The Destroilet Automatic Combustion Toilet

The Destroilet was the first commercially successful incinerating toilet. They were sold in the 1960s and 70s, but after that the company seems to have gone out of business. Incinerating toilets, however, can still be bought.

image source:

More info from Lifting the Lid: An ecological approach to toilet systems (1999), by Peter Harper and Louise Halestrap:

Even without water for flushing, toilet wastes are mostly water. Urine is more than 98% water and faeces are more than 70% water. The actual amount of solid matter we excrete is quite small – less than 50kg a year, compared with around half a tonne with all the water included. It is tempting then, and technically possible, to deal with toilet wastes simply by dehydration, and this is the principal method adopted by some commercial dry toilets. One can go even further and incinerate the resultant dry matter, reducing it to a few kilos of ash. One US model, no longer produced, was called the 'Destroilet'...

  • an electricity connection is needed
  • electricity consumption potentially significant – often the toilet will become the largest-consuming appliance in the house
  • they are vulnerable to SHOCK LOADS – there is an upper limit to the rate at which it can accept inputs over a short period
  • problems often arise if the unit is not in continual use
  • the product may be hygienic when removed, but may not be actually composted and requires further treatment to become stable
  • there is a risk of total failure in the event of an extended power-cut

Sometimes such compact electrical toilets are the best and only solution, but in practice users are often dissatisfied. The units are very sensitive to misuse – readily overwhelmed by a serious party, for example. Re-commissioning after a breakdown is not a job for the faint-hearted. A common problem arises when the units are installed in holiday-homes and are left for long periods without use. The de-watering process can sometimes transform a mixture of toilet paper, urine and faeces into a kind of paper mâché that coats the innards of the toilet so tenaciously that it is almost impossible to remove. Its strength is so impressive one imagines there could be industrial applications for it.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 21, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Bathrooms, Body Fluids, Excrement

Automatic Cat Litter Box—Under Cat’s Control

I detect one small flaw in this concept, hidden in the phrase "the cat is trained..."

Full patent here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 10, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Patents, Excrement, Cats, 1960s

Building houses with diapers

Concrete uses sand, and this is a problem due to a growing shortage of sand. However, Siswanti Zuraida, a researcher at the University of Kitakyushu in Japan, has proposed that cleaned and shredded diapers can be used in concrete as a sand replacement:

To make the first prototype, Zuraida reused diapers from her own young children. The team washed, sterilised and dried the diapers, before shredding and mixing them with different amounts of other materials, such as gravel or sand. This served as the aggregate that the team mixed with Portland cement and water to create concrete.

More info: New Scientist

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Architecture, Babies, Excrement


Jalaproctitis is the medical term for the rectal burning sensation often experienced by people when they defecate after having eaten jalapenos. It was given this name by researchers at the University of Texas who conducted an experiment to study the effects of jalapenos (whether it acted as an expectorant, caused painful urination, and burning defecation). From the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov 16, 1978):

To investigate these issues, we prospectively studied participants in a jalapeno-pepper eating contest. Subjects included three women and two men ranging in age from 22 to 42. None had a history of lacrimation, rhinorrhea, dysuria or discomfort on defecation before the contest. One was a smoker, and one had cough and scanty sputum production before the contest.

After giving informed consent, subjects consumed as many large jalapenos as could be tolerated in a three-minute period. The number of peppers consumed ranged from three to 13, with a median of five. Three of the participants noted lacrimation and rhinorrhea immediately after the contest. In none did cough or sputum production develop. One male subject complained of dysuria, and four of five noted a burning discomfort on defecation within 24 hours of the contest.

The limited information obtained from this study does not indicate clinical usefulness of jalapeno as an expectorant. We believe that jalapenos may well be the cause of transient dysuria and, in addition, may result in a syndrome of burning defecation that might appropriately be termed "jalaproctitis."

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 18, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, Experiments, Body Fluids, Excrement, Pain, Self-inflicted and Otherwise


In his 1983 book Big Business Blunders: Mistakes in Multinational Marketing, David Ricks tells the following story:

A Japanese steel firm, Sumitomo, recently introduced its specialty steel pipe into the U.S. market. Sumitomo used a Tokyo-based, Japanese agency to help develop its advertisements. The steel was named "Sumitomo High Toughness," and the name was promoted by the acronym SHT in bold letters. So bold, in fact, that the full-page ads run in trade journals were three fourths filled with SHT. Located at the bottom of the page was a short message which ended with the claim that the product was "made to match its name." It simply cannot be overemphasized that local input is vital.

I've been able to find ads for SHT, such as the one below, but none exactly like the one that Ricks describes. Which doesn't mean the ad doesn't exist. Just that it isn't in any journals archived online.

Ocean Industry - July 1984

However, among the ads for SHT that I was able to find, I found one that actually improves (and possibly complicates) Ricks's story. Because it turns out that Sumitomo had another product, Sumitomo Calcium Treatment, that it abbreviated as SCAT.

Once I could accept as an honest mistake, but coming up with scatalogical abbreviations twice seems intentional. I'm guessing either someone at Sumitomo thought it was funny, or someone at the Japanese agency was having a joke at their expense.

Ocean Industry - March 1980

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 27, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Products, Odd Names, Excrement, 1980s

Hydrox Fecalis

In order to advance medical knowledge, Dr. Stephen Sulkes and a handful of volunteers ate Hydrox cookies and later checked to see if their poop had turned black. It had. They named this phenomenon 'Hydrox Fecalis.' Their results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Jan 5, 1984). Reproduced below:

To the Editor:

The presence of dark stools can be a cause of consternation to the patient and is made more anxiety-producing when accompanied by abdominal pain or other discomfort. The causes of melena are well outlined in several reviews, along with the usual non-heme causes of black stools, including iron, bismuth, charcoal, licorice, and certain fruits.

To this list should be added the colorings present in chocolate sandwich cookies. In several independent tests (with myself and several volunteers as experimental subjects), the presence of black stools approximately 18 to 24 hours after ingestion of 225 to 450 g of chocolate sandwich cookies has been observed. Variation in brand of cookie did not change the stool character. Testing with other types of cookie (oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chip, among others) has not resulted in the same stool findings, although abdominal pain or nausea or both appear to be equally frequent associations.

This phenomenon may be on the increase because of shifts in U.S. dietary habits, so elicitation of a good dietary history in cases of black stools and abdominal pain should be pursued. Inasmuch as "cookie-induced pseudomelena" is both unprofessional sounding and too appropriately descriptive, a suggested name for this entity is "Hydrox fecalis."

Stephen Sulkes, M.D.
Monroe Developmental Disabilities
Rochester, N.Y.

Someone needs to repeat the experiment with Oreo cookies.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 16, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Experiments, Junk Food, Excrement

Cook with your own biogas

The HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet collects your poop and uses anaerobic digestion to decompose it, transforming it into biogas (methane) that you can use for cooking. The kit comes with everything you need: the toilet, the tent in which the methane conversion/collection happens, and the stove for cooking.

I'm intrigued by the idea, but I wonder if the methane would have any lingering smell. Can't find this addressed on the product website.

More info:

Along similar lines, here's an article about a university in South Korea that's using human biowaste to power a building. People who contribute their poop, by using the toilet in the building, earn "a virtual currency called Ggool, which means honey in Korean." This currency can be used to buy goods on campus.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 20, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Excrement, Power Generation

Why Velna Turnage sued Christy Brothers Circus

From the case Christy Bros. Circus v. Turnage heard in the Georgia Court of Appeals, dated Sep. 15, 1928:

Where a petition alleged that the plaintiff was an unmarried white lady, and that while in attendance as a guest of the defendant at a circus performance given by the defendant, and while seated in one of the seats provided by the defendant for the defendant’s guests at the circus, a horse, which was going through a dancing performance immediately in front of where the plaintiff was sitting, was by the defendant’s servant, who was riding upon the horse, caused to back towards the plaintiff, and while in this situation the horse evacuated his bowels into her lap, that this occurred in full view of many people, some of whom were the defendant’s employees, and all of whom laughed at the occurrence, that as a result thereof the plaintiff was caused much embarrassment, mortification, and mental pain and suffering, to her damage in a certain amount, that the damage alleged was due entirely to the defendant’s negligence and without any fault on the part of the plaintiff, the petition set out a cause of action and was good as against a general demurrer.

Velna Turnage was awarded $500 for her "humiliation and embarrassment".

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 13, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Lawsuits, Excrement, 1920s

Knives made from frozen human feces

The non-fiction book Shadows in the Sun by Wade Davis contains the following passage:

There is a well known account of an old Inuit man who refused to move into a settlement. Over the objections of his family, he made plans to stay on the ice. To stop him, they took away all of his tools. So in the midst of a winter gale, he stepped out of their igloo, defecated, and honed the feces into a frozen blade, which he sharpened with a spray of saliva. With the knife he killed a dog. Using its rib cage as a sled and its hide to harness another dog, he disappeared into the darkness.

This caught the attention of some archaeologists who decided to test if a knife made from human feces would actually be strong enough to cut through muscle and tendons. They published their results in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The researchers paid close attention to detail. For instance:

In order to procure the necessary raw materials for knife production, one of us went on a diet with high protein and fatty acids, which is consistent with an arctic diet, for eight days.

However, the results were disappointing: "the knife-edge simply melted upon contact, leaving streaks of fecal matter."

Conclusion: the story of the fecal knife was an urban legend.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 25, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Science, Experiments, Excrement

Page 1 of 11 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›

weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •