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The Ghost of John Crapper by John Wells

Michael Brown

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The Ghost of John Crapperid="size4">id="maroon">

by John Wells

Many believe that a long time ago an English gent named John Crapper invented the flushing toilet. Obviously some of the nicknames for the toilet came from that myth. However, I personally take offense when someone calls a crapper the "John". Why not call it the Mike, or the Paul, or Norm, or Kurt, or even a Willie? Oops! I guess a "Willie" is something else often associated with a "John". Sorry to those named Willie out there.

But I digress, this was supposed to be a story about ghosts. Here's the bit, I've had more than one Client ask about a horrid moaning noise in their house that comes at odds times, but from no particular location. The noise is a long, fairly high-pitched moan that builds to a crescendo and dies off slowly. I tell them, no worries mate, it's the ghost of John Crapper.

There are two culprits (maybe ghosts) that cause the noise. One is a worn toilet refill valve washer, and the other is a leaking flush flapper. The flapper leaks and when the flush tank water-level drops the refill valve is actuated, but still almost closed and under high pressure. On occasion, these conditions can cause the refill valve washer to vibrate rapidly like a clarinet reed. The result is a very rapid water hammer that vibrates through the house plumbing, making it difficult to pinpoint the source.

That's the technical explanation. You and I know that it's actually just old John Crapper expressing his displeasure with people for taking his name in vain.id="maroon">

Editor's Note: This story was originally posted to TIJ by John Wells in 2002. We thought it might give our readers a few chuckles, so we posted it again.

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