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The Chez

Spring Heeled Jack - what was/is he?

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Many a victorian story will tell you of a horrid 'thing' known as 'Spring Heeled Jack'. He got this title because he was known to be able to leap to hights impossible to master by even the most surefooted of people. He dived down at people in the dark and was said to attack them, leaving many wounded and some dead.

So what was/is this thing? Is it just another fabricated story from the paranoid Victorian era of walking corpses and ghouls? Or is he a prankster gone too far? What about a demon? A type of faerie?

Me, I'm not too sure what I think he is, I reckon he was probably a very nasty person who could spint and jump, so quite a fit person, and people he had attacked just imagined he was able to jump to very high hights due to the sudden shock of being attacked. However, reports of him continued a long time past this era, too long for any person to be able to live...

Who/what do YOU think Spring Heeled Jack is?

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SHJ is always interesting to think about, the idea of him scared the heck out of me when I was a kid (I first read about him when I was eight or nine). I am not going to speculate on what SHJ might have been (if he was ever anything at all), but I will be following this thread with great interest.

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Many a victorian story will tell you of a horrid 'thing' known as 'Spring Heeled Jack'. He got this title because he was known to be able to leap to hights impossible to master by even the most surefooted of people. He dived down at people in the dark and was said to attack them, leaving many wounded and some dead.

So what was/is this thing? Is it just another fabricated story from the paranoid Victorian era of walking corpses and ghouls? Or is he a prankster gone too far? What about a demon? A type of faerie?

Me, I'm not too sure what I think he is, I reckon he was probably a very nasty person who could spint and jump, so quite a fit person, and people he had attacked just imagined he was able to jump to very high hights due to the sudden shock of being attacked. However, reports of him continued a long time past this era, too long for any person to be able to live...

Who/what do YOU think Spring Heeled Jack is?

From my Hindu point of view, the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack matches quite closely to the descriptions of rakshasas. If you are interested in learning more about the rakshasas, you may strike up a conversation with me; it would take far to long to write it all out here.

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From my Hindu point of view, the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack matches quite closely to the descriptions of rakshasas. If you are interested in learning more about the rakshasas, you may strike up a conversation with me; it would take far to long to write it all out here.

There was a rakshasa in an episode of a paranormal detective show out of the 1970's in the US, Nightstalker. Very cheesy show, but we liked it. Rakshasa was my nickname, heck we were kids.

@ Conrad Clough, yes I found SHJ stories very creepy too. Maybe it is just the dark foggy ol' England that adds that extra something

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There was a rakshasa in an episode of a paranormal detective show out of the 1970's in the US, Nightstalker. Very cheesy show, but we liked it. Rakshasa was my nickname, heck we were kids.

@ Conrad Clough, yes I found SHJ stories very creepy too. Maybe it is just the dark foggy ol' England that adds that extra something

Ah, so you might know a little something about rakshasas?

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Ah, so you might know a little something about rakshasas?

No, this was 35+ years ago on a cheesy show. I just remember the show and my nickname. :)

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Theres already HEAPS of threads on this topic.

Use the search first.

Spring heeled jack searches

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No, this was 35+ years ago on a cheesy show. I just remember the show and my nickname. :)

Ah, I see.

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SHJ is always interesting to think about, the idea of him scared the heck out of me when I was a kid (I first read about him when I was eight or nine). I am not going to speculate on what SHJ might have been (if he was ever anything at all), but I will be following this thread with great interest.

SHJ always fascinated me too. Even as an adult there was a creepy factor. A few years ago I was working on a writing project involving SHJ and would creep myself out, walking home at night and thinking "What if he's in the trees above me?". Nothing better than giving yourself a fright when you're all grown up. :)

As for a serious theory, I've always felt it was a hoax perpetuated by sensationalism. If SHJ had been some truly evil being, I'd have expected far more than just frightening a few people.

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SHJ always fascinated me too. Even as an adult there was a creepy factor. A few years ago I was working on a writing project involving SHJ and would creep myself out, walking home at night and thinking "What if he's in the trees above me?". Nothing better than giving yourself a fright when you're all grown up. :)

As for a serious theory, I've always felt it was a hoax perpetuated by sensationalism. If SHJ had been some truly evil being, I'd have expected far more than just frightening a few people.

That's the thing, I'm not sure Spring-Heeled Jack was truly evil. A rakshasa is not intrinsically malevolent, however has a lifestyle far different from humans--which can sometimes involve killing humans.

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Spring-Heeled Jack was an alien. Maybe he was stranded on Earth. The reason why he was able to bounce such huge distances is because his planet has stronger gravity than Earth has.

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I find 'SHJ was a stranded space-man' solutions to be very unsatisfactory myself.

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I find 'SHJ was a stranded space-man' solutions to be very unsatisfactory myself.

Why? It is just one of several theories as to who he was. But it's what I believe.

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Spring-Heeled Jack was an alien. Maybe he was stranded on Earth. The reason why he was able to bounce such huge distances is because his planet has stronger gravity than Earth has.

I can't say anything towards the "stranded" idea, but I do think that if indeed SHJ was a rakshasa, as I think, he would thus be extraterrestrial. It is not explicitly clear what sort of planet the rakshasa race hails from, but brute strength, combined with factors such as possible high gravity, may account for the noted leaping ability.

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Spring-Heeled Jack was an alien. Maybe he was stranded on Earth. The reason why he was able to bounce such huge distances is because his planet has stronger gravity than Earth has.

I can't say anything towards the "stranded" idea, but I do think that if indeed SHJ was a rakshasa, as I think, he would thus be extraterrestrial. It is not explicitly clear what sort of planet the rakshasa race hails from, but brute strength, combined with factors such as possible high gravity, may account for the noted leaping ability.

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I think Spring Heeled Jack was a person, who likely was an inventor and also a madman. He very well could have been using ropes or counterweights, or even real spring loaded boots. Highwaymen of the time wore masks, and SHJ would be no different. He spoke English right?

I don't think he was a Rakshasa, anymore then I think he was a demon, or a alien. I've seen the effect of a demon, and it was entirely spiritual, and does not allow for superhuman abilities, AFAIK.

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I think Spring Heeled Jack was a person, who likely was an inventor and also a madman. He very well could have been using ropes or counterweights, or even real spring loaded boots. Highwaymen of the time wore masks, and SHJ would be no different. He spoke English right?

I don't think he was a Rakshasa, anymore then I think he was a demon, or a alien. I've seen the effect of a demon, and it was entirely spiritual, and does not allow for superhuman abilities, AFAIK.

I think you have misunderstood what a rakshasa actually is.

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Posted (edited)

A rakshasa is a shapechanger. That is the simplist definition. They were also, by and large, cruel as a people. And thus put up as the bad guys in a lot of the stories.

There is nothing about Spring Heeled Jack that says he was a shapechanger.

Edited by DieChecker

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A rakshasa is a shapechanger. That is the simplist definition. They were also, by and large, cruel as a people. And thus put up as the bad guys in a lot of the stories.

There is nothing about Spring Heeled Jack that says he was a shapechanger.

Rakshasas were not shapechangers. They were cast as villains many times, due to their lifestyle. This is all I can say.

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Rakshasas were not shapechangers. They were cast as villains many times, due to their lifestyle. This is all I can say.

According to the Ramayana, ....

They are shapechangers, illusionists, and magicians.

.....

Vedic / Puranic Stories

Rakshasa are most often depicted as mean, fierce looking, ugly, large as hills, black as soot, with two fangs protruding down from the top of the mouth, having sharp claw-like fingernails,and growling like beasts. .... They can also take the form of any animal, human or other thing at their will. These powers are called Maya.

....

In the Hindu epics

In the world of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Rakshasas are a populous race of supernatural humanoids. ..... As shape-changers, they can assume various physical forms, and it is not always clear whether they have a true or natural form[citation needed].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakshasa

If you don't like wikipedia, I'm sure I can find the same references on dozens of other sites. They are supernatural shapechanging beings.

Maya is linked to Illusion, but in Hinduism, (verys simplified) illusion is another way to refer to the Real World. So what is classified as illusion to a rakshasa is real to you and me.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakshasa

If you don't like wikipedia, I'm sure I can find the same references on dozens of other sites. They are supernatural shapechanging beings.

Maya is linked to Illusion, but in Hinduism, (verys simplified) illusion is another way to refer to the Real World. So what is classified as illusion to a rakshasa is real to you and me.

Yes, they were magicians. They were not however shapechangers. This is a misinterpretation of the texts.

The Vedas and Puranas give no actual accounts of rakshasas changing shape. Any citations which claim otherwise are almost certainly misunderstanding of the writings, or influenced by misunderstandings of the writings.

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Maybe Spring Heeled Jack was a mental patient? [shrugs] That's all I can think of.

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It was probably hype after a few ladies were accosted in the streets by a man- and the embellishments kept adding.

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Yes, they were magicians. They were not however shapechangers. This is a misinterpretation of the texts.

The Vedas and Puranas give no actual accounts of rakshasas changing shape. Any citations which claim otherwise are almost certainly misunderstanding of the writings, or influenced by misunderstandings of the writings.

That... is personnal opinion. And from what I've read by Spartan and some others, unsupported opinon is what you usually post.

Even the most specific sites I can find indicate they are shapechangers. So either 98% of everyone is wrong, or you are. I'm going with the 98% on this one.

It is true to the longer epics focus on their other powers, like illusion and invisibility, but changing shape, apperance and size were very well mythologically documented abilities that were documented by the same people who formed the epics. It is not like the information on rakshasas comes down from India, by way of Russia, Germany and finally England. No, the Indians themselves have written that they are/were shape changers.

And Spring Heeled Jack did not change shape, flash illusions, turn invisible, breath fire, or appear supernaturally ugly. He appeared to be a human dressed strangely with a strange haircut, who was able to perform acrobatics and jump exceedingly well. Thus, I deduce SHJ was not a rakshasa.

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That... is personnal opinion. And from what I've read by Spartan and some others, unsupported opinon is what you usually post.

Even the most specific sites I can find indicate they are shapechangers. So either 98% of everyone is wrong, or you are. I'm going with the 98% on this one.

It is true to the longer epics focus on their other powers, like illusion and invisibility, but changing shape, apperance and size were very well mythologically documented abilities that were documented by the same people who formed the epics. It is not like the information on rakshasas comes down from India, by way of Russia, Germany and finally England. No, the Indians themselves have written that they are/were shape changers.

And Spring Heeled Jack did not change shape, flash illusions, turn invisible, breath fire, or appear supernaturally ugly. He appeared to be a human dressed strangely with a strange haircut, who was able to perform acrobatics and jump exceedingly well. Thus, I deduce SHJ was not a rakshasa.

Actually, you'll find in the original SHJ reports that he was described quite like that. True, he (she?) didn't shapeshift, and neither he be expected to. Rakshasas didn't shapeshift. If you can present citations from the Hindu texts themselves which clearly indicate that the rakshasas change their shape (and not merely through illusion, which occurs occasionally) then perhaps you are correct. As of yet I have seen no clear and irrefutable reference to rakshasas' alleged shape-changing capabilities.

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