Thursday, July 14, 2005

Spring Heeled Jack

Steve Ash gave a great talk to South East London Folklore Society on the Spring Heeled Jack phenomenon. In 1838 panic swept through the villages on the edge of London, with people apparently being accosted by a mysterious figure in a cloak able to leap great heights to avoid capture. A servant girl in Forest Hill was frightened out of her wits by a creature in a bearskin; horses panicked after Spring Heeled Jack lept over Streatham High Road...

Steve talked through some of the different explanations that have been put forward - was it all a prank played on gullible peasants by toffs? Was it mass hysteria linked to the stresses of urbanisation and disease? Was there some paranormal content? In true Fortean style, the mystery resists any single explanation.

Next SELFS on Monday August 8th features another dark creature of the night, with a talk on the folklore of the Black Dog. Upstairs at the Spanish Galleon pub, Greenwich, prompt 8 pm start.

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