When Shannon Whisnant purchased a smoker from a storage unit auction in Maiden in 2007 he had no idea that smoker grill contained the remains of a human foot.
“Five toes and five toenails,” Whisnant said in 2007 of the grisly discovery. The story immediately gained mountains of national attention and thrusted Maiden and Whisnant into the spotlight.
The foot, which was actually most of a lower leg, belonged to John Wood also of Catawba County. Wood lost the leg after surviving a plane crash. His reasons for saving it are well documented in a documentary film “Finders Keepers."
The film focuses on the legal battle over the leg between the two men. Whisnant claimed he owned the found property after purchasing the grill it was discovered in.
The dispute was later resolved in an episode of TV’s Judge Joe Brown. Wood was given the leg back.
After the story made its rounds in the national media, a documentary crew picked up interest in the story.
According to an online synopsis of the documentary, "Finders Keepers is an oftentimes hilarious, at turns tragic narrative that delves into the very real lives that created - and were forever changed by - the fantastical headlines.”
The film has won numerous awards at festivals across the country and debuts Friday night in Steele Creek in Charlotte. The movie also opens in select theaters across the country.
Friday morning, John Wood said about the film, “You’re probably going to want to clear your bladder before you come in because there’s going to be some laughing. It’s really funny.”
The film goes deeper though according to the team who created it. It delves into the personal addiction of Wood and the struggles of Whisnant and how the attention twisted the lives of the two men.