13. Part of the terror of Spring Heeled Jack was he made people feel unsafe in their own homes.
Jane Alsop’s story is the earliest clear, contemporary description of one of Spring Heeled Jack’s attacks. The violence of the attack was bad enough. However what made it worse was the fact that Jane’s assailant had explicitly selected her and lured her out of her own home- rather than attacking her on the street. Jane had been inside the house when she heard the “violent ringing” of the house bell. When she went to find out what the commotion was about, she heard a man she thought was a policeman tell her to “bring me a light; we have caught Spring Heeled Jack here in the lane.” It was only once Jane opened the door that her assailant attacked her.
Even when Jane was back in the house, having been rescued by her elder sister, Mrs. Susan Harrison, Jack persisted in terrorizing the women by knocking on the door until they managed to call out for the police. If the Alsop case had been an isolated instance, people might have been less concerned. However, later in the month, another home was targeted.
One day in late February 1838, there was a knock at the door of the House of a Mr. Ashworth of 2 Turner Street, Commercial Road. Before answering the door, the servant boy looked out and observed that the unexpected visitor had “a most hideous appearance.” It was so bad; that the boy screamed for help and the mystery caller ran away. Spring Heeled Jack might have been easy enough to drive away if a householder had company. However, for those alone, the prospect of a visitation by a hideous, fire-breathing villain must have been an uneasy prospect.