The pumpkin is clearly the most frightening fruit. Large and orange are distinctive features of the pumpkin. Since other large fruit such as squash, pineapple and watermelon are not nearly as scary, the terror of the pumpkin must be a result of its pigment. In the tradition of scientific biological reductionism, we attempt here, instead of merely trying to bring forth pumpkin fueled fear using crude carving, to isolate the pigment of pumpkin panic. This work is the first step towards purification of a fear inducing pigment and in the future, in conjunction with the pumpkin genome project, will aid in producing Jack O’Lanterns of unparalleled horror.
Figure 1: Acetone soluble horror inducing pigments separated by TLC. Lane one contains pigments prepared from whole pumpkin homogenate. (Whole pumpkin homogenate required the sacrifice of the pumpkin given to the
Figure 2: Florescent compounds that may contribute to the pumpkins spookyness under blacklight are visible on the chromatogram from Fig 1.
While a uniquely terrifying pigment was not isolated with this method it is clear that a particularly abundant band of horror (Band Of hOrror) BOO is evident in the acetone soluble whole pumpkin extract. More sophisticated techniques will be required to identify BOO in order to create super terrifying Jack O’Lanterns. Also human aversion to pumpkin based products due to the fear they induce could be alleviated using BOO knockout pumpkins.