The Legend of “Stingy Jack” (Where Jack O’Lanterns Came From)

Stingy Jack

Stingy Jack – digital art by Wild Thing

People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” The Irish brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O’Lantern was not a pumpkin. Pumpkins did not exist in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow’s Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.

Stingy Jack, a blacksmith by trade, was a miserable old drunk, who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone; family, friends, his mother and yes, even the Devil himself. One night he invited the Devil to have a drink with him. During the evening together, the Devil in his vanity, was showing Jack how he could transform himself into anything he wished, first a barstool, then bird, and so on.

After a time, true to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his wallet next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Oh, how the Devil yelled at Jack. Cursing and telling Jack to let him go. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. Desperate to gain freedom, the Devil agreed. Opening his wallet, Jack let the Devil out.

The next year, the Devil arrived as promised. Jack agreed to follow him if he would only climb up into an apple tree and bring him an apple before he go with the Devil. So, in this way, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing into the tree to pick an apple. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, while upset by the trick Jack had played on him kept his word not to claim his soul, and would not allow Jack into hell.

“But where can I go?” pleaded Jack.

“Return to where you came from!” the Devil snarled.

Windblown and lost in the dark night, Jack pleaded with the Devil to give him a way to light his way. The Devil, wishing to get rid of Jack, threw him a glowing ember from the fires of Hell. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. So, if you see a light in the far off distance wandering here and there on All Hallow’s Eve, tis Stingy Jack roaming the countryside.

The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. Immigrants brought the Jack O’Lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Wild Thing

Advertisements

Spirit Freed

Villagers gathers
All come
Mourning begins

Honoring
That life

No matter
How meager
Or great

Sending it on

Old loves
Grudges, debts
Die with it

The Spirit
Now free
Of pettiness

Through
Laughter,
Song, stories,
Love
Fills
Empty hearts

Wild Thing ©July 29, 2017

no limits

No Limits

no limits – photo by Wild Thing

the world
safe / asleep
invisible

we drift
side by side

not of day
of dreams

this world

this world
of no limits

Co-written by
Cletis Stump & Wild Thing
©August 18, 2017

The Elemental

The Elements

The Elements – photos by Wild Thing

Wild untamed
Free to roam

Fierce
Both in love
And spirit

Like the wind
Hard to capture

Born of the
Energy of fire

Fluid emotions
Powerful

It’s strength
Of earth, itself

Unobtainable
It only comes
If it chooses

A rare gift
To those it’s
Given

It remains
For as long
As you wish

Send it away
It may never
Come back

Like lightning
It seldom
Strikes twice

Wild Thing ©May 3, 2017

Elemental

3 am

darkness

darkness – photo by Wild Thing

3:00 a.m.
darkness
      . . . truth
               has nowhere
                         to hide

Wild Thing ©2017

Downtown LA Life

I just wanted to post a quick reminder that my short stories are featured at Downtown LA Life online magazine only.

These short stories are of my life, my family and/or whatever else may take my fancy. Each month I write a new story for this wonderful and extraordinary online magazine.

I encourage you to visit this wonderful site, not just for my stories, but for all the submissions that are made from around the world. Here you can read, view, and experience art from various cultures and unique people.

The gallery of Victorian Women of Color is feast for the eyes. Beautiful women of color from that time period, caught in portraiture are featured here. You have to visit this page. Each are posed in the manner of the time, but study them . . . don’t just speed through. It’s one of my favorite pages and ends with a tribute to Bridget “Biddy” Mason. Read her amazing story that began as a slave and ended as a successful businesswoman.

Then jump to Achilles Greece for some out of this world street art! I have no words to describe this fantastic work. You have to see it to truly “feel” it!

Want a great movie review? Stop by Mel Nuehaus’ page for Cinema Noir & Off Beat reviews! Mel gives you the 411 on some of our old favorites. Currently he gives you his review on “I Lust Lucy”! I love his reviews and have found them to be not only insightful, but a great guide.

Top it off with a true treat by my friend Annie. Go to Annie – America’s Short Story Monthly. Annie writes with a flair of a touch of Flannery O’Connor & Eudora Welty. Her stories always leave you wanting more. This month, her story, “Living & Dying” grabs you from the very opening and draws you in!

The life stories of Dr. Don More are the gems that surround the big sparkle in this crown of creative people. You will enjoy them as you laugh, cry, and lament with him as he shares pieces of his life with you.

I could go on an on about all the talent that is featured here, of all ages, color, and places! Photos, art, writing, and cooking! It is an explosion of taste, a feast for the eyes and a banquet for the mind.

It is an honor and a privilege to have my little bit of thoughts, lore and photos to be included with such an auspicious group of talent. Thank you Downtown LA Life for providing such a valuable space for creative people to show the world what they offer.

Wild Thing ©July 24, 2017

 

The Healer

Healing Light

Healing Light – photo by Wild Thing

Vials of oils
Lined up
Candles too
Incense placed
Into holders
The healer begins

Low chant
Circle cast
Calling out
Inviting in
Elementals

Lit candles
Scented smoke
Create focus
Lyrical words
Raises energy

Becoming light
Bright
Silver
With direction
Out it goes

Connected
Time falls away
Light carries
Life force
From one
To another

Burning
Illness away
Giving comfort
Strength
Weaving health
Soft croon
Creates peace

Healing energy
Flows freely
With pure love
And intent
From an open
Heart …
An honest soul

Wild Thing ©July 8, 2017

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice – by Wild Thing

I am proud to share with you, the announcement of my first book: Finding My Voice. It’s a Collection of what I consider to be my best poems, paired with some of my photos that have been digitally altered by me.

It’s printed on white paper and the art is full color that has a slight gloss to it. It was my goal to create something unique that would be at home on your bookshelf or your coffee table.

The poetry is some works that have appeared here as well as some that is new. It is my hope that you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together for you.

Get your copy today: Finding My Voice by Wild Thing

Wild Thing

Swamp Witch

Swamp Witch Dwelling - photo by Wild ThingDeep in fog
Surrounded by water
A silent
Dwelling tilts
On rickety stilts

Broken steps
Lead to a missing
Front porch
While flotsam
And jetsam
Float underneath

One thinks
It is empty
Legend says not

They say
In these parts
Go when
The moon is full
You will find
The Swamp Witch

But beware
You must know
The secret signal
Else nothing
Will change

Two barn owls
Their clicks
And screeches
Warn her
And tell you
To go away

Should you
Still go forward
Without the
Magick signal
You will regret it

For then
The witch’s
Most powerful
Protector appears

Toads, crickets
All, go quiet
Owls on a branch
Air heavy
Even the moon
Seems to hide

As the dark
Becomes black
Two blazing eyes
Will freeze
Your blood

Final warning
A loud roar
Last chance
Give the signal
Or . . .

Wild Thing ©May 7, 2017