Saturday, May 24, 2008

We Are Living in a David Lynch Film

Normally, we use this space to report on all the wonderful things we have/find/discover in our new home town and our adventures in and around this province. Most of the time, the news is good, though like any place there is occasionally some bad news here -- a murder or traffic accident, something of that nature. Though Victoria is almost unrelentingly beautiful this time of year, that doesn't mean there isn't a dark underbelly.

That said, even the worst news events are usually small in scale compared to where we lived before, and even small in comparison to the other major cities of Canada; Victoria is still a reasonably familial community compared to the big sprawling cities in the middle and eastern part of the country. Thus, news stories that one might reasonably tag as creepy and disturbing are very thin on the ground here.

But we do have one.

Starting 10 months ago, with the latest just yesterday, four disembodied, sneakered right feet have washed up onto the shores of islands and rivers in or near the Georgia Strait here in western BC. three of them were found just an hour and a half north of here, on the islands just south of Nanaimo (the fourth and most recent was found in an inlet from the Strait near Burnaby, a half-hour or so south of Vancouver).

This is what is known: all four were wearing running shoes, and all four were right feet. Some reports say at least two of the feet were male and size 12s; other say one of the feet matches that description. Other than that, and the locations where the feet were found, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) aren't saying much.

We've known about this since the third foot washed up in February (the first two appeared last August), but haven't mentioned it before because we assumed the police would crack the case fairly quickly; in our six months here we've noticed that most major crimes get resolved (or at least a suspect in custody) very fast. But this time they're stumped, so to speak (sorry).

The good news is that the chance that this is the work of foul play (for example a serial killer) has lessened. The RCMP, probably in a bit of rumour control, have declared that none of the feet look to have been severed. This means that they are likely the result of bodies decomposing underwater. Feet inside shoes can hold together, even when the rest of the body decomposes and turns into a soapy substance through the process of adiposcere (coincidentally enough, this was also a component of a recent Doctor Who story).

There's a man on one of the gulf islands who think that two of the feet belong to his brothers, who died in a plane crash in 2005 with the bodies unrecovered. DNA testing will eventually bear this theory out, but in the meantime, I'm not watching Blue Velvet till they're sure.


Anonymous said...

Hey folks:

Nice blog, I moved from the US of A (North Carolina) to Victoria a couple of months back and am looking to get to know the blogger community here a little better, my blog is and my email is theoliveridley (at) (that google mail thingie).com. Like you, I find Victoria and this region in general extremely beautiful and fascinating. As an environmental scientist, I take issue with Canada's environmental performance and think it can do a lot better. But, I must say, so far, living in Victoria sure beats the pants out of living in NC, severed feet notwithstanding!

chas_m said...

Love your blog, Olive, and very pleased to meet you.

Like you, when I first moved up here I was impressed at how the "green" thinking has permeated the culture of the public right across the country. However, I was shocked beyond belief when I found out recently that Victoria doesn't even have a sewage treatment plant yet -- we just dump it out into the ocean. (!!!!)

There's still some "Victorian" thinking going on here!

So yes, Vancouver Island (as a whole) has a lot of work to do in that department. But I think it will come (slower than you or I would like, of course).