Spring-Heeled Jack

Bigphoot2

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Wow! Thanks for that. I'm tempted to think that an enterprising journalist merely adapted SHJ tales to suit a new locale but we would need to put these Courier & Argus stories into the timeline to see which details are new or unique to the Scots case. :)
The thing that stands out for me is this bit:
Spring Legs was said to have chased him through the streets, only to be laid low by a plant pot flung accurately at his head by his would-be victim.

His ghastly apparel was found to be a mask and its wearer “a young man of goodly proportions whose nose was bleeding profusely”.

The unmasking did not bring the matter to an end, however, as over the next 10 days there were several more sightings.
It seems he was unmasked. Maybe the authorities down south should have equipped people with plant-pots :) The story seems to be basically some local lads having a bit of fun. Hopefully more will emerge.
 

Lodin

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I have noticed that there is a new book out on Spring-heeled Jack and these other ghosts called Spirits of an Industrial Age. Has anyone read it? Is it any good?
 

Ringo

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I spend a great deal of time reading books and manuals on Mentalism. One of the things that strikes me is that any early material (1890 - 1930) is constantly talking about the use of chemicals in performance. There are numerous recipes and instructions for mixing all sorts of concoctions. They suggest popping down to the local chemist with a shopping list.

I have often wondered if SHJ's blue flames and red glowing eyes were a result of some home chemistry? I read an older book just the other day that suggested ways to make red, green and blue smoke whilst producing flames of various colour.
 
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AnonyJoolz

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I was just musing on SHJ and his attributes and then wondered if there's a connection to the activity now known as Parkour (free running).

If someone was doing this 200+ years ago then there could be a connection?

It requires no special equipment, just a fully-functioning body, an athletic and adventurous nature and a pair of shoes. Thinking about it further, it would be perhaps surprising if some people hadn't been doing this for millennia.

 

Mythopoeika

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I was just musing on SHJ and his attributes and then wondered if there's a connection to the activity now known as Parkour (free running).

If someone was doing this 200+ years ago then there could be a connection?

It requires no special equipment, just a fully-functioning body, an athletic and adventurous nature and a pair of shoes. Thinking about it further, it would be perhaps surprising if some people hadn't been doing this for millennia.

It's a fair point.
SHJ may just have been a particularly athletic fellow.
 

Coal

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I was just musing on SHJ and his attributes and then wondered if there's a connection to the activity now known as Parkour (free running).

If someone was doing this 200+ years ago then there could be a connection?

It requires no special equipment, just a fully-functioning body, an athletic and adventurous nature and a pair of shoes. Thinking about it further, it would be perhaps surprising if some people hadn't been doing this for millennia.

Nice idea.
 

Ringo

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I was just musing on SHJ and his attributes and then wondered if there's a connection to the activity now known as Parkour (free running).

If someone was doing this 200+ years ago then there could be a connection?

It requires no special equipment, just a fully-functioning body, an athletic and adventurous nature and a pair of shoes. Thinking about it further, it would be perhaps surprising if some people hadn't been doing this for millennia.

I think (and by that mean I mean that I have a vague memory of something) there was even a theory that it was some sort of acrobat or circus worker who was doing it. Somebody who was very physical and could do things that the ordinary person would find impossible.

One other thing that I must mention from reading older reports of seances and whatnot, is the exaggeration of the time. A piano scaping on the floorboards would be retold as flying through the air. A man saying that he was levitating in the dark would be recalled as him bumping along the ceiling or crawling on it like a fly.

I can well imagine that a man leaping/hurdling over a 4 foot wall became a 10 foot wall in the telling etc.
 
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Dick Turpin

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It's a fair point.
SHJ may just have been a particularly athletic fellow.
I first read about the SHJ U/L many years ago, and had not really given it much thought as a fortean subject, thinking it quite absurd, however the last 6 weeks holiday the mother in law visited and stayed with us for a couple of nights.

She lives on the 2nd floor of a block of flats in the East End of London, which is opposite a well-known east London school.

She told me that a few nights prior around twilight, she was standing on the balcony of the flat having a cigarette, and saw a tall dark clad figure approach the railings of the school playground, and leap over them in one bound. I went to that school as a kid, and know that the railings are at least 6ft tall.

I asked if it was possible that the figure scaled the railings in the same way a soldier might negotiate a high wall on an assault course, i.e. get over it in sort of a cartwheel fashion, but no she was adamant that the figure hurdled the railings in one leap.

I pulled the A-Z of amazing and mysterious happenings book from my bookcase, found the SHJ entry and let her read it, her eyes widened and she said that’s exactly how the figure acted.

She’d never heard of SHJ and I don’t believe in it, but I found her story a bit odd - It was twilight after all, so she could very much have been mistaken and she is getting on a bit.

Who knows though.
 

dr wu

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That free running thing looks dangerous......but then I'm an old man.
At any rate didn't Spring Heel supposedly accost some people and do other things beyond free running? Or are you saying he combined that with attacking people?
 

Frideswide

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At any rate didn't Spring Heel supposedly accost some people and do other things beyond free running? Or are you saying he combined that with attacking people?
yes he did! I think the free-running idea is about how he moved around rather than the other things? @AnonyJoolz ?

I first remember it from, I think, The Unexplained. There were some cracking contemporary illustrations!
 

CarlosTheDJ

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The only time I've read anything Fortean about the spectacularly boring town of Aldershot is in a SHJ report.

I lived near there for a while. Lots of odd things happened but nothing Fortean. Although my first ever DJ gig was in a squaddie club there with a mate....we were close to being murdered until we found a copy of Tom Jones 'Sexbomb' single that a previous DJ had left behind. The place went nuts for it, so we alternated that with 'Three Lions' until closing time, and got rapturous drunk applause.
 

AnonyJoolz

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yes he did! I think the free-running idea is about how he moved around rather than the other things? @AnonyJoolz ?

I first remember it from, I think, The Unexplained. There were some cracking contemporary illustrations!
Yep, if people weren't used to seeing such athletic feats in their streets (that rhymes!) - and I guess it's still unusual now - and as it was before the advent of visual moving media then such sightings might well have given rise to the idea his abilities were super-normal and spooky.

The only time I've read anything Fortean about the spectacularly boring town of Aldershot is in a SHJ report.

I lived near there for a while. Lots of odd things happened but nothing Fortean. Although my first ever DJ gig was in a squaddie club there with a mate....we were close to being murdered until we found a copy of Tom Jones 'Sexbomb' single that a previous DJ had left behind. The place went nuts for it, so we alternated that with 'Three Lions' until closing time, and got rapturous drunk applause.
Aldershot - one of my favourite places :) the nearest you'll get to Kathmandu without leaving England. Nepalese grannies teaming lunghi or sarees with woolie hats, acrylic cardies and big trainers if the temperature dips below 20c!
 

Frideswide

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Is there a phenomenon called "Spring Heeled Jack" or are we still dealing with a very long lasting (not saying lived) singular occurrence?
 
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