BY MARY MARSHALL
This week kicks off Discovery Channelâ€™s annual Shark Weekâ€”but what many might not realize is that the infatuation with these gigantic jagged-toothed tyrants of the sea originated decades ago here in New Jersey, where for the first time in recorded history, two were publicly severed in an attack.
A tragic accident in the Lower New York Bay left The New York Times raving "Science Admits Its Error," one headline read, "No Longer Doubted that Big Fish Attack Men."
On a fateful summer day in 1916, 11-year-old basket factory worker Lester Stillwell ventured to Matawan Creek with others to relieve some mid-summer heat. Onlookers witnessed a â€śshadow-likeâ€ť form emerge from underneath the surface and drag the boy into the creekâ€™s depths, according to WNYC.
The shark claimed another victim that day when 24-year-old Stanley Fisher plunged below the surface to recover the boyâ€™s body and never emerged.
Although this infamous historical event took place decades ago when knowledge of marine life was vastly more limited than today, the fascination with these deadly creatures of the sea still existsâ€”as well as a rare, pending threat for some unlucky swimmers.
The Guardian reports, according to Paul Sieswerda, the head of Gotham Whale volunteer marine wildlife tracking group, that there has been a surge of whales and great white sharks off the coasts of New York and New Jersey this year.