03 September 2011

The "severed feet" saga continues...

Almost four years ago when a flurry of severed feet started washing ashore in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, I created a severed feet category for this blog, never imagining that I would be writing additional posts on the subject this many years later. 

It's not a fetish for me, and I don't monitor the web for additional incidents or set any Google alerts, but having posted so many stories in the past, I now have a set of readers alert to new developments.  Thus it was that when I took a few days off to attend to family matters, Mike and a couple anons posted comments, and Phil sent me an email - all alerting me to another one of these bizarre incidents.

The severed foot, with a "leg bone" protruding from its running shoe, was discovered on August 30; depending on how the feet are enumerated, this can be considered the 11th incident.  AOL has covered the story (briefly), with a link to a report on the incidents by Rachel Maddow (from August 2010, after the ninth foot was found).  ABC News has a report (via Neatorama). The Vancouver Sun also has a brief article about this most recent incident, and there was some detailed coverage in an apparently undated report in Outside magazine online.  None of these sources have any significant details about the most recent event, which obviously is still under investigation.

My understanding re the huge Japanese tsunami is that it is too early for debris from that incident to start washing ashore in North America (due to arrive in the spring of 2013).

Addendum:  A hat tip to Nathanial Hoodrich for finding a recent article on this subject in the National Post, which included this better map (click for bigger):


  1. Is anybody tracking feet in other parts of the world? Do we have any context to help us understand how rare this really is? How many people have died in the sea in that area? Maybe the feet float ashore (or are preserved longer) because of the shoes? Do these beaches get more than the usual amount of debris from far away ocean currents?

  2. All good questions Paul. However I can't help but notice as well how Canada remains (to Americans)just that large grey area to the north.

  3. I know we're trying to track the debris from the current Japanese tsunami, but there was another larger tsunami in Indonesia just a few years before this.

    That's my guess as to where these are coming from.

    (Also, I'm sure not all of the waste and body parts found in both tsunamis aren't going to all just wash up on shore at once, it'll get an early start, and a late finish and keep spreading from then on out.

  4. Thanks, Nathanial. I've added the link to the post.

  5. Creepy, eh? I've been following this story since the first because I have family in the area, and I admit I can't resist the morbid intrigue. Watch for it - some of the articles contain dreadful puns like "authorities are stumped," ...and much worse.

  6. What a dreadful pun. Oh, wait a minute...


  7. September 5, 2011 . . . Looks like there's another one, this time in Oak Bay (south Vancouver Island)


  8. I live on Whidbey island...

    and this boggles me..

    @paul I don't know but the beaches usually do have debris in the form of driftwood and kelp on them.

    @anonymous Case in point, Whidbey island is in Washington state, not the US.

  9. I've heard as of a National Geographic special a year or so ago, that it's believed that some of the feet may be coming from the 2004 tsunami, mainly based on the fact that some of those shoes found were manufactured in Asia.

  10. Are there some athletic shoes NOT manufactured in Asia?

  11. re the Oak Bay one, the update at the link says that this incident was a hoax.

  12. And once again:


    Authorities are seeking the public's help in trying to determine the identity of a ninth foot that washed up in southwestern British Columbia.

    The remains of a foot were found encased in a sock in a hiking boot that washed up in Sasamat Lake in Port Moody over the weekend.

  13. This may be of interest to those of you following this saga: http://forgetomori.com/2012/skepticism/mysterious-severed-feet-and-the-crazy-statistician/

  14. Even more feet: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Human-foot-washes-ashore-at-San-Francisco-beach-4818738.php

    1. Yes. The Reddit thread linked to a photo of that one -


      There was also this one last month in New Jersey -


      And this -


      Looks like I need to fire up this category again.


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