20th February 1838, around 8:45 PM. The bell to a cottage in Old Ford to the east of London rang violently, alerting the family, it rang again and 18 year old Jane Alsop rose to answer it, meeting a man outside standing in the lane who shouted; ‘I am a policeman, for God’s sake, bring me alight, for we have caught Spring-heeled Jack here in the lane.’ Running in for a candle, Jane returned outside, when the policeman threw back his clock to reveal he was not a policeman at all, but the demon himself Spring heeled Jack! Seizing her, he emitted a blue flame into her face, from which she was temporarily blinded, whilst her dress and hair were ripped by his taloned fingers. Managing with the aid of her sister to escape back into the house Jack disappeared back into the darkness.
This the most violent of Spring heeled Jack’s attacks on this day, had followed a sighting two days previously in Green Dragon Alley in London’s docklands; and would be followed by other sightings and encounters, sporadically all across England from 1838 to the last sighting in 1904. Claimed to have piercing red eyes, and the ability to leap upto 25 feet into the air, from which the name Spring Heeled Jack derives. These sightings led to increasing newspaper reports which established the figure in folklore, upon which Penny Dreadfuls, pamphlets and theatre productions were performed. Influenced by these Penny Dreadfuls, these two original title papes are on aged handmade paper in either 8.5”x11or 5”x7”.
top of page