Some authors suggest that Spring-Heeled Jack was a masked identity devised by Lord Henry Beresford, Marquess of Waterford, a notable rich playboy of the time. Beresford was an accomplished athlete, a spoiled brat, and a notorious prankster, already famous for coining the phrase "paint the town red" by literally painting a town red.
His first character was "Neck-Beard Jack," but women ran away before he had the chance to whip out the fire breath.
According to this theory, Beresford had an "unfavorable altercation" involving a police officer and a lady. For reasons that probably made sense to him at the time, this led to the perfectly logical decision to don a carnival costume and creep around in order to hassle both police and women. The blue fire was achieved with common fire-breathing techniques and a hefty dose of brandy (a substance I suspect played a large part in creating the character). The giant leaps were part spring-loaded shenanigans achieved by consulting his engineer friends, part athleticism, and a great big helping of the aforementioned mass panic and exaggerations by eyewitnesses.
So ... essentially, we have a costumed, crazy, rich playboy prowling the night, terrifying citizens with his skills and special equipment and playing ridiculous, cruel pranks just because he can? Holy shit, the dude was both Steampunk Batman and the Joker. Come on, Hollywood, it's right there! He even had access to a crew of gadgeteers, for fuck's sake. Really, all you need is a script and some giant-ass springs we can strap onto an American Psycho-mode Christian Bale and you can start ordering yachts for every day of the week, because you're about to make all the money.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Might want to look into redesigning the suit, though.