Marc Hoover: Move over Jaws, the long dead Megalodon is making its return to haunt our dreams

Marc Hoover

As a fan of mysteries, monsters and the supernatural, it’s always interesting to see new movies about real creatures that scare us to death. I recently saw previews of the latest monster movie titled The Meg; it’s Hollywood’s latest monster shark movie. Only this shark isn’t Jaws, the monstrous shark that scared your parents and grandparents away from the ocean. Like Jaws, The Meg is based on a novel. The Meg, however, is a science fiction novel written by Steve Alten. A Meg is short for a nasty creature called the megalodon which means “big tooth.”

The megalodon was a prehistoric shark that existed millions of years ago. It either resembled a sand tiger shark or basking shark. Some researchers believe it may have been an older version of the great white shark. According to scientists, a megalodon was somewhere between 60 to 70 feet long and feasted on prehistoric versions of whales and killer whales. It’s also believed that water temperature changes likely had something to do with its death.

But leave it to Hollywood to bring back another shark movie to scare the daylights out of us. The Meg features action movie star Jason Statham who is brought in to kill the creature. Although a prehistoric dinosaur shark might be terrifying, I will never forget the impact the movie Jaws had on me as a child. Even today, I am still fearful of the ocean.

And speaking of Jaws, it originated as a great novel written by the late Peter Benchley. After the book enjoyed much success, Steven Spielberg directed the movie. So what is it about sharks that make our body hairs stand in terror?

The answer is simple—sharks are real. They also don’t hide in caves or sleep. And they aren’t picky eaters. They will eat anything they can catch. Annually, people get attacked by sharks and just lose their arms and legs if they are lucky enough to survive.

Sharks can become the same size of a pickup truck. Thankfully, they aren’t all dangerous. For instance, the whale shark and basking shark don’t eat meat. But the great white and tiger sharks aren’t too picky. These monsters live to eat and reproduce. They can also smell blood from miles away.

Near the end of WWII, the USS Indianapolis sank into the ocean after a Japanese submarine sank the ship with torpedoes. It’s estimated that 900 men survived the ship’s sinking, but only 317 lived long enough to be rescued. Surviving sailors floated in shark infested waters for five days. Tiger sharks detected blood and moved in to feast on survivors. The incident is the worst naval disaster in American history.

Another reason to fear sharks is because no one knows how long they live, which make them appear immortal. And it’s possible that sharks from today may have lived alongside dinosaurs. Jaws was a great white shark that terrorized the fictitious Amity Island. Great whites can grow from 15 to 20 feet long. Adult great white sharks eat seals, smaller whales, and other sharks. The only enemy the great white has are orcas, larger sharks and humans.

But when you weigh in at 5,000 pounds and have roughly 1,000 serrated teeth that can swallow a seal in its entirety, who will challenge you? Here’s another tidbit to bite into. The great white is not even the largest shark in the ocean. Whale sharks and basking sharks can grow to 40 feet. Thankfully, they don’t eat meat or pose a threat to people. Whenever a shark attack occurs, it’s usually a great white or a tiger shark; they are fearless monsters.

Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page at http://www.lifewithgrandpa.com. He also wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.