In 1837, someone or something leapt into history in nine foot bounds, assaulting women and men, breathing fire and tearing at their clothes. What exactly was Spring-Heeled Jack?
Tonight we're diving into the history of Spring-Heeled Jack. We're going to take a look at one of the most detailed research papers ever done on him and try to figure out just who or what he might have been. Join us as we unravel the various sightings and take a look at all the plausible explanations that have been put forth over the years and then you can decide for yourself if Spring-Heeled Jack was super natural or a cunning hoax followed by copycat hoaxing for over 150 years.
"He also has spring-heeled or india-rubber soled boots, for no man living could leap so lightly, and, I might say, fly across the ground in the manner he did last night.’ ~ GHR Davidson (Greater London Citizen, 1872)
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Mike Dash Mike's Definitive Paper on Spring-Heeled Jack Spring-Heeled Jack on Wikipedia Was Mass Hysteria Responsible for Jack? A Recent Case of Mass Hysteria You Might Remember from the News The Wikipedia Entry on Steampunk and it's Anachronism's as Mentioned by Forrest Spiritualism, an Influence on the Zeitgeist and Mindset of the Time The Industrial Revolution, Another Possible Influence on the Minds of Witnesses The Red Barn Murder The Incredible Mystery of the Coral Castle A Gutenberg Link to a 1903 Book Detailing A Spring-Heeled Jack Assault (scroll to page 27 as annotated in the right column)
Even if some of these sightings can be explained as exaggerated or explainable by other means, what is at the root of what witnesses first saw all of those years ago that could jump over nine feet in the air? Perhaps that first sighting or the first few were the only real sightings and if so what was it? I lean towards a mechanical contraption of some kind, although I can't imagine it's design and Forrest leans in the direction of something super natural.
Episode 015 - 'Spring-Heeled Jack' Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess, Ryan McCullough Sound Design Copyright Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess 2015, All Rights Reserved.
Photos: All images Public Domain. Various Spring-Heeled Jack Photos from Penny Dreadful Covers and Portrait of the Marquess of Waterford, a possible Suspect.