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Stingy Jack and Other Halloween Scares

Updated on November 3, 2013

The Legend of Stingy Jack

Stingy Jack was a miserable, bad-mannered old drunk who loved to play jokes and pull pranks on anyone and everyone around. (Some claim Jack was an Irishman). No person was safe from being "pranked" when Stingy Jack was around - not even the Devil!

As legend has it, that's exactly "who" Stingy Jack "pranked" one Hallowe'en night, long ago, and how we got this legend.

One dark Hallowe'en night, old Stingy Jack was in a public house (Pub) when he bumped into the Devil, Himself. Believe it or not, Stingy Jack managed to trick the Devil - he offered his soul to the Devil in exchange for one last drink. In this exchange, the Devil changed himself into a sixpence coin to pay the bartender for Jack's last drink, however, Stingy Jack acted with speed, swiping the coin off the counter in the blink of an eye! Jack quickly put the coin in his pocket - right next to where he kept a silver cross...and this prevented the Devil from being able to change back into human form!

With the Devil effectively tricked outright - and trapped, old Stingy Jack made a new deal with the Devil and the Devil agreed so as to be able to have the power once again to change shape freely. Old Stingy Jack made the Devil promise to wait 10 years before collecting on the original agreement - that is, the Devil had to promise not to collect Jack's soul now for a full ten years. Once the Devil agreed to this, Jack flicked the coin to the corner of the room and walked out of the pub, grinning and pleased with his manipulations.

10 years came and went and the Devil left Stingy Jack alone for the whole length of time but when 10 years was up, Stingy Jack came across the Devil while walking alone on a dark Halloween night, along a winding country road. The Devil hid behind an apple tree by the road. At the appropriate moment, in one giant leap, the Devil was suddenly in the middle of the road right in front of Jack, so Stingy Jack had nowhere to go when the Devil caught up with him.

Obviously, Jack was a quick-thinking kind of guy, so when the Devil demanded his soul, Jack did not argue but instead promply told the Devil He was right on time but would He please just get Jack one big, juicy apple for Jack to enjoy before taking his soul forever?

Since Jack didn't contest the collecting of his soul in any way, the Devil jumped up - high into the tree to fetch Jack a nice apple... and as soon as His feet left the ground, Jack jumped into action, too...

While the Devil was selecting a ripe, plump apple, Jack set to work with great agility - setting crosses on the ground all around the tree - so that the Devil couldn't jump back down and was trapped up in the tree. When the Devil got ready to jump down, apple in hand...he saw a nasty surprise waiting below on the ground!

This time, Jack made the Devin promise not to take his soul at all when he died. The Devil was NOT impressed by this but was definitely in a real bind here. After a few moments of thinking, seeing no way out of this, the Devil finally agreed...

Years later, Stingy Jack did pass away. No, the Devil didn't try to cross up the previous agreement, either. He left Jack and his awful soul quite alone. What happened is worse than the Devil collecting Jack's soul.

You see - Jack died and when he got to the Gates of Heaven, he was refused entry. Nobody, no person, angel or God was going to let the bad-tempered, deceitful, hard-drinking Stingy Jack into Heaven!

Seeing nothing else possible for himself, Stingy Jack went down to Hell to talk to The Devil. After all - he needed SOME PLACE for his soul to be after his body's death...

The Devil stuck to the last agreement He had made with Stingy Jack - to leave Jack's soul alone and not collect it after Jack died. When Jack asked what on Earth he would do now that he wasn't allowed into Heaven OR Hell... The Devil didn't budge or feel sorry for Jack in any way... He told Jack that Jack would just have to go back to where he came from...

The way back to where Jack had come from was eerie, cold, dark and windy, so Jack asked the Devil to at least give him some light to see by for his unprecedented journey. The Devil gave Jack some light, all right! He tossed Jack some embers right from the fires of Hell and told him, "Begone!"

Jack put the embers in a hollowed-out turnip - one of his favourite foods to steal out of gardens when he was still alive.

From that time onward, Stingy ol' Jack has been doomed... He roams the Earth without any resting place. His only light is from a turnip containing embers from the fires of Hell...

A Rendition of The Legend of Stingy Jack (good quality storytelling)

Jack O Lanterns

Ignus Fatuus

A strange phenomenon happens over peat bogs and fields where large amounts of vegetation are decomposing. Basically, Ignus Fatuus happens over swampy areas and is seen as a strange, vibrating or flickering and glowing iridescent light above the ground. Some people call this "will-o-the-wisp" and some say the glow is connected to the Jack-O-Lantern from the Stingy Jack Legend.

A few different cultures give different explanations for this phenomenon but in Britain, the ignus fatuus is called, "fairy fire." It is said that this fairy fire is brandished by creepy, goblin-like entities and that the goblins scurry away whenever someone approaches, leaving the fairy fire behind or visible until the people go away or backtrack a certain distance. Apparently if one wants to see the goblins, he/she cannot stand too close or the creatures will simply stay hidden. Those who have backed away but have stayed a distance away to watch the lights say that they can see shadows near the lights (but this might be pareidolia phenomenon, too) and they believe the shadows are the goblins.

In other parts of Europe, the lights are said to be spirits of the dead meandering about in mischievous antics.

In parts of Asia, this phenomenon is said to be specifically the ghosts of dead fishermen.

Science says that the phenomenon is quite explainable but this still doesn't stop people from talking about Ignus Fatuus, will-o-the-wisp, ghost, spirit, Jack-o-Lantern and other legends - NOR do scientific explanations make the phenomenon seem less surreal or less of a spectacular sight...

As science explains, the oxidization of phosphine and methane from rotting vegetation causes this phenomenon. Basically the phosphine and methane explode upon contact with oxygen. This creates light/a strange glow for a while before the phosphine and methane completely burn away. Now with large swampy areas, thousands upon thousands of these chemical reactions would be happening simultaneously, creating a sizeable area of "glow" as phosphine and methane are reacting with oxygen. It's really just thousands of short bursts of light - which causes the "flickering" appearance.

Halloween/Urban Legends Haunted House vid

Candy Covered Meth - Email Warning!

A widespread warning was posted on the internet in 2007 warning that the deadly drug, METH, was being distributed via Hallowe'en candy - taking the form of a popular candy called "Pop Rocks."

Here's an example of the emails that were sent out (you may have received one or something similar THIS YEAR, too):



There is a type of crystal meth going around that looks like strawberry pop rocks. It smells like strawberry also and it is being handed out to kids in school yards in AR. I'm sure it will make its way around the country. Kids are ingesting this thinking it is candy and being rushed off to the ER in dire condition.

It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange. It looks just like pop rocks.

Please instruct children to not accept candy that looks like this even from a friend and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc.

Pass this around it could save some family a lot of heartache!

They call it strawberry meth or strawberry quick.

Special Agent Todd V. Coleman
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement
[Contact info deleted]

Scary Stories for Halloween

Why "Candy Covered Meth" is an Urban Legend/Netlore Legend

Here are the things to look for which determine that you're looking at an urban legend, netlore or similarly hyped-up but untrue story:

  1. Well, one of the first signs that "Candy Covered Meth" is a netlore phenomenon is that it has been sent out in mass-message style and forwarded over the net - with no links to real official news, government or health sites.
  2. It wasn't sent FROM any "official site" - it was forwarded by FOAF (Friend of a Friend). Issues detrimental to a general public aren't sent in covert ways to and from only friends of a friends. If an official entity such as the Health Department, News agency, etc needs to notify a mass general public of something as important as this "risk to health and well-being" then - at least to avoid more public backlash later - official sources are going to spread the word - not just "FOAFs."
  3. Scroll to the end of the message and you'll see a "special agent" name - two names (last ames only) and the words "U.S. Department of" (whatever, you can insert any department here). a) the names are too general and common "Todd" and "Coleman" are totally common last names, have no universal public notoriety so that a general public KNOWS who Todd or Coleman are... (ie: we know that "Bush" would probably be one of the government or former government officials in the USA because "Bush" is universally known as the "symbol" or "prompt" meaning "presidential or former presidential Bush family." Who the heck are Todd and Coleman? Is that Sweeny "TODD" and the late Gary "COLEMAN" or what?).
  4. There is no "WHERE" listed in this warning... where the heck is it that crystal meth - disguised as POP ROCKS is being handed out? In Florida, USA? In Toronto, Canada? Where? DOH... nowhere - it's just netlore hype.
  5. It says "Kids are ingesting this thinking it is candy and [are] being rushed off to the ER in dire condition.... okay - ask - WHAT HOSPITAL? Which hospital has seen cases of this? The Royal Joking Around Hospital of Netlore? Maybe the latter but certainly not any REAL HOSPITAL has had cases of the Candy Covered Meth or the hospital would surely be mentioned - along with hospital officials making statements about how to keep your kids safe - IN - a particular region.
  6. Note: "Please instruct children not to accept candy that looks like this even from a friend and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc."

OH Puh---lease!

Now we KNOW who started this netlore... it was the PRINCIPAL....and teachers and parents...

This all makes sense now, doesn't it?

It's a plan for all teachers, principals and parents to circulate the lore and rob the kids of all their treats this Hallowe'en!

CONSPIRACY!!!!! *Pointing fingers*

BUT... seriously - you never heard of this being reported on any news media, did you? You received it from a friend of a friend or from an acquaintance online - you KNOW that kids should just "play it safe" but tend to get sugar-filled and rambunctious on Hallowe'en, so it's a great idea to SCARE THE BEJESUS OUT OF THE KIDS in order to end up with all the Hallowe'en treats by the end of the night, right?



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    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hey BJBenson! LTNS! I'm glad you're still enjoying treats from this year's Hallowe'en celebrations. I had a quiet Hallowe'en so I filled up with reading scary stories and watching spooky movies!

    • BJBenson profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      They gave out large size candy bars where live. My kids went crazy. We had no meth thankfully. We are still eating the candies! I hope you had a good scare.


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