30 OCTOBER 2019

JACK OF THE LANTERN

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL · PART II

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Black Jack was a rogue, a liar, a cheat and a drunk, whose name was reviled and feared all around.  He consorted with crooks and thieves, and he used to practice the art of hoberdy in aid of ship-wrecking. Though he kept the trade of a smith,  his smithy was usually dead cold and the door chained. Instead he could be found most of the time drinking away his money until every last sovereign was spent...

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The story of Jack of the Lantern evolved from folklore about Will-o-the-Wisps, the enigmatic lights known also as will-o-the-wykes, jack o'lights, jack- or joan- the wads, friar's lanterns, hoberdy lanterns, hinkypunk, punkies, spunkies, corpse candles or ghost candles, fairy lights, fairy fire, pixy lights and latterly spook-lights and ghost-lights, which are sometimes seen hovering over peat bogs.

Ghost-lights are part of the folklore of many cultures all over the world, and consequently the myths about their nature and origins is diverse. They are commonly thought to be spirits or ghosts. In British folklore, they have been explained as ghosts of the dead, sometimes specifically the spirits of un-baptised children, or other souls lost in limbo between heaven and hell.  The lights cast by these spirits were usually an attempt to lead unwary travelers astray, though they were sometimes believed to mark the presence of a buried treasure, which could only be retrieved when the ghost-light shone.

Carving hoberdy lanterns or jack o'lights  at Halloween is a custom believed to have originated from Gaelic folk tradition, first recorded in Ireland and Scotland. The origin story of 'Jack of the Lantern' is thought to be a primarily Irish legend, where he has been named as 'Jack', 'Billy Duffy' or 'Billy Dawson' (Billy is a common nickname for 'William'), and the same tale is recorded as a folktale from Shropshire in England about 'Will Smith' who becomes 'Will of the Wisp'.  The tale migrated to America, where it commonly known as the legend of Stingy Jack.  A 'wisp' is apparently a word used for a bundle of sticks or paper sometimes used as a torch, so that 'Will of the Wisp' literally means 'Will of the Torch'.

All of the stories share similar features, but they do differ in their details and events. In the most contemporary tellings of the tale, Jack tends to be a more charming and sympathetic character, whose sins are not explored in detail: it focuses instead on his drinking and the tricks he plays on the devil, which tend to include trapping him in his purse with a crucifix, and trapping him a tree by carving the cross on it.  Earlier Irish and British versions of the tale are darker, including the angel or St. Peter who gives Jack three wishes, and his subsequent torturing of the devil.  In some versions Jack whips the devil when he sticks to an enchanted apple tree; in another, he traps the devil in an enchanted chair and draws out his nose with a pair of iron tongs. Rick's version of the story uses elements from several of these tales, and also works in folklore about shipwreckers using 'hoberdy lanterns' to draw ships onto the beach, even though stories about this practice are considered to be fanciful.

Another detail present in some versions is Jack's wife. Jack beats her, but she is described in these versions as being his equal in evil and violence: they beat each other, and conspire in the devil's torture.

Despite the legends about Will and Jack, will-o-wisps were often explained to fairies and pucks in the oldest sources, with some authors ascribing them to the fairy Robin Goodfellow.

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Rick: The common name for this tale s the legend of 'Stingy' Jack, but the name didn't seem properly descriptive of Jack's behaviour in this tale. I thought that it sounded better to call him 'Black Jack' due to the blackness of his soul and his sins.

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IN FOLK SONG

Jack's story has been turned into a folk ballad by The Muses. Listen on our Halloween Playlist on Spotify!

EPISODE CREDITS

Stories interpreted and performed by Rick Scott.
Sound editing, audio design and original illustrations by Rick Scott.
Lore & Legend Series Theme composed and performed by Robert Bentall.
Original incidental music and chords also by Robert Bentall.

Podcast hosting by Anchor. Video and audiogram creation using Headliner.

AUDIO CREDITS

Incidental and background music tracks by Derek and Brandon Feichter on Bandcamp. Used with credit as per the disclaimer on their Youtube Channel.

Additional incidental music, background ambience and sound effects by multiple authors sourced from Freesound.org.

 

Special thanks to Freesound community members toiletrolltube and , whose material has played a central role in our audio work.

See below for the full list of audio files and attribution credits:

  • S: rising AAAHh2 REV DEEP.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: VINYL LOOP 80 BPM by _CAZAPROD_ | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Vinyl snap, crackle and pop by jamesabdulrahman | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 071416 Victor Victrola playing a record end loop.wav by thaighaudio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 071416 Victor Victrola spring noise.wav by thaighaudio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: VICTROLA VV XI--Victor Talking Machine Phonograph by hendmik | License: Attribution

  • S: Scream 1 by TheSubber13 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: I see dead people horror sound by turtleheadwalker | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: hell_demon (voice).ogg by La_Parca | License: Attribution

  • S: Creepy Evil Demon Monster Growl Halloween by Voices_Of_Marz | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: DamnedSouls_Chorus.mp3 by cormi | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: devil's waltz hum.wav by AlucardsBride | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: evil man laughing.wav by ptrmax | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: remix of 203231__raspberrytickle__ -laugh.flac by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: double laughter 2.wav by laiskvorst | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: double laughter 1.wav by laiskvorst | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Mies nauraa, seonnut / Crazy, mad, loony man laughing, creepy laughter, some echo by YleArkisto | License: Attribution

  • S: Evil Laugh 6.wav by Nanakisan | License: Attribution

  • S: Remix of 73746_tc630__psychotic_laugh_stereotypical_madness effect.wav by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: remix of 74261__Timbre__tc630_psychotic_laugh_stereotypical_madness_effect.flac by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Remix of 26729__Leady__insane_laughter_man_reverb_Beefier.wav by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Evil_laughter.mp3 by DocOne42 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Shrieking Laughter by plasterbrain | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 04840 mad man laughter - dry.wav by Robinhood76 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: bottle of coins by gmarchisio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: worried breathing reverb.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: MMMMM loop1.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: rising AAAHh2 REV DEEP.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: MatchStrike.wav by zimbot | License: Attribution

  • S: LightingMatch.wav by HerbertBoland | License: Attribution

  • S: Match Ignite.aif by Dean-Raule_DiArchangeli | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Match Ignition 2 by HunteR4708 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Bag Shake.aiff by pkclsoft | License: Attribution

  • S: Pull Plant by josepharaoh99 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Kill the demons.wav by DjCHAOS | License: Attribution

  • S: Demonic Woman Scream.wav by nick121087 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: demon scream.aif by MAJ061785 | License: Attribution

  • S: fry scream i did. no edits (Black metal vocal) by Mundogoth | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: soulsofthedamned.wav by squeakdamouse1561 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Ghost Manifestation 1 - Scream from the Tomb ! WAV by OGsoundFX | License: Attribution

  • S: Tortured distorted scream by jhumbucker | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Zombie Demon Scream by Wakerone | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: pain_scream_hard_2.wav by tschapajew | License: Sampling+

  • S: 02207 ironing longer.wav by Robinhood76 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: scream5_bosque_julia.mp3 by juliabosque | License: Attribution

  • S: screaming_male_weird.mp3 by GabrielaUPF | License: Attribution

  • S: Long_scream.wav by plagasul | License: Attribution

  • S: Scream 02 by adriancalzon | License: Attribution

  • S: AB_screams_1(like jums, pains) by ArtemBasov | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: angels02.ogg by pennyhatemachine | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Angelic voice.aif by JustynaSz | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: f eh angelic 3.wav by ERH | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: TTLS.wav by digifishmusic | License: Attribution

  • S: cold waterdrops in a hot pot.wav by Nummer39 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: extinguishing fire by soundslikewillem | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: gas_steam.wav by joseph.larralde | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Flame Ignition by hykenfreak | License: Attribution

  • S: Fire - Effects - Swooshes - Bursts, evolving by GregorQuendel | License: Attribution

  • S: flamewind.wav by scarbelly25 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Musket Explosion by Willlewis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Bomb Voice Imitation.MP3 by FunWithSound | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: FUN-EXPLOSION03.wav by newagesoup | License: Attribution

  • S: BOOMING PUNCHY EXPLOSION - close, big SCHOEPS MK41.wav by misosound | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: fire_explosion.wav by ReadeOnly | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 23 FIACCOLA PASS.aiff by lollosound | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: JM_FX_Fireball 01.wav by Julien Matthey | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 20IstanbulPreSplitBell.wav by pjcohen | License: Attribution

  • S: Whispers, 'Schizophrenic' or Ghost-like voices by belarathbone | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: HalloweenWhispers.wav by alienintruder | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Ghost Whispers 1 by nolam20 | License: Attribution

  • S: Ominous whispers.wav by xtrgamr | License: Attribution

RICK SCOTT
STORYTELLER

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