Hidden Belgium: The Pope’s Toilet

Hidden Belgium: The Pope’s Toilet

A strange tourist sign is attached to a house behind the Begijnhof church in Mechelen. It claims in four languages that Pope John Paul II knocked on the door of Moreelstraat 6 during a visit to the Begijnhof in 1985. He then asked the owner if he could use the toilet.

The ‘Holy Toilet’ has since become a destination for an annual pilgrimage because of its miraculous healing powers, the sign says.

The brown notice looks official. There are similar signs attached to historic sites all over Mechelen. But it is a fake. The home owner, who is Dutch, put up the sign as a joke. Some people have fallen for it. I did, briefly.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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