Stephen King's Son Has A Bizarre Theory On Jaws And The Lady Of The Dunes Murder

What started out as a normal day took a much darker turn when on July 26, 1974, a 12-year-old girl found a body on a Provincetown, Massachusetts beach near Race Point Ranger Station while she was chasing a dog who'd darted into the woods. The body was that of a woman with long auburn hair that had been tied up in a ponytail, and she was lying nude on one side of a beach towel. The left half of her skull had been smashed in and her head nearly decapitated, according to the Provincetown Massachusetts website. Her head was resting on a folded pair of jeans and a blue bandana. Though no weapon was found at the scene, the woman was also missing both of her hands. Investigators thought this to be a precaution taken by the killer to prevent the woman from being identified.

Investigators estimated that the woman was somewhere in her late 20s or early 30s and had been dead for around 10 days, according to All That's Interesting. She has been long known as "The Lady of the Dunes," and while it's been almost 50 years since her body was discovered, the woman still hasn't been identified. However, theories from a wide variety of individuals surrounding her death and identity haven't stopped. One theory, in particular, comes from that of Stephen King's son, author Joe Hill.

Joe Hill spotted a familiar-looking extra while watching Jaws

The King family are no strangers to the horror genre. In fact, with so many talented writers in the family, they're widely considered to be horror royalty. So it's no wonder someone with such a creative mind would theorize about the identity of a Jane Doe in a way that might be considered thinking outside the box. 

Joe Hill is the best-selling author of books like "The Fireman," "Heart-Shaped Box," and "NOS4ATU." His work involves books that are filled with frightening plots, supernatural occurrences, and storylines that are nearly impossible to put down. However, outside of his writing career, Joe Hill's gears keep turning, and he's come up with a unique and clever theory regarding The Lady of the Dunes.

While watching a 40th-anniversary screening of the Steven Spielberg classic horror film, "Jaws," Hill spotted something interesting about an hour or so into the movie. According to USA Today, during a rather crowded scene in the movie, Hill spotted an extra who looks eerily similar to the composite sketch law enforcement released of the Lady of the Dunes. The woman not only looks similar to the drawing but during the scene in question, the extra is wearing a pair of blue jeans and a blue bandana on her head, matching the description of the clothing found with the body on the beach.

Could people have snuck onto the massive Jaws set and slipped in as extras?

The Steven Spielberg film that made audiences second guess getting into the water for fear of getting devoured by an angry shark, "Jaws," came out in June 1975, but the movie's initial filming took place in 1974, around the same time the body of the Lady of the Dunes was discovered on the beach. After Joe Hill's theory about the extra being the Lady of the Dunes gained popularity, Hill said in an interview with USA Today, "She swims at you out of the crowd, you'd hardly notice her if you watched it on a TV, but it's different if all the actors are 10-feet high." Referring to the scale of the actors on a movie theater screen.

With Cape Cod being such a busy area, it isn't impossible that an unaccounted-for individual could have stumbled or snuck onto the filming site and wound up in the movie. But is it actually the Lady of the Dunes in the shot? The extra in question does look similar to the sketch released to the public, but the likeness isn't enough for law enforcement to go off of. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Steven Spielberg recalls just how large-scale "Jaws" really was. "... it was huge! It was huge! It was incomparable in my experience. And what made it incomparable was not just the extras ..." With this in mind, it's almost easy to imagine a few people appearing in the movie by mistake and simply being left in the shot.

The Lady of the Dunes may have been buried but she wasn't really laid to rest

While investigators scoured the country hoping to find the identity of the Lady of the Dunes, none has ever been confirmed. The unidentified body of the woman was buried on October 19, 1974. Her grave marker reads "Unidentified Female Body Found Race Point Dunes; July 26, 1974," according to an article on the Cape Cod website. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the final rest for the woman, as her body has been exhumed three separate times by law enforcement looking for any new information.

The first time the body was exhumed was in 1980, but no new evidence came from it. The body was again exhumed in 2010 when new technology would allow for better facial recognition than what was previously available, and law enforcement hoped it would bring something new to the table and possibly help solve the case, according to the Cape Cod website. Still, the identity of the murdered woman remained a mystery.

Joe Hill's theory is popular, but far from the only possibility

While Joe Hill's theory regarding the possibility of the woman being an extra in "Jaws" has certainly gathered a strong backing of media attention, it's far from the only theory as to who the woman found brutally murdered on the beach all those years ago really is. According to an article published on the Cape Cod website, there are rumors that the woman was murdered by mobster Whitey Bulger due to Bulger's connection to the area in the 1970s and the intentional identity cover-up by amputating her hands and pulling some of her teeth — methods known to be used by Bulger's Winter Hill Gang. In addition, a convicted murderer at one point also confessed the killing the Lady of the Dunes, though no viable proof was provided.

The popularity Joe Hill brought to the case has shed new light on it, and hopefully, thanks to the internet, something worthwhile will come forth so that the case can finally be solved. With multiple media outlets and millions of internet users learning of the case for the first time, there's always a possibility of someone's memory being sparked.

While the likelihood of solving the case grows smaller, hope remains.

After decades of searching and multiple theories being brought to the attention of law enforcement, the identity of the Lady of the Dunes and that of who killed her remain unsolved. Unfortunately, the person who found her body on the beach that day died from an overdose in 1996 and will never know what really happened to the woman she stumbled upon, according to Historic Mysteries. It's been such a long time that the case is now the oldest unidentified persons case in Massachusetts.

This doesn't mean that hope is lost, and law enforcement along with the entire Cape Cod area are still hanging on to the possibility of the Lady of the Dunes getting both justice and closure so that she and many others who the case has impacted can move on. As the years pass, she hasn't been forgotten, but the possibility of finding out what really happened to her becomes less likely.