Hermann Hendrich, Will-o'-the-wisp and Snake

Private collection

Date: 1823
Technique: Unknown

A will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp, or ignis fatuus (Medieval Latin: "foolish fire") is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travellers from the safe paths. The phenomenon is known by a variety of names, including jack-o'-lantern, friar's lantern, hinkypunk, and hobby lantern in English folk belief, well attested in English folklore and in much of European folklore.


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