It may appear to be a charming, tree-lined neighborhood with colorful flowers bursting from flower boxes and rainbow flags adorning the outsides of historic buildings. But looks can be deceiving.
An alarming number of dead and decomposing bodies have been pulled from the waterways running along Canal Street in Manchester, England, in the heart of “the Village,” an area known for its gay bars and restaurants.
Despite signs warning of “significant risk” of falling into the water, as well as glass and metal barriers preventing people from toppling over low stone walls, over 60 corpses have been fished from the depths of the Rochdale Canal in the past six years, causing many to wonder if the city has a crazed serial killer on its hands.
“It’s extremely unlikely that such an alarming number of bodies is the result of accidents and suicides,” Professor Craig Jackson, head of psychology at Birmingham University, tells the Independent.
“A lot of people go cruising on the towpath between the two bridges,” hair stylist Kurt Laing added. “Whenever someone dies, it’ll be on Facebook that it’s happened again. There should be more cameras down on the canal bank to make people feel safer.”
Then he added: “There are lots of rumors about ‘The Pusher.’”
Police do not believe the deaths are suspicious, nor do they believe a serial “pusher” may be responsible, though they did say they are committed to investigating “each and every unexplained death.”
“Only after a robust investigation into the circumstances of each death would the investigators deem one to be ‘non-suspicious’ and pass the file to the coroner,” an official statement said.
Still, this hasn’t stopped some Twitter users from creating the hashtag #ThePusher.
Stephen Faulkner, who works at a local pub, said he believes “The Pusher” is likely a street burglar. “You get people who’ve been drinking and if someone wants their wallet they’ll get pushed in,” he said. “I do believe people are being pushed in to the water.”