A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

31 October 2019
Origins of the Jack-O-Lantern
Origins of the Jack-O-Lantern

 

We all know jack-o-lanterns. However, in the early 1500s, the term ‘jack-of-the-lantern’ was applied to people, not pumpkins. It originally meant ‘a man with a lantern’ or a night watchman. In its earliest recordings, the term was used to encompass the mysterious lights sometimes seen at night over bogs, swamps, and marshes. These ghostly lights are caused by nothing more than the ignition of natural gases created by decomposing plant matter. However, for centuries before the scientific explanation was known, ancient people made up stories to explain these jack-o-lanterns, hinkypunks, corpse candles, will-o-the-wisps, fairy lights, and fool’s fires.

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