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Mystery of why human feet keep washing ashore in the US and Canada took 10 years to solve
Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Mystery of why human feet keep washing ashore in the US and Canada took 10 years to solve

An expert has dismissed the fears of a serial killer or aliens being the reason for human feet washing up on beaches.

For the past 17 years, a baffling number of decaying human feet have been washing up on the shores of the Salish Sea, on beaches in British Columbia, Canada and Washington, US.

As perplexing as that sounds, experts believe they've gotten to the bottom of it.

People have come up with a myriad of different theories.

Many have suspected a twisted serial killer, the mafia or even aliens - but an expert says the true reason is much simpler, and far sadder.

In August 2007, a young girl on Jedediah Island, British Columbia, found a sneaker washed ashore. When she picked it up, there was a decaying right foot inside.

Six days later, another sneaker was found on Gabriola Island, about 30 miles away. It was another right foot from a different body.

Many have suspected a twisted serial killer, the mafia are responsible for human feet washing ashore.
Getty Stock Image

Cpl. Garry Cox of Oceanside RCMP on Vancouver Island told CBC: "We have been informed that it looks like both feet had separated from the body by natural decomposition, possibly while in the water."

The island's regional coroner Rose Stanton also confirmed: "Both feet were decomposing, but still had flesh on them."

Ever since, the feet have kept washing up. In total, between 2007 and 2023, 24 feet have been discovered by people walking on the beach, with the latest find being in July 2023 on Gonzales Beach in Victoria, British Colombia.

While surely a horrific thing to find, these mysterious appendages had authorities baffled for years.

Fortunately, coroner Barb McLintock had the solution. "We pretty well think we know what happened in every case.

"There’s none that have any suggestion of homicide... in every case there is an alternate, very reasonable explanation," he told the National Post.

Coroner Barb McLintock had a solution for what was causing the discovery of feet.
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In response to the speculative tales people credit for the washed-up feet, like aliens and murderers, he said: "It's sad but true... a lot of this is simply the quelling of the public imagination, to say, no, this is unfortunate and they’re all very sad cases."

It's all to do with the improvements in running shoe technology.

"It really didn’t come up until we had running shoes that floated so well. Before, they just stayed down there at the bottom of the ocean," McLintock explained.

The feet themselves are often believed to have come from people who took their own lives or drowned as a result of an accident, with their bodies sinking to the bottom of the sea.

As creatures feed on them, the feet then separate and float back to the surface, later washing ashore.

In one silver lining, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been using DNA analysis to link the feet to people who were missing and presumed dead due to accident or suicide, allowing their families to have some sort of peace.

As of October 2021, every person associated with the washed up remains has been identified.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 to reach a 24-hour crisis center or you can webchat at You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

Topics: News, World News, US News