Described as being both 'devil-like' and 'gentleman-like' in appearance, was 'The Terror of London' one or more entities, and did he even exist?
The Terror of London
If we are indeed talking about one entity, he was to be called Spring-Heeled Jack, or the Terror of London.
In the early years of the Nineteenth century, Londoners believed that the streets of their city were, at night, inhabited by the souls of the dead, and many people made claims of seeing, interacting with and being assaulted by these spirits.
"The Terror of London" was said to have first been reported in 1837 by a man on his way to work who decided to cross into a grassland area to get to work earlier. Although the area was known to be dangerous, he took a risk and prevailed onwards. Approaching a churchyard nearby, a tall figure leapt down before him and confronted him with "glowing red eyes". The man quickly reported his encounter, and soon the story spread like wildfire through the nearby villages, with residents gripped in fear and panic.
Eyes Resembling Balls of Fire
Almost always tall and thin, in one account he is said to have kissed a victims face while tearing at her clothes before the teenage girl managed to escape.
He was said to emerge from darkly lit alleyways or jump down from great heights, and more than once was seen exhaling blue and white flames. In some accounts he is said to be heard laughing in a high-pitched, maniacal manner.
Reports started surfacing of people supposedly dying from terror at the sight of "Jack",and rewards were offered to anyone who could provide information to his identity. The police were instructed to search for him, and soon Spring-Heeled Jack became a minor celebrity, with people buying newspapers just to read about his newest exploits, theatres began performing plays about his adventures and as his fame grew, he began to appear less.
However,up until 1904 reports of encounters with "Jack" continued, but he seemed to disappear after that. In the late 1970's reports started surfacing of a man grabbing women "who has red eyes and punches other men". He could also walk down sides of walls.
In February 2012 a family claimed a dark figure ran across the road in front of their car late at night before jumping a fifteen-foot wall. Reports of a man with an elongated chin and wearing dark clothes bounding across rooftops have also been made in modern times.
So, if Spring-heeled Jack is one entity, and has been responsible for attacks and pranks since 1837, what is he?
Another 'Jack' of the Time
It is noted that most of his attacks were on girls, with a sexual element to the attacks, with clothes been ripped or torn away and victims being kissed. Did "Jack" have a sexual predatory aspect to his personality?
Paranormal theorists would posit that he was perhaps an extra-terrestrial/s who were perhaps attracted to human women. Others speculate of origins in Hell, summoned by witches or the occult either by accident or on purpose. And some believe he was a mutant human with freakish abilities, who perhaps was mentally unstable.
In 1888 a string of murders attributed to legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper took place in the Whitechapel district of London. A number of prostitutes were mutilated and in some cases internal organs were taken. Could the two Jacks be the same entity? Were the previous attacks on young girls pre-cursors to the savagery that took place in 1888? The fact that "The Ripper" was never caught and to this day his identity has been speculated at by many historians and scholars could lie in the possibility that he bounded away after committing unspeakable horrific crimes.
The enigma of Spring-Heeled Jack will surely be one that will mystify many generations to come, and will remain one of Britian's greatest mysteries.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2014