At the London General Omnibus Company, Barrett and Isobel are celebrating the creation of their company when someone slips a note beneath their door. Barrett reads it and then looks out, but the messenger is gone. He then shows the note to Isobel: “From hell’s heart I stab at thee,” and says that he has an inkling of who sent it.
That night, Barrett wakes up when he hears someone moving in the darkness. He goes to investigate and looks out the window, and looks up to see a black-clad figure clutching to the wall above him. The figure grabs Barrett and throws him out the window.
The next day, Arthur looks in on Arthur and Kingsley. They’re depressed at the fact that Touie went back into a coma, Arthur tries to cheer them up, assuring them that tuberculosis won’t keep their mother down for long. Arthur receives a call from Adelaide. He goes to collect Harry, who is admiring his new and largest poster. They go to the Barrett home, and Adelaide shows them where Barrett fell to his death. She shows them the note and says that Gudgett thinks that it’s an accident. Harry figures that Adelaide just called them there because she was interested in him. She says that she thought that they’d be interested and calls over the doorman, Gaines. Gaines is impressed with Harry and the magician gives him two tickets to his show. The doorman says that the previous night, he looked up and saw a black-clad figure leap from the building to another one across the street.
At Merring’s office, Merring is less than thrilled that Adelaide brought Harry and Arthur in without his approval. Gudgett says that the “phantom” wasn’t worth mentioning. Harry agrees, dismissing Gaines testimony as him sawing a bird. He insists that it was an accident, but Adelaide reminds him of the threatening note. She figures that there are plenty of livery stables upset with Barrett selling a fleet of motorized omnibuses, and Arthur agrees. Merring wonders why Harry wants to go with them, and Harry says that he wants to prove Barrett was killed by gravity rather than a phantom.
As the trio leaves Merring’s office, she receives a note and tells the men that they’ll have to get started without her. She claims that she received some medicine that she ordered and has to pick it up. As Arthur and Harry drive to the stables, Harry points out that Adelaide doesn’t look sick. He then asks about Touie’s condition, and Arthur insists that she’ll be fine. The magician says that he doesn’t always have to keep a stiff upper lip, and Arthur says that it’s better than wallowing in self pity.
At the first and largest stable, Arthur and Harry talk to the owner, Angus Tuttle. He doesn’t recognize either of them, and insists that the business will still be there in 70 years. Arthur points out that Angus has been outspoken in the press about the motorcars, but Angus says that he didn’t kill Barrett. The owner says that he didn’t send a threatening note to Barrett, but refuses to tell them where he was the previous night. As they leave, Harry says that he figures Angus killed Barrett.
At the Barrett flat, the two men examine the bedroom. Harry shows Arthur an invoice he “borrowed” from the livery. The handwriting matches the handwriting on the note. Harry figures that Angus used block and tattle to lower him from the balustrade above. Arthur notes that the “phantom” is similar to reports of Spring Heel’d Jack, a mysterious killer. As they go to the elevator, writer Lyman Biggs comes out. Harry introduces his friend to Arthur, and Lyman is impressed by Arthur and asks him to look over his first novel. Harry explains that Lyman is a halfpenny writer and wrote several stories about him. Arthur goes on ahead and Lyman tells Harry that he’s looking into Barrett’s death. He’s talked to Gaines and points out that Doyle mentioned Spring Heel’d Jack. Harry insists that there is no phantom.
Later, Adelaide is walking in the park and sees a man, Nigel Pennington, meet a woman.
That night, Arthur is at home when he hears Harry entertaining the children. He watches as Harry performs magic tricks for the children. Harry notices Arthur and asks Kingsley what he wants to do when he grows up, and the boy says that he wants to be a writer. Arthur sends his children along and shows Harry clippings about Spring Heel’d Jack going back a hundred years. Each appearance precluded some communal catastrophe. Some people think that Jack is a demon that feeds on fear, but Harry isn’t impressed. Arthur warns that each time, Jack would assault people for days, then disappear, then reappear again years later. He’s sure that Jack will strike again soon., but Harry is sure that Angus killed Barrett.
Natalia Kroshenko is at home that night when she hears a fluttering noise outside her window. She goes to the window and a flare goes off, and then Jack grabs her. The maid, Mrs., Blake, pulls Natalia back and they watch as Jack leaps off into the night.
The next day, the newspapers are full of articles about Jack attacking a second victim. Harry and Arthur go to Mrs. Blake’s house, and Gudgett tells them that Adelaide is still sick. Natalia recognizes Harry and is glad to tell them that a figure with glowing eyesattacked her. When Harry mentions Angus, Natalia says that she argued with Angus over a bill. Arthur dismisses it as coincidence, and Harry notices a nerve tonic on the tray. Natalia admits that she recently stayed at an asylum, but Mrs. Blake confirms her story about Jack. Outside, Harry and Arthur examine the broken window and Harry demonstrates that the leap is possible. He then goes to keep an eye on Angus, sure that he’s Jack.
That night, Harry gets flowers and pays a visit to Adelaide. He discovers that Arthur is also arriving, and the doctor says that he’s paying Adelaide a visit due to her illness. Nobody answers the door, and Harry picks the lock. Adelaide isn’t at home, and Harry starts poking around. Arthur reluctantly does as well and points out that there’s no medicine. Harry finds a ring with a symbol on it neither of them recognize. The telegram that Adelaide received at the station is on the table, and it’s from Nigel. Nigel says that Adelaide is wrong about him and asks to explain. Harry sees Adelaide outside and hides, and Adelaide comes in to find Arthur going through her correspondence. Harry comes in and feigns innocence, but Adelaide doesn’t believe him. She says that she’s been out canvassing livery stable owners, and they all have owners. Furious, she orders them both out.
The next day, Angus leaves his stable for the night and Harry follows him. The owner goes to an expensive tenement.
Kingsley enters Arthur’s study and looks at the clippings of Jack. Arthur comes in and Kingsley gives him a message from Harry. He asks if Arthur is investigating Jack, and tells his father that a boy at school said that Jack ate three victims. Arthur tells Kingsley to tell his son that he has nothing to be afraid of.
Arthur meets Harry at a brothel and the prostitutes laugh when he says that he’s a married man. He finally finds Harry with a woman, Sophie, and Sophie says that Angus is a frequent customer there. Angus was there the night of Bartlett’s death, and he refused to discuss it for fear his wife would find out. Sophie says that Angus wrote the threatening note there and had one of his stable boys deliver it. They figure that Jack is still out there.
A man named Herbert Ogilvie is walking home in the rain and hears something moving in the darkness. He turns and someone releases a flare. Herbert runs and comes to a locked gate, and Jack jumps him.
The next day, Arthur arrives at the scene of the new murder. Angus has been tossed up on a spiked fence. As the body is taken away, Harry and Adelaide arrive, and Adelaide confirms that Herbert was a slum landlord. Arthur figures that he lived in fear, making him a perfect target for Jack. Lyman arrives and says that Jack is a demon escaped from Hell. He wants to a story with Adelaide, and isn’t deterred when she walks off. Arthur says that Lyman is spreading fear and insists that he’s spreading fear, and Lyman says that he’s trying to warn people.
At the station, people are flooding the place to report Jack sightings. Merring says that hospitals are reporting people seizing with violent fits and claiming that Jack attacked them. There are vigilante gangs out in the street trying to be the first to kill Jack. Harry starts scratching himself and says that he smells gas, No one else smells anything, but Gudgett starts scratching himself. Harry points out that the sergeant and other people are scratching themselves, and everyo9ne panics. The magician then says that he staged the entire thing to demonstrate mass hysteria. He insists that there is no demon: just people from shadows. Arthur points out that there is still a murderer, and Harry insists that they have to capture him. Adelaide says that she’ll check Herbert’s recent evictees, and refuses to let Arthur and Harry help her.
Adelaide takes the train home and walks to her flat. Men are arguing in the streets about Jack and woman are ushering their children away from the windows. Adelaide continues on and hear someone behind her. She hides in wait and discovers that it’s Arthur. He says that he was worried about Adelaide walking home, and she insists that she can take care of herself. Arthur points out that they broke into her flat because of her supposed ill health, and Adelaide angrily says that she doesn’t need any help before storming off.
Nigel is in an alleyway and sees Arthur walk past.
Harry is in his hotel room smoking opium and hastily hides the pipe when there’s a knock at the door. It’s Arthur, who says that Nigel is a businessman and alleged philanderer, and thinks that he saw him spying on Adelaide earlier. Harry wonders why Adelaide doesn’t trust them, and Arthur wonders if it’s concern or jealousy. He’s well aware that Harry is smoking opium, and wonders if Harry does it to eliminate fear. Arthur insists that they should confront fear, but Harry says that fear is a good thing because it helps them survive. He tells his friend that it’s only when someone admits to fear that it loses their power over them.
Kingsley is in bed when the window blows open. The bedroom door slams shut and Kingsley yells for his father. Arthur runs upstairs and comes in, and confirms that there’s no one there. He tells Kingsley that a gust of wind blew the window open and slammed the door shut. Kingsley breaks into tears and Arthur tells him to be brave. After a moment, the boy goes back to bed.
The next day, the streets are empty as panicked people stay inside. Harry and Adelaide meet Arthur at the London Daily, where Arthur has been trying to get the editors to suppress Lyman’s stories. Adelaide suggests that they shut Lyman up and shows the two men a list of Herbert’s recent evictees. One of them is Vladimir Palinov. They go back to Natalia, who explains that she knows Vladimir. He emigrated to London two years ago, and wanted to court her. Natalia tried to let him down as gently as she could. She tells them that Vladimir works at a circus, and the trio goes there. Vladimir is a gymnast, and they go to his trailer. Adelaide points out that he knows two of the victims, and Vladimir claims that he rejected Natalia. Arthur finds a bottle of chemicals nearby and sniffs at it.
That night, Lyman leaves the office and walks home. A figure jumps across the rooftops above him and drops down in front of him, releasing a flare of flames. Furious, Lyman asks what “Jack” is doing, and tells him that he might have to lay low for a while. “Jack” removes the helmet to reveal that he’s Harry. Arthur and Adelaide step out of the shadows, and Arthur explains that when strontium aluminate is mixed with candle wax, and it generates a red glow. When ignited, it burns with a blue flame. Adelaide tells Lyman that Vladimir confessed everything when they confronted with him the evidence... and told them who hired him.
The newspapers are soon running stories on how Jack has been arrested.At the prison, Harry meets with Lyman and shows him the story. Lyman insists that no one was supposed to get hurt, and he only hired Vladimir to scare people. Herbert was trying to escape, climbed over the fence, and slipped. Harry points out that Lyman showed up at the Barrett flat very conveniently, but Lyman insists that he had nothing to do with it.
At home, Arthur shows Kingsley the story. Kingsley insists that he’s not afraid, and Arthur tells him that it’s all right if he is.
The next day, Arthur follows Adelaide again and sees her meet with Nigel. They argue briefly and Adelaide angrily walks away. Arthur confronts Nigel and warns that he won’t let Nigel hurt her. Nigel says that he doesn’t intend to and that he’s a friend of her husband’s. Arthur then finds Harry outside of the Barrett flat and tells him that Adelaide is married. Harry points out that there was no signs of a second resident in Adelaide’s flat. He then wonders if Barrett’s fall was an accident after all. All of the other Jack attacks were similar incidents: an accident that set off mass hysteria. Harry wonders what great communal catastrophe Barrett’s death foretold, just as one of the new motorbuses go by. On the roof above them, a cloaked figure moves on.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 17, 2016