Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.
— William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor
And so you have the first written account of Herne the Hunter causing havoc in the woods. The story of Herne hasn’t been pinned down exactly. Some cultures argue that Hernes is the Norse god Odin who rode across the Northern sky and hanged himself in order to unravel the secret of the runic alphabet. Or Woden, as claimed by the pagans in the Middle ages. Several other lores acquaint him to Woden due to his horns.
But Shakespeare,and those who live near Windsor Forest, attest that Herne the Hunter was indeed a historic individual. Local rumor is that Herne the Hunter is really the ghost of Richard Horne who lived during the reign of King Henry VIII and died a disquieting death after he was found poaching in the woods.
In any case, he’s found in literature, ballet, and opera as a very disturbed ghost. You can also find his character in Robin Hood, he was a forest spirit in issue 26 of the Green Arrow comic series, and in a British movie called “Call of the Hunter”. Many more references to this unsettled creature can be noted on Wikipedia...