Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Second Shod & Severed Animal Foot's Ashore in Salish Sea

A severed animal foot in a shoe was found floating in Powell River (Vancouver, British Columbia) on Saturday, March 5.

It is the second severed and shod animal foot found in the area: A previous one was found in Campbell River, Vancouver Island, on June 18, 2008.

Both are presumably hoaxes inspired by the macabre events involving human feet in the area: Since 2007, 10 human feet have washed ashore on the Salish Sea (the coastal waterways of the Pacific Northwest). (See previous posts.)

Various patterns have emerged and vanished. It started with large right male feet. Then the fourth foot was female and average sized--but still right. But then foot five was left, breaking the string of rights.

All were found in running shoes, until feet 9 and 10. All feet were unmatched, until 5 matched 3, and then 7 matched 4, and, presumably, 10 matched 9. None have been identified--except for one. All but two of the feet were found in British Columbia. All were human, before the June 18 hoax. Wikipedia ignored the news, until it started following it.

In fact, there is only one similarity beyond geotemporal proximity: Each was removed without tools (presumably disarticulated as the body rotted and the shoe floated, tugging upward against the body until the ankle separated).

We stopped speculizing long ago.


  1. I wonder if the two hoax feet are connected, er, I mean...well, you know.

  2. It might be interesting to correlate the final locations of the amputated items with ocean currents?

  3. We have been watching the "Foots" and I appreciate your synopsis.
    Please see
    We have them mapped out!

  4. .sWineDriveR., I wonder if they aren't trying this. I suppose through computer models they could "trianglulate" the most likely source or sources of the feet, but maybe there are smaller currents within the currents that complicate this? Also, I wonder if they could determine at which point along the stream the bodies were put into the water. They might be able to say foot "x" may have come from a current flowing along a certain path, but where exactly? It would be interesting to know how reliable such models could be. I know they have the technology to map currents with underwater buoys and the like, but this seems a rather "macro" view which doesn't necessarily mean they could trace the origin of something so small.

    I'm almost tempted to email the mounties and ask about this, but they'd probably say they can't comment on a pending investigation.

    It seems so odd that this keeps happening in one place, more or less. Even with the "hoax feet" there's still a high density of feet in the general area.

    My response only reveals the frustrating limits of my genral scientific knowledge I'm afraid.

  5. Zounds, I missed your comment Citizen X. That's a great map. It actually kind of dampens (groan) the mystery of the Canadian feet, as there are in fact so many found on coastlines global. This particular set of Vancouver waterways is a bit more dense, though. I'll keep taps on that map!

  6. Sorry for re-posting this piece. The 3rd link was pointing to wrong site. I've corrected it to point to Wikipedia's article, which has an okay table listing each event.

    I created a similar table back in 2008, but didn't keep it up-to-date, so I was pleased to see Wikipedia stepping in.

    Citizen X: That's a great map! It does show many more global foot wash-ups than I expected -- but the Salish Sea is clearly the largest cluster. Your map shows one I didn't know about, the 1999 discovery in Tacoma, WA, that is a real outlier in terms of timing. I speculated in my posting that the two most recent discoveries in the Salish Sea might be a match, but looking at your map, I've got to say that they are pretty far apart (Tacoma and Whidbey Island)! You and I both read the same article on that Whidbey foot, but we interpreted this quote differently: "...unlike the others, it was not encased in a tennis shoe...". I interpreted this as a suggestion that it was encased in a different type of shoe, assuming that it matched the hiking boot of the most recent Salish Sea find; you interpreted it as meaning that there was no shoe -- just a foot. I'm inclined to think you're right and that I misinterpreted that point. Anyhow, that's a long way of saying that I am less sure that the two most recent feet are a match. Thanks for the map! I hope you'll keep it up to date. I haven't had a chance to check out your blog but look forward to reading it.

    .sWineDriveR.: Citizen X's map suggests, to me, that currents might explain the geographic clustering because there are a couple of other clusters, one on the east coast of the U.S. and one around the North Sea, mostly on the west coast. I wonder if those areas act like traps: upper currents pull flotsam in but not out. It sure seems like the Mounties ought to be able to trace the currents, combine the data with the timing, and pin point a plane crash or something. Early on, there was a plane crash that was theorized as the source; if I remember correctly, there was some foot, maybe around number 6, that threw that theory out the door because it pulled in too many people or it was the wrong gender or something. I'm too lazy to re-check that detail right now. Any, your link shows that the feet could be sucked into the Alaska current from the the North Pacific current, which is itself part of a big loop that crosses the northern Pacific eastward, drops down CA, crosses equatorial Pacific westward, and swings back up along Japan. Basically, a lot of turf (or, rather, surf), but it does suggest that the feet aren't, as some have speculated, from the victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

  7. Dang it, now I'm sucked down the rabbit hole.

    Here's a great geotemporal chart. It confirms that the most recent foot was not, as Citizen X's map correctly noted, in a shoe.

    Here's a link (that I picked up from Citizen X's map) to a short video. Mountie spokeswoman Annie Linteau is kind of hot!

  8. Regrading the currents, Wikipedia has this to say:

    "Determining the origin of the feet is complicated because ocean currents may carry floating items long distances, and because currents in the Strait of Georgia may be unpredictable. A foot may float as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 km).....Under optimal conditions, a human body may survive in water for as long as three decades, meaning that the feet may have been floating around for years."

    As for the plane crash, Gid, the gender of one of the victims disproved the theory that the feet (or all of them anyway) came from the crash. That and the quantity as well.

    And yeah, Linteau is a cutie!

  9. Glad you guys are enjoying the map!


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