Since 2008, more than 75 bodies have been uncovered in the canals in the city and stories of a dangerous serial killer on the loose are more prevalent than before.
A cyclist in Manchester has spoken about how he was pushed into a canal in the night in a case that could be allegedly linked to the myth of the 'Manchester Pusher'. The mysterious serial killer has become an urban legend of sorts after scores of bodies were found in the city's waterways.
The authorities have said that the 34-year-old father-of-two, who is an office worker, went to them with the incident on April 10 night saying that the "psychopath" attacker did not even bother robbing him and ran away after pushing him.
Detectives, on the other hand, have said that this man's case and the many bodies that were found in the canal were completely unrelated.
It has been reported that the man who was attacked almost drowned in the canal after his legs got tangled in his own bike. The incident took place at the Bridgewater Canal towpath which is near Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.
I was sceptical of the Manchester pusher stories, but the evidence to the contrary seems to be growing pic.twitter.com/aaeqmBlCAK— Prof. Chris Ashford (@lawandsexuality) April 15, 2018
The Sunday Times reported that the authorities have not connected this incident to any of the other canal deaths in the city but the publication has also described the recent crime as "the first evidence of a "Manchester Pusher".
It has been reported that there have been at least 76 bodies found in the city's canals since 2007. 17 of these deaths have been classified as "unexplained".
The victim from the recent attack has told Mirror: "I asked the police about the ‘Manchester Pusher’ legend and they were well aware of the stories. I definitely feel like I’m lucky to be alive."
Reports have said that the man's wife had told others on a community page on Facebook that there was a "canal pusher" on the loose.
Today I received this and I have to say I am skeptical on her claims as she states "The police told her the description fits the pusher" The pusher who the #police deny exists. #Thepusher #Manchester #Canal pic.twitter.com/BqEceEElLQ— Gary Jay (@GaryJayuk) April 11, 2018
Chief Inspector Andy Sutcliffe told Mirror that the victim had described the pusher as a white male of average height between the ages of twenty and forty. He also reportedly wore a black jacket.
The victim was allegedly pushed into the canal at around 10 pm on April 10.
Chief Inspector Sutcliffe told the publication: "I understand, given the circumstances of this report, that people will be alarmed, but I need to stress there is no evidence to suggest that this is linked to any other incidents and we’ve had no further reports."
The entire story started off as a rumor but then rumors have this tendency of spreading like wildfire.
It began to make its way into conversations that people had outside pubs in Canal Street, in offices where the worker would have a discreet discussion about the killer and taxi driver versions which were invented just to scare tourists.
Manchester now had an urban legend and the story became the talk of the town for a while, even reaching children in the form of "beware the boogeyman" stories. The mysterious killer is called 'The Pusher' because he allegedly drowns people in the many canals' that are spread out across the city.
What started off as just a story quickly became a reality on January 11, 2015, when The Daily Star repurposed the story of The Pusher - a psychopathic serial killer, who was allegedly somewhere in the middle of being just an urban legend and a man who posed a very real threat - and made it national headlines.
The Star's report used the Freedom of Information Act and revealed to its audience that there have been 61 bodies that have been lifted from the canals in Manchester in the past six years. The rumors spread faster than before.
Channel 4 released a documentary in 2016 called "The Pusher: Manchester's Serial Killer?". The documentary had claimed that the number of victims recovered was actually higher than what The Daily Star had reported. It claimed that the number of bodies was 85 with 72 of them being male.
The body count recovered from the canal has been steadily growing since 2008. Of all the deaths, 28 of them have come back with an open verdict in inquests. All of the deaths are unexplained so far. The urban legend of the mysterious Pusher kept growing rapidly.
Russ Jackson, the Detective Chief Superintendent of the Greater Manchester Police's Serious Crime Division, said that there has been no evidence of a serial killer prowling the canals in the city.
He said: "What is very important to bear in mind in all these cases is that they have been subject to separate investigations and there is no evidence at all to suggest these deaths are linked or were suspicious. On some occasions, people have been charged with offenses relevant to that particular investigation."
He then added: "Whilst in some cases, it remains uncertain how people came to be in the water, in many others, the circumstances have been established following thorough investigations."
Regardless of the lack of evidence, the stories of The Pusher, if that person is real or not, will remain a constant source of rumors and legends spread amongst the citizens of Manchester.