Editor’s note: Thank god for Tony. I’ve been slacking thanks to a combination of being extremely fucking busy, a little sick and struggling for new material in the 31 Ghost Stories blogathon. I’ve pretty much failed since the idea was to blog something every day on a theme and I’ve skipped two days but I’m not giving up if you aren’t. So here’s Tony with a recent one.
I love a good ghost story. A good UFO story excites me even more. However, as imaginative as I may perceive myself to be, I am an unfortunate skeptic who is always looking for the rational explanation. It’s because of my analytical imagination that I am most attracted to the particular brand of chilling stories that are rooted in some sort of evidential fact. I particularly love the unexplained versions of these twisted tales, because with a good mystery, come some really creative theories. Our Canadian brothers up North have a morbidly absurd example of one of these stories; one that brings new meaning to the phrase six feet under. It’s not a scary tale per se, but a really creepy one that baffles at every point.
Comedian Mitch Hedberg once wisely exclaimed that “a severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.” If that’s true, then the people who live along the Pacific Northwest must really be on Santa’s nice list. It all started on August 20, 2007, while a family from upstate Washington was visiting the Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park in British Columbia. Spending a leisurely day on the beach, the young girl in the family stumbled across a black and white Adidas running sneaker lying in the sand. Curious, the young girl picked the shoe up, discovering to her horror, a severed foot, sock and all still resting in the tied sneaker. It was a size twelve, man’s right foot. These things happen, body parts of lost fishermen, and sailors, remnants of plane crash victims, and other various missing parts of missing persons tend to wash up along shores once in awhile. Investigators could not identify the foot, and determined that there were no signs that the foot had been cut off or violently torn. They concluded that the foot must have removed itself from the body by means of submerged decay.
Well, only six days later, another foot was found by a tourist couple strolling the beach on Gabriola Island, an island belonging to the same group of Gulf Islands in BC where the first foot was found. So, it’s just the guys other foot right? Wrong. It was another size 12 male right foot, this time nestled cozily in a white Reebok running shoe. Again, investigators concluded that it was detached by natural submerged decomposition processes.
Five and a half months pass, the mysterious allure faded, when yet another foot was found on another Gulf Island, Vales Island. It was another man’s right foot, this time a size 11 found sock and all inside of a blue and white Nike running shoe. At this point, the story blows up, and people start theorizing what these feet might mean. Is there a serial killer on the loose with a foot fetish? A murdering fiend who stalks men as they run, chopping off their limbs and tossing them into the Strait of Georgia? Officials tried to hold back such panic by once again proclaiming that this foot was severed by natural causes only.
May, 22 2008, the fourth foot is found along a beach on Kirkland Island in British Columbia, a good distance from the Gulf Islands where the first three were found. This foot was a woman’s right, size 7, still with a sock in a New Balance running shoe. Officials again swore off panic, this time claiming that due to the distance, this foot had nothing to do with the others. Less than a month later, foot number 5 was found floating in the water near Westham Island of BC, a size 12 left foot in a Nike running shoe, matching the right foot found on Vales Island earlier that year. The first pair was matched, but unable to be identified. Two days later, pranksters planted a hoax foot on a beach on Vancouver Island, the skeleton of an animal paw they wrapped in a sock and placed into a sneaker. That one obviously doesn’t count.
On August 1, 2008 foot number 6 was found by a camper on a beach in Pysht, Washington, just 16 kilometers from the Canadian border. Wrapped in seaweed, this was a size 11, men’s right foot, again in a running shoe. Washington officials believed that the foot was carried south from Canadian waters. A seventh foot was found on November,11 2008, a match to the woman’s foot found on May 22. This was pair number two, and both left feet were found floating near the Fraser River, while the right were found on beaches near the Gulf Islands.
Almost a year passed until foot number 8 was found in a running shoe near Richmond BC, and then almost a year after that, on August 27 of this year, another foot, that of a juvenile female was found in the state of Washington, again along the coast near to the border with British Columbia. This foot, unlike the rest, was found without a shoe.
In the span of 3 years, nine severed feet have been found along the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Nine! No bodies or other parts were found to match any of these victims, and as of right now, only one victim has been identified, and written off as a suicide. Canadian authorities are persistent in their claims that the feet were removed from their bodies by natural decomposition. Many forensic pathologists have disputed this claim, insisting that decomposition, submerged or not, does not cause feet to just pop off. The rarity of this phenomenon is further evidence that there might be some foul play involved, foul play that the Canadian authorities wish to cover up. Normally, submerged decomposition leads to the gloving of the feet and hands, where the skin around these areas almost perfectly separates from the body. Being that these feet were mostly found in their sneakers, they were safe from the gloving process, however the reason behind their separation from the bodies remains a mystery.
Here’s a few of the theories people have come up with. The most researched theory was that the feet belonged to the four passengers of a small plane that crashed in the Gulf Islands in 2005, of which no bodies were recovered. So far, this theory has come up empty. Many people believe that beyond what they are hearing from the Canadian government, foul play is indeed involved, and a serial killer may be stalking runners and tourists along Vancouver Island. Stranger theories classify this section of the Pacific Northwest as a dumping ground for UFO abductees. The mysterious severing of the feet, and the apparent absence of the use of tools in the severing, has even led some to blame giant squid, who devoured most of, but not all of their victims. Who the hell really knows why feet have been popping up along the shores of the Canadian West. It’s a great mystery, and a truly gruesome one at that. What do you think?