Between the years of 1938 and 1945, the Black Flash terrorized the citizens of Provincetown during the off-season for vacationing tourists. This Phantom of Cape Cod’s legend grew through repeated accounts from frightened townspeople who encountered the strange figure. In description, he was reminiscent of the British Spring-Heeled Jack – the Flash was described as being well over 6 feet tall, wearing a black hood and black cape. His face was also black, although his eyes were described as being silver. He is said to have been able to leap over ten foot fences, run very fast, and in at least one account spit out blue flames! The police were kept busy in the fall and winter months chasing the Black Flash around town, sometimes getting simultaneous reports from two different locations.
The first encounter with the Black Flash was reported by Maria Costa on Commercial St, in front of the town hall. He had leapt out and spread his cape “like bat wings” and menaced her by leering over her. She described him as being 8 feet tall.
The final encounter with him was in 1945, when a young boy dumped a bucket of water on him from an attic window in the freezing cold. For the years in between, the Flash was known to chase, harass, hit, or grab at his victims.
It’s entirely likely that one or more pranksters shared a costume and a love of messing with the people of Provincetown for the seven years that the Black Flash was active, but it’s a weird story nonetheless. Most of the antics ascribed to the Phantom would require either extraordinary athletic ability, supernatural powers, or, perhaps, exaggerated storytelling on the part of the witnesses. There may still be people who know who the Black Flash was… But it may just be more fun not to know!
Submitted by A.P. Strange, Liminal Ambassador