Recently, a bag containing 54 severed human hands was found by a river in the frigid expanses of southeastern Russia. Although this certainly sounds like a tale with high-level cloak-and-dagger-esque layers, one recent report suggests that they were dumped by a forensics lab, not left behind by the dealings of a criminal enterprise or corrupt government.
Just in case you’ve missed the evolution of this strange tale over the past week or so, a bag containing 27 pairs of human hands, along with some medical bandages, were found in a bag on the banks of the Amur River in Russia, and naturally, people are baffled, and a little unnerved. Generally speaking, bags left behind without anyone watching over them tend to contain some sort of nefarious unmentionables in stories like these, but still, it’s not even a single pair of hands – it’s 27 of them.
As you’d expect, hypotheses abounded as to where they may have come from, ranging from the sinister to the surprisingly benign. As they were found by a fisherman on a small river islet just 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the Chinese border, some suspect they’d been dumped in said neighboring country, rather than by someone in the nearby town of Khabarovsk.
As has since been spotted by Gizmodo and others, a report from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation – which handles criminal investigations – announced that the hands belonged to a forensics laboratory.
Macabre bag containing 27 pairs of human hands found in bag on Amur River island. Mystery over who the hands belonged to, when they were chopped off, and why. GRAPHIC IMAGES https://t.co/eq2B1N1Pn9 pic.twitter.com/wJZqYveSPr
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) 8 март 2018 г.
“The biological objects (hands) found are not of a criminal origin, but were disposed of in a manner not provided for by law,” the (translated) post reads. “A legal assessment will be made of the actions of officials of the forensic medical institution in the city of Khabarovsk responsible for the disposal of these biological objects.”
It seems that, as part of an ongoing investigation, authorities have pinpointed the clumsy or lazy actions of a scientific research institution on the emergence of these hands on the banks of the Amur River. Although something has clearly gone wrong with regards to proper disposal procedures, whatever they may be, the removal of hands in this sense isn’t necessarily unusual.
During autopsies, various organs are often removed (temporarily or permanently, depending on the individual case) while causes of death are being established. At this stage, though, it’s not clear why so many hands would be placed in a single bag – was this part of some medical exercise?
Hopefully, more details will come to light, but we’d suspect that this is a macabre story whose details will remain permanently fuzzy.