At the Devil's Heels: The Legend of Springheeled Jack by Aly Julian
POSTED: 24 October 99
A strange creature, that pub worker and farmer's
daughter Polly Adams could only describe as
"devil-like", was the terror of London in the
mid-1800s. It all started in 1837 with the attack on
Polly Adams, and then later in the year another woman
was attacked in the Clapham churchyard. But the
sightings and attacks of this figure that could leap
over fences in a single bound truly began to start in
January, 1838: A resident of Peckham sent a letter to
the Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Cowan, describing
an attack by a creature he called "Spring-Heeled
Jack". Sir Cowan made the letter public, only to
receive dozens of other letters by more witnesses of
February, 1838: Late at night there was a furious
knocking at the door of the Alsop residence, where
young Jane Alsop and her two sisters lived with their
father. Jane answered the door, and standing in the
shadows was a man claiming to be a police officer. He
asked her to bring a candle, saying that he had
captured Spring-heeled Jack.
The stranger took the candle but then grabbed Jane
and began to claw at her face. He ran off into the
shadowy darkness when one of Jane's sisters came
outside and called for help.
Jane's attacker allegedly wore a helmet and a white
costume similar to oilskin and wore a black cloak
over everything. His eyes were like raging fireballs,
blue flames shot from his mouth, and his fingers ended
A similar attack happened to 18-year-old Lucy Squires
a few months later. While walking with her sister
through Green Dragon Alley (ironic name) in Limehouse,
she was blinded with blazing blue flames by a tall
A strange figure was seen atop the spire of a church
and even on the Tower of London. Throughout the 1850s
and 60s, this strange creature was seen all over
England. Its descriptions varied from a winged and
horned creature, not unlike the Jersey Devil, to the
"spaceman" that attacked the two girls in 1838. People
stayed off the streets at night in fear of this
Authorities began to send mobs out to capture this
supposed devil. In the 1860s, one of the mobs cornered
the creature, but it jumped over a hedge and escaped.
In the 1870s he attacked sentries "with his icy
hands". In 1877, people tried to shoot him, but just
like in the cases of Mothman, the Jersey Devil, and
other strange creatures, Springheeled Jack was not
September 1904, was the last recorded sighting of Jack.
He was seen jumping among the rooftops in Liverpool.
He was cornered yet again but leaped away with ease.
What was this strange being? A century ago people
believed him to be the Devil himself (especially since
he was seen near and on top of churches) but nowadays
many people believe Springheeled Jack to have been an
extraterrestrial, judging by his "space traveler"
attire and unusual abilities. Whether it was alien,
Satan, or a prankster, the legend of Springheeled Jack
lives on as one of the most terrifying paranormal
events in British history.
Source: Anomalies Article: Springheeled Jack
Aly Julian is the webmaster for Strangeworld, one of the most all-inclusive encyclopedias of cryptozoology on the Internet.