Spring Heeled Jack Part III | All About Paranormal } -->

Spring Heeled Jack Part III

"As the articles on Spring Heeled Jack are pretty much long I decided to divide all the information I collect into three posts. "

One of the most curious and persistent of all paranormal creatures is Spring Heeled Jack. Reports of his existence date back to the early 19th century in Sheffield, England, and he has been reported on and off in England and the US as recently as 1995. A similar apparition, called "La Viuda," or "the widow" was reported in Chile in the 1940s and 50s, though he seemed to have been motivated by theft as much as mischief. And while a decent case can be made that the legend of Spring Heeled Jack is nothing more than a series of cruel hoaxes, it would represent a conspiracy of impressive scope and durability. And while his story changes from source to source, it goes something like this…

In 1808, a letter to the editor of the Sheffield Times recounted how "Years ago a famous Ghost walked and played many pranks in this historic neighbourhood." The writer went on to identify this entity as the "Park Ghost or Spring Heeled Jack," and briefly described its ability to take enormous leaps and frighten random passers-by, but concluded, "he was a human ghost as he ceased to appear when a certain number of men went with guns and sticks to test his skin."

Between 1938-1945, he made dozens of appearances in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, though there he reportedly belched flames rather than ejecting them from his chest. In Provincetown, which I gather has seen no end of strange things, his leaping forced pedestrians off the pavement of a busy street. When a dog cornered him, the animal's owner blasted Jack with a shotgun, but "the darned thing just laughed and jumped my eight foot fence in one leap," the man told police.

A shadow was seen crossing a Houston lawn in 1953 by three people, who looked up to see a man bounce into a pecan tree. They described the man as either having wings or wearing tight clothes and a cape, being tall, and "encased in light." A moment later, he "just melted" into the darkness. Then a swooshing noise was heard over the rooftops, apparently made by a bright, torpedo like object.

During the 1970s, Jack returned in both England and the US. In 1973 family in Sydney, NC reported a gaunt, long haired man with pointed ears and glowing red eyes, taking leaps they estimated at 50 or 60 feet. In 1979, more than a dozen residents of Plano, TX saw a creature, described as ten feet tall with pointed ears, cross a football field with just a few strides-like those taken by an astronaut on the moon.
Years later, in 1986, a former British army officer named Marshall was in South Herefordshire riding (presumably on a bicycle) on a quiet country road near the Welsh border. Motion in the fields to his left drew his attention, and he was astonished to see a man leaping over hedgerows in a single bound. The man reached the road and slapped Marshall hard enough to knock him to the ground and leave a red handprint on his face for hours.

The most recent record of a Spring Heeled Jack type creature comes from an elementary school in West Surrey. Children only see him there, but they describe him as "all black, with red eyes and had a funny all in one white suit with badges on it." They also said he could run as fast as a car, and would approach dark haired children and tell them, "I want you."

The attacker was tall and thin, had pointed ears and fiery eyes, and wore a cloak. He tore at his female victims' clothes and ripped their flesh with hands that felt like iron. When he escaped, he did not run; he bounced away. Those who saw his feet swore he had springs in his boot heels.

At first, the authorities had a hard time believing what victims were telling them. But by January 1838 so many Londoners had seen the figure that the Lord Mayor formed a vigilance committee to capture "Spring Heeled Jack."

In one especially notorious incident, he tried to snatch 18-year-old Jane Alsop right out of her own house. According to the London Times (February 22, 1838), he "presented a most hideous and frightful appearance, and vomited forth a quantity of blue and white flame from his mouth, and his eyes resembled red balls of fire. . . . [H]e wore a large helmet, and his dress, which appeared to fit him very tight, seemed to her to resemble white oil skin." The young woman was saved by family members.

One day in 1845, in full view of frightened onlookers, Jack tossed a prostitute off a bridge; she drowned in the open sewer below. Sightings of a comparable figure were recorded elsewhere in England in 1877. In 1904 more than 100 residents of Everton saw a man in a flowing cloak and black boots making great leaps over streets and rooftops.

Who -- or what -- was Spring-heel Jack? Some suspected that he was a rowdy nobleman, Henry, Marquis of Waterford, who died in 1859. Doubters countered that Jack-like leaps are physically impossible. During World War II German paratroopers who put springs in their boot heels got broken ankles for their efforts. Was Jack an alien? In July 1953, three Houston residents reported seeing a tall, bounding figure "wearing a black cape, skintight pants, and quarter-length boots." For a few minutes he remained visible in the pecan tree into which he had jumped. He disappeared shortly before a rocket-shaped UF­O shot upward from across the street.