Human Feet Washing Up On Canada’s Shore: Where Do They Come From?

13th foot washes ashore in British Columbia.

It sounds like the plot of a sinister mystery. A man is walking his dog along the picturesque shores of British Columbia when the dog darts ahead toward a pile of kelp. Buried within it are the remains of a human foot and lower leg, still encased in a white ankle sock and black running shoe.

This is what happened to Mike Johns, a 56-year old resident of Jordan River, about 70 miles southwest of Vancouver, Canada. “By the looks of it, the foot was totally intact. The ankle bone still worked and the bones were attached at the base of the knee,” said Johns.  

Johns, worried the foot would be washed back to the ocean or be eaten by a nearby bear, brought it back to his house and called the police.

But the police were unfazed. It was the 13th incident of a foot washing ashore, still clad in a running shoe, since 2007. (For the record, police do not advise taking bones from the scene should you be the one to find number 14. They recommend calling the police before touching the remains.)

At first, the rash of sneaker-clad bones sparked as many conspiracy theories as feet. (A plane crash! Tsunami victims! Serial killer!). The mysterious discovery even sparked some to plant “copycat” feet. “We’ve had people put dog foot skeletons in runners and leave them on the beach,” said Barb McLintock of the British Columbia coroner’s office. “And somebody even used old chicken bones.”

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