The Legend of Spring Heeled Jack
She had no time to register more than these initial impressions before Jack attacked. Leaping forward, he vomited balls of blue and white fire into her face and seized her by her dress and neck, pinning her head under one arm. With mounting terror, she realised that, in place of fingers, he had sharp, long talons, which he was using to tear at her clothes and her face.
Shrieking with fear, Jane somehow wrenched herself free and ran towards her front door. Jack came after her, catching her on the doorstep, pinning her again, scratching her arms and yanking out clumps of her hair. As he did so, Janes younger sister Mary appeared at the door, but she was too much alarmed at Spring-heeled Jacks supernatural appearance to render any assistance, and it was left to an older sister, Mrs Sarah Harrison, to come to Janes aid. Somehow the unfortunate girl was dragged free of Jacks deadly embrace and the front door slammed in the assailants face. Even then, Jack did not give up; he banged heavily at the door until the rest of the Alsop family appeared at an upstairs window and called loudly for the police. Then, perhaps persuaded that he could do more mischief on this night at least, he vanished back into the darkness from which he had come. "
From his first appearances in the autumn of 1837, the demonic figure of Spring-heeled Jackâ€œ spitting fire at his victims and evading pursuers with his preternatural leapsâ€œ captured the imagination of Victorian Britain. Between 1837 and 1904, he had been witnessed bouncing over buildings and breathing fire in the faces of terrified women. However, it was in Liverpool where he was last seen, and may have finally perished, or settled - in 1904.
For several successive nights he terrified the people of William Henry Street by bounding up onto their roofs and then down into the street again. Two young girls and two women, out walking in the road, were flung to the ground by the leaping terror. At last, one day at the end of September, Jack appeared in William Henry Street in broad daylight, clad as usual in a mask, black cloak and long, tight boots, springing up one side of the road and down the other before hopping a full 25 feet onto the roof tops and making off. As he did so, he turned one last time and laughed a mocking, sinister laugh before vanishingâ€œ this time for ever.
He has not been sighted since. So, was he the product of a prankster who's tricks of the trade have been passed on through the generations? If not, did he meet his end here? Or perhaps he is still with us, living quitley in the city, waiting for his next moment...