Thursday, August 20, 2009

Springheeled Jack in Philly

In May, 1905, a cleaning woman named Julia McGlone was leaving her workplace early one morning when a figure leapt down and assaulted her. The shadowy attacker left her with scratches all over her face and neck. McGlone screamed for a policeman who rushed to her aid. The policeman pulled a gun on the attacker, who "blew blue flames" into his face and leapt up a flight of stairs in a single bound, making his escape. This was only one of a series of attacks perpetrated by a tall, thin man in shining metallic clothing.

The descriptions of the Philadelphia prowler in 1905 tally up admirably well with the reports of a similarly-dressed and highly agile attacker in London, England who was recorded from as far back as 1837. He had a similar propensity for dazzling his victims with a bluish flame and making his escape before capture. The prowler was known as Springheeled Jack, and predated by half a century reports of another Jack stalking the London streets.


  1. I have been researching this incident for quite a while now, but haven't found any contemporary source, of which the orginal author claims there are, but he never mentions which ones. It is impossible to get in touch with the original author as his website hasn't been maintained for years now, his e-mail address no longer valid.

    Do you have a contemporary source, such as a 1905 newspaper clipping perhaps? There's nothing on this in the Philadelphia Inquirer of that time.



  2. Interesting -- no, I don't have any primary sources, only hearing this story secondhand. I'll have to poke around some and see what I come up with. I'll let you know if I come across anything.