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  Ant Wallis Illustration 

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Spring-heeled Jack (part 1)

“During the first half of the nineteenth century much of what is now Greater London consisted of rural villages scattered around the London Metropolis. As the young Queen Victoria was settling into the first year of her reign, those villages began to be troubled by some very dark rumours. Something evil was haunting the night, and it was attacking people”. These are the words that introduce the section on Spring-heeled Jack in James Clark’s excellent book Haunted Wandsworth (check out James' site here:-  http://www.james-clark.co.uk/hauntedwandsworth.shtml ). This artwork was produced specifically for Haunted Wandsworth and illustrates Mary Stevens’ terrifying encounter with Spring-heeled Jack in Lavender Hill, Battersea in the 1830’s. Dubbed as the ‘Suburban Ghost’ or ‘Leaping Terror’, Jack was sometimes described as being tall and thin, having a gaunt face and wearing a dark cloak and helmet, he was even said to have sharp claws and vomit blue and white flames! However, it was his reported tendency to leap unnaturally, far beyond the ability of mortal men, that gives Spring-heeled Jack his name. I’ve produced one other illustration of Jack, more on this below...