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Jack O'Lantern and the Mysterious Light: Mythology and Science

Linda Crampton is a teacher who enjoys reading and creative writing. Her favourite genres are classic literature, fantasy, myth, and poetry.

A Strange and Sometimes Frightening Light

A jack o'lantern is a pumpkin shell with an evil face carved on its surface and a light placed inside. It's a popular part of many Halloween celebrations. The term "jack o'lantern" once had another meaning, however. It was one name for the mysterious patch of light that people saw just above the surface of swamps, marshes, or bogs at dusk or nighttime. The light had the shape of a flame or a ball and was said to move away from a person as they approached.

The appearance of the light was both strange and frightening for many earlier people. They thought that it was a supernatural being who was aware of their presence and wanted to lead them into danger. Even today, people say that they have seen the light.

Mysterious lights above wetlands have been reported for at least several centuries, although they have been given different names in different cultures. Not everyone agrees that they exist. The number of reports of their presence from different countries suggests that they might, however. Scientists have offered a tentative explanation for their appearance. Sadly, as more and more wetlands are drained, we may eventually lose any chance to see and document a light or to fully understand its nature.

Wetlands are unique habitats. There may be something special about their biology and chemistry that enables a light to be produced under specific circumstances.

Swamps, Marshes, and Bogs

A wetland is an area of land that is saturated with water. Although swamps, marshes, and bogs are wetlands, there are important differences between them.

  • A swamp is a wetland that contains trees.
  • A marsh contains low plants such as grasses instead of trees.
  • A bog is a little different. It's a wet and spongy area containing a material called peat, which is made from dead moss. The moss is often a type known as sphagnum.

Today people report seeing lights in other areas in addition to wetlands. Collectively, the mysterious illuminations are often known as ghost lights or spook lights. In this article, I focus on the lights that people see above wetlands, which may be created by a distinct process.

The Tale of Jack O'Lantern or Stingy Jack

The Irish tale of Stingy Jack was once used to explain wetland lights. Like many old stories, the tale has survived in several versions, but the main points of the story are generally as follows.

Jack was a drunkard, a liar, and a great manipulator. In some versions of the story, he worked as a blacksmith. One day he met the devil, who had come to take Jack's soul to hell. Jack persuaded Satan to fulfill a last request, which was to allow him to drink ale in the local pub. After having many drinks, Jack persuaded Satan to change into a silver coin to pay the bartender. Satan did so, but instead of giving the coin to the bartender Jack put it into his pocket, which contained a crucifix. The crucifix prevented Satan from changing back into his original form.

Jack made a deal with the devil. He would free Satan if the devil agreed to leave and not return for Jack's soul for ten years (or for one year in some versions of the story). Satan agreed to the deal and left.

A modern jack o'lantern made from a turnip

A modern jack o'lantern made from a turnip

The Return of the Devil

In ten years time, the devil returned. This time Jack asked Satan to allow him to climb a tree to pick an apple to eat before he went to hell (or Jack asked Satan to pick the apple). Satan agreed and climbed into the tree himself. Jack quickly carved a cross in the tree trunk, which prevented the devil from leaving. This time Satan agreed that he would never take Jack's soul to hell. Satan was then freed.

When Jack died, God wouldn't allow him into heaven because he had led such an evil life and Satan wouldn't allow him into hell because of their agreement. Satan sent him into the night to wander the world endlessly and alone. He was given a burning ember from hell inside a hollow turnip to light his way. Jack thus became Jack of the Lantern, or Jack O'Lantern.

To some people in the past, the strange and flickering lights above wetlands seemed to match the story of Jack O'Lantern. The light was thought to be Jack's evil soul trapped between life and death. As the light moved away, it was thought that Jack was trying to lead people deeper into the swamp so that they would become lost.

Will o'the Wisp and the Fifollet

Historically, wetland lights were known by other names besides jack o'lanterns. One of these was will o'the wisp. A wisp was a bundle of sticks or paper that was lit and used as a torch. Like Jack, Will was a character who was forced to wander alone at night with just his light for company because he did something wrong. A wetland light was also known as ignis fatuus, which is Latin for foolish fire. Another old name was corpse candle. Some people thought that seeing the light meant that death was near.

According to legend, Louisiana swamps host the fifollet, also known as the feu-follet (French for foolish fire). This ghostly light is said to take the form of a glowing orb above the swamp water. Like a jack o'lantern, the orb is reportedly a supernatural being that moves away from a person as the person approaches,

Legend says that the fifollet is a soul sent back to Earth by God in order to do penance. It sometimes attack humans. In some versions of the legend, the fifollet is mischievous but not harmful. In others, it's more menacing and sucks human blood like a vampire. Another legend says that the orb over the swamp is the soul of an unbaptized child.

Some people who are interested in the paranormal report that they've seen orbs in real life (instead of in photographs, as is commonly reported). These orbs may be a related phenomenon to the fifollet, though they are seen in a variety of habitats and not just in wetlands.

A Possible Scientific Explanation for the Lights

Swamp lights are believed to be caused by the ignition of the gas made in the swamp. This gas is produced by the bacterial decomposition of organic matter. The decay bacteria are anaerobic, which means that they survive without oxygen. The organic matter came from the bodies of once living plants and animals that collected in the swamp.

Swamp gas that has been tested contains a large quantity of methane, or CH4, which is a flammable gas. The autoignition temperature of methane is around 573°C. Tests have shown that at least some swamp gas also contains phosphine, which has the formula PH3. The phosphine may be converted to P2H4 or diphosphane, perhaps by bacteria in the swamp. Diphosphane autoignites at the temperatures found in a wetland. This autoignition may then ignite the methane. This is still a tentative explanation for swamp light production, however.

The production of light in a marsh may be similar to the process in a swamp. The gas produced by a marsh is known as marsh gas instead of swamp gas. A bog is more acidic than a swamp or a marsh, but it does contain specialized bacteria that make methane.

The process of light generation in wetlands needs to be explored in more detail. In addition, lights that appear over drier areas near to be investigated. Some have been reasonably explained by phenomena involving car lights on nearby roads, but others haven't. These include the Min Min lights in the Australian outback, the Hassdalen lights in a Norwegian valley, and the Chir Batti of the Banni grasslands in India.

The movement of a swamp light as someone approaches is said to occur because the air currents produced by the person's movements or breath push the glowing gases over the swamp's surface.

Other Possible Explanations for the Mystery

There have been other suggested explanations for the appearance of light over a wet area. These include the presence of bioluminescent organisms, such as fireflies or certain mushrooms, and the presence of ball lightning. Tectonic processes in the Earth have been proposed as a source of light production in both wet areas and drier ones.

In addition, there have been suggestions that the appearance of a glowing area over a wetland is an optical illusion or may be created by reflection or diffraction of nearby vehicle lights. Wetlands are often strange places to explore and may heighten a person's sensitivity to unusual events.

A Ghost Light Poll

A close-up detail of a bog containing sphagnum moss

A close-up detail of a bog containing sphagnum moss

The Existence of Wetland Lights

Although the reports of wetland lights are widespread, there don't seem to be any reliable photos or videos of them. (People have taken photos of mysterious lights in other areas, however.) This could be because suitable conditions for producing the lights are a rare or temporary occurrence. It could also be due to the fact that the opportunities for seeing the lights and taking photos of them are decreasing as humans destroy wetlands. In some cases, it might be because the appearance of the lights is due to an overactive imagination or even because the report is a joke.

It seems to me that because so many reports have been made in regards to some lights they are likely to be real phenomena. I would love to know the explanation (or explanations) for their occurrence. Unfortunately, because the existence of wetland lights is sometimes thought of as a legend, detailed scientific research is lacking. The lack of knowledge makes the lights seem even more mysterious to someone who has seen them or who believes that they exist.

I have never seen a light over wetlands, but then again I don't visit the areas at night when the lights are said to be most visible. The mystery of wetland lights or jack o'lanterns is intriguing.

References

  • History of the Jack O'Lantern from the History website
  • Types of wetlands from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA
  • Phosphine and marsh lights facts from the Royal Society of Chemistry (Please note that this website limits the number of free views of articles in a month unless a person signs up for an account. It costs nothing to read the article, but if you exceed the number of free views that have been allotted you'll have to wait until the next month to read the article again.)
  • Phosphine on Earth from the phys.org news service and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

© 2014 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 01, 2020:

Thank you very much, Ivana!

Ivana Divac from Serbia on March 01, 2020:

Well-written and informative. I was captivated from the beginning until the very end!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 15, 2019:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, Sharon.

Sharon Lopez from Philippines on October 15, 2019:

I was captured by the way you presented the story. Truly interesting!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2019:

Hi, Denise. I think the stories are very interesting. Like you, I believe there's probably a scientific explanation for the observations, but it's fascinating to think about the supernatural ones!

Best wishes.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 02, 2019:

Terrific of you to research the stories. I've heard the will-o-the-wisp but not the Jack O'Lantern story so that was fascinating. I do believe there is probably a reasonable explanation but totally understand how it could be believed to be supernatural because it's so mysterious. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 26, 2018:

Thank you very much, Maya.

Maya Ellenson from Hobe Sound, Florida on September 26, 2018:

Thank you for a fascinating story! I really enjoyed how you juxtaposed mythology and science.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 02, 2018:

Thanks for sharing the interesting story, Barbara. Mysterious lights are always intriguing!

Barbara Badder from USA on June 02, 2018:

This was an interesting read. I had never heard the story of the Jack O'Lantern before. After hearing it, I am not so sure I want to put one out anymore.

There are lights in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that they claim is a ghost. The light is right near a railroad track where a worker died. Every night without fail, the light is in the sky. If you get near, it disappears. I've never seen it, but have read and heard about it several times.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 24, 2017:

Thank you, Finn. I think that both mysterious lights and lightning are very interesting phenomena.

Fin from Barstow on November 24, 2017:

Very intersting and well written article

would like to see photos of this phenomena.

I've heard about ball lightning and wonder if they are related.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 11, 2017:

Thanks, Nadine. Jack has an interesting history!

NadineMay on January 11, 2017:

Thank you as always for an informative hub on subjects I know nothing about. I have never celebrated Halloween but loved reading the story of Jack.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2016:

Thank you for sharing your interesting experiences, andis113.

andis113 on December 12, 2016:

I have seen them twice near Coden Alabama. Sometimes we would have dinner in a restaurant there & afterwards my father would drive down this one road in a swampy area & we would look for them. The ones we saw were slow moving, fuzzy balls of light, not bright like fire. They drifted like on a gentle breeze, one crossed the road right in front of our car. We never saw just one-

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 2015:

Hi, newbizmau. Yes, that's the nice thing about fall! Spring is my favourite season, but fall comes a close second.

Maurice Glaude from Mobile, AL on August 10, 2015:

Reading this makes me ready for the falls cool weather and everyone seems to be in better moods about this time. That's why its my favorite season. No pressure of the expensive holidays yet, just fun.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 09, 2014:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, Deb!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 09, 2014:

This was most interesting to read, and kept my attention easily throughout. Great work!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2014:

These sound like caves that I would enjoy exploring! Thank you for the comment.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 28, 2014:

Very interesting. It reminds me of the glow worm caves in New Zealand.

Thanks for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 26, 2014:

That's a very interesting comment, Randall! It certainly seems that the reports of swamp lights may be true because they are so widespread. I would love their cause to be explained in more detail.

Randall Guinn from Pinellas Park, Florida on October 26, 2014:

Even though it hasn't been proven to be real by science, isn't it odd that swamp gas lights have been used to explain so many UFOs. Maybe one day they will use UFOs to explain the light from swamp gas.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, Writer Fox! I appreciate your congratulations and the vote.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on October 23, 2014:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day for this article. I really enjoyed reading the mythological history you presented. Voted up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2014:

Thank you, Carolyn. I appreciate your comment and vote!

Carolyn Emerick on October 23, 2014:

Great article Alicia! I loved the images of the marshlands that you chose. Some of these legends have more than one origin, and you chose a fascinating aspect of this tradition to explore :-) Upvoted!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2014:

Thank you very much, markjayharris.

Mark Jay Harris from Smithfield, Utah on October 23, 2014:

Fascinating stuff. Good hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 23, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Aquiline. I appreciate your visit.

Aquiline Verdad from Philippines on October 23, 2014:

Nice article. I love your facts about jack'o lantern.Hope you would post more of this topic..

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2014:

Hi, TravelMike. I hope your sister gets over her fear!

MICHAEL Belk from New Albany on October 22, 2014:

I tried putting a jack-o-latern as my phone lock screen and my sister said it was scary. What a scary cat.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2014:

The light that you have described sounds interesting, VioletteRose! Thank you for the comment and for sharing the information.

VioletteRose from Atlanta on October 22, 2014:

Very interesting! I wonder if that is some kind of mirage effect. In South India, we have 'makaravilakku', a light that appears thrice on the mountain top near to the temple, and this happens exactly at the time of a rising star in the sky.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2014:

Thank you for the interesting comment and the congratulations, Alun. I appreciate the vote and the share as well! I hope researchers eventually give us a complete and detailed explanation about the way or ways in which the lights are produced.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on October 22, 2014:

An interesting and comprehensive article Linda. Nice to see that you cover all the various possible scientific explanations, as well as the traditional mythologies surrounding these lights. The Stingy Jack story was well explained and quite quaint - enjoyable to read!

Re-the scientific explanations, it's interesting that the lights appear to move away as one approaches. I wonder if - just like a rainbow - a Jack o' Lantern is at least in part an optical phenomenon which can never be reached and touched or seen from a different direction?

These lights are best known to me as Will o' the Wisp, and I wasn't aware that the Jack 0' Lantern of Halloween fame had a similar origin. All round therefore, an informative page including the distinction between marshes, bogs and swamps. It would be nice to see these lights one day.

Finally, congratulations on Hub of the Day Linda. I think very well deserved. Voted up and shared. Alun

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2014:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Hezekiah.

Hezekiah from Japan on October 22, 2014:

Interesting read there, they were quite scary when I was a kid.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for the comment and the congratulations, zoey24!

Zoey from South England on October 21, 2014:

I found this fascinating, and an enjoyable read. Congratulations on receiving HOTD!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thanks so much, Flourish. I appreciate your kind support!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Mel. I appreciate it. Yes, the Earth does still have a lot of fascinating mysteries to be explained!

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 21, 2014:

I'm back to say Congratulations on HOTD! This is very well deserved!

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on October 21, 2014:

Very well written and informative piece. There are also some mysterious lights near a place called Martha, Texas that have been photographed but nobody knows what they are. The Earth still has a lot of mysteries. Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thanks, Kim! I appreciate the congratulations.

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on October 21, 2014:

What a crafty one was Jack! You have taught me a lesson today, Linda. Congrats on HOTD! Kim

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you very much, Rebecca!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, handymanbill. Carving pumpkins is fun. Even the older students in the school where I teach enjoy doing it! I hope you have a good Halloween.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 21, 2014:

Congratulations, Alicia! Well deserved!

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on October 21, 2014:

I have my carving knife ready. Every year the kids have to have pumpkins carved. It is a fun thing to do with kids.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, MelRootsNWrites. Thanks for the congratulations. Marsh lights are certainly an interesting topic!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you very much, Cynthia. I appreciate both your comments a great deal!

Melody Lassalle from California on October 21, 2014:

Congratulations! I had no idea about marsh lights. I wonder if they are real or not.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Congrats on the HOTD Linda~ I thought this was an apt candidate for that honour when I first read it!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for the congratulations, colorfulone. It's fun to keep an open mind about all the mysteries on Earth!

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 21, 2014:

I agree with you that, "The mystery of wetland lights or jack o'lanterns is intriguing!", and I too keep an open mind about things like this. Congratulations on HOTD!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, Mary. Thanks for the comment, the votes and the share. I hope you have a very enjoyable Halloween.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 21, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD! Very interesting info here. I always think of Jack O'Lanterns as being a lot of fun. My children and I always made them. Happy Halloween, BTW.

Voted Up, etc. and shared.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you so much, Heidi. I appreciate the comment and the congratulations.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 21, 2014:

Learned a whole lot with this hub! Did not know the jack o'lantern origins. Well deserved Hub of the Day! Congrats!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you very much, Audrey. Happy Halloween to you, too!

Audrey Howitt from California on October 21, 2014:

This was so interesting and timely! Happy Halloween to you!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for commenting, listsnthings.

Anna Christie from London, United Kingdom on October 21, 2014:

Thanks for this great info

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you, W1totalk. I appreciate your comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, whonunuwho. Mysterious lights are always interesting to study! Thank you very much for the visit and the comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, mySuccess8. Yes, the scientific explanation for the lights is definitely worth exploring further. Thanks for the comment and the congrats!

W1totalk on October 21, 2014:

This piece hits all the major points and is an informational piece for the season. Greta hub.

whonunuwho from United States on October 21, 2014:

Other lights of odd origin such as ball lightning and even UFOs cause a lot of consternation at times. Very nice composition and presentation of the Jack O' Lantern my friend. whonu

mySuccess8 on October 21, 2014:

Very interesting article. The scientific explanation given for wetland lights is quite convincing. This is because anaerobic bacterial decomposition of plant and animal matter, such as occurring under water in wetlands, has been scientifically proven to produce methane gas. Methane is a colorless, odorless gas which is extremely flammable and explosive, and this probably explains the lights, as you have stated. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Hi, ajaysuri. Thank you for the comment. On Thursday, we're having a special event to celebrate Diwali in the school where I teach. I'm looking forward to it! Happy Diwali to you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for the comment and the congratulations, Maria Antonia. I think that wetlands are fascinating areas to study!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you very much, Peg. I appreciate your comment and congratulations.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for the comment, eilval. It's very nice to meet you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thanks for the second visit and the congrats, stuff4kids!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2014:

Thank you for the congratulations and the vote, DzyMsLizzy! I like your plan for determining the cause of the light. An investigation like the one that you describe would be very interesting!

Ajay from Jaipur on October 21, 2014:

Hi, See sharing and reading posts give you an idea that you don't know earlier, in India day after tomorrow is Diwali festival in which we lighten the whole house with small led lights, I will use this idea and put this type of light in front of my house. Thanks. Happy Halloween, Happy Diwali to all reading this.

Antoinette Lee Toscano from Raleigh, NC on October 21, 2014:

Congratulations on HOTD I loved learning the backstory around the Jack O' Lantern and a little more about wetlands too.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 21, 2014:

The tale of Jack is a great one to share at a spooky Halloween party along with the most interesting explanation of bog lights. I loved the photo of the turnip lantern to go along with the story. You find some of the most incredible subjects on which to write. Congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day for this one.

Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on October 21, 2014:

I read your hub with great interest just at the right time with Halloween round the corner . Insightful mix of folklore and much fun .

Amanda Littlejohn on October 21, 2014:

You're welcome. And I just called back in to say congrats on a well-deserved HotD.

:)

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on October 21, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD! This was most interesting.

I'd never before heard the legend of the Jack O'Lantern! What an interesting tale.

Swamp gas? Possibly, and more likely than any other of the fanciful ideas, in my opinion. It would be interesting to go investigate in a flat-botttomed boat or air boat, even, to be able to follow the light without danger of sinking in the muck. Though I'd leave that to experts and area natives. I've never been to a wetland or swamp, and given their reputation for harboring alligators and crocodiles, I don't think I want to, either! ;-)

Voted up +++

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 20, 2014:

Thank you so much, stuff4kids! I appreciate your lovely comment, the vote and the share a great deal.

Amanda Littlejohn on October 20, 2014:

What an AWESOME hub!

This is a fantastic mix of science, folklore, myth and message - and beautifully written. I loved this. Voted up and sharing.

Thank you! :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 18, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Vellur. I'm so glad that you found the article interesting.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 18, 2014:

Very interesting and informative hub, was spellbound from beginning to end, great hub and voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 18, 2014:

Thank you, DawnRae64. I appreciate your comment very much!

Dawn from Maryland, USA on October 18, 2014:

So interesting! I'm glad this hub is here. I love bogs... fun to learn about Quaking bogs!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 18, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and the votes, Nancy! I think the jack o'lantern has a very interesting background. It's fun to write about it!

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on October 18, 2014:

I really enjoyed reading all this about Jack O'Lanterns. Some of it was familiar to me, like the Will o' the Wisp, but other parts were not. I voted it all the way up because it's such a fun read and so interesting to learn the history of the swamp lights. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2014:

Thank you very much for the funny comment, tobusiness!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 17, 2014:

Charmingly spooky, and perfect timing. Trust an Irishman to get the better of Old Nick.:)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and the votes, DDE.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 17, 2014:

A perfect hub for Halloween. I learned more from you on this interesting history. Voted up,useful, and interesting.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 16, 2014:

Hi, drbj. It's so nice to see you back at HubPages. Thank you for the comment. Stingy Jack would definitely have been a good pitchman!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 16, 2014:

Fascinating stuff, m'dear. Thanks for the interesting history about Stingy Jack. What a pitchman he would have been.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 16, 2014:

Hi, Jeannieinabottle. I would certainly find exploring a swamp at night very interesting, but I would want lots of company while I explored! Thank you very much for the comment.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on October 16, 2014:

I never heard these legends before. Thanks for sharing them! I found them really interesting. I have heard about lights over swamps. I recently moved to a swampy area and this makes me want to explore it at night. ;-)

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