HIS TRUE NAME will never be known, but during his 67-year reign of terror, the superstitious people of Victorian England called him Springheel Jack, because of his amazing super-human ability to leap over rooftops Sack made his frightening debut one September evening in 1837 on Barnes Common, a secluded tract of land in London A businessman who was taking a short cut across the common was shocked when a sir-foot figure wearing a tight-fitting white suit and helmet jumped over the eight-foot-high railings of a nearby cemetery, shrieking with laughter. Understandably, the man turned on his heels and fled, convinced he had encountered a demon. On the following night, the leaping terror attacked three girls who were making their way home via the common. Two of the girls escaped, but the remaining one became so weak with fright, she collapsed, and found herself at the mercy of the unearthly assailant. As he leaned over her, the girl saw that her attacker resembled Satan himself. He had bright red eyes, a long prominent nose, and strange pointed ears, As the monster ripped the girl's clothes off with his claw-like hands, she passed out. A policemen later discovered the unconscious gir and revived her. When she started babbling about the devilish attacker, the policeman thought the girl had been drinking But more and more assaults were reported as the weeks went by, and when The Times started to publicise the supernatural prowler's attacks, many Londoners refused to go out at night and barricaded themselves indoors When the old Duke of Wellington read of the leaping man's cowardly attacks, he patrolled the city each night on horseback with two loaded pistols, but Springheel Jack was skilful at evading capture, wherever the police approached. he would simply bound off into the night.
Jack eventually tired of frightening the denizens of the capital, and began a trek of terror in a northerly direction across the country.
By the turn of the century, Springheel Jack had turned up in the south of Liverpool, where he was first seen making a 4O foot leap over the reservoir building in High Park Street, Toxteth A week later, Jack performed his Grand Finale when he turned up early one Sunday evening at Salisbury Street, Everton, where be ran screaming along the roof tops. It is said that the members of a Bible study class at St Francis Xavier's school became hysterical, thinking that Jack was the devil The teacher told her pupils not to Look out the window at the leaping figure, but to close their eyes so that they could pray for the Lord to intervene.
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