SYSK Investigates the Mystery of British Columbia's Disembodied Feet

Josh Clark

In 2007, the first of series of strange discoveries happened on British Columbia's beaches. Natalie Fobes/Getty

We're bringing you a story that dropped today on one of HowStuffWorks' most popular podcasts: Stuff You Should Know. Here's how that story begins, according to podcast hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark. 

On a cool and drizzly day in August 2007, a 12-year-old girl from Washington walked along the beach at Jedediah Island, a mossy, rocky park in British Columbia near Vancouver. As the girl wandered the beach, she noticed a shoe among the flotsam. She picked it up. It was a men's blue-and-white, size 12, Campus brand running shoe for the right foot.

Inside the shoe was a human foot.

The family borrowed a radio and alerted the authorities. Soon the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, coroner's office and coast guard all came to investigate and take custody of the shoe and foot. Upon closer inspection, the Mounties found that the foot, while decomposing, was mostly intact. They sent the foot to be examined for DNA to try to identify the person it was formerly attached to. While an extremely strange find, it was assumed to be a gruesome, but isolated, occurrence.

Six days later, however, another men's right shoe with another foot inside was discovered not far from where the first foot had been found. And the people of British Columbia became deeply concerned.

"Two being found in such a short period of time is quite suspicious," a Mountie named Cpl. Garry Cox told the Vancouver Sun. "Finding one foot is like a million to one odds, but to find two is crazy."

A pair of hikers discovered the second foot on Gabriola Island. The island's also located in British Columbia and in the same body of water, the Strait of Georgia, as Jedediah Island. Gabriola is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Jedediah Island. 

This second foot was encased in a different brand of shoe, a white-and-black Reebok style that hadn't been made since 2004. It was also a right foot. These two bits of information showed that the feet were not from the same person. So not one, but two people had lost their right shoe with their foot still inside somewhere around the watery areas along Western B.C.'s Pacific Coast.

The media quickly picked up on the story and, in the absence of an official explanation, a public discussion over what was behind the gruesome discoveries began.

We'll leave the story there and let Stuff You Should Know's Josh and Chuck pick up the rest of the tale in this week's episode. Just click on the play button in the embedded podcast. It's that easy.