Does anyone remember what happened in July of 1916?  Does anyone know what major changes in science came out of that summer? Why is it important to remember the past?

The summer of 1916 was a hot one. World War 1 was going on, President Wilson was in office and there was a polio outbreak in several of the large cities. People wanted to get out of the heat and the Jersey Shore was the place to be. ‘Beach Bathing’ or swimming had become the newest and hottest thing. The Gulf Stream of the ocean had shifted towards shore.

July 1st was the starting of the terror. It was the first time a person had died from a shark attack in the Northern part of the country. There had never been a documented case of shark attack in the history of the country. The town was a tourist town and they left the beaches open.

The thought of the time was that sharks weren’t dangerous to people. They went to the scientific community and they were told that if it had been a shark, then it was a random thing and would never happen again. People felt the science was good and they were reassured.

July 6th and it happened again, a way up the coast. When the person was taken out of the water, both his legs were gone… bitten off by the shark. People panicked and fled from the beaches. Suddenly the mountains were much better of an idea than the beach.

Then something happened that scared and shook the way people thought. The thought was that sharks couldn’t go into fresh water. Matiwon. A tidal creek and the terror was going to get higher. Three people in one day were attacked. One survivor, Joseph Dunn. Lester Stillwell was a 12 year old local boy and he had been swimming in the creek with some other local boys when he was attacked by a shark. The other boys ran to the town, not bothering to get dressed, screaming for help. There was a would be hero, Stanley Fisher, he dove into the creek and began to try to get Lester’s body.

The shark went after him when Stanley took Lester’s body to the surface. The roads were too rough to drive Stanley to the hospital, so he was taken by train. He passed away on the way to the hospital.

The attacks stop when a young female Great White was caught with human bones in her stomach.

Sharks are not something we can go without. Our oceans need to be healthy or we are going to have a hard time.


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