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Episode 22: Over the Top

2015-11-30 | 🔗

History is full of examples of moments in time when hysteria and fear ruled common sense. While some of these examples were valid reasons to panic and worry, others were less logical. But that didn’t make them any less dangerous.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The streets of London workplace of fear in seventeen. Ninety there had been dozens of attacks all reported by women, a man it seems had been stepping out of the shadows or from around corners and pricking them with sometimes he was covert about it. There are reports, then he fitted a bouquet of flowers with a sharp object and would ask women if they like to smell them. who could resist other, say he attached small blades to his knees and then use them. Deb women in the backs of the legs and as the story spread. So too did panic, call him the London monster, and within weeks the entire city was on alert.
In the autumn of eighteen, o three level of London were obsessed with a new story at sea that a ghost had been seen in the Hammersmith area at the city, there were whispers that he was the victim of a suicide doomed to haunt our world forever, and many people claim to have seen him After months of hysteria and rumour, a police officer actually witness the ghost, while on Patrol Frances Smith, pulled his gun, called for the fiend to staff and then fired upon it. He shot was true. The ghost fell linked to the ground and fell because it was, after all, just a man. Thomas mill would have been a plaster by trade, and because of this he wore all white clothing
Observe Smith was tried for murder and found guilty view. Things can United City, like here hysteria, spreads In much the same way that the plague moved across Europe in the seventeenth century, but that's not the unusual part, what's truly odd, is the debts to which people will go to believe these fears how easily they fall in with a public outcry and believe whatever it is.
Hold for as horrible as the London monster and the Hammersmith Ghost story, sound a new fear swept the city decades later. This fear permeated so deep and spread so fast that it left a mark still visible today because fear, even when its built on lies in spread like fire, but sometimes on rare occasions. There is a very good reason to be afraid. I married maybe- and this is more. On a cool September night in eighteen, thirty, seven Polly atoms on her way home from the green man, a public house in the Black Sea area of London. She was with friends,
talked and laughed ass. They walked toward shooters Hill nearly home. The group was startled when a figure seemed to jump out of the darkness of an alley Before anyone could react, the figure grabbed at Polly to her later deposition with the police. The stranger clad in black cloak, but his eyes seems burn, with light oddly she remembered that man, smelled of sulphur and then added as if it were a normal thing to notice about a midnight attacker that he also happened to spit blue fire from his mouth. Rather than help Pollys three travel companions ran quickly away into the night afraid for their lives, and rightly so. The attacker rip through pollys blouse with hands that seemed more like laws than anything else. But after tearing at the flesh of her stomach, the figure stopped pushing her to the ground. It turned and bounded away into the night.
one month after Polly Adams want home from the green man. Mary sue and was making her way back to work after a short visit with her parents in nearby Battersea Mary worked ass, a servant in a home on lavender hill, just south of the tens and decided to cut through clap and common May Not the smartest decision, no matter what century you live in, yet Mary did just that and set off on a quick walk through the dark, trees and bushes toward her place of employment near the edge of the park. A figure jumped out of the shadows. The man grabbed her and pushed her to the ground where he began to kiss her Mary struggled with a man's grip was beyond tight according to marry the stranger than ripped at her clothing with Claude hands that felt as cold and clammy as those of a core. Fraid for her life, she screamed foreseen the attacker to release her and flee the scene. This
dreams brought several near by residents to her aid, and a search was organized to locate the stranger, but no trace of him could be found. the following evening in the very same neighborhood where Mary Stevens lived, another dark figure responded. This time rather than an assault, a mysterious person, stepped out into the path of an oncoming carriage. The coachman surprise by the appearance of the dark figure, lost control of the carriage before crashing it into a building. the coachman, was severely injured and the mysterious man cried out with a ringing high pitched laugh that chilled witnesses to the core and then ass. If his work well the man jumped over a near by wall and escaped the wall mind. You was over nine feet. Tall Three months later, the Lord mayor of London, a man named John Cowan spoke up at a public session at the mansion house about a complaint he had received in the four
of Letter, this letter was anonymous. The writer claim to be a resident of Peckham close to Battersea and the eighteen thirty seven attacks. The letter described how the attacks it all been a prank put on by an unnamed aristocrat as part of the dare. Researchers have speculated for over a century as to who the nobleman might have been, but no theories have ever pan out later in January, of eighteen, thirty, eight the mayor showed off a pile of law. Is he had received from people in and around London all claiming to have witnessed or been the victim of similar attacks to what Polly Atoms and Mary Stevens had suffered. The claims can't be proven. Some letters reported that people actually died of fright, while others were permanently traumatized by their income. there's with this mysterious figure, and many of the reports contain eerily similar pieces of information. The stranger was said to be able,
Leap over very tall fences and was he was always described, is in red eyes and Claude Hands, and he always got away like a fever. The hysteria spread throughout London and the surrounding country side. It didn't matter that the mayor was sceptical. Of the whole thing, people everywhere seem to be catching glimpses of dark shapes, leaping tall, build he's an terrorizing, their neighbours and servants like movement or public experience. The people of London went looking for a name. What would they call the creature human or not? Who was at the centre of all these stories in by late winter of eighteen? Thirty, eight they had found it a name that would forever become part of victorian folklore. They called him spring healed Jack
Up to this point, sightings and spring he'll Jack had consisted of second hand, accounts and attacks on women with little power to demand attention, but in the winter one thirty, eight, all of that changed on the night of February when he ate Lucy and Margaret scales set off from the home of their brother, who worked as a butcher on narrow street. In the light district history has it remembered their destination All we know is that around eight thirty p m that night young women walked off into the shadows, naively confidence in their own safety minutes. Later there brother, the butcher, heard screams off in the distance. The direction of a street known as green dragon alley when he real The voice was that of his sister Margaret. He dashed off to find her and I to imagine that he said, on his body, apron and most likely picked up a meekly
on his way out before making the run. When he found his sisters. Mark. it was on her knees in the dark Alley, Lucy's body cradled in her arms. The young woman wasn't dead, but she was unconscious and Margaret was hysterical as her brother help. The two women home, I told him the story of what had happened. They had stepped into the alley, but a few paces in a dark figure stepped out of the shadows and approached them quickly Lucy had been standing in front of her sister, just a few paces separating the two women. Because of this it was Lucy who took the full brunt of the assault. The figure she said was that of a man Margaret described him as and very thin, dressed in the manner of a gentleman and wrapped up in a large dark cloak held. Lantern known, then as a bulls, I, a small round type carried by officers of the law.
Maybe that's why the women? Let him approach so carelessly? That's when things took a turn for the worse. According to Margarets Report, which she later filed with the police office in Lambeth cloaked, man stepped close to Lucy and spat blue flames at her face. aimed she claimed erupt it from the man's mouth and the sight of them. Blinded and Shock Lucy collapsed right there on the spot. Margaret worry that ships, next, but she also had been concerned for her sister Lucy, who now lay on the cobblestone writhing in the three was of some kind of seizure and then ass. If his mission had been accomplished, the dark figure leaped over Margaret and onto the roof of nearby house before vanishing into London STAR sometime during the same week, the shadowy figure of spring he'll J, made another appearance, Jane also was real. The book around nine pm. She lived in
one of the nicer neighborhoods in the east end of London, along with her father and two sisters, and on the night in question, she was closest to the front door, which is probably why she was the one who heard the shouting From across the small yard, a voice had cried out in the darkness. There was a gate there, that allowed access to the property and served The small measure of security, with a voice that had shouted
belong to someone professing to being a police officer, an officer. In fact, the claim to have captured none other than spring he'll Jack man had called out for a light Jane being a dutiful citizen, grabbed a lit candle and exited her home to deliver it to the officer ass. She handed it to him, the man tossed off his cloak, exposing his true appearance by the light of the flickering flame. This was no police officer. When Jane saw took her breath away, the figure was clothed in what appeared to be a tight fitting one piece: suit of white fabric, along with the metal helmet according to Jane the man's eyes, glowed red and were set within a face, more hideous and frightening than any she had seen before, and then without warning. The figure spat blue flames from his mouth.
This time no jack was content to stop there with Jane, partially blinded by the flash of bright flames. He reached out and grasped her with his arms in the report that her family filed later that night at the same Lambeth Police Office, where Lucy Scales had told her story Jane further describe her assault. The man, if that's what you Billy, was tore into her dress with fingers that fell to her like metal clause. He tore through her dress and then cut through to her skin, ripping deep painful gashes in her abdomen. Jane screamed, perhaps from the pain or may be from her primal fear and then she ran the front door was just metres away and open, and so she bolted quickly for that safe sliver of light in the shadow covered facade of the House
mere steps away from the doorway, a heartbeat from safety when Jack caught up Claude hands grabbed around her neck and shoulder sharp metallic fingers were at Janes. Young flesh patches of here were pulled free from her skull. Lud was everywhere or family had her scream though, and just as her attacker, with slashing at her face her father, reached toward her from within the house to arms, outstretched to touch one target one to harm one to save. Thankfully, it was James, other who one grabbing her by the arm. He pulled hard and brought her back inside slamming the door behind her.
Many of the details surrounding spring he'll jack, details that were so out of the ordinary an unusual seem to be echoed in each new. Eyewitness accounts the red eyes, the white body suit the sharp claws, but something sat, Jane, Austen story. Apart from all the others, she was well off, not part of the elite, but I enough at the social ladder that her story caught the attention of the local newspapers. As well as the police and when the upper class feel threatened, they take action. When word spread, that Jack was hunting women throughout London. The police began arrests aspects about, none were ever brought to trial, groups of vigilantes, banded together and patrolled the streets at night both to assist the police in protecting the people of London.
but also with the hope of capturing the mysterious attacker upon reading about the attacks that had begun to plague the good people of London One: seventy year, old, retired military, veteran, actually dusted off his guns put on his boots and rode off in search of the monster responsible, though he was never successful in capturing or even, green eyes on the mysterious spring heeled Jack gesture did much to calm the nerves of the locals, and how could it not? He was, after all, the Duke of Wellington, the man who fought Napoleon and one. Needless to say, the story is beginning to spread. Several penny dreadfuls were written about the mysterious jack who's exploit.
Were perfect for the cheap cereal ice fiction that the general was built around in theatres around London, several plays appeared, the featured the subject. Even the punch and Judy Puppet shows across London, found a way to incorporate this. Shadowy public menace in shows that once featured the devil, performers changed his name. This spring he'll jack. There were, of course, handful of additional sightings over the years to come, but while some of them stayed in the south western area of London and Syria county beyond that others popped up in more distant locations, one report in north happed ensure described an encounter with a creature that was- and I quote, the very image of the devil himself. With horns and the flames in Devon and investigation was mounted to find the man responsible for assaulting women in the area and the suspects description.
Had some similarities to spring he'll jack Lincolnshire on the eastern coast of England was the location of another document inciting in the eighteen seventies. One witness described a Kate figure who was seen leaping over outages in a small village. When the locals grand their guns and tried to shoot the figure they claim they could hear their bullets strike him. But the only result was a metallic ringing. Sound jack got away. One of the last encounters of note occurred in older shot on the very edge of Surrey County. It was geographically closer to London than most of the eighteen. Seventy sightings, some researchers, believed that this proximity to the original reports lead, story, more validity In August of eighteen, seventy seven private James Reagan was standing guard in a small booth near a military munitions depot, while inside he claimed
something metallic being scraped along the wood of the booth step outside rifle in hand and patrol the area to find the source when he was satisfied that nothing's there he headed back to his station inside booth and that's when something touched him looking up. He saw the figure the tall man wrapped in a cloak in wearing a metal helmet. Then the figure leaped into the air and landed behind him Reagan pointed his weapon at the figure, now for a name, but he claims the visitor, whoever it was simply laughed at him. The soldier fired two no effect in the figure advanced then without warning blue flames erupted his mouth. That's when Reagan did what any good soldier would do under the circumstances he ran for his life spring he'll Jack, never left the public mind
but as the legend slowly settled into popular culture, reports of actual appearances became less and less frequent. Then just as Jack had seemed to crossed the threshold into mythic territory. He did what every eye witness claimed he was so gifted at he disappeared. there is a lesson deep inside the story. Sprinkle Jack like most powerful and devastating diseases of the last thousand years, ideas have a tendency to spread like fire, today we use the term viral and anyways, that's close to the truth. Beer, panic and hysteria are all communicable diseases and when a culture is in fact, Sometimes there is no way to stop it, but, unlike the plague, or some new strain of the bird flu it stay,
the reason that we could, at the very least com our fears and put out the fires of hysteria. So why is it so hard to do so spring he'll Jack is just one of countless examples that have been repeated all around the world throughout history. You would think we would have figured it out by now made. We actually like mass hysteria now the hysteria itself mind you. What I mean is what, if there's something about being part of a larger story that resonates of people it binds us together it unites us in a global conversation. It builds community, vague fear, never really go away. those spring he'll Jack, disappeared from the public eye in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Some think he still around Nineteen. Ninety five, a school, in a small Westbury village was closed by the town. The students and teachers wanted to mark the occasion, and so they,
on a disco theme celebration to say goodbye to each other and the school. They loved that night. as the party was winding down. A handful of students ran back into the school dreaming about something they had seen outside when asked by the teachers about it, be students all told the same story they had all left the party earlier and had been hanging out near the playground. While they're a shadowy figure had approached them in the darkness. As the shape move closer, they saw more details. The man wore black boots and a dark hooded cloak, but it was what they saw beneath the cloak that frightened them the most a one piece suit of white cloth, a glowing red eyes,
this episode of war was researched, written and produced by me. Aaron mangy lore is much more than upon gas there's a books he's in bookstores around the country and online and the can season of the Amazon Prime Television show was recently released, check them both out. If you want more lore in your life by so make two other upon, casts Erin, monkeys, cabinet of curiosities and uninsured, and I think you'd enjoy both each one explore Other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dives into a single topic you can learn about both of those shows everything else going on all over in one central place. The world of law, dot, com, slash now, and you can offer
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-13.