Wednesday, October 22, 2008

S is for Spring-Heeled Jack

This image of Spring-Heeled Jack is originally from a Penny Dreadful. It was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Heeled_Jack.

Okay I find this legendary creature/man very strange. I first found out about Spring Heeled Jack when I was reading my Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures. I was like, WHAT? Well, let me tell you about him so you can share in my bafflement.


Spring-Heeled Jack is a creature of English folklore who terrorized people in the suburban London area during the mid to late 1800s. He was able to jump long distances and had terrifying features. His eyes seemed to glow like fire, sometimes with blue flames erupting, and he spat blue flames out of his mouth. He had long metallic claws that were used to claw at his victims. He was particulary fond of leaping out from behind buildings to terrorize his prey. Tall and thin, he wore an oilskin cloak. He would tend to jump out, terrorize people by spitting blue flames in their face and eyes, and clawing at their clothes, and then leap away over tall hedges. He had a habit of terrifying coachmen, causing them to crash their coaches.


A real-life historical figure, Henry de la Poer Beresford, the Marquis of Waterford, was thought to be the major person behind the Spring-Heeled Jack attacks. He was a wastrel who was said to be fond of sadistic pranks and had a distaste for women. As Spring-Heeled Jack seemed to attack women more often, this seemed to fit the profile of Waterford.


Spring-Heeled Jack became a popular character for the Penny Dreadfuls, which were inexpensive books sold on the streets as entertainment during the Victorian age. He has also been featured in plays and a video game.


The true mystery behind Spring-Heeled Jack has never been solved. One has to wonder, if it was a prank, how silly is this person to be doing this to people? Other theories are that Spring-Heeled Jack is an extraterrestrial or a demon conjured up from hell. Regardless, he is a very interesting entry in the beastiary of folklore.
References
Spring-Heeled Jack-Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Heeled_Jack. Last modified 11 October 2008. Accessed 22 October 2008.
Spring Heeled Jack. Mark Brodie. http://theshadowlands.net/jack.htm. Accessed 22 October 2008.

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Cormac said...

Hey Danielle. I was reading your blogs... very interesting stuff. lately, and strangely, i have been craving to read more about about, in particular, irish folklore. i live in northern ireland and, stangely playing a game called "folklore" has sparked my younger curiosity of researching this a bit further. the craving i've had to research this further has nearly taken over my life. its hard to explain, but kinda like an awakening or something, of a topic i love and want to immerse myself completely in. i would very much like to get in contact with yourself and discuss a bit further. i hope you get this. please email me on cormacmccarthy@hotmail.co.uk. thanks for your time, and also your blogs. i enjoyed reading them.
Cormac