shopify analytics ecommerce

Lady Van Tassel: Determined to Get Ahead

Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) is a fun, Halloween-heavy horror-thriller romp that happens to feature a particularly villainous witch in the personage of the Lady Van Tassel (Miranda Richardson).

Lady Van Tassel has an axe to grind with her sister....

Lady Van Tassel really has an axe to grind with her poor sister….

I can’t imagine this being a spoiler for a person (I mean, the movie came out in 1999, hello?) But the Lady Van Tassel was a superlative villain, a truly wicked witch.

The Lady Van Tassel seemed to be a villain even as a girl — it was her actions that led to the ultimate doom of the Hessian, who would become the Headless Horseman.

She instigated his demise, and engineered his return from the grave to do her bidding.

And because of her knowledge of the burial of his body, it was she who brought him back as a ghost to avenge the Archer family and to attempt to make the wealth of the Van Tassel family her own.


Good twin (l) carrying the firewood. Evil twin (r), getting ready to break a branch and set it all into motion, sealing everybody’s fate.

The Lady Van Tassel knows her share of herbalism and spells, to say nothing of her twin sister, who, while not the malevolent schemer that her sister was, was no less of a witch.

If anything, she fit the classic crone-type witch perfectly — out in a deserted shack, soothsaying and speaking with the dead, and otherwise indulging in eccentric enchantments.

But while she certainly looked the part of the wicked witch, her sister was the good twin, whereas Lady Van Tassel was rotten to the core, hiding in plain sight behind a veil of respectability that camouflaged her venomous heart.

She enmeshed all of the key village elders in her plot, seducing her way through them and otherwise entrapping them, and, through her control of the Horseman, murdering anybody who got in her way. What a fitting end for the Lady Van Tassel that she would end up the unwilling “bride” of the restored Horseman, literally hellbound.

But though she got what was coming to her, she was a marvelously vivid and villainous witch.

Wicked  Lady Van Tassel Quotes

“Watch your heads.”

For More Witches, Wicked and Otherwise

Be sure to order our anthology, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales, for 30 spellbinding witch stories!