The Place: The Jersey Shore. Sadly, the attacks came several decades too early to stop Jersey Shore from entering production.
Where's a man-eating shark when you need one?
The Jersey Shore shark attacks were the first example of "shark mania" in American history. They were the seed that grew into Shark Week, as well as the genesis behind the terrible Summer of the Shark. The attacks were also the inspiration for Peter Benchley's landmark novel Jaws, which Steven Spielberg turned in to a block-buster movie we're all duly familiar with.
From July 1 to July 12, a vicious man-eating shark terrorized the Jersey shore. The monster attacked five people, killing four of them. Shark panic soon gripped the entire area and the shore lost a quarter-million in tourist dollars (which was a lot back then), as thousands of bathers decided to spend their vacations somewhere slightly less shark infested.
"You know what else is lovely this time of year? War-torn central Europe."
Eventually, the locals fought back. Hundreds of them gathered with nets and dynamite and guns and set to work murdering every fish they could find with high explosives and random gunfire. 1916 was a different time. A better time.
The campaign was 100 percent unsuccessful. They didn't manage to kill a single shark. While everyone in Jersey was nursing a hangover, a great white with a belly full of human remains was caught by a lion-tamer named Michael Schleisser off the coast of Manhattan. The shark weighed 325-pounds and was 7.5-feet in length. Since there were no more attacks after the 14th, and the attacks had been moving north up the coast of Jersey, people realized they had dodged a terrifying bullet: a great white using the same playbook as Jason Vorhees.
A legend was born.
How He Killed:
Some experts have suggested that the Jersey man-eater couldn't possibly have been a great white. The habitat was all wrong, and the real culprit for at least a few of the attacks was likely a bull shark. More recently, experts not intent on killing the Discovery Channel's buzz have argued that the man-eater was in fact the culprit, and just really eager to eat some people. At this point, all we have to go on is what we know of about the Great White, which brings us back ...
How He Died:
... to the fucking lion tamer.
You knew we couldn't let a nugget like that slip by.
It seems perfectly reasonable for you to assume that a man who tames lions would also hunt sharks on weekends, but you would be wrong. In fact, shame on you for stereotyping. This is the exact reason lion tamers are pigeon-holed in our culture. Schleisser killed the great white out of necessity when it nearly sank his boat. In fact, he had to murder it with a broken oar in self-defense. Altogether, 15-pounds of human flesh were found in the beast's stomach. He may not have been guilty of all the killings, but those hunks of people didn't get inside its stomach by mistake.
Burundi. One of the least fortunate countries in the least fortunate continent on the face of the planet. The hard-luck people of Burundi have had to deal with the overflow of countless civil wars and at least one genocide, not to mention plenty of civil unrest of their own. And, to top it off, their people are being stalked and systematically slaughtered by the most prolific serial killer of all time.
Gustave was born roughly 66 years ago, somewhere along the Nile River near Burundi. Most of the other crocodiles of Gustave's generation were hunted down by poachers but somehow, Gustave beat the odds (please note, Gustave's distinguishing features are his massive frame and the bullet hole in his goddamn face).
Those blades of grass? They're fucking trees.
Crocodiles, like orcs and goldfish, don't ever stop growing; as long as they get a steady supply of food, they'll get bigger and bigger. A normal Nile Crocodile is about 13 to 14 feet long, but Gustave is believed to be over 20. He weighs around 2,000-pounds and local authorities claim he has devoured as many as 300 people.
How He Killed:
Normal crocodiles generally stick to large game, like cape buffalo, zebras and occasionally cartoon pirates named after their disfigurements. It follows that a larger crocodile would stick to even LARGER game, so you'd theoretically have nothing to fear, because that size requirement limits the kind of food he can eat to killer whales and your nightmares.
Gustave was different. He didn't like to eat whales or buffalo. He liked to eat humans. More accurately, he likes to kill humans. Witnesses have seen Gustave cut through whole groups of people as large as five or six, but he rarely seems to eat a whole person. Instead, he will take a bite and move on, literally killing a man just to watch him die. Maybe he's actually a vegetarian, or maybe he somehow obtains nutrients through human screaming. It wasn't uncommon for Burundi citizens to stumble across a trail of uneaten corpses left behind by Gustave.
How'd He Die?
He didn't. Of fucking course he didn't, because you can't just kill the physical manifestation of hatred. He resurfaced in 2008, and murder monster experts says he is "healthy and his prize list of victims has grown." One new addition? A fisherman that he dragged to the lake and drowned. Didn't eat him, just pulled him out and drowned him and then left because he heard a rumor that someone, somewhere didn't directly fear him.
And now he's just alive, out there. A living, breathing, scream-eating dinosaur that is so sick of his own immortality that he passes the time by destroying life whenever he sees it.
And there's nothing we can do to stop him.
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We aren't finished frightening you yet. Check out The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You and The 6 Most Adorable Animals (To Ever Go On a Bloody Rampage).
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated Today! Shit!) to see which one of these animals Brockway keeps as a pet.