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Spring Heeled Jack

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Spring-Heeled Jack
Springheeled-jack

Real Name

Unknown

First Appearance

British Folklore (1837)

Created by

Unknown

Origins

Spring Heeled Jack was a English folklore character who allegedly existed during the Victorian era and reported to have been sighted all over England. 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.

He was described as a tall, thin, and demonic looking gentlemen with clawed hands and fiery eyes. Spring Heeled Jack was also described as wearing a black cloak, helmet and a tight-fitting white garment underneath his cloak. He was also able to speak comprehensible English according to some witnesses.

Power and Abilities

Spring Heeled Jack was reported as having sharp metallic claws, superhuman leaping abilities, and could breathe blue/white flames.

Literary Appearances

The vast urban legend built around Spring-heeled Jack influenced many aspects of Victorian life, especially in contemporary popular culture. For decades, especially in London, his name was equated with the bogeyman, as a means of scaring children into behaving by telling them that if they were not good, Spring-heeled Jack would leap up and peer in at them through their bedroom windows, by night.

However, it was in fictional entertainment where the legend of Spring-heeled Jack exerted the most extensive influence, owing to his allegedly extraordinary nature. Almost from the moment the first incidents gained public knowledge, he turned into a successful fictional character, becoming the protagonist of many penny dreadfuls from 1840 to 1904. Several plays where he assumed the main role were staged as well.

  • Spring-Heeled Jack, the Terror of London (1840)
  • Spring-Heel'd Jack: or, The Felon's Wrongs (1863)
  • Spring-heel'd Jack: The Terror of London, (1864–1867)
  • Spring-heel'd Jack: The Terror of London, (1878–1879)
  • Spring-Heel Jack; or, The Masked Mystery of the Tower (1885)

See Also

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