Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Legend of the Phantom Jack O Lantern

Of all the horrific things associated with this most horrific season, poisoned candy, misuse of hygiene products, and coupons in your trick-or-treat bag, perhaps the most horrific and least well-known is the legend of the Phantom Jack O' Lantern.  What is it, you ask?  I'll tell you.
Artist impression of the elusive Phantom Jack O'Lantern
We've all read about the source of the iconic Jack O'Lantern and we should all know that the original and traditional produce of choice for this totem was the turnip.  We are probably all aware that the New World fruit the pumpkin became the new Lantern of choice due to its plentiful supply and ease of carving.  However do we all know that the pumpkin was not exactly happy to be chosen for this role?
Ah, I see you are beginning to understand.
The Phantom Jack O'Lantern is the avenger of pumpkins everywhere.  A daemonic figure (well, daemonic for pumpkins, in the Greek tradition) that serves to get revenge upon the cruel humans for their mistreatment of that most wonderful specimen of herbaceous life.  Rising somewhere in the world every Samhain, the Phantom Jack O'Lantern seeks out a human offender, one who has been particularly maleficent toward the pumpkins, and exacts terrible revenge upon the transgressor by beheading that person, scooping out the head and sticking a candle in the offender's mouth.
Where will be arise this year?
Who will he strike?
Can he be stopped?
Well, thankfully there is an opposite to this entity of vengeance.  For while the Phantom Jack O'Lantern was born of the anguish of pumpkins wronged there is another who was born from the spirit of the pumpkins who understood their new role in this sacred event.  Unfortunately they look an awful lot alike so you never can tell who you are seeing until it is too late...

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