For more than 30 years, landline phones shaped like Garfield the cat mysteriously washed up on the coast of Brittany. Amused locals never quite understood where they came from. The enigma, however, has now been solved.
Locals and environmentalists in Finistere had always suspected that the stray phones came from a lost underwater container. That suspicion was recently confirmed by a resident, who revealed he had come across it after a storm in the 1980s.
The container was most likely lost by a ship during that storm. It then drifted against the coast of Brittany and, with the help of the low tide, got stuck in a fissure.
The cats eventually found their way out of the damaged case, and lazily made it ashore.
Bright orange pieces were found regularly by the local beach cleaning group Ar Viltansou.
"Our association has existed for 18 years and in that time we have found pieces of Garfield telephones almost each time we clean," said Claire Simonin, the group’s leader, to AFP.
After learning about the container’s location, Ms. Simonin and her crew went on an expedition to find it. "We found this incredible fissure that is 30 metres deep and at the very bottom, there were the remains of a container," she said. "Under the boulders in front of the entrance, we found 23 complete handsets with electronics and wires. They were everywhere."
This story, however, is far from over.
Fabien Boileau, director of the Irosie Marine Nature Park, was puzzled. "We have no idea what happened at the time: we do not know where it came from, what boat," he told AFP, "and we don’t know if several containers fell into the water, or only one."
Garfield the cat was brought to life by American cartoonist Jim Daves in 1978. Five years later, 1,000 papers were running the comic.
The sardonic feline would go on to win the 2002 Guinness World Record for most syndicated strip; by then it had won over the hearts of roughly 263 million readers.