The Spring-Heeled Jack Library

In 1838, a series of complaints were raised about an individual or group who were causing a nuisance in the villages around London for causing a disturbance. Some of these are undoubtedly linked to the urban legends of ghosts roaming of fog-swathed streets. However, in February of that year, it was reported that a figure, who came to be known as Spring-heeled Jack, violently assaulted two young women.

This figure and his "pranks" captured the public's imagination, and became the subject of plays and serial novels published weekly. The work of the Spring-heeled Jack project is to make accessible the COMPLETE set of the serial novels and shorter fiction, including the episodes of the serials that are missing from the British Library. There are currently EIGHT planned volumes for this library. The first three are available now (vol. 2 comprises of two books).

Spring-Heel'd Jack: The Terror of London (1863)

Nearly 600 pages of a Gothic Penny Dreadful serial.

 

Spring-Heeled Jack: his name struck terror into the hearts of the people of London when Queen Victoria ascended the throne. Twenty-five years later, Jack became the subject of popular fiction through a serial publication about his antics. Few copies of the original publication survive. Even the British Library's collection is missing an issue. In this volume, the missing episode has been restored to complete the narrative of a masked aristocrat who becomes an avenger and defender of the oppressed and the vulnerable. This is the first volume of the Spring-Heeled Jack Library which will restore and make accessible the wildly different serials and short fictions about this focus of urban legend.

This is Volume 1 of the Spring-Heeled Jack Library

Book 1 of the longest Spring-Heeled Jack serials.

 

Twenty-three years after the first of the Spring-Heeled Jack

"Penny Dreadful" serial was published, and Jack was still a notorious name across the country, featuring in plays as well as the epithet being applied to criminals, as well as sightings in military barracks attributed to Jack. His name still commanded fear.

In 1886 a new serial was published in 48 installments. Jack is no longer a trickster, but a shadowy figure whose appearance freezes the hearts of his enemies and instills courage to the vulnerable women he protects. In particular he protects Ralph Ashton from his wicked relative, Sir Roland Ashton, as Ralph tries to assert his rightful claim on the Ashton Estates.

This is Volume 2 (Book 1) of the Spring-Heeled Jack Library

Book 2 of the longest Spring-Heeled Jack serials.

This volume picks up from where the first part of the story finishes and continues the last 24 issues as the tides turn for Sir Roland Ashton and the enigmatic figure of Spring-Heeled Jack moves in on Sir Roland and his associates.

 

This is Volume 2 (Book 2) of the Spring-Heeled Jack Library

Volume 3 of the Spring-Heeled Jack Library.

This volume collates articles and shorter fiction featuring Spring-Heeled Jack. From the earliest letter published in The Times newspaper in January 1838 when a "Resident of Peckham" complains to the Lord Mayor of London about the antics of a suburban ghost, to a morality tale, a story about the origins of Spring-Heeled Jack, excepts from a novel in which schoolboys capture "Springall Jack"; newspaper stories written entirely in dialect as a warning against vigilantism, an article from 50 years after the original assaults which summarises all that was known about the incidents, and some longer standalone and fiction where Jack is a wronged character who needs to be avenged, or the alter ego of a violent criminal. This volume collects six decades of material featuring Jack, much of which is published for the first time in over a century.

© 2020 Jon Mackley