Something that Scotland Should Take Note

Over the past 70-years, a lot of Jack O' Lanterns have been carved. My parents carved them for my brothers and me. I carved them for my three children and my three grandchildren. This year Owen was old enough to toddle around looking for the perfect pumpkin.

Owen picking pumpkins

On the other hand, Jack is three and was more than able to march down what seemed like endless rows of pumpkins on his quest.

Jack in the patch

After an hour or so deciding and then changing their minds several times, we drove back to our home with two prized pumpkins.

Jack and Owen picking pumpkins

Owen thought that the pumpkins needed hats. Jack being older knew that I was taking a picture for this article and was willing to pose for it.

Then the process began. Jack watches intently as I do a frontal lobotomy about the same size that a neurosurgeon did on me over five years ago.

Al carving with Jack

Then I gave Jack the thankless job of scrapping out the inside of his pumpkin. I do not believe that my neurosurgeon did much scrapping inside my head. I will check with him and let you know what he says.

Owen helping Jack and Al with the pumpkins

I started cutting Owen's pumpkin and gave him the nose. Owen's response surprised me. He put the nose back into his pumpkin precisely from where I cut it out. Now, Jack is the neat and orderly one. That is not Owen's usual modes operandi.

Owen carving pumpkins

When I finished the neurosurgery on the two pumpkins and the kids finished cleaning out the insides, we went inside to talk about the meaning of Halloween and their mighty pumpkins. I have spent decades of researching about the origin of Halloween and the relation with the pumpkin.

I told them about Halloween but limited it to being a tradition that we brought from Scotland and Ireland generations ago. Jack, who wants to know every detail of everything, was not told about Stingy Jack and his deal with the Devil. I merely told him the Jack O' Lantern's light was connected to the strange light that is often emitted from peat bogs, which are often called will o' the wisp. The decomposing of vegetation in the bogs on occasions burns an eerie light called the ignis fatuus, which is Latin for foolish fire.

Assuming that all of you are many years older than Jack or Owen, let me tell you a condensed version of Jack O' Lantern and his deal with the Devil. There are several versions. However, Stingy Jack and the Devil have several different run in with each other. The gist of the various stories is that Jack makes a deal with the Devil...and that is that the Devil will never take custody of him when he croaks.

When Stingy Jack dies, God will not allow him in heaven. The Devil promised Stingy Jack that he would not take him to Hell. Therefore, Jack wanders in a purgatory-like world here on Earth. Interestingly, the Devil gave Stingy Jack an ember from Hell, which will never burn out. Stingy Jack puts the ember inside a turnip so that he can see as he wandered in the midst of the night half lost in a world in which he must live.

I continued to explain Jack and Owen about the implications of Jack O' Lantern. In particular, the name Jack, which is a nickname for John. John Bull is a symbol for England like Uncle Sam is one for America.

 John Bull enjoying a meal

John Bull enjoying a meal

The English tradition started three centuries ago by Arbuthnot in 1712. The character originally was very much like Uncle Sam but quickly morphed into a person less pleasing...more like Stingy Jack.

As I talked about John Bull, it was not long before Jack said that Jack Bull was not a very nice man. I agreed that in both the past and in the present that John Bull often uses his weight to push others around. I mentioned that John Bull and his present-day lookalikes have been pushing the people in Scotland around for centuries. The Scots will vote upon whether they wish to leave the UK (United Kingdom). There are many reasons for this referendum. However, it boils down to the Scots wanting to decide their own futures and not have Westminster decide it for them in London.

The British wish that Scotland would remain a part of the UK. Westminster is tired of countries leaving their Empire:


Cape Colony 1871
Basutoland (Lesotho) 1884
Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana) 1884
Bight of Benin 1852
Bight of Biafra 1861
British Bechuanaland 1885
British Cameroons 1919
British East Africa 1895
British Somaliland 1884
Cape Colony 1806
Egypt 1882
Bioko 1827
Gambia Colony 1827
Gold Coast 1874
Kenya 1920
Lagos 1906
Southern Nigeria 1900
Libya 1906
Natal 1856
Niger 1856
Nigeria 1954
Northern Nigeria 1900
Nyasaland (Malawi) 1891
Orange River Colony (South Africa) 1900
Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) 1888
Sierra Leone 1787
South Africa 1910
Sudan 1899
Swaziland 1893
Tangier 1661
German East Africa 1916
Tanganyika Territory 1922
Tati Concessions Land 1872
Transvaal (part of South Africa) 1877
Uganda 1890
Walvis Bay (part of South Africa) 1795
Zanzibar 1890
Zululand 1887

Northern America

Assiniboia 1812
Avalon (Newfoundland) 1623
British Columbia (Canada) 1858
Canada 1841
Cape Breton Island 1841
Carolina (part of North and South Carolina) 1586
Cuper's Cove (Newfoundland) 1610
East Florida (USA) 1763
Georgia 1732
Labrador 1763
Lower Canada 1791
New Brunswick 1784
Newfoundland 1497
North-Western Territory (Northwest Territories of Canada) 1859
Nova Scotia 1654
Prince Edward Island 1744
Quebec 1763
Renews (Newfoundland) 1610
Roanoke Colony (USA) 1586
Rupert's Land (Canada) 1610
St. Pierre and Miquelon 1713
South Falkland 1623
Stikine Territory 1862
Upper Canada 1791
Vancouver Island 1849
Virginia (USA) 1607
West Florida (USA) 1763

Central America and the Caribbean

Anguilla 1650 still a part British Overseas Territory
Antigua 1632
Aruba 1799
Bahamas 1670
Barbados 1624
Barbuda 1628
Bay Islands (part of Honduras) 1643
Bonaire 1807
British Honduras 1655
British Virgin Islands 1666 still a part British Overseas Territory
Cayman Islands 1670 still a part British Overseas Territory
Cuba 1762
Curacao 1800
Dominica 1763
Grenada 1762
Guadeloupe 1759
Ile de la Tortue and Saint-Domingue 1655
Jamaica 1655
Leeward Islands 1671
Martinique 1762
Montserrat 1632 still a part British Overseas Territory
Mosquito Coast (part of Nicaragua) 1668
Nevis 1628
Redonda 1872
Saba 1665
St. Christopher 1623
St. Christopher and Nevis 1882
St. Eustatius 1665
St. John 1801
St Lucia 1605
Saint Martin 1690
St. Thomas 1801
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1627
Tobago 1762
Tortuga 1631
Trinidad 1802
Trinidad and Tobago 1889
Turks and Caicos Islands 1799 still a part British Overseas Territory

South America

Berbice 1781
British Guiana 1831
Demerara 1781
Demerara-Essequibo 1814
Essequibo 1781
Oyapoc 1620
Pomeroon 1666
Willoughby 1652


Aden 1839
Afghanistan 1839
Assam 1874
Bahrain 1880
Baluchistan (part of Pakistan) 1877
Bantam 1603
Bencoolen 1685
Bengal 1634
Brunei 1888
Burma 1824
Ceylon 1795
Hong Kong 1841
Kuwait 1899
India 1613
Java 1811
Malaya 1824
North Borneo and Victoria (part of Malaysia) 1882
Palestine 1920
Sarawak (part of Malaysia) 1888
Straits Settlements 1826
Qatar 1916
Surat (part of India) 1612
Singapore 1824
Transjordan 1920
Trucial States (part of United Arab Emirates) 1892
Weihaiwei (part of China) 1898
West Bengal 1905


Akrotiri and Dhekelia 1960 still a part British Overseas Territory
Alderney 1198
Calais (part of France) 1347
Corsica (part of France) 1794
Cyprus 1878
Dunkirk (part of France) 1658
Gibraltar 1704 still a part British Overseas Territory
Guernsey 1198 British still own it
Heligoland (part of Germany) 1807
Ionian Islands (part of Greece) 1809
Ireland 1172 (Northern Ireland still a part of UK)
Isle of Man 1266 crown dependency
Jersey 1204 bailiwick
Malta 1800
Minorca (part of Spain) 1708
Scotland 1707
Wales 1282 limit devolution 1999

Antarctic Region

British Antarctic Territory 1962 still a part British Overseas Territory
Enderby Land (part of Australian Antarctic Territory) 1930
Graham Land 1832 British Antarctic Territory
South Orkney 1821 British Antarctic Territory
South Shetland 1819 British Antarctic Territory
Victoria Land 1841 (part of Australian Antarctic Territory)


Bermuda 1612 still a part British Overseas Territory
Falkland Islands 1766 still a part British Overseas Territory
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha 1588 still a part British Overseas Territory
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands 1775 still a part British Overseas Territory

Indian Ocean

Andaman and Nicobar Islands 1789
Ashmore Island 1878
Cartier Island 1909
British Indian Ocean Territory 1810 still a part British Overseas Territory
Christmas Island 1888
Cocos Islands 1825
Dansborg 1801
Frederiksnagore 1801
Maldives 1796
Mauritius 1809
Reunion 1819
Seychelles 1794

Australasia and the Pacific

Australia 1901
Baker Island 1886
Bonin Islands 1827
British New Guinea 1884
Cook Islands 1888
Coral Sea Islands 1879
Fiji 1874
Friendly Islands 1889
Gilbert and Ellice Islands 1892
Howland Island 1886
Jarvis Island 1889
Lord Howe Island 1788
Macquarie Island 1819
Nauru 1914
New Hebrides 1824
New South Wales
New Zealand 1769
Niue 1889
Norfolk Island 1788
Palmyra Atoll 1889
Pitcairn Islands 1838 still a part British Overseas Territory
Queensland 1824
Samoan Islands 1889
Sandwich Islands 1794
Solomon Islands 1889
South Australia 1788
Tasmania 1889
Tokelau 1889
Torres Strait Islands 1879
Tuvalu 1975
Victoria 1839
Western Australia 1791

Territorial evolution of the British Empire

The British Empire at one time...

The British Empire at one time...

I did not read all the places in the world that have left, since mentioning all 208 would have taken too long. However, it is not just the past that concerns London. The future is also a concern. Wales and N. Ireland are watching carefully what happens in less than a year from now. John Bull needs to be less like Stingy Jack.

Carved pumpkins

I took this picture weeks after the carving and just before Halloween. Nonetheless, Stingy Jack still wanders around with an ember from Hell. I hope that Stingy Jack and John Bull look the way the pumpkins look next September when Scotland votes for independence.


Scottish independence: Yes campaign

Scottish independence flag

Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.