We’re going a little left-field here on Object Dart today. And possibly decidedly macabre.

I noticed on the internet a few weeks back that a foot had washed up on a beach in Christchurch. At the time I thought, “creepy”. But also thought that it was a story that I’d heard somewhere else. A foot washes up in an ankle-sock, and all pathologists have to go on is their training. This can tell them whether the foot is male or female for example.

And yes, I mean ‘is’ male or female, not ‘belonged’ to a male or female. Severing a limb or appendage doesn’t change its gender.

Anyhow, I got curious and started a little bit of a google to try and find out if I’d heard the about this happening somewhere else in New Zealand. To make sure it wasn’t too exhaustive I limited myself to 10 pages of search, and whaddya know?

It turns out that finding feet, not hands, heads, torsos, legs or arms is relatively common. I tried searching for the other ‘bits’ and found little few web-documentation. Lots of ‘bodies’ washed up, but you’d expect that with the number of drownings world-wide. But, for some reason, feet wash up, by themselves, with alarming frequency.

Just. Plain. Weird.

So, in the spirit of whacky random things on the interweb, here’s your list.

This story for example is of a foot washed up on a beach in Merseyside on 17 November 2004 . It’s a foot found inside a sock and size 11 running shoe.

This story is of an ‘unclothed’ foot found washed up on a beach in Dorset, 12 December 2006. Police think it may have belonged to a school who’s identity they know.

This story has a foot washed up on a beach outside Barcelona somewhere, on September 15 2006, and a reference to another incident of foot-finding on another beach a month earlier. This is interesting in fact, and might help explain this phenomena. Apparently the latter incident had “a badly decomposed leg, and well-preserved foot inside a shoe”.

In a turn for the really creepy, this story from Vancouver had two different feet, both rights, turning up in different shoes in the same week (late August 2006), and both in the Strait of Georgia.

And again, this story has a foot washed up on a beach in Oakland, California on 1 July 2005.

Moving back to England, this story has a foot of a missing woman being washed up on a beach in Devon around Christmas 2006.

And in two slight departures from the aquatic theme, this is the story of a foot found in a boot in the Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park on 4 January 2008 (it has possibly been there since the 1970s), and this is a foot found in a landfill in Fredericksburg, Virginia on 2 February 2007. Weirdly, they can’t tell if it’s human or primate. But then it is the South…

So what all this should be making you wonder is “why in the hell do feet not decompose so easily!!”. It is very, very strange. If I was to drown, would the only bit of me left be a foot found washed up somewhere?

Also, all these stories are from English-language publications. How many feet are there being washed up on shores where the local foot-finding isn’t being picked up by my searching?!

From the bizarro news-desk, Che Tibby, over and out.