Monday, October 24, 2011

Mystery Monday #7

Today's Mystery Monday stems from the Irish legend of the Jack O' Lantern.

Most of us have seen these carved, hollowed pumpkins lit by candles lighting up porches on Halloween.  But did you know where the tradition came from?

There are many variations on the story, but most involve a man named Stingy Jack, who captured a devil and refused to set him free, until the devil promised never to take Jack's soul.  Having made this bargain, Jack found his soul trapped on earth with nowhere to go.  He was given an ever burning ember, which he placed inside of a carved turnip.  Now Jack's ghost wanders the earth with his turnip lantern looking for a final resting place.

Townspeople carved their own turnip lanterns and placed them in their windows on All Hallow's Eve to keep the ghost of Stingy Jack away from their homes.

The tradition came to North America with Irish Immigrants, and the pumpkin replaced the turnip as the lantern of choice.

Imagine that Stingy Jack really does roam the earth with his turnip lantern on Halloween. What kind of Jack O'Lantern would scare him away?  A funny one or a scary one?  Does it matter if the lantern is made from a pumpkin or a turnip?

Write a story about how Stingy Jack finally finds his final resting place.  Does the ember in his lantern light the way?  Do Halloween Jack O' Lanterns help or hurt Jack on his quest?

We are giving away a copy of VANISHED by Sheela Chari and a copy of WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE by Tess Hilmo! To enter the contest, simply comment on any of the Sleuths Spies and Alibis posts between Wednesday October 19 and Monday October 24. Contest closes October 24 at midnight, EST. The winner will be announced on Friday, October 29. One comment = one entry in our drawing; limit one per day.

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