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London's Strange Rapist, Springheel Jack

London's Strange Rapist, Springheel Jack

Victorian England houses many different strange specters and paranormal events, but perhaps the most puzzling are those involving Springheel Jack. Jack's strange appearance and superhuman abilities lead investigator's to believe he is more then a mere man.

Jack first appeared in September 1837 in London, England, when he attacked three women in the dark of night. One of the victims, Polly Adams, reportedly had her blouse torn off - allowing Jack to scratch at her stomach with his ironclad fingers. The victims later described Jack as a tall, thin, and powerful man who wore a dark cloak, and had glowing eyes and the ability to spit blue flames. The next month, apparently the same creature assaulted one Mary Stevens, who described him as possessing a rather diabolical appearance and a decidedly cold and clammy touch - which she experienced because the entity was actively trying to kiss and grope her.

Jack got his name, however, for further attacks which occurred that same month, when a similar figure to the previous assailant molested (or attempted to molest) several more young ladies throughout London. In more than one instance, the offending figure was seen to escape pursuers by leaping away to safety - in one instance, over a nine-foot wall.

Attacks continued and London's Lord Mayor, Sir John Cowan, declared Springheel Jack a menace in January 1838. A vigilante group soon formed to capture Jack but he was able to escape all attempts of detainment.

Perhaps the most infamous attack occurred on February 20, 1838, in London. Late that night a strange figure stood at the gate of a home and yelled out, "For God's sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Springheel Jack in the lane!" Within moments, eighteen-year-old Jane Alsop ran outside with a candle and confronted the figure. Alsop claimed the figure was enveloped in a large cloak and spit blue and white flames. The man grabbed the young girl and clawed at her dress with his sharp fingers. Aslop's sister ran to her aid and dragged her inside the house. Strangely the attacker knocked on the door several times and waited for a response before he finally left, after the sisters called for help. During his escape Jack dropped his cloak - which was quickly picked up by an apparent accomplice.

Yet another attack took place on February 28 when Miss Lucy Scales was attacked at about 8:30pm while traveling through an alley. She was assaulted in much the same way as the previous victims but her encounter left her with seizure-like fits. Surgeon Charles Pritchel later told authorities that she "was suffering from hysterics and great agitation, in all probability the result of fright."

In most respects the attacks ended with these reports. Various theories have been concocted about the origins of Jack, ranging from those as mundane as a simple would-be rapist and troublemaker, to an alien being with gravity-defying powers.
 






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