Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Heer of Dunderberg - Hudson Valley Highlands, New York, United States

From the time when the first Dutch settlers came to New Amsterdam and the Hudson Valley, there has been a certain mystic about a sixty-five mile stretch of the Hudson all the way from Gravesend Bay to Pollepel Island located at a wide spot in the river approximately six miles north of West Point.  They believed that the Heer of Dunderberg dwelled in the highlands and kept watch over the River.  He would call upon his Storm Ship manned by witches and goblins to wreak havoc on seafarers making their way up and down the Hudson River.

The Dunderberg or "Thunder Mountain" on the left is said to be the home of the "Heer of Dunderberg", the Storm King of the Hudson Highlands who wreaks havoc on sailors that travel these waters.
The Dunderberg or "Thunder Mountain" on the left is said to be the home of the "Heer of Dunderberg", the Storm King of the Hudson Highlands who wreaks havoc on sailors that travel these waters.

The most dangerous part of the voyage, the Dutch sailors believed, was from the southern gateway of the Hudson Highlands known as Dunderberg, to Pollepel Island.  It is easy to see why the sailors of old were intimidated by these mountains looming towards them. The river narrows at this point as it passes through the Appalachian Mountain range. The Dunderberg as it was named, "Dunder" meaning thunder and "berg" for mountain, or loosely translated as "Thunder Mountain" was believed to be the home of a Heer or King.  So the rough translation of Heer of Dunderberg is the King of Thunder Mountain.  Over the years, some simply referred to him as the "Storm King".  This distinction was given because of the horrific weather the sailors would experience once they rounded the Dunderberg.  It was bad from the entrance at the sea, but the Hudson Highlands were so bad, that many ships and seamen were lost due to the storms; they refused to navigate those waters for some time.  Only the bravest would do so and when they did, they would lower their top sails in reverence to the Heer of Dundenberg, hoping that their ships and crew would be spared.




The Dutch sailors described the Goblin King as a small round imp like creature wearing a light colored sugar-loaf hat. It is rumored that he would leave this mast on some of the ships that were under his attack.  And when the ship would be in the clear, the hat would blow away. He is also referred to as the Imp of Donderberg.

Sailors would tack horseshoes to the masts of their ship for good luck while sailing the Heer of Dunderberg's domain.  They were truly afraid of these waters.  They also had fear of seeing the ghostly "Storm Ship" said to be manned by the Heer's goblin army.  This would be a sign that a ship was in danger. Once it approached, the horrific winds, thunder, lightening and rain would bear down on a ship until it was sunk. The Dutch thought that this ship came from the land of their ancestors over in Europe where the haunting of witches and goblins were common, and that the Heer of Dunderberg summoned the ship to the Hudson Valley to cast it's evil upon the sailors.

Once the sailors made it past Pollepel Island, they felt that they were safe from the wrath of the Heer of Dunderberg.  This island was thought to be the northern most outpost of the Goblin King and his army.  Even the early Native Americans were deathly afraid of this island for some reason.  They refused to go there at night, terrified of the sprits that dwelled there.  Over the years, soldiers who fought the Natives, knew this and would hide there at night for protection. At one point, the Dutch believed that a sailor's right of passage for the first time through the Heer of Dunderberg's domain, was to be dropped off on the island on the northbound voyage and then be picked up on the return trip. If they survived, then they would be given leniency by the Storm King. The island itself however, has had a history of evil and destruction in it’s more recent years. Bannerman Castle is living proof that the island need be left to the Heer and his Goblins.


Pollepel Island, according to Dutch sailors of old, is the northern most boundary of the domain of the Heer of Dunderberg, Storm King of the Hudson Highlands.
Pollepel Island, according to Dutch sailors of old, is the northern most boundary of the domain of the Heer of Dunderberg, Storm King of the Hudson Highlands There can be found the remains of Bannerman Castle.

If you drive up the Hudson Valley today or take the train northward along the river, you can see the Dunderberg still marking the gateway to the highlands as well as Pollepel Island with the ruins of a castle as a reminder that some evil exists here.  Or, you can take a boat if you dare to meet the Heer of Dunderberg.

Locaton of Gravesend Bay - Latitude: 40.589224 Longitude: -74.028282

Location of Dunderberg - Latitude: 41.291437 Longitude: -73.989143

Location of Pollepel Island - Latitude: 41.455775 Longitude: -73.988371


Related Stories:

Goblins of Bannerman Castle - Pollepel Island, Hudson River, New York
Ghostly Storm Ship of the Hudson River - New York, United States


References:

The Storm Ship, Washington Irving
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunderberg_Mountain
http://hhr.highlands.com/dunderbe.htm

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