Wednesday, July 12: Matawan (1:45 pm)

1:45 pm: Lester’s father lets him leave work early to go swimming in the creek with friends.

Approx. 1:50 pm: Capt. Cottrell runs through town, including past Stanley Fisher‘s shop and other businesses, shouting warnings about the shark. Still no one believed him.

Approx. 1:55 pm: The boat of teens warned Lester’s group of friends about the shark. According to Albert O’Hara, they thought it was a joke. 1

The group of boys swimming at the Wycoff dock: Lester Stillwell, Ally O’Hara, Charles Van Brunt, Johnson Cartan, Frank Close, Anthony Bubblin. [Local note: Johnson Cartan’s parents owned Cartan’s Department Store at 92 Main Street.]

About half a mile to the east, another group of boys was swimming by the brickyard docks: Joseph Dunn, Michael Dunn, Jerry Hourihan, plus two other friends.

Approx. 2:05 pm: Ally O’Hara felt a “sandpaper-like object graze his leg”; Lester floated to the deep section; Johnson Cartan and other boys saw what they said looked like an old log in the dark, muddy water; Anthony Bubblin did a back-flip into the water; just at that moment, Lester was attacked by the shark. The terrified boys fled the creek and ran naked and muddy up the street, screaming.


1 Fernicola, M.D., Richard G. (2001) Twelve Days of Terror (p. 296). Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press.