Legend has it that Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him, but Jack didn’t want to pay for the drink so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of buying the drink, he pocked the coin and kept it close to a silver cross in his house, so the devil couldn’t take shape again. He promised to let the devil go as long as he would leave him alone for a year – and if Jack died that the devil wouldn’t claim his soul.
After a year, Jack tricked the devil again to leave him alone and not claim his soul. Basically, the devil is really gullible in this story. When Jack died, God didn’t want such a conniving person in heaven, and the devil true to his word (what a good guy) would not allow him into hell.
Jack was sent off into the night with only a burning coal to light his path. He placed the coal inside a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since. People in Ireland and Scotland began creating their own creations of Jack’s lanterns out of turnips, beets and potatoes. The tradition came to the United States along with the immigrants and people began to use pumpkins, native to North America, for the lanterns instead.
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Factoid of the Week:
“Jack o’lantern” comes from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack.
Words of Wisdom:
“Magic is really very simple, all you’ve got to do is want something and then let yourself have it.” – Aggie Cromwell, Halloweentown (1998)