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Extra Evidence: Spielberg Film ‘Jaws’ Could Solve 40-Year-Old Cold Murder Case

Stephen King’s son thinks he’s seeing dead people ‒ on film, that is. Joe Hill believes the famous cold case “Lady of the Dunes” appeared as an extra in the 1975 thriller “Jaws,” months before she was murdered.

"I prickled all over," Hill told Vice in 2015. "I had this throb of horror and thought, it was her, she's right there, but it was just a brief shot. I couldn't rewind. I didn't even know what I had seen. I felt like she had loomed out of the crowd at me, and then was gone."

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The extra, who appears during a Fourth of July scene in the film classic, is wearing a pair of Wrangler blue jeans and a blue bandana, with a long red ponytail — just like an artist's rendering of the woman whose body was found in July 1974 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, only miles from where the scene was filmed on the island of Martha's Vineyard. "Jaws" was filmed that same summer.

Her body badly decomposed, the woman was dubbed "The Lady of the Dunes," and her identity remains unknown, the Telegraph noted.

Now, Hill, the son of famed horror author Stephen King and himself an author, is talking about his theory on a new podcast by media strategy consultant and researcher Mark Ramsey about the production of the Hollywood shark film that made Americans afraid to "go back in the water," called "Inside Jaws," which began on June 26.

​"The Lady of the Dunes was alive in June and […] the filming of ‘Jaws' was a big deal locally," Hill wrote in a 2015 blog post, shortly after his eureka moment. "It would be no surprise at all if a girl summering on the Cape decided to take a few days to explore the Vineyard."

This Oct. 30, 1984 file photo shows French judge Jean-Michel Lambert during the reconstruction of the murder of Gregory Villemin, 4, in the Vologne river in Lepanges-sur-Vologne, France. - Sputnik International
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Hill admits his theory is quite a reach, telling Vice, "But it's also kind of interesting. There is this woman who died on Cape Cod, and there is this figure who can be seen briefly in the movie who matches the reconstruction… Was she in the right place at the right time? Or the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on how you look at it."

​Hill posted his thesis in 2015 on Tumblr, taking advantage of the crowdsourced wisdom described by science author Deborah Halber in her 2014 book "The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths are Solving America's Coldest Cases," Vice noted. The idea is that, by crowdsourcing analysis of a large number of cold cases, amateurs can sort through details and evidence, trying to flesh out cases by finding anything investigators might have missed.

However, in a case like this, where the primary evidence that would make the case go "hot" again is a photograph, Halber notes that drawings and reconstructions are "really, really deceptive."

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