Kirsten Weiss, author of The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum (my review), is promoting her new book A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical through Bewitching Book Tours. I happily agreed to be a stop on the tour, and in return I got this very awesome guest blog on Spring-Heeled Jack in return! Thanks, Kristen!
Make sure you check out the information on the book, and enter the giveaway at the bottom!
by Kirsten Weiss
Spring-Heeled Jack is perhaps one of the least known of the Victorian monsters. Vampires, werewolves, and mad scientists such as Dr. Jekyll and the Invisible Man have overshadowed this sinister character. But Spring-Heeled Jack was a real fear for Londoners of that era.
The monster was first sighted in Victorian London, and he makes an appearance in my latest book, A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical. Spring-heeled Jack was known both for his demonic appearance and his ability to leap high into the air and pounce on his victims.
Spring-Heeled Jack was first reported in 1837. He leapt out of an alley and molested a young servant named Mary Stevens. When she screamed, he ran away. She claimed he had claws, and was “as cold and clammy as a corpse.” The next day, he jumped in front of a moving carriage, causing the coach driver to lose control and crash. Several witnesses claimed Jack then jumped over a nine-foot wall while laughing in a sinister fashion.
The urban legend morphed. Soon, reports emerged that Spring-Heeled Jack was a cloaked demon with claws. He was able to spew “blue and white flames” from his mouth, while his eyes were “balls of fire.” He had a penchant for harassing attractive young ladies, and he became one of the most notorious characters of the early Victorian era, with reports of his activities throughout the 1840s and 1870s.
The women were certainly accosted, but were they hysterical in their descriptions of Spring-Heeled Jack, or was their attacker actually dressed as a fiend? Jack was reportedly able to scale buildings and leap walls. Was he? Or was that an exaggeration as well?
From a writerly perspective, Spring-Heeled Jack makes a wonderful monster. A fictional Jack might be skilled in one of the martial arts that uses jumping and landing on the victim as a form of attack, such as Indonesian style. In my steampunk novel, A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical, “Jack” is equipped with diabolical mechanical devices which enable him to spring large distances. (I’m fairly certain I’m not the only steampunk writer to use that idea). Or with his hideous appearance and spewing flame, the monster could be supernatural in origin. That might explain why the last reported sighting of Spring-Heeled Jack was in… the 1980s.
A Midsummer Night’s Murder
The California Territory, 1849 – Blamed for burning down the San Francisco wharf, clockwork inventor, Sensibility Grey has spent the last three months in hiding. Now all she wants is to depart the gold-crazy boomtown for a new life in the East. So when the owner of a traveling theater offers her work embellishing his mechanical stage, she turns him down. Then he turns up dead on her doorstep along with his enigmatic stage.
An explorer of the mysteries of aether, Sensibility has her own secrets to keep, and adversaries who’ll stop at nothing to learn them. Is the mechanical stage a part of a bigger game? Or the key to unlocking her true, magical potential?
A Midsummer Night’s Mechanical is book three in the Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense. – Goodreads Synopsis.
Grandprize: ebook copies of The Sensibility Grey Three-Book set, and the entire Riga Hayworth series of seven urban fantasy novels.
Second prize: ebook copies of The Sensibility Grey Three-Book Set
a Rafflecopter giveaway