Another severed foot wearing an athletic shoe has washed ashore in British Columbia. If you haven’t been following, this is a bit of an ongoing mystery, the 14th such discovery to have been made along the BC coast since 2007. This particular foot drifted onto the sands of Gabriola Island, a picturesque home of 4,000 people, across from Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia. It was found by a man strolling along the beach on an otherwise peaceful, non-macabré afternoon.
This foot wore a hiking boot. It’s unclear which brand. The other 13 feet have been in running shoes, and most of them belonged to men. Nobody seems to know why this keeps happening. Wild theories abound, though authorities feel confident there’s been no foul play, no strange goings on, that the feet are removed from the rest of the body simply through natural processes in the ocean. People succumbing to accidents on the coastline while hiking or trail running, possibly while boating, or, sadly, throwing themselves into the sea seem to be the source of the feet.
Regardless, enough feet have washed to beaches in the British Columbia area that people have taken to stuffing shoes with animal bones and pitching them onto the shore to fool investigators and passers-by.
“We’ve had people put dog foot skeletons in runners and leave them on the beach,” said Barb McLintock, who works at the coroner’s office, in an interview with the Guardian back in 2016. “And somebody even used old chicken bones.”
Investigators think the “floating feet,” as locals call them, are probably washing ashore in such numbers specifically because of the footwear they’re clad in. Running shoes, made of buoyant foam rubber, float easily and drift along with ocean currents—it’s thought some of the feet may be drifting down from as far away as Alaska. In some cases, knowing the model of the shoe has helped investigators figure out the date range when the person wearing them had died.
Why this occurs so often in British Columbia, however, remains a mystery.