Spring Heeled Jack terrorized people in London in the 1800s during the Victorian era. He also was seen all over Great Britain in recent times. Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy such as the devil, clawed hands and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire" and is said to be able to jump extremely high.
Spring Heeled Jack (also Springheel Jack, Spring-heel Jack, etc) is a character from English folklore said to have existed during the Victorian era and able to jump extraordinarily high. The first claimed sighting of Spring Heeled Jack that is known occurred in 1837.
Later alleged sightings were reported all over England, from London up to Sheffield and Liverpool, but they were especially prevalent in suburban London and later in the Midlands and Scotland.
Many theories have been proposed to ascertain the nature and identity of Spring Heeled Jack.
The urban legend of Spring Heeled Jack gained immense popularity in its time due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point where he became the topic of several works of fiction.
Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire".
Several reports mention that he could breathe out blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips. At least two people claimed that he was able to speak comprehensible English.
Spring Heeled Jack
One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an "oilskin".
Many stories also mention a "Devil-like" aspect. Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making great leaps.
The first accounts of Spring Heeled Jack were made in London in 1837 and the last reported sighting is said in most of the secondary literature to have been made in Liverpool in 1904.
The first report of Jack was from a businessman returning home late one night from work, who told of being suddenly shocked as a mysterious figure jumped with ease over the high railings of a cemetery, landing right in his path. No attack was reported, but the submitted description was disturbing: a muscular man with devilish features including large and pointed ears and nose, and protruding, glowing eyes.
Later, in October 1837, a girl by the name of Mary Stevens was walking to Lavender Hill, where she was working as a servant, after visiting her parents in Battersea. On her way through Clapham Common, according to her later statements, a strange figure leapt at her from a dark alley.
After immobilising her with a tight grip of his arms, he began to kiss her face, while ripping her clothes and touching her flesh with his claws, which were, according to her deposition, "cold and clammy as those of a corpse".
In panic, the girl screamed, making the attacker quickly flee from the scene. The commotion brought several residents who immediately launched a search for the aggressor, who could not be found.
The next day, the leaping character is said to have chosen a very different victim near Mary Stevens' home, inaugurating a method that would reappear in later reports: he jumped in the way of a passing carriage, causing the coachman to lose control, crash, and severely injure himself.
Several witnesses claimed that he escaped by jumping over a nine foot-high (2.7 m) wall while babbling with a high-pitched, ringing laughter. Gradually, the news of the strange character spread, and soon the press and the public gave him a name: Spring-heeled Jack.
Spring Heeled Jack Theories
Several theories of Spring Heeled Jack have been looked at such as a man wearing some kind of suit with a spring device enabling him to leap long distances to possibly the devil himself.
Lack of evidence and information create too many questions that cannot be answered.
No one was ever caught and identified as Spring Heeled Jack; combined with the extraordinary abilities attributed to him and the very long period during which he was reportedly at large, this has led to all sorts of theories of his nature and identity.
While several researchers seek a rational explanation for the events, other authors explore the more fantastic details of the story to propose different kinds of paranormal speculation.
A variety of wildly speculative paranormal explanations have been proposed to explain the origin of Spring Heeled Jack, including that he was an extraterrestrial entity with a non-human appearance and features, (e.g., retro-reflective red eyes, or phosphorus breath) and a superhuman agility deriving from life on a high gravity world, jumping ability and strange behaviour and that he was a demon, accidentally or purposefully summoned into this world by practitioners of the occult, or who made himself manifest simply to create spiritual turmoil.
Skeptical investigators have dismissed the stories of Spring Heeled Jack as mass hysteria which developed around various stories of a bogeyman or devil which have been around for centuries, or from exaggerated urban myths about a man who clambered over rooftops claiming that the Devil was chasing him.
Spring Heeled Jack Trailer
He killed in 1904... and now they've brought him back.
Spring Heeled Jack tells the chilling story of a supernatural Victorian killer who is resurrected in modern times to finish what he started a century before.
Skeptical investigators have asserted that the story of Spring Heeled Jack was exaggerated and altered through mass hysteria, a process in which many sociological issues may have contributed.
These include unsupported rumours, superstition, oral tradition, sensationalist publications, and a folklore rich in tales of fairies and strange roguish creatures.
Gossip of alleged leaping and fire-spitting powers, his alleged extraordinary features and his reputed skill in evading apprehension captured the mind of the superstitious public — increasingly so with the passing of time, which gave the impression that Spring Heeled Jack had suffered no effects from aging.
As a result, a whole urban legend was built around the character, being reflected by contemporary publications, which in turn fueled this popular perception.
This is an interesting character since sightings have been going on for such a long period of time. The stories throughout the years most likely have become more fiction in ways than reality but the truth is many people have seen the Spring Heeled Jack and the fact it has been reported to be able to leap long distances seems to be common so there must be something behind this mysterious figure.