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Jaws Revists the Real Life Events of the Summer of ’16

Jaws Revists the Real Life Events of the Summer of ’16” width=”560″/>

If you’re overwhelmed by the hype surrounding big summer blockbusters, don’t blame Jaws. Sure, it set the standard for summer releases, but it would be more appropriate to blame the sharks themselves. Jaws would never have been made without Peter Benchley’s novel, and the novel would never have been written if Benchley hadn’t become fascinated by a series of shark attacks that plagued the Jersey Shore back in 1916.

The historical details
are eerily familiar, and nearly as gruesome as the fictional works they
inspired: Five people were attacked over the course of 12 days, four of
them fatally. The first attack was deemed a freak incident and
ocean-bathers weren’t warned; five days later another man was killed,
and pandemonium crept up the coast as more attacks occurred in quick
succession. In those days, relatively little was known about sharks, so
there was no Richard Dreyfuss to consult with. Two days
after the fifth attack, a young great white was caught and killed,
nearly sinking a fisherman’s boat in the process. Human remains were
found in the shark’s stomach, and the attacks immediately ceased after
it was killed. Bathers returned to the water, but the public’s
perception of ocean-swimming had already been permanently tainted with

When Steven Spielberg made Jaws in 1975, he updated the story to the present day but
kept many details from the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916… and terrified a whole new generation of beachgoers.

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