This article touches on topics that some might find disturbing, including the mention of violence and murder.
When it was released in 1975, Jaws was one of the scariest movies in theaters. Steven Spielberg’s production not only created the new modern-day hit film, but it also seriously harmed the business of oceanfront resorts. This was a result of fears about shark attacks, the realistic number of shark-related deaths of which have always been minimal.
However, there could have been something much scarier than a rare shark attack at one of these resorts around the same time as Jaws was filmed. On average, sharks only kill five people a year in unprovoked attacks. However, a rumored death near the location of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts had nothing to do with sharks and could have had everything to do with Jaws. It was the mystery of the murder of the Lady of the Dunes.
What is the Lady of the Dunes murder?
The Lady of the Dunes is an unsolved murder case from Provincetown, Massachusetts. In this true crime case, a teenage girl walking her dog found the corpse of a woman in the dunes a mile east of Race Point Ranger Station on July 26, 1974. Despite progress in DNA work over the years, detectives have never identified the identity of the woman. The cause of death was a blow to the head and she died between 10 days and three weeks before anyone found the body. There were also several troubling aspects to the murder. The killer had removed both of the woman’s hands, with detectives speculating they were trying to rule out fingerprint identification. They also removed his head with an instrument similar to a military entrenchment tool. Finally, the killer laid the woman’s naked body on a green beach towel and rested her head on folded jeans and a blue bandana.
The city of Provincetown, Massachusetts continues to search for evidence not only of the identity of the Lady of the Dunes killer, but also of the identity of the Lady of the Dunes since no one has ever identified her. On the city’s official website are composite sketches of the woman, along with her approximate age (20-40), weight (145), height (5’6-1/2″) and hair color (long, auburn, reddish-blonde.) The fact that no family member or acquaintance has come forward in the 48 years since his death suggests that his identity may still remain a mystery. the body in 1980 but found no new information.Again in 2000, authorities exhumed the body for DNA testing, but nothing came back to identify the Lady of the Dunes, and forensic experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Smithsonian Institution created the composite sketches in 2010.
How the Lady of the Dunes Murder Connects to Jaws
Stephen King’s son Joe Hill has become a successful horror author, following in his father’s footsteps. With adaptations like The black phone, locke and keyand NOS4A2, Hill stepped out of his father’s shadow and became a star in his own right. He also shares another trait with his father, as both are true crime enthusiasts. For Hill, he got involved in the Lady of the Dune murder mystery by posting something about it on his old Tumblr account. In 2018, eight years after forensic experts created the composite sketch, Hill noticed something familiar while looking Jaws. Hill said a woman wearing a blue bandana similar to the one found under the victim’s head briefly appears in the film at around 54 minutes.
According to Detective Meredith Lobur of the Provincetown Police Department, the Lady of the Dunes case is still open and all potential leads are being investigated. This included Hill’s comments from four years ago. Unfortunately, Hill’s observations are unlikely to be of much use. Jaws began filming in May 1974, so the timeline could align for her to work as an extra in the film before her death. The location of her body was approximately 100 miles from Martha’s Vineyard. However, the names of extras in films made during this time are almost non-existent, and this takes into account that the woman was not only there visiting during the day and featured in the background shots. The name of the extra was not in the Jaws records, and casting director Shari Rhodes died in 2009.
In a post on his since-deleted Tumblr account, Hill wrote that he was watching Jaws and I saw what might have been the Lady of the Dunes in the crowd scene. He looked into it and realized that much of what the woman was wearing lined up with the murdered woman’s clothing. In an interview with Squire, Hill said, “The film and the murder overlap geographically and chronologically. Allowing for the possibility that the Lady of the Dunes is in the right place at the right time – or rather, in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Although the two women may be different, Hill thinks the fact that the woman in the film or a family member has never come forward to reveal their identity makes it even more concerning. “A woman has died and she has never been identified,” Hill said. “She’s someone’s daughter, hopefully sooner or later there will be a solution.”.