Real Live Rumours
According to the tale the first sighting of Spring-Heel Jack (or Springheeled Jack) occurred in September of 1837 in London, England. A businessman was returning home from work late at night when a mysterious figure vaulted over the 10 foot tall railings of a nearby cemetery landing directly in front of him.
Described as a tall thin man of “gentlemanly” appearance wearing a helmet, a formfitting white “oilskin” one-piece garment, and a black cloak, the figure then proceeded to blow blue and white flame from his mouth at the businessman before bounding away via prodigious leaps.
It was not long before others started to claim to have encountered the oddity that came to be called Spring-Heel Jack. After a time, along with the initial description, were added such items as glowing eyes, metal claws, and pointed ears. These apparitions kept on going throughout the 19th century and Britain. At one point he was even declared a public menace in the same sense as the Hulk was and parties where organized to hunt him down. Which had no luck even though he was reported to be nearly cornered more then once, only to jump away. The last time Jack or something that might have the appearance of Jack was last seen in the 1970's and maybe he will show up again.
As is the case with such Fortean phenomena Jack soon faded from the scene, the idea of Spring-Heel Jack however hung on and soon after a play by John Thomas Haines in 1840 turned up in a couple of Penny Dreadful novels where he was turned into one of the first superheroes being depicted as a wronged nobleman, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. While being dressed in a skin-tight costume and mechanical boots with the capability of letting the wearer make unnaturally high jumps .
Modern Day Fiction
As with many myths and legends Spring-Heel Jack has also appeared in a number of comic books, from Gold Key’s depiction of the original tales of his appearance in their anthology comic Ripley’s Believe it or Not, to The Doctor unveiling him to be an alien in Doctor Who Magazine, to two independent comics where in one he is a demon linked to the Jack the Ripper murders, and in another is sort of a Victorian Iron man.
“Spring-heeled Jack was a cultural and folkloric trope that was defined by its rich heterogeneity and therefore bigger than any singular interpretation one may care to cage him in.” (Karl Bell 226)
A story was published in a Penny Dreadful in 1886, it claimed that a British family had submitted the Journal of Spring Heeled Jack to the Penny Dreadfuls to have his true origin told. Due to protective reasons they chose not to use the families or Spring Heeled Jack’s real name and instead called dubbed him “Jack Dacre.” This story reveals much about the possible origin of Spring Heeled Jack, this Jack had mechanical boots he constructed, and razor sharp claws, and wore a Mephistopheles mask when he acted as a Highwayman. (Since this is based so early in Spring Heeled Jack’s career he couldn’t blow blue Flames.)
Jack Dacre was once a happy young man with a wealthy Father and Mother, he traveled with them for their business in India, they set back for England while aboard Jack befriended a sailor Ned Chump. But while aboard the vessel Hydaspes a storm struck and Jack Dacre and his family were reported dead, leaving the Indian plantations to the family clerk Alfred Morgan and the fortune to Jack’s father’s first cousin. Little did they know was that Jack survived, that storm rescued by Ned Chump as they made their way to Jack’s home. When they arrived they discovered Michael Dacre in possession of the fortune that was rightfully Jack’s, when Jack tried to explain who he was, Michael simply made sure that Jack would never see a cent. Jack told him to get Alfred Morgan he would surely recognize him but when Michael promised Alfred full control of all funds made in India, Alfred claimed he didn’t recognize Jack.
Defeated and without identity, Jack left the hallow halls of his family’s home leaving a warning “But, beware! False Sir Michael Dacre, the time will come, and that ere long, when. The tortures of the damned shall be implanted in your heart by me- the wretched, despised outcast whom you have christened Spring-Heeled-Jack!” and from their Jack with the help of Ned Chump made a costume and built the infamous spring-heeled boots, from there the reborn Jack Dacre acted as both a highwayman and a vengeful hero avenging those that have been cheated out of what was rightfully their’s.
Rebel studios did 2 miniseries on Spring-Heel Jack in the early 90s, this interpretation featured Spring-Heel Jack as a Tulpa or “thought form” generated by a young woman named July. This Spring-Heel Jack could phase through walls, disappear from one location and reappear in another, access and learn information from one's brain, breath out blue flame, and of course make large leaps.
- "Spring-Heel Jack: A Mystery of Mysteries"July made Spring-Heel Jack to get revenge on Mr. Friend and his assistant Olinka for the murder of her Husband and Child whom died due to a terrorists bomb planted in July's child's stroller, she gave the Tulpa the form of Spring-Heel Jack out of inspiration from stories she heard as a child. July learned how to make Tulpas from her great grandmother Miss Gereveux. Throughout the first miniseries Spring-Heel Jack goes around finding and killing all of Mr. Friend's colleagues in a string of grizzly murders, investigated by inspector Church who determined Spring-Heel Jack was somehow connected to July. When July is kidnapped by Mr. Friend, Spring-Heel Jack has some trouble getting to her (because July has to focus in order to generate a Tulpa.) Despite of Miss Gereveux cynicism towards Spring-Heel Jack she allows Spring-Heel Jack to go to July's aid. Finally the showdown with Mr. Friend resulted in Jack shoving a bomb into Mr. Friend's chest and throwing him off of the building they were in, Olinka was left frightened, Jack grabbed her and began holding her by the neck, Olinka was only saved by July's mercy. Jack then leapt out into the city supposedly disappearing for good. While Olinka was being transported to prison Spring-Heel Jack found her and her screams were flooded out by Jack's laughter.
- “Spring-Heel Jack: Revenge of The Ripper”In this series the reader sees that time has passed since the first story and we see Spring-Heel Jack as a more heroic figure and has grown to be very close to July. When Jack the Ripper returns to London, for his final revenge on the Winsdor family, Inspector Church is brought into investigate and catch Jack the Ripper, but he discovers he cannot do this himself. He goes to July to ask for Spring-Heel Jack to help, despite Miss Gereveux disapproval July helps. It is later revealed that Spring-Heel Jack isn’t any ordinary Tulpa but is in fact the one to first to entrap and imprison Jack the Ripper, as the Tulpa of a gypsy who knew at some point Jack the Ripper will return, placed a curse or magic seal on the womb of a relative of Gereveux so that when the time comes Spring-Heel Jack will return to fight the Ripper once again.
Full Circle did a 3 issue run on Spring Heeled Jack done by David Hitchcock, in this version there are technically 2 Spring Heeled Jacks, the alien that terrorized London and kidnapped many women, and the man, Jack Rackham who was trying to find and hopefully save his beloved from the alien visitor. This series won the 2006 Eagle Award.
"Springheeled Jack: A Strange Visitor" Jack Rackham was once a sole benefactor of the Bethlehem Lunatic Asylum, until a fateful night when he saw it. The Terror of London swooped and took his beloved Evalina, no one believed him they thought him a mad killer and condemned him to the very asylum he benefited. He was haunted by that night to the point where he couldn’t sleep. He knew that terror was not of this world and only one other believed him Dr. Henry Jekyll a professional in his craft so much he concocted a serum meant to help one in case of contact with one of the creatures. Jack longed to be united with Evalina he wished to find the creature’s lair and take her back. He had a friend Orville Wilbur construct a pair of mechanized wings which he’d use to leap from building to building with ease making him more on even when he meets the alien Jack again.
Dr. Jekyll was summoned to the home of England’s royalty to help Prince Albert who has fallen dreadfully ill thought to be typhoid fever, but Jekyll finds something far worse Prince Albert is infected with an alien disease far past anything he can do to help, with haste he leaves to find Jack. It has begun. He meets Jack in the grave yard a place where they can discuss in private, while there a woman was walking through the yard to try and get to the church across the yard while crossing the alien Jack attacks her. Hearing the screams Jack Rackham goes into action and rescues the damsel in distress, he watches the alien terror as it flees and sees that it escapes into the top of the church tower. They pursue after it and when they reach the top and find pods full of women Jack searches and searches but alas Evalina is nowhere. Desperate he continues to try and find her but finds women all with one thing in common they were all pregnant. Two beast rise from the floors sensing their domain has been disturbed one the alien Jack find Jekyll and Jack in their home, as they try to fight for their lives, Jack tries to set the terror on fire and Jekyll takes one of his special serums, but overdoses it and grants him extreme strength which he uses to save his friend Jack when the alien was about to leap on him, when Jekyll punches the beast it breathes out fire severely burning his hand. As Jekyll’s stress increases he turns into a monstrous beast, Jack takes Jekyll’s suit case with the serums while Jekyll fights off the aliens, Jack escapes to the rooftops but sadly Jekyll couldn’t make it as the church collapsed on top of him.
Jack wishing it was the end as he catches his breathe on the rooftops, but to his shock the alien Jack survived and it attacks him. Under the fearsome face of the alien Jack, human Jack struggling to keep alive notices something, the face he is staring into isn’t a face at all but instead a respiratory mask that allows the alien to breathe in the earth’s atmosphere, kicking the alien off of him and grabbing onto the mask, the alien’s mask rips off from it's face releasing a deathly screech before it suffocates to death. A officer, hears the commotion and goes to investigate he sees and recognizes Jack Rackham, as Jack turns to see the officer thinking quickly he puts on the alien’s mask and leaps away from the scene, but sadly he was too late and the officer leaves to tell the others that Spring Heeled Jack is Jack Rackham. Meanwhile in the home of the Queen’s, Prince Albert is now near full mutation into an alien form with no other way out he takes a gun and his own life in the process killing not only him but the alien harbored inside him, the papers say he died of Typhoid Fever.
Jack now fleeing for his life as the officers hunts him down like a dog. When Jack finally finds refuge, under the mask he feels something digging into his very skin, quickly he rips the mask off his face and finds it was alive itself with haste he tosses the mask in a nearby bum fire. Disoriented, the mask made him gone mad as in the alley he limps through he is brought to his knees by a horrible vision of what is to befall London, through the inferno that will plague the city, more and more alien visitors would reap the land, an invasion is coming.