Tuesday, April 20

MYSTERY: Was murdered Jane Doe an extra in Jaws?

The chilling music sent us scurrying for land.

And the gory scenes were a gumbo of nightmares that would last for decades.

Jaws was a box office blockbuster that summer of 1975 that sent movie-goers into a tizzy.

But the classic sea thriller, starring Richard Dreyfus, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw has re-emerged from its watery slumber.   

Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfus in the classic thriller, Jaws.

Famed author Stephen King’s son, writer Joe Hill, believes that a woman who was an extra in Jaws is an unidentified Massachusetts murder victim.

Hill recalled on his blog seeing the movie for the first time after he finished reading a book on unsolved murders.

“Suddenly,” he wrote, “[I] found myself half-lunging out of my seat, prickling with gooseflesh.

“And now, suddenly, impossibly, there she was… life-size and looking over her shoulder at me. There for a moment in a busy crowd scene, and then gone.”

The mystery woman is seen in the brief, “July 4th-Crowd Arrives” sequence.

Her body was discovered in the Race Point Dunes in Massachusetts on July 26, 1974 by an 11-year-old girl walking her dog. The location was near where Jaws was filmed, on Martha’s Vineyard.

She had been nearly decapitated, several teeth pulled out and her hands had been cut off. No fingerprints, no ID.

Cops said at the time she was between 25 and 30, about 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds.

Boston newspapers dubbed her “The Lady of the Dunes.”

Hill said he watches Jaws at least once a year and it’s his favourite movie but he had never seen it on the big screen until recently.

That’s when he spotted the woman he believes is The Lady of the Dunes.

Jaws was filmed in the area during the summer of 1974 and the scene in question was probably filmed in June. She was found dead a month later.

Hill pointed out that where the victim was found was just a “short hop” from where the classic was filmed.

“We know it [the scene] was almost certainly shot in June, because they filmed all the on island scenes they could early,” he said.

The grave of the Lady of the Dunes, a Jane Doe murdered in the summer of 1974.

“The water was too cold for swimming, and the malfunctioning shark wasn’t ready for the ‘at sea’ material until late July.”

He added: “It would be no surprise at all if a girl summering on the Cape decided to take a few days to explore the Vineyard … especially with the added bait of celebrity to draw her in.”

In another twist, The Lady of the Dunes was found with a blue bandana — just like the one the extra is wearing in Jaws.

Other theories are that the woman may have been from Ireland and the victim of Boston mob chieftain Whitey Bulger or that she was an escaped convict.

One of the terrifying scenes from Jaws.

But Hill admits it may be impossible after all this time to determine whether, in fact, the extra and the murder victim are the same woman.

“In all the time since her death not one person has stepped forward to say, ‘I saw her. I met her a few weeks before she was found. I can tell you her name’,” Hill said.

“But what if we’ve all seen her? What if she’s been in front of us for decades and we just never noticed?

“I turn this possibility over to the greatest puzzle solving instrument humans have ever created: the Internet. Give JAWS another watch. Look for the Lady.”





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