Since 1916, scholars have debated which shark species was responsible and the number of animals involved, with the great white shark and the bull shark most frequently cited. No Longer Doubted That Big Fish Attack Men. Capuzzo, Michael. Since records began, New Zealand has suffered 12 fatal shark attacks dating back to the 1850s, with at least 50 non-fatal attacks recorded. Elsewhere in the book are accounts of well-documented shark-human interactions at Ahwaz, Iran, which is 90 miles (140 km) upriver from the sea. [32], On July 14, Harlem taxidermist and Barnum and Bailey lion tamer Michael Schleisser caught a 7.5-foot (2.3 m), 325-pound (147 kg) shark while fishing in Raritan Bay, only a few miles from the mouth of Matawan Creek. Being unable to move quickly and without food, he had come in to bite the dog and snapped at the man in passing. "[58], By the end of July 1916, John Nichols and Robert Murphy were taking the great white more seriously. The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 were a series of shark ... a novel about a rogue great white shark that terrorizes the fictional Long Island coastal community of Amity. Between July 1 and 12, 1916, five people were attacked along the coast of New Jersey by sharks; only one of the victims survived. After hearing screams, a woman notified two lifeguards that a canoe with a red hull had capsized and was floating just at the water's surface. It wasn’t safe to go back in the water of the Jersey Shore in 1916, as a series of deadly shark attacks forever changed Americans’ attitudes toward the sea creatures. Officials: 2 possible shark attacks off Fire Island On Wednesday, two children were bitten on the leg in the waters off Sailors Haven and Atlantique beaches on Fire Island, officials said. [66][67] Fernicola's research is the basis of an episode of the History Channel's documentary series In Search of History titled "Shark Attack 1916" (2001) and the Discovery Channel's docudrama 12 Days of Terror (2004). 71,570, This story has been shared 53,262 times. After the first fatality, newspaper cartoonists began using sharks as caricatures for political figures, German U-boats, Victorian morality and fashion, polio, and the deadly heat wave threatening the Northeast at the time. Sitemap Authorities on Long Island are monitoring a shark measuring at least 10 feet that was spotted in shallow waters Saturday morning in Suffolk County. Personal and national reaction to the fatalities involved a wave of panic that led to shark hunts aimed at eradicating the population of "man-eating" sharks and protecting the economies of New Jersey's seaside communities. "[57], The Jersey Shore attacks compelled scientists in the United States to revise their assumptions that sharks were timid and powerless. The Jersey beach! "[64] Richard Ellis, Richard Fernicola, and Michael Capuzzo all suggest that the 1916 Jersey Shore attacks, Coppleson's rogue shark theory, and the exploits of New York fisherman Frank Mundus inspired Benchley. [40] However, the National Geographic Society reported in 2002 that "some experts are suggesting that the great white may not in fact be responsible for many of the attacks pinned on the species. Ichthyologist Henry Weed Fowler and curator Henry Skinner of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia asserted that a shark's jaws did not have the power to sever a human leg in a single bite. The novel was adapted as the film Jaws by Steven Spielberg in 1975. Police … Richard G. Fernicola published two studies of the event, and notes that "there are many theories behind the New Jersey attacks," and all are inconclusive. June to July 14, 1916."[61]. The shark attacks targetted 2 children, a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, who were apparently bitten in their legs. "[42], Ellis points out that the great white "is an oceanic species, and Schleisser's shark was caught in the ocean. Burgess, however, does not discount the great white: The bull draws a lot of votes because the location, Matawan Creek, suggests brackish or fresh waters, a habitat that bulls frequent and whites avoid. [35], No further attacks were reported along the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1916 after the capture of Schleisser's great white shark. The pair were treated for the puncture wounds and launched, each with a bandaged right let. Several Long Island beaches are closed after yet another shark was spotted off the coast of Jones Beach — believed to be the fourth sighting in the last 24 hours. Sharks were spotted near Bayonne, New Jersey; Rocky Point, New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Jacksonville, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama, and a columnist from Field & Stream captured a sandbar shark in the surf at Beach Haven. [20][21] Actress Gertrude Hoffmann was swimming at the Coney Island beach shortly after the Matawan fatalities when she claimed to have encountered a shark. Another cartoon depicted "an exasperated individual at the end of a dock that displays a 'Danger: No Swimming' sign and mentions the three most emphasized 'danger' topics of the day: 'Infantile Paralysis (polio), Epidemic Heat Wave, and Sharks in the Ocean'." "[30], Witnesses of the Beach Haven fatality estimated that the shark was 9 feet (3 m) long. The spy who shagged 'em: Suspected Chinese agent reportedly slept with, courted pols, Warning issued about COVID-19 vaccine after patients suffer reaction, Grinding to a halt: 'Highest-earning sex worker’ sues over lost wages, NYC Chipotle besieged by rats feasting on avocados, biting employees, 2020 is so awful, even the aliens are staying hidden. [3] The growing panic cost New Jersey resort owners an estimated $250,000 ($5,900,000 in 2019) in lost tourism, and sun bathing declined by 75 percent in some areas. The attacks forced ichthyologists to reassess common beliefs about the abilities of sharks and the nature of shark attacks. The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 played out between July 1 and July 12, 1916, killing four people and injuring one. Meanwhile, NBC 4 has new information that the Maine shark attack victim was … Biologists George A. Llano and Richard Ellis suggest that a bull shark could have been responsible for the fatal Jersey Shore attacks. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Your California Privacy Rights Well, according to the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History the chances of death by shark in your lifetime are 1 in 3,748,067. Brian Handwerk, "Great Whites May Be Taking the Rap for Bull Shark Attacks," August 2, 2002, George H. Burgess, interview with Michael Capuzzo, n.d., available at. Sean and James estimated the shark was about 3.5 to 4 metres long. "[15] Still, State Fish Commissioner of Pennsylvania and former director of the Philadelphia Aquarium James M. Meehan asserted in the Philadelphia Public Ledger that the shark was preying on the dog and had bitten Vansant by mistake. Science Admits Its Error. They each suffered deep cuts but … Chief of police Martin Brody, biologist Matt Hooper, and fisherman Quint hunt the shark after it kills four people. Morrell's body was recovered and later autopsied at Maui Memorial Hospital by the County Coroner. Fisher and others dived into the creek to find Stilwell, believing him to have suffered a seizure. "[38], Over a century later, there is no consensus among researchers over Murphy and Lucas' investigation and findings. His leering, chinless face, his great mouth with its rows of knife-like teeth, which he knows too well to use on the fisherman's gear; the relentless fury with which, when his last hour has come, he thrashes on deck and snaps at his enemies; his toughness, his brutal, nerveless vitality and insensibility to physical injury, fail to elicit the admiration one feels for the dashing, brilliant, destructive, gastronomic bluefish, tunny, or salmon. Scientific knowledge about sharks before 1916 was based on conjecture and speculation. The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 were a series of shark attacks along the coast of New Jersey, in the United States, between July 1 and 12, 1916, in which four people were killed and one injured. Lucas summed up his argument by pointing to Oelrichs's unclaimed reward and that the chances of being bitten by a shark were "infinitely less than that of being struck by lightning and that there is practically no danger of an attack from a shark about our coasts. The information in regard to the sharks is indefinite and I hardly believe that Vansant was bitten by a man-eater. A blue shark was captured on July 14 near Long Branch, and four days later the same Thomas Cottrell who had seen the shark in Matawan Creek claimed to have captured a sandbar shark with a gillnet near the mouth of the creek. The Jersey Shore attacks immediately entered into American popular culture, where sharks became caricatures in editorial cartoons representing danger. Other evidence such as Joseph Dunn's injury suggested that the type of bite was more likely made by a bull shark as opposed to a great white, leading some to believe more than one shark was likely involved in the five incidents. This story has been shared 217,456 times. [8] His right thigh was severely injured and he bled to death at Monmouth Memorial Hospital in Long Branch at 5:30 PM. Scientists such as Victor M. Coppleson and Jean Butler, relying on evidence presented by Lucas and Murphy in 1916, assert that a single shark was responsible. [28] Hundreds of sharks were captured on the East Coast as a result of the attacks. Vansant was in the surf playing with a dog and it may be that a small shark had drifted in at high water, and was marooned by the tide. People go out in the ocean as a Nassau County Police Marine Unit boat patrols the waters at Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach, New York, today. It may also be of interest to note that sharks live in Lake Nicaragua, a fresh-water body, and in 1944 there was a bounty offered for dead freshwater sharks, as they had "killed and severely injured lake bathers recently. [24] The Fourth Avenue Beach at Asbury Park was enclosed with a steel-wire-mesh fence and patrolled by armed motorboats; it remained the only beach open following the Everingham incident. These people say the real culprit behind many of the reported incidents—including the famous 1916 shark attacks in New Jersey that may have served as inspiration for Jaws—may be the lesser known bull shark."[41]. Holowach’s tragic death marked the 13th shark attack … Brody adds, "And there's no limit to what he's gonna do! To find it swimming in a tidal creek is, to say the least, unusual, and may even be impossible. Marine experts believe the shark attack in Maine may have been caused by a seal population boom, and that Holowach was mistaken for one of the animals because she was wearing a wet suit. White Shark. Cops were sent to monitor man-eaters lurking underwater near Long Island’s South Shore on Wednesday after three consecutive days of shark sightings in the area, the Long Island Press reported. As curator of the International Shark Attack File, kept at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Burgess is an expert on shark attacks. In 1974, writer Peter Benchley published Jaws, a novel about a rogue great white shark that terrorizes the fictional Long Island coastal community of Amity. Scientists believe it is most unlikely that a shark was responsible, and lots of people though believe it much more likely that the attack was made by a sea turtle. See the graphic map, "1916–2006 United States (incl. "[53] The reward went unclaimed and scientists remained convinced that the upper eastern coast of the United States was inhabited by harmless sharks. Putting that into perspective, the chances of getting heart disease are 1 in 5, Cancer 1 in 7, Air/space accident 1 in 5,051, and by lightning, 1 in 79,746. The first major attack occurred on Saturday, July 1 at Beach Haven, a resort town established on Long Beach Island off the southern coast of New Jersey. He concluded that "because it is evident that even a relatively small white shark, weighing two or three hundred pounds, might readily snap the largest human bones by a jerk of its body, after it has bitten through the flesh."[59]. Major American newspapers such as the Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle placed the story on the front page. We've received your submission. Bathers believed he was calling to the dog, but a shark was actually biting Vansant's legs. This would support the theory that a great white could have been responsible. Meanwhile, The Maine Marine Patrol was monitoring sharks near Bailey Island — where former Big Apple fashion executive Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was killed while swimming with her daughter Monday, and where other sightings have since been reported, according to CBS affiliate WGME. The shark bit his left leg, but Dunn was rescued by his brother and friend after a vicious tug-of-war battle with the shark. The cartoon is entitled "What's a Family Man to Do? According to The New York Times, "women [were] panic-stricken [and fainted] as [Bruder's] mutilated body ... [was] brought ashore." In an interview with Michael Capuzzo, ichthyologist George H. Burgess surmises, "The species involved has always been doubtful and likely will continue to generate spirited debate." Capuzzo offers an in-depth dramatization of the incident, and Fernicola examines the scientific, medical, and social aspects of the attacks. [48] Ellis remarks that "to try to make the facts as we know them conform to the 'rogue shark' theory is stretching sensationalism and credibility beyond reasonable limits." The most recent shark attack to happen in Long Island was 53 years ago. Scientists have spent much time at sea and along shore, and have several times seen turtles large enough to inflict just such wounds. On July 8, armed motorboats patrolling the beach at Spring Creek chased an animal they thought to be a shark, and Asbury Park's Asbury Avenue Beach was closed after lifeguard Benjamin Everingham claimed to have beaten off a 12-foot-long (4 m) shark with an oar. Near Long Island, experts said the sightings this week were likely bull sharks, which are aggressive and scavenge for food in warm water. Matawan mayor Arris B. Henderson ordered the Matawan Journal to print wanted posters offering a $100 reward ($2,300 in 2019 dollars) to anyone who killed a shark in the creek. Resort towns enclosed their public beaches with steel nets to protect swimmers. Before Stilwell could climb from the creek, the shark pulled him underwater. The writer concluded, "This would account for their boldness and their craving for human flesh. Charles Epting Vansant, 23, of Philadelphia, was on vacation at the Engleside Hotel with his family. However, our examination of the site reveals that the size of the "creek," its depth, and salinity regime were closer to a marine embayment and that a smallish white clearly could have wandered into the area. 75. The attacks became the subject of documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and Discovery Channel, which aired 12 Days of Terror (2004) and the Shark Week episode Blood in the Water (2009). Skeptical individuals, however, offered alternative hypotheses, including opinions suggesting a non-shark perpetrator and even the influence of ongoing events associated with World War I. [5] Around 2:00 PM a group of local boys, including young Lester Stilwell, 11, were playing in the creek together. It was produced by the George Marine Library in 1991; however, it was never widely released. The New York Times noted that Hoffman "had the presence of mind to remember that she had read in the Times that a bather can scare away a shark by splashing, and she beat up the water furiously." New York. "[29], After the second incident, scientists and the public began presenting theories to explain which species of shark was responsible for the Jersey Shore attacks or whether multiple sharks were involved. When he opened the shark's belly, he removed a "suspicious fleshy material and bones" that took up "about two-thirds of a milk crate" and "together weighed fifteen pounds. It was demonstrated in the Matawan Creek attacks, for example, that the full moon of the lunar cycle, which would have coincided with the attacks, would have raised the salinity in the water by more than double just a few hours before high tide. [16] He specifically de-emphasized the threat sharks posed to humans: Despite the death of Charles Vansant and the report [of] two sharks having been caught in that vicinity recently, I do not believe there is any reason why people should hesitate to go in swimming at the beaches for fear of man-eaters. [9] Stilwell's body was recovered 150 feet (46 m) upstream from the Wyckoff dock on July 14. The island was the locale for over 16% of the world's fatal attacks from 2011 to 2016. [7], The boys ran to town for help, and several men, including local businessman Watson Stanley Fisher, 24, came to investigate. [4] Matawan's location made it an unlikely site for interactions between sharks and humans. Shortly after entering the water, Vansant began shouting. Lucas and Nichols proposed that a northward-swimming rogue shark was responsible. This story has been shared 217,456 times. New Theories As To Why Coast Is Now Infested", https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/1951, Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 bibliography, Listen to this article or download mp3 of, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jersey_Shore_shark_attacks_of_1916&oldid=991557117, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The museum sits just down the street from the site of the first attack at Beach Haven on Long Beach Island. It was the first recorded fatal shark attack in US history, but nobody knew it then. The sight of his dark, lean [dorsal] fin lazily cutting zig-zags in the surface of some quiet, sparkling summer sea, and then slipping out of sight not to appear again, suggests an evil spirit. 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