Though there are many variations of the legend of Stingy Jack that date back hundreds of years in Irish history, here is one of the most popular.
Jack was known to be a miserly drunk. A manipulator and deceiver who loved to play tricks on anyone and everyone, including Satan himself.
One night Jack found himself in the presence of Satan. Fearing his time had come Jack asked Satan for one last request before his soul was whisked away to Hades. His request was one last night of drinking. Seeing no reason to refuse Jack, Satan accompanied him to a local pub. Through the night Satan supplied Jack with plenty of drinks and after some time Jack had quenched his thirst. Being the miser he was Jack convinced Satan to transform himself into a silver coin in order to pay for his drinks. Satan did so but instead of paying the bartender Jack placed the silver coin into his pocket. The pocket also contained a crucifix which prevented Satan changing back to his original form and so entrapping him. Jack convinced Satan to leave him alone for the next ten years in exchange for his freedom.
Ten years later to the day Jack found himself in the presence of Satan once more. Again fearing his time had come. That his soul was to spend eternity in Hell. Jack asked Satan if he could eat one last apple. Falling for Jacks trickery once more, Satan climbed a tree to retrieve an apple. Once Satan was up the tree Jack quickly placed crucifixes around the base. Entrapped by Jack once again Satan was furious and demanded to be released. Jack agreed on one condition. On his death his soul was never to be taken to Hades. Satan agreed and went on his way.
As time went by Jacks drinking took its toll and he died. As his soul was preparing to enter Heaven through the gates of St Peter he was stopped. Because of his life of drinking, deceit and trickery God refused him entry into Heaven. With only one place to go Jack went down to the gates of hell and begged to be let into Hades. Remembering his agreement with Jack, Satan refused him entry. Satan sent Jack off into the darkness with just a burning coal from the fires of hell.
Doomed to walk the Netherworld between Heaven and Hell. Jack carved out the inside of a turnip and placed inside the burning coal to make a lantern to light his way. He now spends eternity trapped between good and evil with no place to go. Refereed once as Jack of the Lantern his ghostly figure is now more commonly known as Jack O Lantern.
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