We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


Ghoul on Ghoul Presents: Toilet Spirits

A guest post from the Ghoul on Ghoul podcast hosts.

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Ghoul on Ghoul podcast

Every so often we come across something that is just so immediately in our wheelhouse, we become obsessed with it beyond reason. It feels especially wonderful when that happens now, in these never-ending hellmouth lockdown times, where the extent of our collective stimulus comes from what we can access from within our own homes, and twisted noggins. 

Our latest fixation is the horror-comedy podcast Ghoul on Ghoul, hosted by Amanda Waltz and Sarah Cadence Hamm. One of the best things about podcasts, especially hilariously spooky, chatty podcasts like Ghoul on Ghoul, is that we can fill our homes with the lively voices of new friends, even when there are no new friends to be found. Wait, that sounds really sad. Let's reel this back in. 

Ghosts! Creepy stuff! Sexual hauntings! (I'm sure that's a thing). These are all subjects you'll encounter in the many available episodes of Ghoul on Ghoul. During our inaugural binge session of the pod, one episode in particular stood out to us as being in need of extra special attention. The episode, which aired on January 7, 2021 is called "Toilet-O Mask" and deals with spirits and demons from around the world that prefer to do their meddlings in and around bathrooms. We reached out to Amanda and Sarah to see if they'd be interested in writing a guest post, diving deep into their episode notes pertaining to these fecal ghouls, and they said yes! So here we go ... 

Toilet spirits: what are they, and also ... what? Depending on geography and time period, these bathroom beings have existed since way before indoor plumbing. Appearing in different forms in countries throughout the world, they range from helpful to harmful and, in some cases, can be quite horrifying. From the public stalls of Japan to the school bathrooms of South Africa, supernatural comedy podcast Ghoul on Ghoul rounds up a list of toilet spirits, ranked from practically friendly to most frightening.

Related: Spooky Isn't Seasonal: the Best of Scary Stories to Tell on the Pod

Phi Kee

Politeness is key. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Pinterest

In Thailand, if you want to use the toilet, you must consult with and ask permission from the Phi Kee, a ghost that apparently values politeness above all else. Those who pay the proper respect will have their bad luck flushed away along with their urine or excrement. If you don't ask, the bad luck sticks around, whether you flush or not. 


A real poop head. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Dictionnaire Infernal. Paris: E. Plon, 1863. (Page 89. - public domain)

There are many other toilet spirits dating back to ancient times, including Belphegor, a Judeo-Christian demon known as one of the seven princes of Hell. Associated with laziness, Belphegor sits upon a toilet throne. It's believed he could be invoked while sitting on the toilet or by offering one’s own excrement to him so he can – you guessed it – eat it. Like any demon, Belphegor turns humans evil by appealing to their greed and hunger for power. He can take on the appearance of a typical demon, or appear as a beautiful temptress, which, what?


The restroom is the face of the household.

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Tumblr

Japan loves a haunted toilet, and the country's folklore boasts a fair number of yōkai – a class of supernatural monsters and spirits—lingering in bathrooms. Kaori Shoji wrote in The Japan Times that her grandmother and millions of other women still believe “the restroom is the face of the household,” and pay their respects to the god of the toire (toilet) by hanging fresh flowers, herbs, potpourri, and more to make the space as pleasant as possible.

One of the friendlier ones is Kawaya-no-kami, a toilet god born from the excrement of Izanami, the Japanese goddess of the Earth and darkness. According to myth, Kawaya-no-kami takes the form of a blind man hiding at the bottom of the toilet holding a spear. While this may seem threatening, this god offers protection, as early toilets were often dark, potentially dangerous pits in which people could fall and drown. It was also connected with fertility as human excrement was often collected and used to enrich soil for crops. 

There are many variations of the toilet god, most associated with health and well-being. It can be honored by keeping your toilet facilities clean and well-decorated, or by making offerings.


A licker of filth. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Also from Japan is Akaname, a demon that's more gross than scary. It's depicted as being red in appearance with a long tongue. At night, it sneaks away from the old bath houses and run-down buildings it inhabits and into peoples' home to lick the filth off toilets and other bathroom spaces using its poisonous saliva. Nauseating as it seems, there's bright side to Akaname's habit, as it's believed that along with cleaning toilets, it also cleans away a person's nasty thoughts, leaving behind a sparkling bathroom and conscience. 

Apparently, modern bathroom users have littler fear of Akaname, as demonstrated when the bath and body company Lush named a very cute, not at all scary bubble bar after it. If you still want to keep Akaname away, it's simple – just give your bathroom a good scrub. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Lush


A spreader of disease. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Blogger

Ancient Babylonia had Sulak, a demon who took the form of a lion on its hind legs. It's believed Sulak spread disease by hiding in toilets and infecting those who had the misfortune of using the facilities. Because of this, any disease was referred to as the “hand of Sulak.” The Jewish population of Babylon also adopted Sulak and called him the “Lurker of the Latrine” or the “Demon of the Privy.” 


A popular bathroom spook.

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: YouTube

Much like with Bloody Mary in the U.S., Hanako-san has become a popular spook among school girls in Japan. “Anyone who has been through the school system here has the old stand-by: toire no Hanako-san, the ghost of a girl who died mysteriously — usually bullied by classmates and locked into a smelly toilet — who has come back to haunt her old grade school,” writes Kaori Shoji. 

With her sporty bob and red skirt, Hanako-san inhabits the third stall on the third floor of elementary school toilets. To summon Hanako you must knock three times on the stall door and ask “Are you there, Hanako-san?” If she answers “Yes, I’m here,” the person should leave post haste. If Hanako-san opens the door and is in a good mood, she will disappear. If she is upset, the victim will be pulled into the toilet to their death. 

In the essay “Terrifying Toilets: Japanese Toilet Ghosts and Sexual Liberation in the Postwar Period,” Michele Druga writes, “In the case of Hanako-san, no one is certain as to how she came to be a permanent fixture in the washroom. It is believed she began her haunting in the 1950s, although she gained notoriety thirty years later when summoning her became a rite of passage for girls in elementary schools. Some say she is the ghost of a young girl who died in an air raid during World War II while using the facilities.”

There are many variations of this legend, including the body horror nightmare “hanako fungus” that will infect a child's scraped knees, causing tiny mushrooms to grow from the wound.

Aka Manto 

The diva of the toilet spirit world.

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Hyakushu Kaibutsu Yōkai Sugoroku by Utagawa Yoshikazu (Public Domain)

As if life wasn't bad enough for Japanese women and girls who just want to use the damn bathroom, there's the diva of the toilet spirit world, Aka Manto. This one will appear without being called, looking like some sinister version of Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Mask in a white mask and a red cloak.

The story goes that Aka Manto haunts the last stall in a bathroom. As a victim uses the toilet, a male voice will begin speaking on the other side of the door. He asks her if she wants a red or blue cloak. If she answers red, he slits her throat. If blue, he chokes her to death or the blood will drain from her body. 

If you want to avoid death, you should answer yellow, and Aka-Manto will just shove our face in a toilet full of your own waste (c’mon, man). Other accounts say if you answer with a color other than red or blue, you will be dragged to hell. If you want to escape Aka Manto completely, you should refuse to answer his question. 

Pinky Pinky

Um, no. 

  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Blogspot

Pinky Pinky emerges as one of the most disturbing toilet spirits ever imagined. (Note: This entry contains themes of sexual violence and transphobia, so please read at your discretion.)

Pinky Pinky is a South African urban legend that lurks in girls’ school bathrooms. Their appearance has male and female features, and it is written as being half man, half woman. One source says that Pinky Pinky is consistently described as a “pink-skinned, feminine man, of late middle age who dresses in a mixture of both male and female clothes. If a person surprises this creature then they can see its face which is human but ugly, mottled and often bald. If it sees a person looking then its features blur so that all someone can see are two pink-colored eyes.”

It's said that Pinky Pinky will corner a victim and, in a woman’s voice, ask if the girl “will play” or “be friends.” Pinky Pinky will attack girls and boys for various reasons, though they will only appear to girls. One account says Pinky Pinky will attack girls for wearing pink clothing or underwear. Other versions claim that Pinky Pinky will tell the girl their life story and then demand payment for it. If the girl cannot pay Pinky Pinky will assault or even rape her. 

It's not far-fetched to assume that Pinky Pinky comes from fears surrounding the history of rape and violence against woman across Africa, including in post-apartheid South Africa, that still persist to this day. In September 2019, The Guardian reported that thousands of people protested at the parliament in Cape Town after a sudden rise in attacks against women, which included rape, as well as physical assault and murder. The article went on to say that “At least 137 sexual offenses are committed per day in South Africa, mainly against women, according to official figures.”

The story of Pinky Pinky also covers other issues plaguing South African culture, including homophobia and transphobia. Pinky Pinky's pale appearance may also point to the superstitious beliefs surrounding albinism, as Africans born with the condition are often at risk of discrimination and even murder. 

We hope this list of toilet spirits has you scrupulously cleaning your commode. To hear more about these and other creepy curiosities, be sure to listen to Ghoul on Ghoul, our supernatural, sex-positive, horror comedy podcast that posts new episodes every other Thursday. We also have a Patreon!