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Spring-Heeled Jack


Spring-Heeled Jack first leapt out of the shadows in the late fall of 1837. At first he was just a rumour, and few Londoners believed the tales they heard of the bogey-man who was reputed to be be able to leap huge hedgerows, and breathe flames from his mouth. Few believed the tales of the attacks, mostly on young women, carried out by the mystery man. The rumours
persisted as the number of attacks grew. It seemed his modus opperandi was to secret himself behind walls or bushes and then leap out on unsuspecting travellers. Usually he would rip their clothes with the claws on his hands, and breathe flames into the victims' faces. Then, with shock still immobilizing his prey, he would bound away in huge, leaping strides which covered great distances at each step. The thing about the devil-man which most stuck out in the minds of the victims were his terrible, protruding, hell-like eyes, and his peculiar ringing laughter, which echoed in their minds for days afterward. Concerned citizens formed vigilante committees to try and track down the miscreant, and at one point the group included the Duke of Wellington, and Admiral Codrington, the former of which set out on
horseback every night with his trusty pistols to try and bring Spring-Heeled Jack to justice. All to no avail. Spring-Heeled Jack continued his reign of terror. His ability to leap over huge hedgerows and walls made him extremely difficult to catch. He had also added the act of terrifying coach-drivers to his list of conquests. The attacks reached a climax when, in the winter of 1838, he moved his activities into the city proper.
The first of these London attacks took place on a dark February night. Lucy Scales was walking home with her sister from their brother's house along a lonely street in the Limehouse district. As they passed Green Dragon Alley, a tall cloaked figure bounded out of the shadows at them. He spat blue flames into Lucy's face, blinding her. As she lay writhing on the ground, Spring-Heeled Jack calmly turned around and melted back into the shadows.

Panic spread over the city of London. Up until now, the man's activities had been centred around the surrounding towns and villages along the Thames.
Word spread quickly: Spring-Heeled Jack was on the prowl in London itself!!

He struck again a few nights later. The Alsop family was spending a quiet evening at home, when a violent knocking was heard at the front door. Jane Alsop (who lived with her father and her two sisters) got up to answer it.

When she opened the door she saw a man standing in the shadows near the front gate. He swung around. "I'm a police officer," he said. "For God's sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Spring-Heeled Jack in the lane!"

As Jane ran to fetch a candle, she thought how exciting it would be to see Spring-Heeled Jack arrested. When she gave the candle to the man at the gate, she realized she had made a terrible mistake, for the man applied to candle to his breast to reveal the hideous features of Spring-Heeled Jack himself! Jane screamed as he vomited forth a huge amount of flame from his
mouth. He then grabbed her and tore at her clothes with his sharp claws.

She tried to get away, but the man caught her and continued his attack. Soon the whole family ran out into the street, hearing her screams, but Spring-Heeled Jack bounded away down the road, and was soon lost to sight.

Jane described her inhuman attacker to the police, saying that he wore a tight oilskin suit, and a kind of close-fitting helmet on his head (pictures of Spring-Heeled Jack portray him as wearing a mask with a pointed beard and pointed ears--like a devil)

Spring-Heeled Jack made an aborted attempt at the same trick a few nights later at another house, but a servant boy realized who he was and began to shout for help. Spring-Heeled Jack escaped again, this time victimless.

Throughout the 19th century, Spring-Heeled Jack was sighted all over England. After a brief period of inactivity in the late 1830's he was seen time and time again in the 1840's and 50's.

He frightened army sentries in the 1870's, by darting out of the darkness and slapping their faces with a cold, clammy hand before leaping onto the roofs of their sentry boxes. Angry townspeople shot at him in the streets on night in 1877. As usual, he laughed and melted away into the darkness, unrepentant.

Spring-Heeled Jack was last seen in 1904 in Liverpool.
There, he terrified people by bounding up and down the streets and onto their rooftops. When attempts were made to corner him, but simply vanished into the darkness.

This was the last reported sighting of Spring-Heeled Jack. It is thought that the original Spring-Heeled Jack (for there was obviously more than one) was an Irish nobleman, The Marquis of Waterford, who was renowned for his sadistic taste in practical jokes, and his scorn for women.

Author Peter Haining in his book "The Legend and Bizarre Crimes of Spring-Heeled Jack" believes that Waterford's idea for the character of Jack was brought about by a humiliating experience with a woman and a police officer while travelling abroad. Haining believes that Waterford and his rich friends thought up the idea as a prank to get even, by proxy, with the police and women in general. Haining also believes that Waterford (who had friends who studied applied mechanics) helped him invent "spring-heeled boots" (boots with powerful springs in the heels) to help him with his attacks. It is likely that he also learned the technique of the fire-eater in order to heighten the supernatural aura of Spring-Heeled Jack. In addition, Waterford had strangely protuberent eyes, which matched the
descriptions of Jack. He was also in the area when many of the attacks occured. As a final piece of evidence, the servant boy who scared Jack away saw a crest with the letter "W" on the man's cloak.

Although the mystery of Spring-Heeled Jack's identity has probably been ascertained, it is far more entertaining and romantic to think of Spring-Heeled Jack as a mysterious creature of the night who may someday leap from the shadows again.



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When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey

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Sep/14/2007, 5:56 am Link to this post Send Email to RealmWalker   Send PM to RealmWalker AIM
 
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Re: Spring-Heeled Jack


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Spring Heeled Jack - was he a creature, an alien, or a man wearing some strange costume and a hidden jumping apparatus? During the 1830's, this 'man' terrorized England. Described as tall, thin, powerful, wearing a black cloak, the man could jump 20 to 30 feet vertical. It was reported that he had large pointy ears and nose, with red glowing eyes, and capable of spitting an odd white and blue flame from his mouth.

 

The Early Sightings

The first sighting may have occurred in September of 1837 in London, England. A businessman was returning home from work late at night when a mysterious figure vaulted over the railings of a nearby cemetery. The railings were at least 10 feet high but the creature effortlessly leaped over the wall and landed directly in the path of the strolling man. The creature was described as having pointed ears, large glowing eyes, and a large pointed nose.

A short time later, Spring Heeled Jack was said to have attacked a group of people - 3 women and 1 man. All ran but Polly Adams, who was left behind. Spring Heeled Jack tore off the top of her blouse, grabbed her breasts, and began clawing at her stomach. The attack knocked Polly unconscious where she lay until being discovered by a policeman patrolling his beat.

 

The Mary Stevens Incident

In October of 1837, Mary Stevens, a servant, was returning to her employer's home on Lavender Hill. While passing through Cut Throat Lane in Clapham Common, Spring Heeled Jack sprang from an alley, tightly wrapped his arms around her, kissed her on the face, and began running his hands down her blouse. When Mary screamed, Spring Heeled Jack ran from the scene. Local men were alerted by the screams and quickly arrived on the scene. They searched for the assailant to no avail.

The next day, Spring Heeled Jack struck again at a location very near Mary Stevens home. He sprang in front of a passing carriage causing the carriage to careen out of control and crash. Witnesses at the scene claimed that Spring Heeled Jack escaped by springing effortlessly over a 9 foot wall.

Very shortly after the carriage incident. Spring Heeled Jack accosted a women near Clapham Church. In this particular incident he left physical evidence. Investigators discovered 2 footprints 3 inches deep. The depth of the prints seemed to suggest some type of 'spring' mechanism in the shoes. Note: A spring apparatus was tested by the Germans during the war and resulted in a 85% failure rate (the men broke their ankles).

A few months later, January 1838, London's Lordy Mayor Sir John Cowan declared Spring Heeled Jack a 'public menace'. A posse of men were formed to search for the individual responsible for the attacks. It was during this time that the great Duke of Wellington, who was now 70 years old, joined in the search. Some sources indicate that the Duke may have had several close encounters with Spring Heeled Jack. Unfortunately, Spring Heeled Jack was never found and in fact, intensified his attacks during the following months.

 

The Lucy Scales Incident

On February 20, 1838, Lucy Scales (18) and her sister Margaret Scales were returning home at around 8:30 PM, from their brother's house in the Limehouse area. Reports indicate that Spring Heeled Jack jumped out in front of Lucy Scales and spat blue fire in her face. Written evidence indicate that Lucy was 'blinded' - whether this blindness was temporary, permanent, or simply a figure of speech is not known. After the attack, witnesses claim that Spring Heeled Jack jumped from the ground to the roof of a house and made his escape.

 

The Alsop Incident

Two days later, on February 22, 1838, Jane Alsop (18) was in her home on Bearhind Lane in the district of Bow, when she heard a wrapping on the door. Answering the door, a black cloaked man exclaimed "I'm a policeman. For Gods sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Spring-heeled Jack in the lane" (a black cloak was traditional uniform attire for policemen of this era). Jane, who lived with her father and two sisters, went to fetch a light for the man. She returned with a candle and as she was handing the light to the man, it shone on his face and she noticed that it was Spring Heeled Jack hiimself. He immediately spat a blue and white 'gas' into her face. She attempted to run back into the house but he held on tightly to the back of her hair. One of her sisters managed to pull her out of his grasps and drug her back into the house. Spring Heeled Jack continued banging on the door some time before hastily leaving. Witnesses claim that Spring Heeled Jack left quickly, dropping his coat in a field by Jane's home. Another person was seen scooping up the coat and leaving the area leading police to believe that Spring Heeled Jack may have an accomplice. The Lambeth police took Jane's statement:

He wore a large helmet and a sort of tight-fitting costume that felt like oilskin. But the cape was just like the ones worn by the policemen. His hands were as cold as ice and like powerful claws. But the most frightening thing about him was his eyes. They shone like balls of fire.

The following day, yet another incident occurred on Turner Street near Commercial Road. Once again, Spring Heeled Jack knocked on the resident's door and when a servant boy answered the door, Spring Heeled Jack asked to speak to the master of the house, Mr. Ashworth. The boy turned to call Mr. Ashworth when he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, that the visitor was none other than Spring Heeled Jack. With glowing orange eyes and clawed hands, Spring Heeled Jack waved his fist at the boy and leapt completely over the houses on Commercial Road. The lad was able to supply an additional piece of evidence - under his cloak, the lad noticed that Spring Heeled Jack had an embroidered letter 'W' on his shirt. Similar to a coat of arms, the Gold 'W' seemed to indicate someone of royalty.

It was the Ashworth attack and the servant boy's subsequent description of the attackers monogram that led police to suspect Henry, the Marquis of Waterford. The Marquis was an Irish nobleman known for his sometimes cruel and unusual sense of humor. Police surmised that the Marquis accomplished his leaping feats via springs hidden in his shoes. This theory was later abandoned when the Marquis died tragically in 1859 (he was thrown from his horse) while the attacks continued for some time afterwards.

After the Ashworth incident, attacks continued during the next year (1839). They stopped for a short while and then continued again in 1843. In 1845, the only known incident involving a fatality, occurred on a bridge in New York, far across the ocean from the London attacks. In broad daylight, Spring Heeled Jack jumped towards a young prostitute, grabbed her by the shoulders, and spat fire into her face. The stunned girl was then thrown into a sewer below where she tragically drowned.

 

The Final Attacks

Things grew quiet for several years before flaring up again during 1877 back in London. In Caistor, Newfolk, there were several reports of Spring Heeled Jack traveling across the town by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.



---

you smile because iam different,i laugh because your all the same

Sep/14/2007, 12:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 
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Re: Spring-Heeled Jack


In August of 1877, Spring Heeled Jack appeared before a group of soldiers in Aldershot's North army camp. A Private John Regan was standing sentry at the camp when he heard the noise of someone dragging something metallic down the road. He went to investigate and finding nothing unusual turned to return to his post. When he did, Spring Heeled Jack leapt at him and spat blue flames from his mouth into the boy's face. Other sentries heard the commotion and hurriedly ran to his aid. Witnesses claim that Spring Heeled Jack jumped over the men, clearing them by 10 feet or more. The sentry fired at the intruder and claimed that bullets did not affect him (note that some reports indicate that these sentry men were not allowed live ammunition - 'blanks' only were used to warn off evil-doers). The sentry described the attacker as tall and thin wearing a helmet and oilskin suit.

One month later, in Lincolnshire, Spring Heeled Jack was seen hurdling over several houses. As in the Aldershot episode, residents fired at him with shotguns to no avail. These witnesses claimed that the shots did hit Spring Heeled Jack and sounded like they were hitting some sort of metallic object.

Another occurrence was reported in January of 1879 where Spring Heeled Jack once again startled a carriage and horse team. The driver was crossing a bridge in Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Court, when Spring Heeled Jack, clothed in black and flashing menacing orange eyes, jumped onto one of the horses backs.

In September 1904, South of Liverpool in England, Spring Heeled Jack appeared on the roof of a church. He was spotted hanging on the steeple of St. Francis Xaviers on Salisbury Street. Onlookers claimed he suddenly dropped from the steeple and fell to the ground. Thinking that he had committed suicide, they rushed to the point where he had landed (behind some houses) only to find a helmeted man, clothed in white, standing there waiting. He scuttled towards the crowd, raised his arms, and took to the air over William Henry Street.

The final recorded event occurred in 1920 at the Central Railway Station in London. A man in a white cloak was seen jumping back and forth from rooftop to the street below.

 

Theories Abound

Several theories have been proposed. Everything from a man with some sort of spring apparatus to the devil himself (it was reported that cloven footprints had been found at the site of one of the incidents) has been offered as explanations. Lack of hard evidence leaves a lingering cloud of mystery over this anomaly.

Possibly Daniel Cohen offers our best explanation. In the Encyclopedia of Monsters, Daniel noted that 'penny dreadfuls' were very popular during the era. These magazines, similar to modern day comic books, often featured stories of Spring Heeled Jack. Titled Spring-Heel'd Jack - The Terror of London, these stories may have distorted many of the facts we glean from this case although the chance of these events being entirely fiction seems unlikely...

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(spring heeled jack has alway's interested me)
couldn't fit it all on so had to do a second post

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you smile because iam different,i laugh because your all the same

Sep/14/2007, 12:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 


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