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"I have waited for this day... Washington's prize soldier... All the time you were searching for me on the battlefield... I, too, was searching for you... You... were... my... mission... Then and now... You ask why I remain 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..."
—Abraham Van Brunt to Ichabod Crane[src]

Abraham Van Brunt, also known as the Horseman of Death, Headless, Death, the Horseman and the Headless Horseman, is an undead man and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He was an Englishman who fought alongside the American army. He was betrothed to Katrina Van Tassel, who, at the time, left him for his best friend, Ichabod Crane. Wanting vengeance, he sold his soul to Moloch after being killed by Shadow Warriors in 1774.[2]

He got the chance to slay Ichabod, but was beheaded within that brief moment. After he was killed, he was entombed beneath a lake within a chained mortsafe to prevent anyone from releasing him from the outside. Being bound by blood, both Abraham and Crane were resurrected in 21st century of Sleepy Hollow.


Early life[]

Originally, the Horseman of Death was a human named Abraham Van Brunt who was an Englishman born in 1749. He came from a prosperous family, and was a friend of Ichabod Crane. He was betrothed to Katrina Van Tassel in an 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, as she loved him instead.

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, Ichabod confessed, 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 swords. 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 tried to help Abraham, but he told him to leave. The Hessians dismounted and approached the mortally wounded Abraham. 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 revenge.[2]

He then went under the guise of a Hessian soldier who was part of the 5th Battalion, also known as The Shadow Warriors.[3] During Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, to warn the British were coming, he also secretly took a letter from the Freemasons detailing the Horsemen's weaknesses, as such the Horseman emerged and chased them, killing three of Paul's friends, but Paul and the message escaped.

The Horseman somehow met the angel Orion and dueled him. Orion failed and got trapped in Purgatory.

In 1781 during a battle outside Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane, an Englishman who had joined the cause was given orders by General Washington to make certain he killed a specific Hessian mercenary, one with a bow on his hand. Crane met the horseman on the battlefield, wielding a large battle axe. After shooting proved to have no effect, the the Horseman sliced his chest open, but Crane had time to decapitate the Horseman with a broadsword he was carrying. However as they both fell, their blood had mixed together linking their fate. As such Ichabod's wife who was a witch placed a spell on him not just to save Ichabod but to stop the horror; the head was hidden in Katrina's false grave and the Horseman's body was dumped in a river outside Sleepy Hollow in a chained mortsafe.

Season One[]

Abraham is first introduced as the Headless Horseman and murders Sherrif August Corbin and Reverend Alfred Knapp. He also kills several members of the Freemasons, hoping to find and kill Ichabod in the process.[3] His goal is to find his head so that he can summon the other three Horsemen and bring about the End of Days, under the command of the demon Moloch.

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.

Season Two[]

Abraham captured Katrina and took her to his opulent mansion, where he held her prisoner through a powerful hex which greatly suppressed her powers, cast by his fellow Horseman, Jeremy Crane/Henry Parrish. He would talk with Jeremy about the plan to resurrect Moloch, as well as attempt to convince Katrina to forget about Ichabod and begin a new life with him. He told her that she could do it voluntarily or he would perform a binding ritual to make her into a servant of Moloch.

Katrina managed to convince Abraham that she would not endeavor to escape and to allow her feelings for him to develop naturally. In reality, she was manipulating him using his love for her as a tool to keep herself safe. Abraham eventually wised up to her tactics, but because of his desire for her, he allowed himself to believe her lies.

When Moloch desired to use Katrina as a vessel to come into the mortal realm, Abraham rebelled against the plan and attacked the Hessian soldiers sent to take her. He was stopped by Jeremy, who used the sunlight to weaken him. It was at this point that Abraham's loyalty to Moloch began to waver.

Eventually, Abraham decides to perform the binding ritual on Katrina on the eve of Moloch's rise to take her as his prize, as agreed through his pact with the demon. He is stopped by Ichabod and Abbie, who take him to the underground prison chamber and once again chain him up. Frank Irving threatens to kill him with the Sword of Methuselah and Abraham tells them of Moloch's entrance to the mortal world and how he plans to bring about the Apocalypse.[4]

After Moloch's destruction, Katrina tells Abraham that she wishes to free him from the dark magic the demon placed on him and turn him human again. He agrees to let her attempt a ritual that would accomplish the task but before she can perform it, the angel Orion appears to kill him. Katrina, worried about his safety, frees him from his bonds and he escapes to a woodshed where demons that had escaped from Purgatory wish for him to become their new leader. He reforges his axe and later battles Orion. Ichabod, Abbie and Katrina arrive and Ichabod uses the axe to destroy Orion's weapon, causing him to flee.[5]

Abraham attacks Ichabod but Katrina convinces him to let him go. He tells Katrina that he refuses to be chained up while she looks for a way to return him to normal. He leaves and hasn't been seen since.

In the past (in an altered time line), Katrina and Abraham arrived at Frederick Manor stop Grace's and Abigail's attempt to reverse her spell, but Grace and Abigail succeeded and canceled the Traveler's Spell.

Season Three[]

While riding his horse, he was confronted with Pandora who magically appeared in his path. Abraham stopped in his tracks and Pandora sung a lulaby which as a result, sucked the horseman and his horse into her box.[6] Not long after, the box thought to have been destroyed, his ultimate fate was unknown.[7]

After the box was resembled, Ichabod summons him forth from a restored Pandora's Box to defeat Pandora herself. Pandora tries to pass him off by saying that she has easily defeated him before, but Ichabod then offers the Horseman his head back so he will be at full strength against Pandora. Abraham happily and willingly accepted as he had grown to hate Pandora more than he hated Ichabod and takes back his head to kill Pandora. Pandora teleports away, but the Horseman quickly tracked her standing on the graveyard and they engage in battle. Despite having his head back, though, and easily hacking all the tombstones sent at him by Pandora to rubbles and even shooting her in the arm after Pandora tries to recruit him to her side, to no avail as the Horseman simply responds by shooting at the goddess and then easily sniping another tombstone thrown at him, ultimately the Horseman proves to be really no match for Pandora’s new powers on his own and she begins to take him back into her box after Death threw his axe at her and was subsequently disarmed telekenetically of his only weapon and quickly pierced repeatedly by numerous fences, briefly stunning him. However, Ichabod comes to his aid and throws him his broadax. The Horseman, now closing his distance to Pandora, is easily able to mortally injure Pandora and is about to hack her until she dies until Ichabod yells at Abraham to stop and he leaves her there to suffer as she dies, but not before his head is sucked into the box. He then walks towards Ichabod and points his axe at Crane’s head, evidently about to kill him, but Crane bravely ordered him to leave and Abraham astonishingly, despite his animosity towards ichabod, is succesfully convinced to spare his nemesis and leaves him and Sleepy Hollow.[8]

Season Four[]

He was first seen in a slideshow in Columbia and later seen by a truck driver riding towards Washington at the end of In Plain Sight. The next time he was seen was in Heads of State, where he was disguised as a police officer in an attempt to get the head of the president, but failed and was subsequently imprisoned by Ichabod and his allies on J Street (which didn't exist in Washington on the normal plane, but on a supernatural plane through the the use of runes). Dreyfus comes by later and sets him free from his imprisonment, gaining his servitude in exchange for revenge.

Sometime later, Abraham aids Dreyfus in achieving immortality through the Philosopher's Stone and Ichabod Crane, mixing their blood in a ritual that would grant immortality, but the ritual was stopped by Team Witness, that came to rescue Ichabod and destroy the Philosopher's Stone.

We see him again in "Insatiable", recovering really slowly from his Greek Fire injuries. Dreyfuss and Jobes find him laying on a rock, and he tries to lift his axe to attack them, but being too weak for even doing that, he listens to Malcom ordering Jobes to speed up his recovery, as he needs him to have his own Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.


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 towards Ichabod Crane and anyone else that stands in the 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.

With the death of Moloch, Abraham's more human traits have begun to slowly resurface; a fact noted by both Katrina and Ichabod. He was willing to consider Katrina's offer to find a spell to separate him from his Horseman aspect but refused to return with the group after the fight with Orion; wishing to live freely.

After he was captured by Pandora and later set freed by Ichabod, he wilingly agreed to help Ichabod put an end to the now-goddess Pandora, showing immense animosty while fighting Pandora. Abraham refused to join her and continued fighting, despite knowing of her new powers as a goddess and killed her once he reclaimed his skull with help from Ichabod and was even willing to accept the help and even spared his former nemesis after killing Pandora, indicating that as much as he hated Ichabod, he hated Pandora more because of being imprisoned in her box. This may hint that Abraham viewed this one last mercy as a way to repay Crane freeing him, as he was later on more than willing to kill not only him but everyone who defied him.

Powers and Abilities[]


  • Horseman physiology: As one of the horsemen of the apocalypse, Abraham possesses many powers and enhanced traits.
    • Immortality: Being one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Abraham was practically granted immortality and possesses minimal invulnerability. He is capable of withstanding multiple gunshots and isn't fazed after being hit repeatedly with a shovel. However, gunshots do seem to temporarily stun him in his tracks.[9] 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). It's implied the horseman has the power to kill nearly any being (being Death itself), as the angel Orion, fled after his weapon was destroyed rather than face the horseman.
      • Restoration: His axe was revealed to be the Totem of Death, therefore it can absorb energy from the undead who are loyal to him and that energy can be used to fully heal Abraham from major supernatural injuries, such as those from the Philosopher's Stone.
    • Enhanced strength: He also appears to have greatly enhanced strength, at superhuman levels. The moment the ability to uti, easily parrying crane attacks and then powerfully punching him twice to the ground.
    • Enhanced senses: Although he is headless, Death still possesses both sight and hearing. Even without a head, he still moves as if he has one such as turning his body when hearing something behind him.[9]
    • Shapesifiting: Death can place another's head in place of his own and instantly gain their outfit and appearance, making others believe that he is said person. This head can be removed, however, which will cause the horseman to revert back to his headless appearance.[10]

Former Powers[]

  • Mystical connection: After Death and Ichabod Crane fought on the battlefield in the early 1780s, the two wounded each other with Ichabod cutting off Death's dead and Death cutting Ichabod badly. The two bleed onto the Philosopher's Stone which linked the two lives together; if one of them died, they both would. Ichabod awoke in the 21st century as Death was awoken.[9] This mystical connection was severed by Henry Parrish, a Sin Eater.[11]


  • Philosopher's Stone: When the stone is activated it has the power to weaken Death, as it is what enabled Ichabod to cut off his head in the first place.
  • Sword of Methuselah: The sword has the power to kill Death, as with any other living creature which it is used upon. Though this sword takes a steep price for its use and takes the users soul (unless they are immortal or have bargained away their soul) and subsequently their life.

Former Weaknesses[]

  • Sunlight: One of the Horseman's only known weaknesses is sunlight. He immediately flees on his horse when the sun begins to rise, causing his uniform to sizzle when touched by its rays.[9][12][12] Artificial sunlight such as ultraviolet rays also seems to have the same effect; whereas Abbie and Icahbod once used ultraviolet lights to apprehend him.[2] After the rise of all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the sun no longer weakens Abraham.[13][14]


  • Death's Axe: Death carries around with him his axe which has a blade that is capable of heating up to extreme temperatures. This allows the axe to cauterize his victims' wounds such as when he chops off their heads.
  • Death's Throwing Axe: While in the cemetery, Death threw an axe at Ichabod Crane which missed and collided with Katrina Crane's gravestone. It too appeared to have a blade capable of heating up to extreme temperatures.
  • Steed: The horseman rides a pale horse with red eyes. The horse waits for the horseman's command. It is possible that he obtained the horse from Fox Creek Stables.


Abraham, 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 best 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 and Katrina.

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, 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's attack, Abraham may possess some resentment towards 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.[15]

After Deliverance, Abraham may see Jeremy as an enemy and question Moloch's own role in endangering Katrina, who was made sick,[16] as he was forced to contend with Jeremy's men to free Katrina from them.



  • The name "Abraham" may be viewed either as meaning "father of many" in Hebrew or else as a contraction of Abram and הָמוֹן (hamon) "many, multitude". The biblical patriarch Abraham was originally named Abram but God changed his name. With his father Terah, he led his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot and their other followers from Ur into Canaan. He is regarded by Jews as being the founder of the Hebrews through his son Isaac and by Muslims as being the founder of the Arabs through his son Ishmael. As an English Christian name, Abraham became common after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was the American president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), who pushed to abolish slavery and led the country through the Civil War.[17]

Character Notes[]

  • 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,[2] 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.
    • After The Kindred's destruction, Death got his head back to fight Pandora, but in an effort to get him back in the box, his head was sucked in it. With the box destroyed, is possible that the head was destroyed with it as well.
  • It's been implied that Abraham can heat the blades of other weapons other than his broadaxe.
    • When facing Ichabod, he happened to throw a hatchet with an intentionally-heated blade.[9]
  • When Abraham Van Brunt was released from Pandora's Box in Ragnarok, he was shown wearing metal gloves throughout the scene as well as wielding a double bladed broadax. He has been seen with these ever since.
  • After the defeat of War and the lack of encounters from the other two horsemen, Death is the only horseman seen the most in the series.


Season One
"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"
Season Two
"This Is War" "The Kindred" "Root of All Evil" "Go Where I Send Thee..." "The Weeping Lady"
"And the Abyss Gazes Back" "Deliverance" "Heartless" "Mama" "Magnum Opus"
"The Akeda" "Paradise Lost" "Pittura Infamante" "Kali Yuga" "Spellcaster"
"What Lies Beneath" "Awakening" "Tempus Fugit"
Season Three
"I, Witness" "Whispers in the Dark" "Blood and Fear" "The Sisters Mills" "Dead Men Tell No Tales"
"This Red Lady from Caribee" "The Art of War" "Novus Ordo Seclorum" "One Life" "Incident At Stone Manor"
"Kindred Spirits" "Sins of the Father" "Dark Mirror" "Into the Wild" "Incommunicado"
"Dawn's Early Light" "Delaware" "Ragnarok"
Season Four
"Columbia" "In Plain Sight" "Heads of State" "The People vs. Ichabod Crane" "Blood from a Stone"
"Homecoming" "Loco Parentis" "Sick Burn" "Child's Play" "Insatiable"
"The Way of the Gun" "Tomorrow" "Freedom"


Behind the Scenes[]


  1. It is unknown what happened to the Headless Horseman after Malcolm Dreyfuss was defeated and the horseman disappeared. ("Freedom")
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Necromancer"
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Midnight Ride"
  4. "The Akeda"
  5. "Paradise Lost"
  6. "I, Witness"
  7. "Novus Ordo Seclorum"
  8. "Ragnarok"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "Pilot"
  10. "Heads of State"
  11. "The Sin Earter"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Magnum Opus"
  13. "Tomorrow"
  14. "Freedom"
  15. "The Weeping Lady"
  16. "And The Abyss Gazes Back"