The Legend of Jack O’Lanterns and Stingy Jack
Though the Jack o’lantern was brought to America with the Irish, the legend actually did not begin with a pumpkin. Here’s the legend: Stingy Jack was quite the miserable, old drunk who enjoyed playing tricks on everyone, even the Devil himself!
Once, Jack tried to trick the Devil. He convinced him to climbing an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up, Stingy Jack placed crosses around the trunk of the tree so that he could not get down. Stingy Jack made the Devil swear to not take his soul when he died. Only upon agreeing that he would never claim Jack’s soul did Jack remove the crosses so that the Devil could leave the tree.
Many years weny by and Stingy Jack finally died. He went to the Pearly Gates, but was disappointed to learn that he could not enter. Saint Peter told him that because he lead such a miserable and worthless life, he was not allowed into heaven. He traveled to Hell but was once again disappointed.
The Devil kept his promise, and would not let him in. He would be forced to wander forever in the darkness between Heaven and Hell. Jack became scared. He asked the Devil how he was supposed to leave when there was no light. The Devil threw an ember from the fiery pits of Hell at Jack to light his way. The ember would never burn out.
As Jack was fond of turnips to eat, he used one of his to carve out a lantern in which to carry the eternally burning coal. As he carried his lantern in the darkness in search of a resting place, Jack came to be known as ‘Jack of the Lantern’, which is where we get Jack O’lantern.
Jack O’lanterns eventually migrated into being carved out of other vegetables and gourds. It was said that a Jack O’lantern could help ward away evil spirits, and to identify vampires.
And of course, it’s just fun!
Images and carvings by Twitter user: @Shitzombiessay
How about another alternative with this watermelon brain!
Take an ordinary watermelon, scrape off all of the green coating of the rind to get a more fleshy look. Carefully carve in wiggly lines to look like brain patterns. The red flesh of the watermelon will show through to look like a bloody brain. – by Warmnessonthesoul
With contributions from: