Spring-heeled Jack Is Back

Posted by Xavier Ortega | February 27, 2012 18

 

 

From old English folklore comes this amusing tale.

On Valentine’s day, 2012, a family was traveling home via taxi when they witnessed a strange humanoid dart across the traffic lanes at incredible speed. The being, not having any distinguishing features, was seen leaping over 15 foot road banks with such ease, that the family could only compare it to the legendary Spring-heeled Jack.

“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.” – Wikipedia

 

Full source: Yourlocalguardian.co.uk

Scott Martin and his family were travelling home by taxi from Stoneleigh on Tuesday, February 14, at about 10.30pm when they saw a mysterious ‘dark figure with no features’ dart across the road in front of them before leaping 15ft over a roadside bank as they approached Nescot College on the Ewell bypass.

Spooked by their seemingly supernatural experience the couple’s four-year-old son, Sonny, was too scared to sleep on his own that night, while the petrified taxi driver admitted he didn’t want to drive back alone.

Mr Martin, 40, the manager of a building company who lives in Blue Cedars in Banstead, said: “We were driving down the Ewell bypass and saw a man on the other side of the road. We didn’t pay much attention until he started crossing over to our side of the road, the next thing he jumped over the centre fencing in the road and ran across our two lanes. On the side of our road is a bank easily 15ft in height and this figure crossed our road, climbed this bank and was gone from sight all in about two seconds. All four of us were baffled and voiced our sighting straight away with the same detail. A dark figure with no real features, but fast in movement with an ease of hurdling obstacles I’ve never seen. My last image was of him going through the bushes at the top of the bank. I’m not usually one to be freaked by these sightings but the cab driver was petrified. He didn’t want to drive back alone. I am honestly baffled by this sighting and we are intrigued by it because it was so real but so strange.”

His wife Sacha, 37, who is an accountant added: “It was more that someone was trying to cross the road of a dual carriageway that was weird. My little boy was really freaked out.”

The family has since likened the figure to the legendary Spring Heeled Jack – a mysterious dark figure reported to be responsible for a string of attacks in the 1800s and known for his ability to leap great heights first sighted in Wandsworth in 1837.

Mary Stevens was walking home along Lavender Hill when a tall figure leapt out grabbing her and firmly kissing her before releasing her with a loud laugh, leaping high into the air and disappearing.

Sightings continued across Victorian London, others describing Jack’s red flaming eyes and claws, so much so that in 1938 the Lord Mayor of London declared him a public nuisance leading one vigilante group to attempt to capture him, albeit unsuccessfully.

However there had been no reported sightings in Epsom and Ewell, the last sighting recorded in Birmingham in 1986.

Mr Martin added: “It was something we all saw and it wasn’t imagination. I’m quite a sensible man but I have never seen anything move that quickly across the road and not been startled by the fact that we were driving toward him. It’s the first time we have ever seen anything like this. If it was a burglar it is the fastest I had ever seen anyone run. That’s the only other explanation. But it was just too quick.”

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released fall of 2016. Got a question? Drop me a line.

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18 Responses

  • John Galt

    Jerome Clark in his classic “Unexplained!” has a superb account of the adventures of Spring Heeled Jack and his adventures in London.  The Springs in his heels were actually a PHYSICAL description, as most of the sightings of Jack expressly pointed this feature out.  In most accounts he also wore a cape, had talons were his fingernails should be, and most of his victims were young women.

    Besides the capability to leap to extraordinary heights, Jack could transfix people with his gaze; and spout “blue ” flames from his mouth (Clark).  His outfit was often described as skin tight and with a belt with some sort of “device” on it; leading to later investigators to describing him as an extra-terrestrial.  But his facial features were described as human; but with a most sinister cast to them.

    The only difference I see here is the running.  Most of the information from Clark’s account do not mention running at any particularly high speed.  As a matter of fact, this is the first I’ve seen of it in description of Spring Heeled Jack.  He also once accosted a fort; where the soldiers attempted to shoot Jack down; to no avail.  In this instance, multiple witnesses sighted Jack, trained soldiers.

    At any rate, Spring Heeled Jack was almost caught once, with the vigilante yelling something to the effect of, “Bring a light!  Bring a light, for I have caught Spring Heeled Jack in the Lane!”  When some standers by came with a light, and raised it to Jack’s face, that’s when he raised his head, gave a cackling laugh, breathed blue flame, and bounced the HELL outta there.  Everyone just stood there, mouths agape.

    Yup.  Spring Heel Jack.  The best account, like I said, is in Jerome Clark’s Book, “Unexplained!”.  Charles Fort, the master of the unexplained, also made a study of Spring Heeled Jack in his book “Lo!”.

  • Bubba Fets

    Great!
    Jack the Lad is back, our Jumping Jack Flash!
    He´s a gas, you know.
    Swamp gas!

  • The Oshmar

    Here’s what I think it is:

    A Black Kite – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Kite

    It’s a local Surrey Bird : http://www.surreybirdclub.org.uk/photographs.html

    Known for : Their habit of swooping to pick up dead rodents or other roadkill  leads to collisions with vehicles.

    Lil guy was probably just tilting his wings to grab some food, looked bigger then he was, appeared black because it was at night, grabbed the food, flew into the bush on the other side of the road and munched down.

    Solved 😉

  • John Galt

    Awesome…you missed your calling; need to work for the Fortean Society…!

  • The Oshmar

    I’m not saying the Spring-Heeled Jack didn’t exist, just that this one report was most likely a bird.

  • John Galt

    Maybe he was a time traveler…?

  • The Oshmar

    Possibly, one never knows but as your earlier post says below “Most of the information from Clark’s account do not mention running at any particularly high speed”, so again, it’s unlikely to be the original.

  • The Oshmar

    Sorry, forgot to mention the wingspan of a Black Kite is around 1.6m-1.8m so is easily as big as a human figure.

  • Jon

    I doubt three adults (including the cab driver) would see a bird walking on the other side of the road and then running across the road and up an embankment and confuse it with a man. 

    They said they “saw a man on the other side of the road. We didn’t pay much attention until he started crossing over to our side of the road, the next thing he jumped over the centre fencing in the road and ran across our two lanes”

    Birds that size don’t run. And if they do they run distinctly different than a man would. I could understand if one person got confused but all three of them confusing a  bird for a man? 

    Could have been one of those parkour guys I keep seeing on youtube I guess. That would make more sense than a bird. 

  • The Oshmar

    I was implying it was flying, when a bird swoops it doesn’t flap it’s wings. This particular bird is renowned in the area for swooping onto the roads, picking up prey, and gliding away (or getting hit by a car sadly) if it did this 100 feet or so away and remember it’s moving fast enough to clear several lanes of traffic, 4 lanes and a medium strip is a lot to cover and a flying animal is more than capable, plus the leap could be mistaken for a single flap of this birds enormous wings which would easily allow it to clear a 15 foot bank and head into the bushed area. Also these birds live near roads to pick up easy roadkills, wouldn’t surprise me if this guy was sitting on a roadside sign, waiting for something to pop onto the road, heck the car lights might have startled something out of the bush to start with.
     
    They are saying things in the article such as “But it was just too quick” and it was at night, easy case of one person thinking it was something else and creating the power of suggestion over the others.

  • Peter

    Spring heeled Jack, when I was about six or seven years old, almost thirty years ago, I went to the local library and came across a book about unsolved mysteries. It was a small book with a collection of stories.
    That particular book is what gave me my life long fascination with the whole world GT is dedicated to.

    The only story I can remember from that book and that still crosses my mind very regularly is the one about Spring heeled Jack.
    Not that I believe any of it but the way it was described in that book with it’s pencil or charcoal drawings obviously struck a nerve. The image of foggy wet 19th century streets in which locals with torches chase after a hysterically laughing super natural being, watching in amazement how this man effortlessly jumped over fences never to be caught made a wonderful and very lasting impression on me.
    I’d love to get a copy of that book but I couldn’t remember the title if my life depended on it. Maybe for the better, if I were ever to read it again it might ruin some of my fondest memories of that book as has happened with so many movies I have liked when I was young and find mediocre at best when I watched them later in life.
    Spring heeled Jack, he lured me into the world of the unexplained and I love to see that he is still out there jumping around and having his fun.

  • Valkyrie13

    Peter, I have that same feeling about the Hopkinsville, KY encounter.  The picture of the alien looking in the window from the library book I checked out as a kid is burned in my mind forever. 

  • Teggers

    Free running? anyon?

  • Henry

    Typically believed to have originated with the pranks of Henry Beresford, Marquis of Waterford, to whom is credited the origination of the saying “Painting the town red” from an incident when he and some friends splashed red paint on the buildings on town after a successful fox hunt. There is considerable circumstantial evidence to support that Jack was Beresford, not the least of which is that in one case the figure was reported wearing a sweater with Beresford’s initials on it. Also there is his proclivity for practical jokes, especially those that would seem cruel or mean to the victim, and his attitude toward women. Reports that come after his death can easily be attributed to copycats. There were even popular news items of the day that connected the Jack the Ripper murders to the return of Spring Heeled Jack.

    What I find curious is the parallel to elements of reports about Mothman, and the “witch” sightings in Mexico of a few years ago.

  • HaywoodZarathustra

    Henry, are you Henry Beresford, and in fact THE Sprig-heeled Jack? After all, we all know Nicholas Cage was up to no damned good in the 1860’s, probably seeking fresh blood, and I’m guessing he isn’t the only one out there that is remarkably well preserved, LOL.

  • Valkyrie13

     Ha ha ha!!!  Yes, Henry please say yes :)  No, really, this is a fascinating story and I simply can’t get enough. 

  • Henry

    Now would I be so foolish as to use my own name on this strange magical glowing box device if I wanted people to believe I was someone else?

  • HaywoodZarathustra

    Very odd story. In one of Jaques Vallee’s books he wonders whether there is some connecting thread between Spring-heeled Jack and the Mad Gasser(s) of Botetourt County, Virginia and Matoon, Illinois. 

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