Friday, September 23, 2011


I was initially drawn to the Mixtec town of San Juan Coatzóspam, Oaxaca in search of ghosts and ghost stories. And yes, I’ve had a few false positives in Coatzóspam. There was the time I thought I saw a duende, one of the supernatural Little People of the Mountains, and it turned out to be the front half of a dog. And then there was my first night in Coatzóspam during this latest trip, when I slept in my friend’s kitchen next to a stack of cardboard boxes. I heard the boxes rattling around and shaking on their own, and was ready to grab my Rosary when I remembered my friend warning me there was a mouse loose in his kitchen.
But one of my first close calls with the supernatural was in Don Adán’s shitter.
Don Adán is a bit of a hermit—never married—and his outhouse is a special place. It’s a cinder block structure raised up a good meter off the ground, and all the filth collects in the lower part of it at ground level. Only for reasons known only to God and Don Adán, at some point he decided to knock a hole in the bottom of the cistern part of the outhouse, to give the shit a chance to breathe. So every now and then, wild animals crawl underneath the outhouse and party down there. One morning I was sitting there, taking a good old fashioned country shit and looking out for spiders, when I let a load go and heard a loud “bu-GAWK!” noise below.
I had just crapped on a startled chicken. I looked around town all week for the stained chicken to offer it my sincere apologies, but I wasn’t successful in tracking the poor creature down.
But that’s a different story. I’m here to tell you about the haunted outhouse. See, the first night I used Don Adán’s country shitter, I could have sworn I was having a paranormal experience.
It was my first night in Coatzóspam. I arrived to find the town dark, silent and covered with a thick layer of mist. I would have rather waited for a little sunlight to help me out with my country shit, but hey, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. So I headed into the dank, dark inner sanctum of the outhouse and felt my way around, looking for the place to sit down. I maneuvered my way around the outhouse all right and set down to do my business. The air was cold and deathly still. A dog howled in the woods below. A cricket chirped. Tendrils of fog curled in through the outhouse’s open door.
Suddenly, I realized something wasn’t right—the poop wasn’t dropping. And this wasn’t your typical “dangling poopy” that’s especially adhesive. I mean, not only was it not falling down into the hole below, it was like there was a force, an Invisible Hand, pushing back against the turd, trying to force it back up into my body. The more I shook, the more I felt resistance from below. I started to really freak myself out here. Just great, I thought. My first supernatural experience in Coatzóspam, and it’s in Don Adán’s country shitter.
Then I collected my thoughts a bit more, and decided to light a match to see what the deal was.
As soon as I looked down at the outhouse seat, I figured out the problem. These were special “eco-friendly” toilet seats that some asshole decided to install in all of Coatzóspam’s outhouses years ago. The way these toilet seats work is, they have a special little compartment, a reservoir in the front of the toilet, for the urine to go into. It then flows down a separate tube and waters somebody’s corn field, so the outhouse doesn’t fill up too quickly. As it turns out, however, I walked into the darkness and sat down on the damn thing backwards. It wasn’t a ghostly presence pushing against my feces—it was the cold steel of the outhouse toilet seat itself.
Effectively, I had just crapped into Don Adán’s pee-hole.

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