In A Nutshell
Whipping Tom was a mysterious man who wandered the streets of London in 1680. He shocked 17th-century society by lunging at women, lifting their dresses, and spanking their bums while shouting “Spanko!” before escaping capture. At one point, things got so bad that armed men would patrol the streets dressed as women in the hopes of drawing him out.
The Whole Bushel
Almost 200 years before Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of London, there was a much more hilarious monster terrifying society. He was given the name of Whipping Tom because this monster’s modus operandi was the spanking of young women’s bums. He would allegedly attack without warning, spanking ladies on the bottom while shouting “Spanko!” and then elude all attempts to capture him. He was so quick and slippery that some people even claimed he used supernatural powers in his escape. It was this sort of behavior that earned him the title “The enemy of milk wenches’ bums everywhere.”
Mostly Tom would use his hands to carry out a spanking but sometimes he would use a birch rod, attacking quickly, tipping them over his knee so that they couldn’t get away as he gleefully laid a smackdown on their derrieres and then be gone in an instant while his victim sat there confused as to what had just happened.
Even though he sounds like a third-rate Batman villain, the police were entirely helpless to stop him for some reason. Women began to carry all sorts of concealed weapons so that if they were attacked, the joke would be on Whipping Tom. Vigilantes also had a go, but not being women they had the problem of how to lure him out. The solution to this is that they started dressing like women. Of course, Whipping Tom seems to have ignored these tall manly women and was never captured, becoming just a weird historical side note.
Show Me The Proof
The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale, Jan Bondeson
The London Mob: Violence and Disorder in Eighteenth-century England, Robert Brink Shoemaker
Bibliography of Forbidden Books, Volume 2, Henry Spencer Ashbee