A recent episode of the TV show Bones lifted an idea from the headlines. As in real life, pairs of feet wash up on the Canadian shore, prompting an investigation.
Curiously, reports of the episode disagree on the number of severed feet, unconsciously mimicking, perhaps, the confusion surrounding the reports of the non-fictional feet--reports that are tangled up by a couple of fakes (animal paws stuffed in shoes) and a pair of chronological outliers (discovered much earlier than the rest).
TV.com reports on 7 pairs of washed up feet in Bones. "Brennan teams up with a Canadian forensic podiatrist to determine the identity of the real victim after seven pairs of feet are found washed up on the U.S.-Canadian border, but six pairs turn out to belong to research. Elsewhere, Cam crosses a major boundary when she takes away Michelle's right to choose her own college."
BSC.com, however, issued a report of 8 pairs of feet! "Weather patterns plotted by Angela indicated that seven sets of feet belonged to cadavers from the body farm at the University of Hogansburg. The farm had recently been flooded, and the waters helped to naturally separate most of the feet from the bodies. The eighth set of feet showed signs of being cut by power tools, indicating murder."
An interesting piece of the show is the idea of tracing back to the feets' point of origin, an idea that popped up in discussions during our previous severed-feet post on LoS.
Currents and weather are complex, however, and the difficultly of such an endeavor is highlighted by a case where one man's feet drifted apart and washed up on opposite ends of the North Sea!
Consider, too, a recent report that "the body of a man washed out to sea last month when the tsunami from Japan hit the Northern California coast has been found more than 300 miles north in Oregon near the mouth of the Columbia River."
300 miles! An entire body!
I'm tempted to inappropriately joke that buoyant shoes must drift more than a few feet.
Seriously, though, check out No Agenda Foot's cool, interactive map that displays the world-wide phenomena of severed feet findings. You can see that feet are washing up all over the place, but there appear to be clusters, the biggest being in the Pacific North West--but smaller pockets seem to appear else: several feet in San Francisco Bay, several more in the North Sea, and a couple in the Bermuda triangle.
Most of these clusters are probably easy enough to explain away. Bear in mind that as a body rots in the ocean, its buoyant shoes tug upwards, sometimes strongly enough to eventually disarticulate the ankle--hence, floating feet. Compound that with lots of suicides off the Golden Gate bridge, and it's no surprise that there must be lots of feet in San Francisco Bay. The North Sea "cluster" is about two-thirds one man, so it's hardly a trend. The Bermuda triangle is probably too big to declare two feet a "cluster", and one of those two only floated after a shark coughed it up.
But the Pacific North West? Now that's a mystery for the information age.
As the number of severed feet in Bones....