The Peg-Legged Parliament Member
The story: One of the earliest "famous" shark attacks involved a 14-year-old cabin boy named Brook Watson. Watson was swimming in the Havana harbor in 1749 when a shark (probably a tiger shark) grabbed his right foot. It dragged the teen underwater and chomped on his foot a second time before a sailor with a boat hook came to the rescue. The man managed to beat the shark back and Brook survived, though the doctors couldn't save his right shin, which was amputated. The story might've ended there, if Watson hadn't gone on to become a member of Parliament and eventually lord mayor of England. He was so damn proud of himself, in fact, that he personally commissioned John Singleton Copley (the guy who painted all those Revolutionary War scenes) to create "Watson and the Shark." It's the painting above, and it scared the hell out of colonial kids back in the day.
The most terrifying quote: This happened in 1749, so we're not sure. "Ow"?
Gone Without a Trace
The story: The horrifying story of Robert Pamperin goes back to June of 1959. The scene: San Diego's La Jolla Cove. Pamperin was diving for sea snails with his buddy Gerald Lehrer and all was going smoothly, until Lehrer heard Pamperin scream. He looked over and saw Robert hoisted high out of the water without his mask. Why was he so high up? The entire lower half of his body was in the mouth of a shark. Lehrer followed the shark under the water and tried to divert its attention, but it wouldn't take the bait. So he swam to shore for help instead. By the time a rescue team got out there, all they could find was a lone swim fin. Which means the shark probably swallowed Pamperin whole.
The most terrifying quote: "It was so big I thought at first it was a killer whale. It had a white belly and I could see its jaws and jagged teeth...It was between me and Bob and I could see him kicking his legs at it but it kept biting at him." - Gerald Lehrer