Sad that this year's TT is over? Fuel your need for motorbike-related content with Tom George's reflections on a lifelong love...
When I was a kid I was in love with motorbikes – along with dinosaurs and knights, they were one of the great obsessions of my childhood.
I can’t remember how it started, but by the age of nine my bedroom walls were lined with posters of Kawasakis, Suzukis and Hondas; I amassed a sizeable collection of books on the subject and I drew and painted the machines incessantly. When we moved onto a street with a motorcycle showroom on the corner, the fire was stoked still further and I would indulge my two-wheeled fantasies constantly.
As Liverpool's Suitcase Ensemble call for people to get involved with workshops based around the story of Spring Heeled Jack, Nicola Roscoe-Calvert explores the legend, and his relation to other characters from literature and mythology.
Just outside Liverpool city centre lies the Grade II listed Church of St. Francis Xavier, opened in 1848. It’s an impressive enough building, and seems to have had a pretty average history, as far as churches go, with nothing really out of the ordinary – except one thing. On the church website’s ‘Trivia’ section we find this:
“SPRING HEELED JACK was a caped phantom who appeared in various parts of the country towards the end of the 19th century. His last sighting was in September 1904, when he jumped of the roof of the church into Haigh Street and the disappeared down William Henry Street.”
This is almost true. More recent sightings have been reported, but this one in Liverpool was one of the last of the ‘original run’, if you like, of sightings across England.
So who, or what, is Spring Heeled Jack?