Hello everybody, here is a review on Spring-heeled Jack.
Sometimes "Spring Heeled Jack" pops up in literature–sometimes as a villain, sometimes as a hero–perhaps even an early ancestor of modern superheroes. The strange bit is the fact that Spring Heeled Jack is based on real events and a real person from Victorian era England who purportedly leapt over walls and onto rooftops easily, assaulted men, accosted women, blew gouts of flame from his mouth, and always eluded capture while laughing with mad mirth.
Spring-heeled Jack is an entity in English folklore of the Victorian era who was known for his startling hops. The first claimed sighting of Spring-heeled Jack was in 1837. Later sightings were reported all over Great Britain and were especially prevalent in suburban London, the Midlands and Scotland.
There are many theories about the nature and identity of Spring-heeled Jack. This urban legend was very popular in its time, due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point that he became the topic of several works of fiction.
Spring-heeled Jack was described by people who claimed to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire". 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. Others said he was tall and thin, with the appearance of agentleman. 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.
The first alleged sightings 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.
According to much later accounts, 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, 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 9 ft (2.7 m) high 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 the name "Spring-heeled Jack".
Perhaps the best known of the alleged incidents involving Spring-heeled Jack were the attacks on two teenage girls, Lucy Scales and Jane Alsop. The Alsop report was widely covered by the newspapers, including a piece in The Times,while fewer reports appeared in relation to the attack on Scales. The press coverage of these two attacks helped to raise the profile of Spring-heeled Jack.
Jane Alsop reported that on the night of 19 February 1838, she answered the door of her father's house to a man claiming to be a police officer, who told her to bring a light, claiming "we have caught Spring-heeled Jack here in the lane". She brought the person a candle, and noticed that he wore a large cloak. The moment she had handed him the candle, however, he threw off the cloak and "presented a most hideous and frightful appearance", vomiting blue and white flame from his mouth while his eyes resembled "red balls of fire". Miss Alsop reported that he wore a large helmet and that his clothing, which appeared to be very tight-fitting, resembled white oilskin. Without saying a word he caught hold of her and began tearing her gown with his claws which she was certain were "of some metallic substance". She screamed for help, and managed to get away from him and ran towards the house. He caught her on the steps and tore her neck and arms with his claws. She was rescued by one of her sisters, after which her assailant fled.
Eight days after the attack on Miss Alsop, on 28 February 1838, 18-year-old Lucy Scales and her sister were returning home after visiting their brother, a butcher who lived in a respectable part of Limehouse. Miss Scales stated in her deposition to the police that as she and her sister were passing along Green Dragon Alley, they observed a person standing in an angle of the passage. She was walking in front of her sister at the time, and just as she came up to the person, who was wearing a large cloak, he spurted "a quantity of blue flame" in her face, which deprived her of her sight, and so alarmed her, that she instantly dropped to the ground, and was seized with violent fits which continued for several hours.
Maybe Jack didn’t have springs in his heels at all–there is a faction who have him pegged as an alien from a high-gravity world. The relatively low gravity on Earth would account for his hopping talents, whereas an extra-terrestrial origin could account for his longevity. I suppose if there were a world with that kind of unforgiving gravity, and the natives all spewed flames, some of them would inevitably seek more hospitable environs.
Who or what Spring Heeled Jack really was are things we may never know. We’ll just have to make due with the dozens of police reports that attest that he has, indeed, haunted the streets of London.
The most likely theory is that Spring heeled Jack was a delinquent with a sence for evil,sick jokes. As his reputation grew, others may have dressed up as him and did similar crimes.
So today we can see acrobats, and people who breathe flames. People often described Jack as a tall,skinny man who wore a cape, with strong muscles on arms and legs. This would alow him to easly move like an acrobat. He obviously used makeup for his skin. And for the fire he breathes is probably a trick with a spark and alcohol, but what bothers me is his eyes, I can't put my finger on how he made his eyes glow. All ideas are accepted. I made this post in memory of Spring heeled Jack. Let him never be forgoten.
Edited by The Great Freak, 25 September 2013 - 08:38 PM.