Monday, October 01, 2007

History of the Jack-O-Lantern

Throughout the month of October I'm going to try to bring some interesting things about Halloween. I hope you enjoy.

My first Halloween post is the legend of the jack-o-lantern.
The Jack-O-Lantern is a classic Halloween pumpkin with a face carved into it and a candle inside that lights it up.

The story of the Jack-o-lantern has many origins but the most popular is about an Irishman named Jack. Jack was a drunk and a mean one at that.

On Halloween night Jack once again got himself drunk. He was said to be so drunk that his soul began to leave his body.

The Devil saw this happening and grasp at the opportunity to claim a victim. Jack was so desperate to save his soul from the Devil that he came up with a plan.

He begged the Devil to join him in one last drink. The Devil agreed but stated that being the Devil that he carried no money with him.

Jack, who claimed to have only enough money for one drink talked the Devil into changing himself into money.
When the drink was paid for the Devil could change back into himself, have the drink and take Jack's soul.
When the Devil changed into the coins, Jack picked them up and put them in his wallet which had the symbol of the cross on it. This trapped the Devil.

The Devil pleaded with Jack to be freed and promised Jack he would leave him alone for an entire year. Jack agreed.

The following Halloween the Devil returned in which he found Jack once again drunk and mean.
The Devil told Jack he came for his soul and Jack quickly came up with another plan.

He told the Devil that he would like an apple before he was taken. the Devil agreed and Jack lifted the Devil into an apple tree so he could retrieve an apple for Jack.

As the Devil stood in the tree Jack carved the symbol of the cross in the tree, trapping the Devil. The Devil bargained with Jack and promised if he was set free he would never bother with Jack again. Jack agreed and let the Devil free.

Jack lived out his life as a mean drunk and one day passed away. When Jack went to heaven he was turned away at the gates because of his life of hate and drunkenness.
Jack then went to the gates of hell where he was turned away by the Devil, stating their agreement that he would have nothing to do with Jack.

As Jack walked away the Devil tossed jack a burning lump of coal which Jack placed inside a hollowed out pumpkin which he would use as a lantern as he wondered Earth for eternity.

People would place hallowed out pumpkins with candles in them and place them on their front doorsteps in hope that Jack would take the light if needed instead of bothering anyone in the home.


Ryan Davies said...

Wow, that's quite a story.

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Great story. Brings the "scary" back to Halloween. I've been enjoying your blog, today!

Cheryl Ogle Photography said...

You would probably enjoy this movie on YouTube...
Life and Death of a Pumpkin:

I haven't looked at a pumpkin the same since I watched it. :)

Azzitizz said...

Hey, interesting story, never heard that one before.