FROZEN HANDS AND FIERY FOOTPRINTS HANDY MYSTERY
Enigmatic extremities: a bag of mystery hands and a phantom hitchhiker with burning feet
A bag containing 54 human hands has been found on an island in the Amur River near Khabarovsk, a city of 590,000 in southeastern Russia close to the Chinese border. Photos of the scene show the hands spilled out into a single pile, and then organized into 27 matching pairs and placed in rows. The island is in the Beshennaya channel of the Amur River, a popular fishing spot. Khabarovsk residents did not notice anything suspicious. Investigators have managed to lift a pair of fingerprints belonging to one of the hands, and the others are being checked. No information was given about the age of the hands or when they might have been discarded, but the images suggest they are reasonably fresh. Were the hands cut off as punishment for theft, or perhaps as medical amputations? The latter is weird and unlikely, given they were found in matching pairs. Or were they cut off as practice for medical students? This last idea is lent support by the discovery of medical bandages and hospital-style plastic shoe covers next to the remains. Siberian Times, 8 Mar 2018.
On 26 February, Pedro Peirone, from the town of San Jose de la Esquina, in Santa Fe, Argentina, was driving home when he saw a young man hitchhiking on the side of the road. As he often did on his business trips around the province, he pulled over and offered to give the hitchhiker a ride. He seemed a bit shy, and all Peirone was able to get out of him was that he came from the neighbouring town of Arteaga and that he was 17 years old. When asked if he was going all the way to San Jose de la Esquina, he said “No”, adding that he would let Peirone know where he’d like to get out. “Finally, he asked me to drop him off at the junction with the road leading to the cemetery, and, as soon as I got there, I sensed an awful burning smell,” said Peirone. “I stopped to see if something had caught fire, got out to check the back of the truck, and as soon as I turned around, I noticed there was no one inside.” He went to check the front passenger seat, but all he found was two footprints melted into the rubber car mat and a lingering burnt smell. He looked around to see if the youth had just run out faster than he could spot him, but there was no sign of him anywhere and no other footprints. Some friends of Peirone happened to drive by moments later and helped him look for the hitchhiker for a while, but they couldn’t find anything.
Unable to explain what had happened, Peirone went to the police and told them the whole story. Word of his experience spread, and soon he was contacted by dozens of TV and radio stations for interviews. He even took some of the reporters to the place where the hitchhiker allegedly vanished, and showed them the burnt shoe prints melted into the car mats. The media did a little digging on Peirone to find out if he was the kind of man who would make up such an unusual story, but everyone they talked to described him as an upstanding member of the community, a hard-working man and a good Catholic. Peirone himself admitted that he had always put his faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary, and never really believed in paranormal activity, but that the bizarre occurrence had left him confused. “I’m a little stressed, nervous. I’m not afraid, but I just cannot explain what happened,” he said. odditycentral. com, 7 Mar 2018.
ABOVE: The 54 hands found on an island in the Amur River. BELOW: Shoeprints melted into Pedro Peirone’s car mat.