So we all have seen a Jack O Lantern at one point or another and likely if you are anything like me, your first though on seeing one is, “Why are they burning that poor pumpkin when they could have pie???” If you’re not like me you probably just enjoy the Halloween decorations.
Regardless of which reaction you have, the fact remains that Jack o Lanterns are far more historied and Irish than most of us give them credit for.
The story goes like this. Back in Jolly ‘Ol Ireland, which is what people referred to Ireland as prior to famines and British subjugation, there was this fellow named Jack.
So this Jack fellow was considered by many of his peers to be a less than savory man. Some might call him a ne’er-do-well, or a hooligan, or a rootin-tootin no-good sassafras-smuggling bag-loader.
For the record, if you know what that insult means please let me know. I’m entirely unsure.
So Jack is the unsavory type who actually makes deals with the devil. That’s right, “deals” as in the plural. The first is for one last drink before he has his soul taken away.
Well Jack is always a thinker so he gets the Devil to turn himself into a sizpence to buy that last drink. Fighting through his permanent inebriation, the man tosses that coin in a pocket with a silver cross and blammo! Satan is trapped.
Eventually Jack lets Satan go on the condition that he get 10 more years of soul.
After making that deal, Jack goes and continues in his unkind endeavors, until 10 years later the Devil himself gets a notification alert on his iPhone and departs from his day of torturing over boiling vomit to go check in with Stingy Jack.
He gets there only to find Jack chillaxing with Johnny Appleseed. Apparently not the witty fellow we’ve always been told, the Devil is convinced to go grab an apple from an apple tree for Jack because hey, why not?
Probably because this guy already swindled an immensely powerful cosmic force into trapping himself in coin. But that doesn’t darn on big red.
He climbs the tree and Jack carves a cross on the thing to trap the Devil up there. He only lets him down when Satan agrees to never take Jack’s soul.
Jack 2 – Devil 0.
So fast forward to Jack’s olden days and the man eventually meets his fate.
Where does Jack go then? Well he can’t go to hell, so he hops on the stairway to heaven and finds himself turned away for being too bad a dude. Then he trucks down the stairs to the dark and scary bowels of Hell where the Devil says “No Way, a deal’s a deal.”
The little ember in a turnip that the Devil gives Jack as a means to get out then goes on to be transported to pumpkins and BLAMMO! We get the Jack O Lantern!