First Encounter: October 1837, London England. Mary Stevens, a servant, walked to Lavender Hill after seeing her parents in Battersea. As she was passing through Clapham Common, “a strange figure leapt at her from a dark alley.” He held her tightly and began to kiss her face, as well as tearing at her clothing with clawed hands. Against her skin, she described them as “cold and clammy” like a corpse. She screamed, and surprisingly the attacked fled. Neighbours came to her aid and searched for the cretin, but not a trace was found.
Second Encounter: In the same area, the day after Mary Stevens’s attack, the figure jumped in front of a carriage, causing the coachman to lose control and crash, hurting himself. Witnesses claimed to see the figure jump an extraordinary 9 feet high in order to escape–hence the name Spring-heeled Jack.
Description: “Diabolical Physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that ‘ resembled red balls of fire’”. Wearing a black cloak, a helmet, and possibly an oilskin. Some say he is tall and thin and dressed like a gentleman.
Theories: A letter was sent to the Mayor of England, Sir John Cowan, signed “a resident of Peckham” who goes on to describe a wager between three unknown men. Two of which wager that the third will not visit various villages near Londo
n and frighten people in the guise of a ghost, a bear, or a devil. A regular
The Marquess of Waterford was a popular suspect because he was frequently in the news for “drunken brawls, brutal jokes and vandalism, and was said to do anything for a bet.” He also had contempt towards women and most of those terrorized were women.
Or he is a demon summoned by cult practitioners…
Best Known Encounters:
Jane Alsop: Teenager Jane Alsop on February 19, 1838, answered the door to a man claiming to be a police officer needing a light. He claimed to have apprehended Spring-Heeled Jack. She opened the door and delivered a candle, but when she saw him she was terrified. He wore a black cloak and had a hideous face. Blue and white flames erupted from his mouth and he had eyes like fiery coals. She also noticed a helmet on his head and a tightfitting outfit that resembled white oilskin.
He grabbed hold of her gown and shredded it with what she described as metallic claws. She screamed which alerted her sister, who came to her aid. He fled.
Lucy Scales: 18-year-old Lucy Scales, on February 28 1838, along with her sister, were just leaving their Brother’s place in Limehouse. They were passing Green Dragon Alley when she saw a man in a cloak at an angle of the passage. Once upon him, he sprayed Lucy’s face with blue flame, temporarily blinding her. She fell to the ground and screamed, which alerted her brother who came running to see what had happened. He and the sister consoled lucy and took her back home.
The sister described their assailant as looking like a gentleman and carrying a bull’s eye lantern, similar to a policeman’s. She says he did not speak, he just walked away quickly.
Pop Culture: Penny Dreadfuls