The Spirits of Rahway – Lantern Lit Tour 2018

The Annual Lantern Lit Tour was a spooky success – despite the weather having other ideas.

We’d like to thank all of our guests for the Lantern Lit Cemetery Tours for coming and hearing our tales, and to all of the volunteers who helped bring the whole event together.

Here are some pictures of the Lantern Lit tour that we took – but if you visit our Facebook page, you can see all the pictures that our guests have shared!  Maybe YOU have a picture to share as well?  We’d love to see them!

And save the dates for next year’s tour – October 25 & 26th, 2019!

Hope to see you at our next event – the Candlelight Evenings!

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Kid History – The Legend of Stingy Jack

Why do we carve pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns during Halloween?

Did you know that if we were in the olden days, we’d be carving TURNIPS instead of PUMPKINS?!

In fact, over 700 years ago, the Maori people of New Zealand carved gourds into lanterns!  But why do we make Jack O’Lanterns at Halloween?

Well, the Irish legend goes that a man named Stingy Jack tried to trick the devil – some say he tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, then carved a cross in the trunk to trap him there – some say he convinced the Devil to turn into a coin to pay some villagers to steal their souls, only to find himself trapped by a cross in Stingy Jack’s wallet!  In either case, Jack would only free the Devil if he agreed to never take Jack’s soul, and so he did.

Unfortunately, when Stingy Jack finally died, he was not permitted into heaven – and of course the Devil wouldn’t take him! So he was forced to roam the earth, with only a carved turnip lantern to find his way, lit by an ember from Hades, now forever known as Jack of the Lantern, or, Jack O’Lantern.

Some people think that the carved turnips are to ward off evil spirits, and some believe they represent the souls of those who passed.  Some even believe they are used to frighten children on Halloween!

But why do we carve pumpkins instead of turnips?

Well, carving pumpkins is A LOT easier than carving turnips! As the Europeans immigrated to America, they discovered that pumpkins, which are native to America, were larger and MUCH easier to carve, and began to carve pumpkins instead of turnips. And so the “modern” Jack O’Lantern was born!

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Did you see the WWI Victory Parade pictures?

Victory Day Parade, July 4, 1919

On display at our Ghosts of the Past WWI Cemetery Tour was a collection of pictures, taken on July 4, 1919 during the Welcome Home Victory Parade.  In case you missed them, we’re posting them here so that you can enjoy this glimpse of the past.

(Click each image to enlarge.)

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