1838, February 25: The Turner Street Scare

The Legend:

On February 25, 1838, a knock was heard at the door of 2 Turner Street, off the Commercial Road, and in just a short distance of the village of Old Ford. A servant-boy answered a knock at the door where a man's voice was asking after Mr. Ashworth, the master of the house... only to find himself facing Spring-Heeled Jack, who threw down his cloak and 'presented a most hideous appearance.' Jack was apparently taken off guard by how loudly and suddenly the boy started screaming, for he quickly left without doing anything more.

Unreliable... Sorta

        Here's the problem. There is only one known source for this incident, and I haven't seen it. On the plus side, I now believe this incident was actually reported (whether or not it happened as above), because it was found by a researcher I trust some, Mike Dash.

        For a long time, I didn't believe this report had an existence that pre-dated an interesting article on Spring-Heeled Jack published in 1961 by a gentleman named J. Vyner... every single other mention of this incident I ran across after 1961, until Dash's study on Spring-Heeled Jack in 2012, were simply details copied from what Vyner had published. Since Vyner's article on Spring-Heeled Jack was a wondrous pile of inventive nonsense (see the link below), there was no reason to believe this event actually existed; and I'm still surprised to find that - somehow - Vyner had gotten hold of the one newspaper article on the matter, apparently before anyone else I've been able to track.

        So, until I can get a copy of the original report, which apparently ran in the February 27, 1838, issue of the Morning Herald - a local paper from the London area, so not easily available to me - I can neither consider the report reliable, nor guarantee what details were actually reported. Anyone in London willing to email me a copy?

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