Episode 13

“Oh Jolly is the night, when the stars are shining bright And the moon is hid from sight beneath the sea Then I’m out upon the track, For my name is Spring-Heel Jack And I love the winter darkness for a spree!

From roof to roof I leap, when the people are asleep, And down the walls I creep without a sound; Frightening everyone I meet, Til they talk of me in all country round.

You may try what dodge you will, Spring-heel Jack you cannot kill– His pranks he’ll practice still, whate’er you do, And when e’er the night are dark He is sure to have a lark, And to scare the children and their mothers too.

Then if you are afraid, lest by Jack you be waylaid, It is better that you stayed here drinking beer, And go home by the light of day, So that wicked Spring-heel Jack we need not fear.” -Jim (No last name given) 1800’s

Listen to “Spring Heel Jack” on Spreaker.

The Ghost, The Devil, The Terror Of London Tales of his terrifying terror began the fall of 1837 in Barnes Surrey, he’d appear in the form of a Ghostly White Bear, frightening women to the point where they’d refuse to leave their homes alone at night. Same with those of East Sheen soon after. Letters started coming in to the Lord Mayor, calling the apparition a devil, or an imp. His appearance changed and those who saw him in Kingston described him as an “unearthly warrior who wore polished armor with spring shoes and had large claws.” In one of the letters, one writer would tell the Lord Mayor of an incident where Jack had rung the bell at a house and frightened a servant girl. After that night, she was never the same, she’d scream “Take him away!” anytime a man came near her. It was believed that this “Ghost” was just a prank by some of the wealthier families. That they made a bet and that eventually it would turn deadly, with Jack killing six women eventually. But, it wasn’t a woman that Jack viciously attacked first. In the Village of Isleworth, a carpenter by the name of Jones was returning home through “Cut-throat-lane around 11pm when out of the darkness he was attacked by a “Ghost wearing polished steel armor and red shoes” The two struggled and two more “Ghosts” came to help the first and Jones’ clothes were torn to shreds. It seemed though after that attack, Jacks “pranks” stopped. There were no more reports of a “Ghostly” figure frightening men or women. But, things started back up again. January 24th, 1838 in Stepney, Fifteen-year-old Mary Snowden was returning home after receiving a message from her employer.   When she reached Mr. Beaumont’s Cemetery, she heard a woman scream. When she turned towards the scream she saw a tall figure wearing a white sheet, a bright brass helmet with a plum of feathers on his head, his arms covered with some sort of skin and large claws. She reported seeing two men close to him with cloaks on and she assumed it was the police when a young boy shouted “Oh, Long Heeled Jack, you’re caught at last.” But the clawed figure simply vanished. The most documented attack by Spring Heeled Jack, was that of Jane Alsop. Around 9pm, Jane heard someone ringing the gate bell violently, when we opened the door to see what was going on.  She saw a man and she asked him to not rind the bell so loudly, he replied “I’m a police man, For God Sakes, bring me a light, for we have caught Spring Heeled Jack!” She hurried inside the house and grabbed a candle and went to meet the man at the gate, when she handed him the candle, he threw off his cloak and pressed the candle to his chest. He vomited blue and white flam from his mouth and his eyes red balls of fire. She gave the description: He wore a large helmet, his clothes fit him tightly and appeared to be white oil-skin. He jumped at her and began tearing at her dress with metallic claws. She was able to get away and run towards her house, but he caught up with her and tore at her neck and arms and tore out some of her hair. Mary, her sister, heard Jane’s screams and ran to the door, she opened it to see the creature dragging Jane down the stairs. Mary was able to free her sister and got her house. The creature started to knock on the door, but when then started yelling for the police he vanished. Two days later, he attacked 18-year-old Lucy Scales, she was returning home with her sister. While they were walking by Green Dragon- alley, they say someone standing in the passageway. As she was walking past him he spurted a quantity of blue flame in her face, she was so frightened she dropped to the ground and seized with violent fits. Months had passed without any incident then on April 6th, 1838 Between 9-10 pm, Spring Heeled Jack appeared in Sussex in the shape of a bear, he started growling, then mounted the garden wall, the gardener turned to leave, but Spring Heeled Jack jumped from the wall and began chasing him. The Gardener called his dog, but he too was terrified and slunk away. Spring Heeled Jack, then Vanished. Spring Heeled Jack continued to terrify both men and women alike. It seems he made his final appearance in 1904, he appeared in broad daylight on William Henry Street, he was wearing a mask, black cloak and long tight boots. He sprang from one side of the road to another, with one last leap across the roof top, he turned and made a sinister laugh, before disappearing forever. Who was Spring Heeled Jack? Was he a man? A Devil? Did the rich have a bet between themselves on who could scare the most people? Whoever he was, he certainly frightened whomever he came into contact with. Many were said to have impersonated Jack, some say there was a “Spring Heeled Jack Family” carrying on disturbing pranks around London.  That their wealth prevented any charges from being brought against them. I’ll leave you with one final thing. If there was a Spring Heeled Jack family, was it possible that in the later years of 1800’s one of them changed from Prankster to Murderer?  A letter was sent to the Police. It started.

“October 4th, 1888. Spring Heel Jack… The White Chapel Murderer…”

Well, what did you think of Spring Heeled Jack? Will you come back for another?

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