Exploring the vast urban legend surrounding this enigmatic figure, John Matthews explains how the Victorian fascination with strange phenomena and sinister figures paired with hysterical reports enabled Spring-Heeled Jack to be conjured into existence. Sharing original 19th-century newspaper accounts of Spring-Heeled Jack sightings and encounters, he also examines recent 20th and 21st-century reports, including a 1953 UFO-related sighting from Houston, Texas, and disturbing accounts of the Slender Man, who displays notable similarities with Jack. He traces Spring-Heeled Jack's origins to earlier mythical beings from folklore, such as fairy creatures and land spirits, and explores the theory that Jack is an alien marooned on Earth whose leaping prowess is attributed to his home planet having far stronger gravity than ours.
John Matthews has made a lifetime study of the legends of King Arthur, the Celtic traditions, and more recently, the history of pirates. He is the author of more than 100 books, including Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman, The Grail: Quest for Eternal Life, The Wildwood Tarot, the award-winning Arthur of Albion, and the New York Times bestseller Pirates. He has acted as an advisor on several big budget movies, including King Arthur, and is the recipient of several awards including a Benjamin Franklin Award, a NAPPA Gold Medal, and a BIB Golden Apple. He lives in Oxford, England.
Acknowledgments Introduction The Unsolved Mystery PART ONE THE LEGEND Chapter 1 The Birth of a Legend Chapter 2 The Legend Spreads Chapter 3 Jack Takes a Holiday PART TWO THE MYTH Chapter 4 The Urban Ghost Chapter 5 Roots in Myth and Folklore Chapter 6 Who Was Jack? Chapter 7 Jack's Back Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Appearances Appendix Spring-Heeled Jack--The Terror of London Appendix 2 Principal Sightings of Spring-Heeled Jack Notes Bibliography Index