We live in a weird world. While science does a good job at distilling some truth from many of its oddities, some events seem so unusual that they appear to avoid a rational explanation (at least at first glance).
Here's a selection of verifiable events that seem to be straight out of an unaired X-Files episode, despite the rational explanations that lurk behind them.
Cue the theme tune...
Salish Sea Human Foot Discoveries
Since 2007, severed human feet keep washing up on the shores of the Salish Sea, British Columbia. The first discovery occurred in August 2007 and the last report, the 13th foot in total, washed up in December 2017.
A popular theory among locals and Internet-dwellers is that the feet are the work of local gangsters, organ trafficking, a ritual, a prolific serial killer, a hoax, or – of course – aliens. However, those claims remain unsubstantiated.
Thankfully, there are some possible explanations for this surreal scenario. Forensics experts have determined that at least eight of the feet belonged to six individuals. Two of the feet have also been linked via DNA to people from North America who are believed to have committed suicide.
Another big clue: Many of the feet are found inside a sports shoe. The most promising explanation for this is that these shoes are buoyant and waterproof, meaning that the feet of the corpses float to the surface and remain relatively well-preserved, while the rest of the body decomposes. Meanwhile, a pattern of currents that flow around this part of the Canadian coast draws debris (including rogue feet) into the Salish Sea.
The Somerton Man & His Coded Message
In 1948, an unidentified man (pictured above) was found on a Somerton beach just south of Adelaide, South Australia. As explained in a newspaper clipping from the time, his body had not been in the water and his death appeared to have occurred during his sleep. He was approximately 40 years old, caucasian, well-built, clean shaven, and dressed in a suit.
The story smells suspicious already, but here’s where it goes from dubious to full-blown WTF: Inside a hidden pocket in the man’s waistband, Australian police later found a tightly rolled piece of paper bearing the words "Tamam Shud” printed in a distinctive font. The phrase originates from an 11th-century book of Persian poems, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and translates to "the end" or "finished”.
Police appealed to the public and eventually found the book from which the page had been torn. On the inside back cover, detectives found a handwritten local telephone number, another unidentified number, and a coded (or random) message.
“Perhaps if you took away anyone’s ID and left only a few clues behind, we’d all seem extraordinary and mysterious,” Derek Abbott, a biomedical engineer who has studied the mystery for year, told Buzzfeed News in 2016.