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The Mystery of Spring Heeled Jack

Updated on August 1, 2018
The Terror of London
The Terror of London | Source

The first reports of Spring Heeled Jack arose in London in the Victorian era. He terrified the ladies of London. A veritable bounder and cad, this devil-like man could leap high into the air.

Though monstrous, he was seen as a bit of a gentleman. He was very well dressed, not someone you would cross the road to avoid.

A Victorian Police Lamp - Spring Heeled Jack's Red Eyes?

Source

He presents an interesting case. The term ‘Spring Heeled Jack’ seems to be a catch all description of a scary man on a dark night. Some reports mentioned red eyes, some blue flames; all seem to focus on the fact that this was a gentleman. There were some hints that he may have been carrying the kind of portable lantern that policemen used to carry.

A gentleman terrorising the servant girls of London could be an early attempt to report and uncover injustices. Crime against less fortunate members of society was likely rampant in those days. Those in the underclasses didn’t really have much of a voice back then. Rather than accuse a master of cruelty outright, people may have turned to folklore to describe terrors that had genuinely been inflicted upon them.

Source

Spring Heeld Jack Today

Nowadays, we're not at all surprised by baddies in films - it takes a lot to shock an audience now. But back in Spring Heeled Jack's day, the very thought of a caped menace would have struck fear in many.

Spring Heeled Jack lives on in the imagination of authors to this day.

Spring-Heeled Jack by Philip Pullman
Spring-Heeled Jack by Philip Pullman | Source

Back in 1991, Philip Pullman was inspired to write about the terrifying terror that is Spring Heeled Jack.


'A dreadful fate looks certain until, from out of nowhere, a figure with glowing, red eyes appears. He leaps through the air like a firework - it's Spring-Heeled Jack, scourge of evil-doers!'

— Philip Pullman
The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures
The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures | Source

Research for Folklorists!

In 2017 Karl Bell, a Senior Lecturer of History at the University of Portsmouth, gave an in depth account of the folklore surrounding Spring Heeled Jack. A must for those who are interested in the legend!

The book draws upon a rich variety of primary source material including folklorist accounts, street ballads, several series of "penny dreadful" stories (and illustrations), journals, magazines, newspapers, comics, court accounts, autobiographies and published reminiscences.

— Karl Bell
A bit of fan fiction!
A bit of fan fiction! | Source

Do you think that Spring Heeled Jack existed?

See results

© 2015 Kimberley Clarke

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    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      oh I might as well do it...but I just have to work on it....thanks

    • Kimberleyclarke profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberley Clarke 

      3 years ago from England

      Thank you so much! And hey, you should definitely write that epic supernatural story! Go for it! Best of luck with it all :)

    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      oh!I love supernatural stories too..I've dreamed of writing one epic story evolving around supernatural stuffs....

      you're welcome..you're article is worth reading

    • Kimberleyclarke profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberley Clarke 

      3 years ago from England

      Ha! Brilliant, thank you for that. It reinforces the fact that Spring Heeled Jack gets the blame for everything! It sounds like quite a feat, though, that fella bounding across the canal in the dark. Excellent!

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • Mark Lees profile image

      Mark Lees 

      3 years ago

      I love SHJ. You might find this article interesting. If you read down to the actual sighting of him jumping across a canal this is one I can verify as I was bought up right by that stretch of the canal and the canal jumper had a certain amount of regional fame still.

      http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/spring-heeled-j...

      A very interesting article.

    • Kimberleyclarke profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberley Clarke 

      3 years ago from England

      Thank you so much for stopping by! Yes, I adore folklore...part of me wishes that all supernatural things are real. But, in all likelihood they are ways of trying the explain the indescribable...reasons for why bad things happen, perhaps.

      Thanks again for taking a read!

    • Lovely  C profile image

      lavenderLove 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      interesting article...I've heard lots of folklore which existed just to cover up the real injustice behind it...the people before weren't given the voice to say and do what they like ..persecution and all are very rampant. ..

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