An obscure case which resides in London’s most silted areas of folklore, concerns a bounding prowler, a strange being, said to have been adorned in a cloak and active around the Beavor Lane vicinity, particularly St Andrew’s Guild Church around 1815.
The phantom, just like Spring-Heeled Jack, but over thirty years previous, was said to leap over high walls with ease and bound away with great, unnatural strides. Even more bizarre, two centuries previous a horned figure, said also to move with great leaps, evaded many locals who pursued with knives in the Smithfield.
The mystery assailant was an irritant who jumped across market stalls, infuriating butchers and other tradesmen, but as the humanoid sprang through the sea of agitated bodies, they noted how their weapons simply passed right through the shadowy form.
Such prowlers may be nothing more than local panics at the time, and such hysteria continues to echo through to today. In the ‘90s a very popular yet scary urban myth concerned nightclubbers across London and the south, allegedly being the target of a syringe-wielding psychopath said to, in the darkness of a club atmosphere, prick a victim’s hand with the syringe, and then leave them a note stating ‘Welcome to the AIDS Club’. Whether anyone actually became a victim of such a phantom injector we’ll never know, but during the early part of the millennium it was said that ‘business cards’ left in phone boxes were being laced with a poisonous substance by a mystery lunatic who was obscurely hoping to weaken out the competition with his nasty game plan.
From buttock slashers to platform pushers, to mystery flashers and snatchers, London has had its fair share of urban legends, from the Chelsea ‘smilers’ said to attack victims with blades, and slit them ear to ear, to the less vicious spectacle snatcher who operated in the ‘70s around Thornton Heath. Even The Daily Mirror reported on the fiend who was said to have attacked more than thirty women, who always failed to give a decent enough description of their attacker…maybe he knew they were blind without their glasses!
Strangely, such mystifying attacks continued throughout the USA and seem to have some basis in fact, because in 1924 a London tram-driver named John Pitman was arrested for slipper-snatching! Indeed, it seems that whilst some urban legends are merely whispers on the wind, there is also an alarming underbelly of weird crime which suggests that morbid and surreal fetishist’s are on the prowl, and ready to strip you of whatever takes their fancy!
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