THE HALLOWEEN LEGEND: THE STORY OF STINGY JACK
We are days away from my favorite day of the year, Halloween.. the history and amazing aura of culture that has been passed down through the ages leading to Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, or Hallo’ween is amazing. You can pick your name. Some would say you’re picking a poison. I say you’re taking part in a celebration and festival that dates back centuries.. The Celts. The Romans.. Bobbing for apples even has a history. The skimpy sexy outfits of today’s Halloween look different than what was done prior .. but that’s just the natural pop culture evolution of a populace.
But pumpkins.. Now that is one interesting topic.
I told a few folk this week of where Jack O Lanterns actually came from. They looked at my like I was crazy–literally. They rolled their eyes, raised their brows, and dismissed my brief history lesson about the origins of one of the coolest Halloween traditions that humans still keep.
With that said, here is the legend of Stingy Jack..
Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack’s soul for ten years.
The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, “I’ll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?”
The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.
When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful. So, Jack then went down to Hell to see the Devil and find out whether it were possible to gain entrance into the depths of Hell, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.
“But where can I go?” asked Jack.
“Back to where you came from!” replied the Devil.
The way back was windy and very dark. Stingy Jack pleaded with the Devil to at least provide him with a light to help find his way. The Devil, as a final gesture, tossed Jack an ember straight from the fires of Hell. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed-out turnip…one of Jack’s favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. From that day forward, Stingy Jack has been doomed to roam the earth without a resting place and with only his lit turnip to light the way in the darkness.
And now you know.
The pumpkin you carve has a brilliant history .. filled with paranormal tales of long, long ago.
For those who fear the mystery and ghoulish days to come before HALLOWEEN, you may not want to let your guard down. Halloween begins it all. And the paranormal tales and ghost stories will continue all the way through Christmas–perhaps one of the most paranormal holidays of all..