Back in its early days the Jaws ride was infamous for constantly breaking down. It seemed like the thing was closed due to one thing or another almost every single day. Most people would assume that these closures were due to its highly technical, ground breaking nature but the real reason is more disturbing than you can imagine.
Rumors of dark things happening at the ride go all the way back to before it had officially opened. The developers needed to bring in some underwater technicians to work on the various aspects of the shark, in order to give it some more realistic movement. Upon diving down to work on the track, a dive crew was assembled and tasked to solder a few new solenoids onto the shark. However, for an unexplained reason the ride’s power was turned on while they were still working on it causing them all to be electrocuted.
Their bodies floated there for at least an hour before anyone realized they were actually humans and not just props. This was the first in a series of many, many horrific occurrences that happened at the ride.
Shortly after it opened rumors began to surface about strange things occurring behind the scenes of the ride. One of the first trained team leaders began making these weird claims that a foggy haze would follow his boat just above the water whenever he would do the show. The issue was checked into by maintenance techs and other members of management but no one was able to find any gas leaks or anything else like that that would explain the anomaly. Then in December of 1991 the skipper said that the fog came up onto his boat and was breathed in by him and several of the guests, causing him to do an emergency evacuation of the ride. Within a month of the incident all of the individuals who had inhaled it, including the skipper, died tragic unexpected deaths.
The captain’s was the most disturbing though. He was found later that week floating in the water of the Jaws ride after coming in one night after closing. Police ruled it was a suicide considering all of the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted. Although he had no history of depression and everyone who knew him claimed he was a very happy, positive person. After just a short closure though the ride again reopened and the story was basically forgotten.
Then there is the report of the guest in 1992 who after getting on the Jaws ride randomly decided to jump out of the boat. All along he just kept screaming that it was his time to see the light and various other religious sayings. As the boat’s guests viewed him struggling in the water the shark surfaced nearby. Strangely it seemed as if it wasn’t on a track anymore and that it was coming straight for him. Finally, after another guest grabbed him, the man began to climb back into the boat. That was when the shark shot forward and bit down on his leg, cutting into him deeply. The man screamed as the jaws chomped up and down then backed away silently. It just froze staring in at the boat for a few seconds as if analyzing the guests with hungry eyes. It then slowly sank beneath the water not to bother them again.
The man was taken to the ER shortly after but he ended up passing away from the loss of blood. This triggered management to do some more safety testing. However, after repeatedly doing cold run throughs, they were not able to find evidence as to why this happened. In the end, they simply just assumed that it was some sort of mass hysteria and that the guest had just unluckily fallen into the shark’s path.
The ride was then back up running within another week.
However, this time it seemed that the employees were much more aware of what was happening and essentially everyone started to transfer away from the ride. Guests also began complaining because it seemed like all the employees had pretty much checked out. Many of them would even make dark jokes to the guests during the show about how the shark would probably get them someday like it did with that guest not too long ago. It was an interesting time to have ridden the ride.
So management decided the only way to fix the problem was to clean house and hire a whole new team, making sure ahead of time that they had no knowledge of the event that occurred. That’s when the real chaos began to ensue.
One day a skipper named Jason started complaining about a strange whisper he would hear while he was giving the tour. At first, the voice was just telling him things about the ride and how to operate the boats properly but he was really freaked out regardless. Working at that ride had always been a dream of his so he wasn’t willing to leave but he knew he had to take some kind of action. So, he started seeing a psychiatrist and was put on a few different kinds of medication. They didn’t seem to help though. Actually, it was like they made him more aware of the voice.
Feeling that he just wasn’t crazy though, he ended up doing some research and found various historical documents that lead him to information about the land which Universal had purchased back in the 80s. According to several different sources there had been documented tribes of Timucua Indians that lived in the area and there was a possibility they had sacred burial sites there as well.
Jason tried to tell his other coworkers about it but found that no one really took him seriously. He eventually informed management hoping they could do something but nothing really happened with that either. So, he pretty much gave up and just hoped for the best.
Although, after discovering the things he did, it seemed that the whisper began to take on a more sinister tone. It started to tell him that his coworkers thought he was crazy and that everyone would be better off if he just ended it all. His psychiatrists became extremely disturbed by the things Jason was saying but by the time anything was done about it, it was too late. One day when Jason was doing the show, he crashed them straight into one of the explosion effects that occur during the ride. All of the guests on that boat died including Jason and the only thing officials really have to go on about his motive was a note that was left on the break room table with a cryptic sentence on it. It just said “The demon must be free.”
It is not known how many more occurrences like this happened before the ride’s eventual closure in the 2000’s. However, it’s safe to assume that the reason they closed was at least in part to prevent more of these things from happening.
After the closure most the people who knew about the Jaws ride curse assumed it ended when the ride was demolished. A few years ago, the ride was replaced by Harry Potter’s Escape from Gringotts which is an attraction that coincidentally also has become infamous for breaking down all the time. This leads me to believe that perhaps the darkness in that area isn’t gone after all like everyone thought and perhaps its only just begun.