Could Steven Spielberg's Jaws actually hold a clue to a bizarre unsolved murder case? Author Joe Hill thinks so, as he's discovered a potential piece of evidence in the classic blockbuster that may offer a clue in the cold case that's remained a mystery for more than four decades. The woman in question, known only as the Lady of the Dunes, may very well have appeared, albeit briefly, in the movie just prior to her untimely and tragic death.
Joe Hill, son of legendary horror author Stephen King, first put forth this theory in 2015 via a Tumblr post upon rewatching Jaws during a 40th anniversary screening. At around 54 minutes in, a female extra was spotted by Hill. She's sporting a blue bandana and matches the description of a woman whose body was found in Provincetown, Massachusetts, about 100 miles from where Jaws was filmed, in July of 1974. Hill became aware of what the unidentified woman looked like via a composite sketch that was released in 2010. When he saw the extra in the movie, the author got to thinking. Here's what he had to say in a recent interview.
"I've heard it said that everyone who was out on Cape Cod in the summer of 1974 appears in the movie Jaws. I'm sure that's an exaggeration, but there's a nugget of truth. People knew there were movie stars on Martha's Vineyard. The possibility that a person would make a stop on the island and appear in the movie is not unreasonable."
The circumstances surrounding the case of the Lady of the Dunes are mysterious and gruesome. A teenage girl spotted the body of the unidentified woman while walking her dog. The body was badly decomposed and burned from the sun. The woman's hands had been cut off, nowhere to be found and her neck had been nearly severed. She was found wearing a blue bandana and a pair of Wrangler jeans, very similar to the woman who Joe Hill spotted in Jaws a few years ago.
The author brought his finding to the Provincetown Police Department, who are still working the case to this day, who told him that it was "an interesting theory." "I took that as a polite way of saying, 'That's pretty crazy and useless.' But another guy who's worked on the case recently said, 'You don't know, odds are long,'" Hill said. He knows this theory is a long shot and that it's strange, but anything that gets people thinking could possibly be helpful.
"Two astonishing things happened on Cape Cod in the summer of 1974. One is that Steven Spielberg filmed Jaws, and other is that someone murdered this woman in the dunes outside Provincetown and got away with it. Anything that stirs people's memories could potentially be productive."
The composite sketch that Joe Hill had seen was published by the Boston Globe, which eventually led writer Deborah Halber to write her book The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases. Once Hill got his hands on the book he became struck by the case of the Lady of the Dunes. Not only has the woman's identity never been discovered, but the identity of the killer remains just as mysterious. It was Hill's fascination with the case and his studying of the sketch prior to watching Jaws again in 2015 that led him to this discovery.
Whether or not this actually turns out to mean anything remains to be seen. Plenty have tried to solve this mystery over the years, but this could spark some sort of memory in someone who may have known this woman or lead to some other, previously undiscovered evidence making its way to the surface. Stranger things have happened. You can check out the composite sketch and the Jaws extra in question for yourself below. This news comes to us courtesy of The Washington Post.