Springheel Jack

The figure’s presence was first noted in September 1837 when he assaulted four separate persons, three of them women, at locations in and around London and was seen again from 1843 through 1845, and in the 1860s, the 1870s, and in 1904 in other parts of England, he was called Spring Heeled Jack or Springald, Springheel Jack. His name came from the suggestion, by some who had seen him, that he must have had springs in his shoes because he escaped by making tremendous leaps that carried him great distances. In one instance he allegedly ripped off the top of his victim, scratching her belly with fingers that felt as if they were made of iron. What made these incidents different from conventional sexual crimes was the attacker’s appearance. He was tall, thin, and powerful, wore a cloak, and had fiery eyes.

On occasion, it was said, he spat blue flames from his mouth and into victims’ faces.He also could effect enormous leaps that enabled him to move with such rapidity that it was impossible to escape or catch him. He also wore a cloak (which, according to one witness, had an embroidered W on the back), and some said a helmet and a strange, tight undergarment seemingly made of white oilskin as well.

By January 1838 London’s Lord Mayor, Sir John Cowan, had declared Springheel Jack a public menace and formed a vigilance committee to bring the bizarre criminal to justice. But the attacks went on regardless. The last Springheel Jack assault on a woman appears to have taken place in February 1838. The victim, eighteen-year-old Jane Alsop, said that a cloaked figure had lured her outside of her home pretending to be a policeman, and only after he began tearing her dress did she realize, from his red eyes, claws, and strange clothing, that he was Springheel Jack.

On the evening of February 20, for example, a stranger appeared at the gate of a London residence and called out, “For God’s sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Spring-heeled Jack in the lane!” When eighteen-year-old Jane Alsop brought a candle, she saw a figure, according to the London Times (February 22), “who appeared to be enveloped in a large cloak. . . . [H]e threw off his outer garment, and applying the lighted candle to his breast, presented a most hideous and frightful appearance, and vomited forth a quantity of blue and white flame from his mouth, and his eyes resembled red balls of fire. . . . [H]e wore a large helmet, and his address, which appeared to fit him very tight, seemed to her to resemble white oil skin.” He lunged for her, his clawlike hands ripping her dress. The young woman struggled with him and was soon rescued by a sister, who with great difficulty pulled her into the house and slammed the door. Undeterred, Jack knocked two or three times on the door and left only when family members looking out from an upstairs window shouted for the police. Jack dashed across a field, dropping his cloak in his haste.When it was quickly picked up by someone else, the Alsops and later the police concluded that Jack had an accomplice.

A week later a similar figure called at another home, but he ran away after the servant boy answering the door started screaming. Residents of a British slum claimed that Springheel Jack was also responsible for the murder of a thirteen-year-old prostitute in 1845, but authorities did not believe their stories of the fire-breathing man who threw her off a bridge.

However bizarre his appearance and behavior, Springheel Jack was assumed by investigating authorities to be a real person. Rumors spread that he was Henry, the Marquis of Waterford, a young Irish nobleman of rowdy habits and cruel humor, but it was not physically possible, nor is it now, to effect huge leaps with springs concealed in boot heels. In any case,Waterford died in 1859.

Even after his assaults stopped, however, Springheel Jack sightings continued in various parts of England, with most occurring between the 1850s and the 1880s. The following year, in Sheffield, people reported seeing a tall figure who “sprang like a goat.”

In the 1860s two women walking along a road in the moonlight saw a tall figure, clad in “some very fantastic garment,” soar over a hedge on one side of the road and land a few yards in front of them. It then bounded over a high hedge on the other side and was lost to sight. In 1872 a “ghost,” as witnesses called it, haunted the Peckham area. It was said to leap over fences and walls too high for a mere mortal to scale. In 1877 Jack merrily bounded from rooftop to rooftop in Caistor, Norfolk, nearly all of whose citizenry witnessed the spectacle. Observers said he had huge ears and was dressed in something resembling sheepskin. In August of the same year Jack (or, as some suspected, a prankster impersonating him) appeared before soldiers at Aldershot’s North Camp., England. Soldiers at the Aldershot Barracks at North Camp, claimed to have shot at Springheel Jack—wearing his customary cloak, helmet, and oilskin suit—as he bounded toward them from some distance away, with flames coming out of his mouth. When their bullets failed to strike the frightening being, the soldiers ran away. Later they would report that they heard metallic noises as Springheel Jack came at them.

The last Springheel Jack sighting in England occurred near Liverpool in 1904, when people saw a man fitting his description on a rooftop. The man leaped to the ground, leaped over the witnesses, and bounded away. After this, no such figure appeared until 1938, when four children in Silver City, New Mexico, told of encountering a strange man who leapt over their heads. That same year, several people in the area of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, spoke of seeing a leaping, fiery-eyed figure who made blue flames come out of his mouth. No one connected these sightings with Springheel Jack until the late 1950s or early 1960s, when British ufologists began to suggest that Springheel Jack might have been an extraterrestrial.

Interestingly, a similar figure was later seen in parts of the United States, where it was sometimes connected to the sightings of UFOs. Since then, supporters of the theory that Springheel Jack was an alien have combed through UFO reports and discovered that some people have reported seeing high-leaping figures in areas where UFOs were previously or subsequently sighted. An alternate theory is that Springheel Jack is a being from another dimension or a demon summoned into the natural world via an occult ritual.

Sources :
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena by Jerome Clark

Pic Source :
Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena by Jerome Clark page 501


imelda said...

i still hear same stories about this in my place. i dont beleive in them

Footprints said...

Great findings....

Anonymous said...

I always come to your site every few days to check up on your stories.. they're a good way to pass the time at work.
Keep up the great work! I love them :)

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