Wikipedia:Today's featured article/June 1, 2005

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Spring Heeled Jack illustration, c. 1890

Spring Heeled Jack is a legendary figure of the Victorian era and may well be called the patron saint of the urban legend. "Sightings" of Spring Heeled Jack began in 1837 and are recorded all over England, from London up to Sheffield and Liverpool, but they were especially prevalent in suburban London and later in the Midlands, where they peaked between the 1850s and 1880s. Although some unconfirmed reports claim that it could still be active, it is generally believed to have disappeared after 1904, year of the last recorded incident. Many theories have been proposed to ascertain its nature and identity, none of which have been capable of clarifying the subject completely, and the phenomenon still remains unexplained. The story of Spring Heeled Jack gained an immense popularity in its time due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and his capacity to perform extraordinary leaps, to the point that it transcended the role of a mere paranormal phenomenon and attained the status of urban legend. Since the moment the events gained notoriety, it gradually became an integral part of English folklore, exerting a lasting influence on England's popular culture that endures to present date.

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