Jaws screenshot

Stephen King’s son Joe Hill floats eerie theory linking 1974 murder to Spielberg’s Jaws

Contributed by
Aug 8, 2018

Stranger things have happened at sea… or on Amity Island. Stephen King’s son, author Joe Hill (real name Joe Hillstrom King), has got the hairs on the back of everyone's neck standing to attention, with a strange and intriguing theory linking an unsolved 1974 murder to Steven Spielberg's blockbuster classic Jaws.

It's something that has been biting at Hill for years now, as he first talked about the theory in a 2015 Tumblr post. But the author recently spoke with The Washington Post to flesh out his idea that the most famous shark film of all time could provide clues to a grisly murder. It all started when an eagle-eyed Hill thought he recognized the face of a female extra in Spielberg's film, approximately 54 minutes and 2 seconds into a crowd scene. 

"My thing is writing ghost stories,” wrote Hill back in 2015. “I can’t tell if this is my imagination just doing the thing that it always does or if there’s actually something there.”

The woman Hill believes he saw in the scene is known as the "Lady of the Dunes," an unidentified deceased female who was discovered on July 26, 1974, in the dunes outside Provincetown, Massachusetts, around 100 miles from Martha’s Vineyard, the location used in the movie.

According to police, the cause of death was a blow to the head and her hands had been removed (they presume by the killer so she could not be fingerprinted). Her naked body was found with her severed head resting on a pair of jeans and a blue bandanna.

This was crucial for Hill – who was familiar with the details of the case, for, as in the movie, the extra in question is of similar height to the victim, and is seen wearing a blue bandanna on her head. Hill also noted that he had heard people say “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." 

Hill first became acquainted with the case after reading about it in Deborah Harber’s book The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases. Halber had learned about the victim after a reconstruction of her face appeared in the Globe, following the 2000 exhumation of her body.

Per the article, Hill even took the theory to the Provincetown Police Department, with the detective working on the case telling him: "That's an interesting theory." You can see the facial reconstruction for yourself here.

Do you think Joe is onto something? Give us your own theory in the comments below.