Spring-Heeled Jack is a scary urban legend about a mysterious creature who terrorized London in the 1830s.
Rumors about a monster named Spring-Heeled Jack began to circulate in London towards the end of 1837. Young women were being attacked by a hideous and repulsive creature who sprang out of the shadows and breathed flames from his mouth. He would assault them and scratch them with his sharp claws before disappearing into the night.
Some witnesses claimed that he had wings like a bat and horns on his head like a devil. They said he had terrible, protruding eyes and a ghoulish laugh. People gathered together and formed vigilante groups, patrolling the streets at night in an effort to catch him.
The police did not take these reports very seriously until Spring-Heeled Jack began attacking in London.
One night in February 1838, a young woman Jane Alsop was spending a quiet evening at home with her family when she heard someone knocking violently on the front door. When she opened the door, Jane saw a tall man standing in the shadows near the front gate. It was a foggy night and she couldn’t make out his face.
“I’m a police officer,” he said. “For God’s sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Spring-Heeled Jack in the lane!”
Jane ran to fetch a candle, but when she gave it to the man at the gate, he held it up to his face and she realized the terrible mistake she had made. In the dim light, she saw the hideous features of Spring-Heeled Jack himself.
As Jane screamed, the creature vomited forth a huge amount of flame from his mouth. Then, he grabbed her and tore at her clothes with his sharp claws. She tried to get away, but the man caught her and continued his attack.
Jane’s family heard her screams and they ran out into the street to help, but Spring-Heeled Jack hurried away and disappeared into the night before anyone else could get a good look at him.
Jane described her inhuman attacker to the police, saying that he wore a tight oilskin suit, and a kind of close-fitting helmet on his head
It appears wearing a helmet and a bright white suit. He attacked the girl with metal claws, tearing the dress.
A few nights later, an 18-year old girl named Lucy Scales was walking home with her sister. As they passed a dark alley, a tall cloaked figure suddenly jumped out of the shadows and attacked Lucy. He spat blue flames into her face, blinding her. As she lay writhing on the ground, Spring-Heeled Jack calmly turned around and melted back into the shadows.
When news of the attacks got out, panic spread over the city of London.
In October 1837, a girl by the name of Mary Stevens was walking home after visiting her parents. On her way through Clapham Common, a strange figure leaped out at her from a dark alley. He held her in a tight grip, completely immobilizing her and began to kiss her face. Then, he started ripping at her clothes and scratching her with his claws. She said his hands on her flesh felt as “cold and clammy as those of a corpse”. In a panic, Mary screamed and her attacker quickly fled the scene. In the commotion, several residents launched a search for the mysterious Spring-Heeled Jack, but he could not be found.
As these stories multiplied, people demanded that the police protect them. The most terrifying thing about the whole mystery was that no one knew for sure when he would strike.
As time went on, the reports of Spring-Heeled Jack’s appearances became less and less and he evolved into a figure of folklore. Authors would write stories about his exploits and the public read them with excitement.