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The Untold Truth Of The Legend Of Zelda's Toilet Ghost

Despite coming from the "family-friendly" gaming company that is Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda universe is full of some pretty creepy stuff. The series gave birth to creatures like ReDeads, which emit bone-chilling screams that quite literally paralyze Link in fear, and even worse, Dead Hand, a terrifying pale creature with several clawed hands that come straight from the ground. Needless to say, the Zelda team really has no problem treading on spooky territory.

In the case of one particular entity known to fans as the Toilet Ghost, the same rules apply. Although it isn't quite as terrifying as it is strange, the fact that a disembodied hand in a toilet made it in the final release of a handful of titles really makes one question what's happening during a Zelda game's development cycle. Regardless, the Toilet Ghost is a friendly NPC who normally asks the player for a piece of paper.

But there's much more to the Toilet Ghost than just its love for stationery.

The Toilet Ghost appears in every timeline except one

The Zelda timeline is split into three separate branches, thanks to time travel and alternate universes being a thing. What's interesting about the Toilet Ghost is that it only appears in two of these timelines.

In the Child Timeline, the Toilet Ghost makes its debut in Majora's Mask, hiding inside the Stock Pot Inn. Link can interact with the entity by giving it paper, and in return receive a Piece of Heart. In the Downfall Timeline, the Toilet Ghost makes a brief appearance in Oracle of Ages in a small hut inside Lynna Village asking for Stationery and will give Link a Stink Bag in exchange. If the player is feeling abusive, they can push a nearby jar down the hole the hand is coming from and it'll reply back, screaming, "Noooo!"

For some reason though, the Toilet Ghost does not appear in the third branch of the Zelda timeline in which the entirety of Hyrule is flooded by the gods. The Wind Waker and the series' DS titles all take place in this timeline, but there's no Toilet Ghost to be found. Maybe the gods decided to banish this entity along with the rest of Hyrule.

The Toilet Ghost that appears in Skyward Sword is different from the others

While they may have both made their homes in commodes, the Toilet Ghost that appears in Skyward Sword is actually different from the one that appears in Majora's Mask and Oracle of Ages. Unlike the ghosts in the aforementioned titles, the Toilet Ghost in Skyward Sword actually has a name and gender. This Toilet Ghost is named Phoeni and she wants a little more than just paper.

The player will encounter Phoeni at night in the Academy after hearing rumors about noises coming from the bathroom. Upon speaking to her, she'll tell Link that she wants paper. A day later, Link will run into Cawlin, a student at the Academy, who asks Link to deliver a love letter to another student he's crushing on. Should the player choose to do as Cawlin asks, he will sadly get his heart broken. But if you give the letter to Phoeni instead, she'll think it was for her. Although Cawlin still gets upset, if Link goes to Cawlin's room at night, he'll find Phoeni stroking his head as he sleeps.

It's pretty creepy, but she rewards Link with five Gratitude Crystals for uniting her with Cawlin.

The Toilet Ghost has origins in Japanese folklore

As a fantasy adventure game, the Zelda series draws a ton of inspiration from a variety of fairy tales and folklore, and the Toilet Ghost is no different. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the creator of the series, Shigeru Miyamoto, explained that the inclusion of the Toilet Ghost came straight from these creepy stories he heard about a similar ghost in Japan. "There are some ghost stories in Japan where — when you are sitting in the bathroom in the traditional style of the Japanese toilet — a hand is actually starting to grab you from beneath," he said.

A deeper dive into this legend will lead you to the tale of "Hanako of the Toilet," the ghost of a young girl who resides in toilets. Similar to the urban legend of Bloody Mary, summoning Hanako is mostly a dare among children who are looking to scare each other. According to the story, Hanako may be summonded if you go to the girls' bathroom, approach the third stall, knock three times, and then ask, "Hanako, are you there?"

If you hear a reply and choose to meet Hanako, you'll encounter a bloody hand trying to grab you next time you sit on the toilet.