Beginning in the Spring of 1888, a series of grizzly murders would shake the city of London so badly that, even today, they remain among the most famous crimes ever committed. Attempts at bringing the killer to justice have led to numerous theories about the identity of the man who became known to history as Jack the Ripper. Today, despite a number credible leads that have been presented since Jack’s reign of terror, along with new evidence that employs modern science to try and crack the case, a conclusive case for The Ripper’s identity has remained elusive.
The infamous killer of Whitechapel was by no means the first eerie figure to terrorize Londoners by night. Five decades before Jack the Ripper first scrawled his name in red ink on a letter sent to London’s Central News Agency, a less murderous–though far more strange–series of incidents would arouse similar terror among the people of London, and under a similar name that remains one of the most odd and evocative in the annals of Forteana.
Bearing clawed hands, strange metallic armor, and the ability to leap the high walls of London’s suburban sprawl with ease, Spring Heeled Jack would become one of the most recognizable characters in London’s Victorian-era folklore. Purported sightings date back to 1837, with close encounters reporting a ghastly, demonic villain clad in oilskin and a long cloak, who would belch flames at his victims.