If you thought that the bathroom was a private and tranquil place to do one's business, where strange things do not occur you could not be more wrong. In fact, the bathroom is a place where all over the world many strange things have happened, with some making worldwide news.
From people being moulded onto toilet seats to rat bitten bottoms and deaths while on the toilet, To mark World Toilet Day, here are a few potty stories from around the world, sure to shock and amuse! To find out more about World Toilet Day see our World Toilet Day article
Makeshift Electric Chair
28 year old Michael Anderson Godwin was found guilty of sexual assault and murder, he was sentenced to death in South Carolina in 1981. An appeal saved him from the electric chair, but destiny caught up with him. In March 1989 Godwin was perched on a steel prison toilet attempting to fix a pair of headphones attached to his television set. He bit into the wire, and was electrocuted.
Singapore Flush Fine
The state of Singapore is well known for its bizarre laws. The sale of chewing gum is prohibited, also as is pornography. Punishment can range from costly fines to prison as well as corporal punishment and the death penalty. One of the stranger rules are if you were to use a public bathroom and forget to flush, police who carry-out regular checks can arrest you. You can be fined $500 and even a public caning.
It is said to believe that the first ever toilet shown on television was shown on a 1957 episode of the sitcom Leave It To Beaver. In this episode Beaver along with his big brother Wally orders a pet alligator named “Captain Jack” from a comic book. Hoping to hide their new pet from their parents, the boys place Jack the alligator in their toilets tank. Due to a public backlash they only showed the tank, not the complete toilet.
The Permanent Throne
In February 2008 authorities were ordered to the home of Kory McFarren in Ness City, Kansas. Mr McFarren had reported that there was something wrong with his girlfriend Pam Babcock. What was wrong was that Babcock had been sitting on McFarrens toilet for some time, two years in fact. It was so long that her skin had grown around the toilet seat. Paramedics were then forced to remove the seat, which was then surgically removed at hospital. It was revealed that Babcock suffered from a mental disorder and when Mr McFarren had asked her to vacate the bathroom she would reply ‘Maybe tomorrow.’
McFarren was convicted of the wrong doing of a dependent adult having to wait so long to seek help and was sentenced to six month's probation. This is however is not the only case of a woman holding long term residence of the toilet. A Chinese woman in Singapore also held a two and a half year vigil on the bowl beginning in March of 2009. She claimed that she had felt a force holding her down.
Before Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is a relatively recent innovation, of only about one hundred and fifty years old. Before the introduction of toilet roll almost anything to reach would be used. In Asian nations it was customary to use your left hand along with a pitcher of water. This created some prejudice towards left-handed people. In India and the Middle East the left hand is seen as unclean, and using it to pass something to someone is considered an insult.
Billions of people worldwide have little or no access to sanitary facilities. In many third world countries people are lucky to have a hole in the ground. In the harshest areas of Nairobi the most commonly used method of waste disposal is the flying toilet. A plastic bag that is defecated in, then hurled away as far as possible. The streets therefore end up covered in such filth, and allows diseases such as malaria and typhoid fever to breed. In rainy seasons, it is especially treacherous, as floodwaters wash the waste through people’s homes and into their drinking water.
In Germany it is common to come across washout toilets. These are toilets that feature an inspection shelf to catch your deposit. Upon vacating the toilet you can inspect your leavings for health reasons to check for abnormalities such as worms and other parasites.
While this design eliminates the possibility of the dreaded splash back, it is reported that an immediate flush is required to rid odour. For this reason, many Germans find it quite necessary to employ a good plumber in the case of emergencies.
Visiting the bathroom in all countries is not without its perils from the local wildlife. From the common house spider to the deadly black widow spider, modern plumbing has significantly minimized human contact with unwanted visitors. All of these innovations fail to save us from rats, which have been known to swim up through pipes and enter homes through toilets, even attacking those unfortunate enough to be sitting there at the time.
The design of the toilet has not changed much throughout generations. In the Western world most toilets feature a simple flush design, there is however a growing demand for smart toilets. The Japanese in particular are well known for their high tech commodes with some varieties priced well over $5,000. Some high tech models feature automatically opening seats, temperature control, heated seats, dryers, deodorisers and some even play music.