Realistic looking, but fake, plastic foot a social media sensation

December 06, 2012 - 10:30 am

By Steven Friederich - The Daily World

At first, workers weren’t quite sure what to make of it. Sticking out of a pile of wood debris at Cosmo Specialty Fibers was what resembled a human foot — complete with blood splatters on it.

But when they retrieved it, it was clear that the object was made of plastic, albeit extremely realistic looking and made to appear blood spattered — perhaps a Halloween prop.

Since then, the rumors have been flying like wild. Here’s an example of one email that came to The Daily World: “There was a human foot found yesterday at the Cosmopolis mill. My friend works there and found a human foot in the hog fuel pile. If you have not heard about this you need to do a story on this cause the town is wondering whose foot was found and why.”

The prop is now sitting in Cosmo spokesman Bob Buchan’s office at the Cosmopolis pulp mill.

“But now people really do think a real foot was found. Well, I can confirm there was a foot but not from a carbon-based mammal. … It didn’t help that workers were taking pictures of it and posting it on Facebook,” Buchan said. “And it certainly doesn’t help that we’re not far from British Columbia where a number of real, dismembered feet have washed on to shore.”

From 2007 through 2011, at least a dozen feet washed ashore along British Columbia — and at least one near Port Angeles. The issue of the missing feet persisted for years until earlier this year when the coroner of British Columbia said most of the feet had been identified from suicides, where people had thrown themselves off bridges into the water after which their bodies decomposed naturally, according to The Vancouver Sun. Buchan said the plastic foot was discovered at Cosmo’s massive woody debris pile outside the Cosmopolis pulp mill.

Buchan said the plastic foot was discovered at Cosmo’s massive woody debris pile outside, where the company gathers branches, plants, wood shavings — just about anything that can be burned inside the mill for its biomass generator.

“We have a bulldozer that pushes the hog fuel around to get it dried out,” Buchan said. “And they pushed it at a spot and saw this thing, this foot, stick out the ground. They went, ‘uh oh.’”

Buchan said that when the workers figured out what it was, they turned it into administration — but not before a few took photos of it.

One photo shared with The Daily World doesn’t show the hollowed out top and is taken on wet cement and is covered in dirt and grime, giving it an even more realistic appearance.

“We went from being startled to it being somewhat of a joke and it hit the social media from there,” Buchan said Wednesday afternoon. “Well, the police haven’t come. No one’s reported a missing plastic foot. I have to say it is very realistic, which sort of has you believe it’s a Halloween prop.”

The foot is hollow and has some paper bags stuffed inside it to give it a little bit of weight. In fact, it’s even missing two of its toes — like they were chopped off, though that could have been from the bulldozer.

So, if someone at Cosmo thinks they’ve found some toes, they’re likely to double check to make sure they’re plastic first.