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Spring-heeled Jack – the terror of London

Spring-heeled Jack – the terror of London

Sightings of this creature were reported all over England; the first one was documented in 1827. He would mainly attack women, approaching them on the streets or simply ringing at their doorbell. He would ravage their clothes with his claws and would breathe blue fire into their faces. This devil could jump unusually high, gaining the name Spring-heeled Jack.

We are in London, in the Victorian era. The residents begin reporting bizarre harassments from a sort of ghost, imp, or devil who would ambush them out of nowhere. Many of the stories tell about a creature wearing red shoes and armor who would leap in front of or away from its victims faster than any human would be capable of.

As the number of strange murders was rising, many of them were attributed to Spring-heeled Jack, but later it was thought that this monster could’ve been more than one man, all dressed up the same.

The two most well-known attacks

In February 1838 Jane Alsop opened the door to a screaming man that was claiming he had caught Spring-heeled Jack and needed help. She gave him a candle to help him see in the dark, but the man breathed fire in her face and began tearing up her clothes and skin with metal claws. She was saved by her sister and ran back into the house. She described the attacker as having red eyes and wearing a helmet and a white tight outfit.

A few days later, Lucy Scales reported another attack. As she was taking a walk with her sister, a man jumped out from the shadows and also, blew blue flames at her, causing her to have seizures.

He became popular across England after mysterious unsolved crimes were attributed to him, but also because of his outfit. This boogeyman was looked at as “the gentlemanly devil figure” who appeared in many “penny dreadfuls” and his story was used by parents to scare off their disobeying children.

Sightings continued all over England, attracting many copy-cats attackers who were eventually captured. Spring-heeled Jack’s last appearance was reported in 1904 when he was seen leaping up and down the buildings, before disappearing forever. Still, his legend lives on in steampunk novels and comic books.

One response »

  1. Pingback: A gentlemanly devil figure – Writing, Reading, Living, but mostly Hiding

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