest decks found belonged to a wealthy Transylvania family by the name of Visconti. It was hand painted by Nicolae Visconti and passed down to his son Flavius. The Visconti family was stripped of their wealth, driven out of Transylvania and became one of the most famous gypsy tribes. The cards had been salvaged from the fire that killed Nicolae and burned their home to the ground. Slightly charred, the cards were still used by the gypsy and gained in power throughout the years. Flavius outlived all his peers and became the Gadje of his tribe. He was an Alchemist and also had a strong belief in magic. He used a mixture of both to gain the respect of all the gypsies throughout Europe. What was most unique about this deck is that it contained one card that possessed extraordinary powers. Other cards had a particular amount of uncertainty, but this one card never seemed to fail. The most powerful card was the Horseman; it was also the most interesting. The corner was burned giving the appearance that the horseman’s head was missing. If the card was drawn from the deck this meant enviable death by one or all four of the elements. Flavius was told by his father that the card was based on a prophecy of a great worrier in the new land. All who stood in his way would be killed by this ruthless soldier. The prophecy stated that after his untimely death he would be resurrected and be granted the power to control the elements.

 In 1820 the prophecy was uncovered in America. Flavius and his tribe headed to New York in search of the famous Headless Horseman. His quest leads him to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the cover of night, they dug up the grave to find that the head of Horseman was missing just like his card. Flavius knew if he could find the head of the Horseman he could control him and the elements. A century beforehand, a group of monks were commissioned to separate the head and protect its secret resting place. The location has long since died with the monks.

The tribe headed 100 miles north crossing the Hudson River to where the head of the horseman was rumored to be buried. This location was chosen because it was said that it was inhabited by spirits. Flavius could not find the skull. He made a decision to consult his cards. He drew the Horseman card first. The earth began to rumble beneath him.  Rain fell from clear skies. Fire surrounded him. The thundering sound of a galloping horse could be heard as a great black steed charged through the fire. The old man fell to his knees as the Horseman’s sword severed his head. The Horseman’s card was buried with Flavius remains.

Here is where your adventure begins with a tarot card reading, let’s hope your fortune does not reveal the Horseman’s card.


The other attractions at Headless Horseman remain the same as last year. Returning are:

  •  The Lunar Motel
  • Glutton’s Slaughterhouse
  • The Root Cellar
  • Night Shade
  • Flesh They Crave
  • Blood Inn
  • Dr. Dark’s Black Spider Sideshow
  • Evil Reaping (corn maze)

Scare Zone will be making a trip to New York this Halloween season to experience Headless Horseman. Be sure to check back for our full report!