The legend of the Jack O’ Lantern and the mastery of Ray Villafane…

Happy Halloween!

 

"When I Was a Pumpkin" by Josh Tuininga (www.society6.com)

 

Now I must confess I don’t live in a decaying castle in Transylvania but there is something about Halloween I love. It may be the excuse to dress as The Count, cloak flowing and fangs chomping or perhaps the opportunity to liberally cover myself in fake blood and wonder around in a zombie-like fashion.

 

"Trick or Treat" by Radojavor (image from deviant ART)

 

Halloween isn’t complete for me without a carved pumpkin or Jack-O’-Lantern. I love the amazing story about the origins of the lantern. It is said to come from an Irish tale about a master manipulator and general ne’er do well called Jack.

The story goes that the devil wanted to see if all the rumours were true about this silver tongued rogue so went to see for himself. The devil found him wandering home drunk. Jack, realising that his time was up, asked for one last request… to drink his fill of ale before his trip to eternal damnation. Seeing no reason to say no, the devil agreed and off they went to the local pub.

 

In the wee hours of the morning, having had his fill Jack said it was time to go but could the devil pay the bill. The devil had no money on him so Jack talked him into turning himself into a silver coin with which to pay the publican. Delighted by Jack’s nefarious ways right to the bitter end the devil agreed. The moment he transformed, Jack pocked the coin. His pocket contained a crucifix which prevented the devil from changing back. To escape the devil agreed to Jack’s demand that his soul was to be spared for 10 years…

 

To the day, ten year later the devil returned to collect on his deal. He found Jack sitting in his orchard. Just before they set off for the underworld, Jack asked if he could taste and apple one last time. Seeing no harm in this, the devil agreed and began to climb the nearest tree. As he plucked the apple he looked down to see that Jack had surrounded the tree with crucifixes, trapping him on the branches above. Frustrated that he had been tricked again he agreed to Jack’s demands in return for his freedom. The devil agreed that he would never take his soul into hell.

 

His wild lifestyle eventually took its toll and he died. As his soul tried to enter Heaven via the gates of St Peter he was stopped and told that after a lifetime of deceit and sin there was no way he was coming in. Unperturbed Jack took the elevator to the basement, so to speak, and banged on the gates of hell. He felt sure as he had tricked the devil twice he could do it again. But this time the devil was prepared, he told Jack that  in honour of their deal he could not take his soul.

 

As a warning to others he gave Jack an glowing ember. From that day until eternity’s end Jack is doomed to walk the netherworld with only the devil’s ember which he paced in a hollowed pumpkin to light his way…

 

"Jack O Lantern" by Radojavor (image from Deviant ART)

 

When it comes to creating a Jack o’ Lantern the master has to be Ray Villafane. Using his expert experience from his work designing models for DC and Marvel comics, Ray carves the most intricate horrific faces out of pumpkins.

 

Medusa by Ray Villafane (image from Ray Villafane)

 

Squeezed Face by Ray Villafane (image by Ray Villafane)

 

Bored by Ray Villafane (image by Ray Villafane)

 

Mouth Full by Ray Villafane (image by Ray Villafane)

 

Zipperhead by Ray Villafane (image from Ray Villafane)

 

They remind me of a modern day gargoyle!

 

 

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