From the tales of ancient Ireland comes this story of the origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern: There lived in that country a man so stingy that he became noted for his lack of hospitality and because of this he was prohibited from ever entering Heaven. Finally, as a punishment for various mean deeds, he was condemned to wander about until the day of judgment with a lantern to light his way. This man’s name was Jack, and since Jack and his lantern were a frequent topic of conversation, it became the custom, as years passed, to carry lighted faces which might resemble old Jack of the lantern during the revels of Halloween.
A still queerer story comes from the Teutons, who in the early centuries lived in the countries north of Gaul. They believed that Jack-o’-Lanterns were the spirits of people who had become murderers who could be seen walking the earth near the scenes of their crimes.