With so many feet washing ashore in one small place it makes sense that a hoax would happen. Though a waste of public funds in this case,Â humor is one of the release valves of life. The threat, or implied threat of shoe wearing feet being found washed ashore would make your town twitchy too. It’s also a nice poke in the ribs of the authorities who seem to have no real leads.Â
Actual crime scene photo.
Sixth severed foot a hoax
Latest discovery appears to be animal bones stuffed in sneaker
Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist | June 19, 2008 | www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news
The flotilla of feet clad in sneakers that has washed ashore on the south coast since August 2007 has people talking – and, apparently, trying to egg on the mystery.
Yesterday, the B.C. coroner’s office determined that a foot found Wednesday on a Campbell River beach was a hoax. Someone took the bones of an animal’s foot and stuffed it in a sock and sneaker, then packed it with seaweed.
This last case at least has an explanation of human involvement. But with a lack of explanations coming from the coroner’s office or RCMP about the five other feet, the public debate over their origin is running rampant. News of the feet has spread around the world.
On Wednesday, a Times Colonist reporter did a live interview the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The story has been picked up by countless media organizations, from CNN and the BBC to the New York Times and the Guardian, as well as newspapers in Europe, India and South Africa. Of prime interest: Where are the feet coming from, and why are they washing ashore in droves?
Tempering the gallows humour that surrounds such stories is the real likelihood that these five feet belong to B.C. people who are now dead. The most reasonable explanations are that the feet belong to fishermen who are missing and presumed drowned, as well as the victims of a February 2005 plane crash near Quadra Island.
But two of the crash victims, Fabien Bedard and pilot Arnold Feast, are now excluded through DNA analysis from belonging to the first three feet, said Arnold’s wife, Sally Feast of Campbell River.
As for why other body parts aren’t being washed ashore, the bouyant sneakers likely kept the feet afloat as the bodies decomposed in the water.
The first two feet washed up in August on Gabriola and Jedediah islands, just south of Quadra in the Strait of Georgia. The third foot was found in February on nearby Valdes Island, the fourth in late May on Kirkland Island in the mouth of the Fraser River, and the fifth foot on Monday near Westham Island, also in the Fraser River.
With each discovery of a foot raising questions for loved ones, hoaxes such as the one in Campbell River are “very disrespectful,” the coroner’s office said yesterday.
“It fuels inappropriate speculation and creates undue anxiety for families and communities while wasting valuable investigative time and resources that could be spent on the main investigations,” said spokesman Terry Foster.
Despite the censure, people continue to talk.
A common theme is it’s the work of bored medical students or hospital workers who dissect cadavers and dress up the feet before tossing them in the sea. Or there’s a crazed funeral home director who is playing fast and loose with the feet of the deceased. Or a serial killer is targeting people in running shoes.
Also being discussed: The limbs belong to suicide victims, or victims of organized crime, or stowaways who perished before getting to Canada.
A suggestion that we’re seeing the remains of the 2005 tsunami victims come ashore after a voyage across the Pacific seems plausible. It makes sense that ocean currents might bring a cluster of floating shoes ashore – but why just here in the Strait of Georgia and not the vast and well-travelled beaches of Tofino and Ucluelet, or the coasts of Washington and Oregon?
Even Freemasons are suspected by some who speculate the order has a secret ritual that involves hanging men from their right foot. Of course, there’s no such ritual but anyone with secrets is under scrutiny.
Especially the police. There’s a strong suspicion on blogs that the police know more than they’re saying.
About the only thing that hasn’t been suggested is UFOs playing a role. But no doubt, if another shoe floats ashore, we’ll be looking to the stars for an explanation.