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  • Spring Heeled Jack

    Hi,

    This is a very interesting site, I'm writing a book on Victorian mysteries that will include JtR, but for the moment I'd thought I'd introduce another Jack on whom I've already written and lectured on (and given a nifty little tour walk),
    Spring Heeled Jack. It would be interesting how many people are familiar with him, he seems to be a bit of a specialist interest in my experience.

    One thing Ripperologists might be able to shed light on is a claim made by one person on a walk, that I've occassionally repeated myself as a curiosity, without being able to confirm or deny it. That Jack the Ripper's name was originally a variant on Spring Heeled Jack, who still haunted the imagination of Londoners. A spurious tale was also associated with SHJ, that he had killed a prostitute, making the connection possible. Its a hard claim to verify as the notion is this was a popular rumour that went around in the early Ripper period. Though there must be a printed source for this claim somewhere.

    For those who haven't heard of him I'd recommend my indepth webpage on the mystery.

    http://blackcatpress.co.uk/Spring_Heeled_Jack_Page.htm

    Steve

  • #2
    Hi Steve

    Most of us are very familiar with Springheeled Jack as well (I was actually born in a hospital only a stone's throw from where he was 'seen' floating past the Cavalry Barracks at Aldershot) and he has been debated and discussed a fair bit in the past.

    I don't think there's anything to link his stories to JTR. There would be a few erroneous accounts of the time possibly referring to him as SHJ (I'm sure there's people who can quote you chapter and verse) but you have to remember that Jack was a popular generic name at the time, like we have A N Other in the UK and John Doe in the US now.

    PHILIP
    Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent.

      Yes I agree, any mysterious evasive attacker would probably get associated with SHJ initially, I think the Jack name is also associated with a perception of supernaturalism, Jack in the Green, Jack a Lantern etc.




      Originally posted by George Hutchinson View Post
      Hi Steve

      Most of us are very familiar with Springheeled Jack as well (I was actually born in a hospital only a stone's throw from where he was 'seen' floating past the Cavalry Barracks at Aldershot) and he has been debated and discussed a fair bit in the past.

      I don't think there's anything to link his stories to JTR. There would be a few erroneous accounts of the time possibly referring to him as SHJ (I'm sure there's people who can quote you chapter and verse) but you have to remember that Jack was a popular generic name at the time, like we have A N Other in the UK and John Doe in the US now.

      PHILIP

      Comment


      • #4
        It is interesting that the fanciful account given by Woodhall in his early Ripper book has some elements of SHJ in it. Clearly based on the factual account of Dr. "White Eyes" Holt, Woodhall goes on to relate a story of how the suspect whacked a police official over the head with a stick and leaped out a window at Scotland Yard only to jump into the Thames and drown himself.

        Also, the partially-true story of the New Orleans Axeman has some elements of SHJ with accounts of some superhuman feats. In fact, it is not uncommon to see such fanciful devils turn up in local lore.

        Comment


        • #5
          What mysteries are going in the book Steve?

          Comment


          • #6
            The following was posted by author John Reppion at the Yo Liverpool forum. John notes that Fortean Times Magazine #238 at the end of this month which will feature an excerpt from the book all about the infamous Spring Heeled Jack and his visits to Liverpool.



            800 Years of Haunted Liverpool will be officially launched at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool on Saturday the 5th of July 2008 between 6 and 8pm. The Unity bar is fully licensed with Cains Bitter on tap *slurp*.

            I'll do my very best to give a short talk giving a bit of background on how the book came about and what it was like to work on. Limited edition copies of 800 Years of Haunted Liverpool will also be on sale for £9.99.

            If you do plan on coming, please post here or drop me an email at haunted_liverpool@btinternet.com, as places will be limited.

            Looking forward to seeing you there!

            More info and updates over at www.hauntedliverpool.blogspot.com

            Cheers!

            John Reppion
            Christopher T. George
            Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
            just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
            For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
            RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

            Comment


            • #7
              Sure enough Chris, the latest issue has landed with a wonderful article on Spring Heeled Jack!
              Regards Mike

              Comment


              • #8
                its believed the 'jack' part of jtrs name was taken from shj, due to the scary and mysterious connotations surrounding the figure (while the 'ripper' part is obvious), though this is just hypothesis as we dont really know anything about the letter writing for sure.
                if mickey's a mouse, and pluto's a dog, whats goofy?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by joelhall View Post
                  its believed the 'jack' part of jtrs name was taken from shj.
                  Although possible, I'm not sure that's the universally accepted derivation, Joel. For one thing "Jack" was a very popular name, but as Sir Christopher Frayling has pointed out, it was also a common appellation for many urban (anti-)heroes such as SHJ, Jack Sheppard, Jack o'Lantern, even the cheeky sailor, Jolly Jack Tar:

                  Early in the morning the sun was gleaming,
                  The lady woke and started screaming,
                  For there was Jack in his tarry shirt,
                  And his hands and face all daubed with dirt.

                  O what is this you tarry sailor,
                  Have you broken in to steal my treasure ?
                  O no, says Jack, I pulled the string
                  And you came down and let me in.

                  O then, says Jack, Won't you please forgive me ?
                  I'll steal away so none shall see me.
                  O no, says she, don't stray too far,
                  For I never will part from my jolly Jack tar.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Three Jolly Jack Tars

                    Also known as "The Black Cook", this is a version of a "broadside ballad" written sometime between 1850 and 1910 (not much help there!), which I found via Google Books:
                    THREE JOLLY JACK TARS

                    A story I'll tell you it happened last evening
                    Of an eminent doctor who lived in Cork Town
                    Three Jolly Jack Tars that had been out larking
                    And fifty bright guineas he had to lay down
                    These Jolly Jack Tars and their mess mates being groggy
                    Their money all out and their credit far run
                    From Patrick St. to the Quay down they rambled
                    They were bent to procure it, their money for fun.

                    The cook of the ship being one of the party
                    A smart lad he was and his color was black
                    With wit and contrivance he always was ready
                    And soon found a way to raise cash in a crack
                    Says he to the mess mates, I heard people talking
                    A corpse could be sold very easily here
                    So take me alive, wrap me up in my hammock
                    And sell me to buy either whiskey or beer.

                    The sailors agreed and accepted the offer
                    Away to the house where the doctor did dwell
                    And into his ear they boldly did whisper
                    Saying Doctor we have got a corpse for to sell
                    A corpse, said the doctor, like a man in amazement
                    Oh where did you get it, come tell me I pray
                    If you'll bring it here, I'll buy it quite ready
                    And fifty bright guineas to you I will pay.

                    The sailors agreed and accepted the offer
                    Away to the ship, oh they quickly retired
                    Come listen a while and pay great attention
                    And I will tell you what quickly transpired
                    They wrapped the poor black, tied him up in his hammock
                    A smart lad he was, oh most sturdy and strong
                    And in under his waist coat, by way or protection
                    A knife with a blade about a half yard long.

                    About twelve o'clock when the streets were lonesome
                    The sailors went off with the black on their back
                    And into the house they boldly did venture
                    And in the back room they concealed the poor black
                    The doctor he paid the bold seamen their money
                    They told him their cook had died on the quay
                    And rather than have his dead body to bury
                    We sold him to you and he's out of our way.

                    The doctor he got out his knife to dissect him
                    He came down the stairs with the tools in his hand
                    He opened the door and boldly he ventured
                    The Black stood before him with cutlass in hand
                    He opened the door and boldly did venture
                    A'thinking the corpse was in very rich prime
                    With a voice loud as thunder, the he approached him
                    Saying, dam your eyes doctor, I'll skin you alive.

                    The doctor he ran like a man that was frightened
                    Straight up to the room where his wife she did lie
                    Saying, wife, dearest wife, oh where will you hide me
                    For I fear the Black devil is after my hide
                    His wife she got out and the doors she did bar them
                    She barred them so tight that he couldn't get in
                    Saying, husband, dear husband, leave off your dissecting
                    For fear the Black devil, he might come again.


                    ...whilst I don't believe that this was the inspiration for the name "Jack the Ripper", the references to dissection, skinning alive and a doctor offering cash for a cadaver (faint echo of Wynne Baxter's American doctor story) are interesting in a "fancy that!" sort of way.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not only is it not the "universally accepted derivation" (not that there ever would be such a thing), Sam, but it doesn't seem to be an opinion held by a majority of authors either.

                      I and others have in the past provided a long list of other famous Jacks that could have been partial inspirations for the name, but the one I lean to is just that it was such a universally common name and used generically for unknown males... and of course the fact that John (Jack) Pizer was famously locked up in suspicion of the Ripper crimes at the time the Dear Boss letter was written could logically have been an influence as well.

                      Dan Norder
                      Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
                      Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Those people who claimed to have seen SHJ - where can I get whatever it is they were on?

                        Then, of course, there are the famous footprints in the snow seen all over southern England in (I think) the 1850's. Crossing over high hedges, the roofs of houses, rivers, etc., etc.

                        When was Acapulco Gold first imported into England - anyone know?

                        Graham
                        We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, I'm from Belgium and I have to say that even here some people, mostly elderly know of SHJ. (and think it has to do with JTR)
                          I picked up the legend when I was about ten to twelve and so I sought a book about it. I found a piece in a book from Charles Berlitz.
                          Young as I was I actually thought SHJ was JTR, and so my interest was awoken. Offcourse I got interested in JTR (thinking it was SHJ) but even today I'm still confused you know. Sadly the book has gone missing so I don't have the chance of re-reading it but in my memory there were so much similarities I just got the two mixed up. Or maybe Berlitz got it all wrong...
                          It's quite normal though belgian people are confused. It's not like books etc. on him are thrown on our feet, it's not our history I suppose...
                          Pardon me, I don't speak english!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, if you're going to have two languages...

                            PHILIP
                            Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by George Hutchinson View Post
                              Well, if you're going to have two languages...

                              PHILIP
                              That was really bad, and I actually liked you over the years of reading....

                              LOL. Actually three.


                              On topic: Isn't it so that the monster of gevaudan (or something like that) and mothman seem to have elements in common with SHJ. I read it somewhere, but it was al about supernatural things and dimensions and stuff, which is not my cup of tea.
                              But it is so, no that a lot of legends get their "inspiration" by earlier myths.
                              Last edited by Gabrielle; 07-20-2008, 12:27 AM.
                              Pardon me, I don't speak english!

                              Comment

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