Drawing by Kain White www.kainwhite.com
Spring Heeled Jack
"Spring-heeled Jack, a startling 'jumping man' who terrorized Victorian Britain and could supposedly leap as high as 20 feet over walls and houses. The first alleged sighting of this strange leaping figure occurred in Londonin 1837. Another report from the same decade recorded the attack of a young girl named Polly Adams, who described her assailant's hands as iron claws, he noted. Other victims depicted Jack as a tall, lightly-built man with abnormal strength, pointed ears, and the ability to spit flames from his mouth. 1.
"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 nine-foot-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 a name: Spring-heeled Jack." 2.
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