So these disembodied feet have been sporadically washing ashore in British Columbia and Washington state for a few years now, and the story hasn’t gained much traction in the mainstream media—not even on cable, which exists precisely to cover weird stories like this. Cheers to MSNBC and Tamron Hall, then, for addressing the mystery in a three-minute segment a few days back. I’m not going to say that MSNBC nailed it, but they did a decent job reporting a story that, as Hall said at the top of the segment, “might be one of the strangest and perhaps one of the most disturbing things you’ve ever heard”:

Tamron Hall: Ron, is-is this a… could I assume that-that it’s a murder investigation, or… suspicion of one, and that… these are feet?

Undersheriff Ron Peregrin: Well, that’s an interesting question. We’re not looking… you always, of course, investigate for the worst case scenario…. They appear, at least, to have separated naturally from the body. So it’s very possible that these are remains of fishermen who have died, their vessels sank; we have at least one float plane in Canada that went down, all hands lost, no one recovered.

Tamron Hall: [anguished exhalation of breath]

I agree with Tamron Hall, insofar as it’s surprising that authorities are trying to pass this off as natural decomposition instead of the work of some hideous foot-severing monster. There’s a story here; let’s hope that MSNBC and other outlets keep kicking it around.

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Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.