OK, here is today’s history question. I suspect our ancestors all knew the reason for the markings on outhouse doors but those reasons are fast being lost to today’s generation of people who have only been exposed to more modern conveniences. Perhaps the information has already been lost. After all, our ancestors often wrote about many topics but few seemed to have documented the minute details of their outhouses.
An article by Eric Grundhauser in the Atlas Obscura web site insists:
“From cartoons to films to modern-day replicas of historic toilets, the cut-out shape of a crescent moon in an outhouse door seems like something that is so ingrained in our cultural consciousness, that it must have existed in real life. But it doesn’t seem to have been much of a historic reality.”
Grundhauser then offers several theories but seems unable to offer hard proof of his theories. His article may be found at: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/outhouses-crescent-moons.
Do you know why outhouses often had crescent moons in their doors? If so, please post a comment below.
Just for the record, I grew up in a house without indoor plumbing or a bathroom. However, our version of an outhouse did not have any symbol on the door. I have no idea why.