‘Files Of The Unexplained’ Episode 8 “Floating Feet of Salish Sea” Recap

The last episode of the Netflix anthology Files of the Unexplained takes the viewers on a trip to the scenic Salish Sea. The stunning beaches around the sea are a go-to place for locals and beachcombers. Like most of the previous episodes, this sea is also full of mysteries unknown to us, and the Salish Sea mystery involves human feet, yes just that. 


What’s The History Behind The Salish Sea Feet Mystery?

On August 20, 2007, a man found a shoe washed up on the shore while beachcombing. When he checks the shoe thoroughly, he sees remnants of a human foot. This happened again six days later, and 21 feet have been discovered on the shores of the Salish Sea over the last 15 years. Parker MacCready, an oceanography professor, explains that the sneakers are washed ashore because of the constant strong winds. This phenomenon has sparked speculation and conspiracy theories around the world. There’s a constant debate going on in social media about why this phenomenon is only happening in the Salish Sea. Several threads and blogs have talked about this odd topic, and mainstream media too have gotten involved in it. 

Is Some Sea Creature Responsible For The Feet Mystery?

It’s been long since shark and whale attacks were considered to be the reason behind the feet. There’s regional lore that indicates that there is a predator underneath the sea. If we are to believe the lore, it’s about a sea serpent: haietlik, the lightning snake. This creature is also known as the Cadborosaurus, and there have been books dedicated to this serpent. Indigenous people believe that the serpent surpasses Orcas in strength and speed, and many have claimed to witness the creature too. Since 1880, there have been 235 sightings of the Cadborosaurus. Even though the creature has been seen by people this many times, there have been no reports where it has attacked a human being. The sea serpent is a recurring monster in different mythologies, and it’s unlikely that one actually exists and just doesn’t want to eat people’s shoes. 


Was There A Serial Killer Involved?

When you can’t put the blame on monsters and animals, it’s time to look at the monsters who walk among us. Robert William Pickton, the infamous serial killer of Canada, was held responsible for the feet. He was arrested in 2002 and finally got convicted in 2007 when found guilty of the murder of six innocent women. Pickton claimed that he killed 49 women in total and regretted that his sloppiness stopped him from reaching the 50 mark. Pickton was known to kill women and grind them before feeding their flesh to the pigs. The Pickton theory was ruled out due to the fact that he only killed women and the feet belonged to both men and women. There was still speculation that it could be the work of an unknown killer. The unidentified feet could belong to victims who lost their lives in the hands of a psychotic killer on the loose. Authorities have constantly stayed true to their statements and assured the public that the feet are not the result of any sort of violent crime.

What’s The Actual Reason Behind The Feet On The Shoreline?

Gail Anderson, the co-director of the Centre for Forensic Research, was contacted by the BC Coroners Service to investigate the mysterious feet. Gail started experimenting on the coast, using pig carcasses as a proxy for human bodies. Gail observed that in a place where oxygen levels are high, the body could last for weeks. When Gail experimented with the same thing in the Salish Sea, she saw the bodies being skeletonized by animals. She explains that under the water, the bodies get decomposed and the bones from the feet start to get loose. She also points out that there are no cut marks, further proving her point that this is a natural phenomenon. 


How Did The Feet Emerge From The Sea?

When a human body reaches the bottom of the ocean, the predators of the sea finish off the meat soon enough. The animals finish the softer parts of the body, which include the area around the ankles. Due to the tough and heavy modern sneakers, the loose feet don’t stay down when the body is skeletonized. The Salish Sea has the right weather conditions to push the floating shoes toward the shore. 

Who Were The Victims Whose Feet Washed Ashore?

Many of the feet that have been discovered could be traced back to the person through DNA tests. Most of these people drowned by accident, and there’s one suicide that happened right on the sea. A few of the dead were identified as fishermen who got into accidents and lost their lives; the others followed the same pattern too. Though the unidentified people raise a question about the whole thing, according to the officials that has a possible explanation too. Since 2007, there has been a 156 percent rise in drug crimes near the Salish Sea. Gang violence is not new to the area, and the locals are well aware of it. People who got killed in gang wars might have ended up on the bottom of the ocean, because what better place to dump a corpse? 


Who Is Antonio Neill? 

Antonio Neill has been missing since December 2016. A former druggie on his rehabilitation journey, Antonio went out of his house on December 12 never to be found again. The friend he went with lodged a complaint against him the next day. Antonio allegedly tried to kill him, and when the policemen wanted to know more details, he refused to elaborate further. The house Antonio was last seen at was where the police discovered patches of fresh blood. In January 2019, a human foot appeared again on Jetty Island. Antonio’s mother confirmed that it’s his shoe, and the socks were identified too. It’s a shame that a sea as beautiful as Salish holds so much misery and pain, and the controversy around it makes it worse. 

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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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