Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interview with a Spring-heeled Survivor

“Well, and then you know about the jumper, I assume…you don’t? I guess you’d like to know, wouldn’t you? If you are interviewin’ me for your retired policeman book, you want stories, don’t ya Busby?

            Listen up, I’ll tell you the greatest story that’s ever happened to a policeman…what? I know that’s a tall order, but if you’ll shut your mouth, I think I’ll make you agree with me.

            It was back in 1890…no, 1888. It was my first year as a constable, in Liverpool, England. I grew up near Liverpool, mind you, so I was pretty familiar with the area. I guess that’s why they put me over there…what? I said I guess that’s why they put me over there. Boy, I’ll be ninety-nine years old come September, and I can still hear better than you.

            Anyway, where was I?

            …Oh, right. The jumper. So one afternoon, around July I think, one of the guys serving under me…Jimmy O’Malley…came runnin’ up to me, yellin’ about someone jumpin’ off of Saint Francis Xavier's Church on Salisbury Street. My first thought was a priest had been doin’ wrong, and he turned to killin’ himself over salvation.

            I was wrong, though.

            When O’Malley and I got to the church, a crowd was gathered around it. Night was fallin’, and I knew that if this fella’ was serious about killin’ himself, nighttime was goin’ to be the time he would. I knew I had to act.

            I walked to the front, and peered up. The sun had set by this time, and darkness was approachin’ quick, so I couldn’t really see the jumper. I saw he was very tall, and very thin, kinda’ like you, Busby. He was pacing back and forth around the top, saying something…what’d you say? How do I know? I could see his mouth movin’.

            Now, my ears don’t work as well as they used to, but even then, I don’t think he was speaking English. I didn’t hear anything that sounded like English, anyway. Then, he approached the edge of the buildin’. Of the church. He started screamin’ something weird again, and then, he jumped.

            People started screamin’, O’Malley was yellin’ my name, but I could hear none of it. I was expectin’ the man to fall down hard, and splatter on the street. Instead, he flew through the air. Like, fifteen feet in the air, as if he had a spring in his heel or somethin’. In the moonlight, for a brief second, I could see his clawed hands and a tight-fitting black outfit. He had a cape, and, I swear I could see…your goin’ to laugh at me…red eyes.

            They were cold, and they felt like they burnt into my soul. I still think about those eyes. He disappeared into the night, and I never saw him again.

            I found out later that the man was the infamous creature called Spring-heeled Jack. He was spotted a few other times around suburban London, Scotland and the Midlands. Every so often, I hear in the news about another sighting. Those poor bastards.

            Sometimes, when the night is very dark, with no moon, I see him, Mr. Busby. Standing outside the window of my room. I see those eyes, and my heart stops a little.

            Then he jumps away.”


NOTE: This was an interview with retired constable Oswald Pawtucket, who was giving an account for Harrison Busby’s non-fiction book “In Their Words”, stories told by retired members of the Commonwealth police force of Great Britain. The mention of the entity Spring-heeled Jack has gone on public record as an actual sighting of the creature.

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