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Jaws Was Actually Inspired By This Living Nightmare


Jaws scared a generation of moviegoers away
from the water. But the real life nightmarish incidents that
occurred in a little New Jersey town in 1916 are scarier than anything in the movies. So prepare yourself as we explore the messed-up
true story that helped inspire Jaws. On July 1, 1916, an athletic youth named Charles
Vansant stepped out onto the shores of Beach Haven, New Jersey. As he moved through the shallow ocean waves,
he probably barely noticed the dark fin cutting through the water. The shark, though, noticed him. The shark snapped its jaws around the young
man’s left leg. Vansant screamed, but according to the BBC,
people thought he was joking. Blood poured into the water, and by the time
a crowd of bystanders were able to pull the mutilated Vansant away from the killer shark,
his injuries were too severe for treatment. At the time, when the doctor’s autopsy revealed
that Vansant died from a shark bite, nobody believed it. Five days later, tragedy struck the Jersey
Shore once again. A young man named Charles Bruder had only
swum about 100 yards into the water when he began crying for help. Lifeguards were eventually able to pull Bruder
into their boat, where they discovered that both of his legs had been eaten off. The lifeguards raced the dying Bruder back
to land, but he died from his wounds. At this point, the media took notice. Patrols were launched. The fact that two otherwise healthy young
men had been killed in the ocean in the span of a week wasn’t normal. The week after the first two attacks, a boy
named Lester Stillwell took a swim with his friends in New Jersey’s Matawan Creek, which
was pretty far from anywhere you’d expect to see sharks. But it was there that a shark clamped its
teeth down on the boy’s arm and pulled him underwater. When Stillwell’s friends ran into town for
help, a tailor named Watson “Stanley” Fisher went to the creek to try and save the boy. As Fisher tried to pull the boy’s dead body
out of the stream, the shark chomped down on his leg, tearing out ten pounds of flesh. Fisher escaped from the water, but died from
his wounds. By this time, the Matawan locals had seen two of their people killed and one injured,
and they were no longer debating what the attacker was. The man-eating shark was obviously real, and
they wanted the creature dead. The town of Matawan went to war against the
shark. A $100 bounty was placed on the animal’s head. Locals took the water, desperate to take down
the animal. Many wielded pitchforks, others brought spears,
some fired their shotguns, and the truly furious ones tossed live sticks of dynamite right
into the creek. A crew of vigilante shark hunters also went
patrolling the coastline in loud motorboats, killing any sharks they could find. It’s estimated that hundreds of innocent sharks
were murdered in these hunts. The panic eventually spread to Washington,
D.C., and President Woodrow Wilson took notice. Wilson, a former governor of New Jersey, became
deeply concerned about the deaths, and called for an emergency cabinet meeting. The days of sharks being considered harmless
had become ancient history. “In spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’
they all come in and they rip you to pieces.” The 1916 New Jersey shark attacks garnered
a lot of media attention and made generations of beach-goers afraid of the water. Not surprisingly, the hysteria that followed
these incidents is often cited as the chief inspiration for Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel
Jaws, which went on to inspire the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film. It’s easy to see why. The story of Jaws often directly parallels
the real life events of 1916. Strangely enough, Benchley has claimed that
his book was not inspired by the New Jersey attacks. However, it’s also hard to imagine that the
1916 events didn’t at least subconsciously inspire Benchley’s work, even if they weren’t
a conscious influence. The key element here is that the cultural
fear of sharks in the U.S. stems from the 1916 attacks, so if these tragic events hadn’t
occurred, Jaws probably wouldn’t have caught on. In 2016, on the 100th anniversary of the deadly
shark attacks, the sleepy little town of Matawan, New Jersey, held a nine-day commemorative
event in memory of the victims. The hero of the event was Stanley Fisher,
who lost his life trying to save the preteen Lester Stillwell from the jaws of death. A special memorial service was held at the
graves of both Fisher and Stillwell. While shark encounters can become deadly,
and you should definitely get out of the water if you see one, it’s also important not to
villainize these poor creatures. Sure, they’re capable of tearing apart humans. Yes, they look scary. But honestly, the true story behind Jaws has
made us way too afraid of sharks. After all, they’re not serial killers, monsters,
or demons. They’re just hungry fish. Sharks almost never make unprovoked attacks. For example, in the years between 1916 and
2011, the dreaded Great White only attacked 106 Americans unprovoked, and only 13 of those
attacks were fatal. Even when sharks do attack humans, it’s almost
always a brief incident in which the shark mistakenly bites a person. Once they realize humans aren’t their intended
prey, they tend to let go. Plus, a 2013 study showed that sharks have
a lot more to fear from humans than the other way around, given that people are estimated
to kill between 63 and 273 million sharks a year. So hey, take it easy on the sharp-toothed
ones. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about history
are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

60
Comments
  • 3 .Very old fact. Especially if your from that area. The river the shark River or actual name manasquan is well know to where that attack occurred. That many shark expert now believe it was a bull shark and not a white

  • "Almost never." "Almost always." I have no animosity whatsoever for sharks that don't attack people. Great white, bull and tiger sharks are another story.

  • You forgot the part where the writer of Jaws went on to be a shark conservationists after villainizing the great white in his book..

  • Reports at the begining are probably real, however the movie Jaws was based on the book Jaws written by Peter Benchley. Since the movie. Even since then the interest in sharks, especially Great Whites has sky rocketed.

  • Great video🙏 i was scared watching ha they are machines😅but us humans are to boney for sharks. They stick to seals I stick to land 🇮🇪

  • Bull sharks have been caught 1000 miles up the Mississippi River, Potomac river, Zambezi river and in lake Pepin and lake Michigan.

  • Lets say the fish pledge …. I am a shark, not a mindless eating machine. If i am to change this image, i must first change myself. Fish are friends; not food

  • I live about a half hour South from where the attacks happen … I always see sharks out in the ocean and have a few to close for words accounts. Still to see one swim freely along the beach is still a amazing sight

  • Bull Sharks, Sand Sharks, Tigers, and White Tips are far more aggressive towards Humans, than the White Sharks.
    Still, if motivated by hunger, I don't think they'll be too fussy that Humans are not Seals or Fish.

  • You also left out the monster great white that was caught off the coast of Montaulk Point, Long Island NY. They have a replica of it at the docks of the Viking Fleet fishing boats. She was between 3300 – 3500 lbs.

  • Sharks are an almost perfect evolutionary marvel. Up there with Crocodiles. They have had little reason to change, other than size, for over 10 million years.

  • 4:06 you most certainly should have put this at the beginning of the video. Some people may not watch the whole, and it’s a the most important part

  • I drive past the Matawan creek once or twice a week and since this incident there’s been absolutely no incidents.. but probably because nobody ever goes in anymore

  • Every lost at sea story involves demonic nazi rapist sharks but then You'll always hear " oh sharks just want to nibble You and then take off but the smell of blood makes them a homicidal maniac so don't worry, it's not their fault uh… like… they just thought You were a seal. Yeah uh like, since 1960 there's only been 2000 fatalities so um, you have more of a chance having to take a pee in the morning than deal with a megladon" 👍

    #don't worry mate

  • I am really so afraid of sharks that I would rather not go near them and let them live than kill them just because of my ignorance and fear. Just let them be. You are in their territory, what do you expect them to do? Adjust to humans? If the area is already shark territory I guess the wise thing to do is to not go near the water. Stupid humans.

  • The film was an adaptation of a book by Peter Benchley. Benchley wrote the screenplay for Jaws. The novel was only partially responsible for inspiring the book and film. Frank Mundus, a famous sport fisherman, was easily as influential to Benchley as the NJ attackes, and don't forget Benchley also was inspired by the documentary "Blue Water White Death". I'm a bit of a Jaws fan 😉

  • Making sharks out to be harmless misunderstood fluffy little puppies who accidentally bite folks is pure reverse psychology. Human flesh is probably delicious to sharks. A delicacy.They probably love human flesh. The reason they don't attack more often is because humans are fishing them into more and more isolated areas. If there were as many people in the oceans as are on the highways everyday there would be hundreds of attacks every day, sharks love red meat, ever see on rip into a beef carcass? I don't trust anything I read or hear now inside this made up, poorly designed, sick, evil, cruel simulated existence.

  • i saw this movie in 1975 at the movies scared me so bad i had not been swiming in the water sense 1974 .far as ill get to the ocean is the beach i want go in the water .no how and no way.

  • 100s of innocent sharks where MURDERED? Ok lol. Everyday there are thousands of unborn babies murdered! So no one cares about the non human sharks.

  • If normal shark prey like seals are visible to you don’t go in the water to surf 🏄‍♀️ or swim and if the water is murky or you don’t see any other possible prey items in the water GET OUT because you are now potentially prey for a hungry predator

  • Just so everyone knows and isn’t stupid around or about sharks, sharks are passive creatures and will most likely only bite out of curiosity or if they feel intimidated, HOWEVER, this does NOT mean you can or should go swimming with them assuming you will be fine, you do have to keep yourself safe because they’re sharks, predators, just don’t be stupid

  • Jaws 4 sucked, but a new film with all actors from The Revenge would be interesting. The only problem is finding an actress to play Thea Brody as an adult.

  • Scared absolutely shitless of these things. But fascinate at the same time.
    "Perfectly evolved to eat swim and make little sharks"

  • Thank you for educating those who do not know. Am I afraid of sharks, hell no, and the movie Jaws had the opposite effect because at the end of the movie I cried. Why? Because they killed the poor thing who to be honest was hungry and your in his territory and you happen to taste better than a seal. My oldest son who watched this about a year ago did the same thing I did. He loves sharks and his favorite is the hammerhead and mine is the whale shark, but our second favorite is the great white.

    We are the villains here and of course our first reaction to something scary and misunderstood is to kill it to the brink of extinction. Educate yourselves, sharks will normally leave you alone and most times the first time they bite can be deadly, but they're investigating what you are. They normally don't eat people, but if you act or look like their normal prey they will think that. Also when you get into the water you are in their territory and at the mercy of everything that lives in the water, doesn't have to be a shark that takes you down could be a Portuguese-man-of-war or a ton of jellyfish stinging the crap out of you or even playful stingrays. I wish people would stop assuming we are at the top of the food chain because we're not and the only time that will happen is if we lay waste to the earth killing everything.

  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Every day there are MILLIONS of people swimming with Sharks. Every. Single. Day. You need only look at the ratio of attacks to encounters to understand the truth.

  • “Beach haven, NJ.” great. i only live like 10 minutes away from there and now i think i will never go in the ocean again!

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