We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about Stingy Jack
Stingy Jack is an Irish version of the legend of the jack-o’-lantern. Supposedly there was a man named Jack who by occupation was a blacksmith. He was also a drunkard and a cheat and an all-around horrible person. One day he came upon a corpse along his path that turned out to be Satan himself. Satan told him he had come to collect Jack’s soul. Jack somberly agreed to accompany him to Hell, but first he requested one last meal. They came upon an apple tree, and Jack asked for an apple. Satan climbed the tree to retrieve the apple, but Jack quickly carved a cross in the trunk, trapping Satan. He wouldn’t let Satan down until he agreed never to take Jack’s soul to Hell. Satan agreed, and Jack let him go.
When Jack finally died, however, he wasn’t allowed into Heaven because of his wicked life. Jack went to the gates of Hell, but Satan, citing their bargain, wouldn’t let him in either. He gave Jack a single ember as a warning to others, and Jack put it inside a hollowed-out turnip, doomed to wander the Earth until Judgement Day.