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Old 08-26-2007, 09:07 PM   #1
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Anonymous: Spring Heeled Jack: The Terror of London. v1. 26 Aug 07

I'm not sure how many folks on the American side of the pond are aware of the strange case of "Spring Heeled Jack," an urban legend/monster/ghost story. Keep in mind that this was really reported in the news of the time and there are still people who believe it really happened.

Good ole' Spring-heel'd Jack had a nasty habit of jumping out of nowhere and freaking people out by spitting fire, laughing and smacking various folk around. Of course as his legend grew, the stories about him became scarier and edgier. Daily news articles started freaking people out and various Vigilance Committees were formed in and around London to catch this thing and put and end to the terror.

The first sighting was reported around 1837 and sightings of him from all over England continued for many years. Some people believed that he was a prankster out to fool the press. Others thought that maybe he was a demon. Or hey, maybe he was just plain crazy--I know I've had a couple of days at work where jumping around, spitting fire and laughing uncontrollably seemed like a good idea at the time. Just remember: it's all fun and games until you burn your eyebrows off.

He supposedly could jump unusually high and some people reported seeing him wearing peculiar shoes that allowed him to jump over walls, gates and/or buildings (!) with relative ease. Some thought he had cloven feet, others said he had a strange contraption hooked up to his shoes--hence the name "spring-heeled."

He was known to wear a mask and cape or animal masks constructed out of paper. The wikipedia article is very interesting but if you don't feel like going there to look, I've included four drawings from the various articles that are based on eyewitness accounts.

This ebook is comprised of stories that appeared in one of the penny dreadfuls (our version of tabloids and pulps) of the period involving Spring Heeled Jack .

An interesting note: Stephen King wrote a short story about Spring Heeled Jack and there are several other ghost stories that feature him as well. The book that I'm posting isn't as creepy as those stories, but interesting in it's own way because it documents how it all started.
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