The Will O The Wisp is the common name given to the mysterious lights that lead travelers off the road, sometimes getting them in trouble. These lights were said to be little fairy creatures with a mischievous side or spirits of the dead.
A Mysterious Light
The lights, either as a fae creature or as a spirit of the dead, almost always have malevolent intentions. They lead men off the safe paths and into bogs, marshes, and swamps. Some stories have the lights as spirits of stillborn children trying to baptize people.
As an extension of the fae idea, some legends say that the will o the wisp is a magical creation in the hands of a púca or a goblin, both of which are mischievous and often malevolent faeries.
Other stories say that the lights mark treasure buried underground that can only be retrieved when the fire burns. Sometimes, magical assistance is required to get at these treasures. And autumn is the easiest time to find them.
This fun little light has origins in the same places as our modern Jack-O-Lanterns. Apparently, someone named Jack was forever cursed to haunt the marshes with a light for some misdeed. Similar to the spirits of the dead explanation.
A Wispy Story
Now, pulling these nifty little apparitions might be a fun subplot for a larger faerie novel or even an adventure story. What about a buried treasure doesn’t appeal to a large audience? Or that lost soul begging for forgiveness by shining light in the darkest of places?
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