In this article we will be covering the Stingy Jack legend, which is thought to be the origin behind the most popular Halloween item of them all – the jack-o’-lantern.
Let’s take a closer look…
Stingy Jack History
There are many versions of the Stingy Jack history floating about online, but this seems to be the most traditional/popular. The story revolves around a rather foul drunkard of a blacksmith known as Stingy Jack.
Jack was known as having a very weak personality who spent a lot of his time manipulating people with two-faced schemes and selfish ideas.
He was so much of a dickhead, that Satan himself sat up and took notice of his dark deeds…and decided to pay Jack a personal visit. One evening in the dark hills of rural Ireland, a worker for the dark lord disguised himself as a dead man laying on the road. As jack approached he noticed the body and went over for a closer look.
The dead body suddenly came to life and grinned a horrific smile at Jack…who now realised that his time was up and the Devil wanted his dark soul.
Jack pleaded with the demon for one last wish on Earth, and the entity granted it – he wanted one last drink in the local tavern, so the pair of them set off to the bar.
Paying The Tab
The unlikely pair drank long into the night, until the tavern actually ran out of beer!
When it came to settling the bill, Jack insisted that he had no money. He casually turned to his new drinking buddy and suggested that he should use his demonic powers to pay the tab.
He managed to convince the demon to turn himself into a gold coin, to pay up, and the demon obliged. But instead of paying, Jack rammed the coin into his pocket. A loose crucifix in the same pocket made sure the demon was locked inside the gold coin.
Jack eventually made a deal with the demonic entity – If he would leave Jack alone for a decade, then he would bring the coin out of his pocket. The demon had no choice but to agree to the deal.
Outsmarting The Devil
Ten years later the same demon returned to take Jack’s soul to Hell. Jack agreed to go with him, but pleaded for an apple off the nearby tree to take on the journey. As the demon climbed the tree, Jack managed to carve several crucifix to the tree stump, locking the demon within the tree’s branches.
Jack finally made a deal with the demon and the entity was left having to leave Jack alone, and returning to Hell empty-handed.
Stingy Jack continued the rest of his life safe in the knowledge that he outsmarted the devil not once, but twice.
The Final Curtain
When Jack finally died his soul was refused entry to Heaven, so he ended up having to travel to Hell. unfortunately, even the Devil would not take him.
He then knew he would have to walk the Earth in darkness alone, for eternity. Jack pleaded with the Devil for one ember from Hell, and he obliged. Jack then put the glowing ember inside a hollowed out turnip and used it to light his way on his dark, endless journey.
Ever since then, Jack’s ghost could be seen wandering aimlessly around the Irish countryside, his light was soon dubbed ‘Jack o’ the lantern’, which eventually turned into ‘Jack-o’-lantern’.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here, please leave them in the comment section below.