YOUR wedding should be one of the most beautiful days of your life.
And for Helen McLaughlin, 48, and Karen Whitehouse, 37, of Chipping Norton, their big day, which took place on a boat on the canals of Amsterdam, was “gorgeous” – until it took a very dark (and smelly) turn.
“It started out as a very elegant affair,” says Helen, who works in cybersecurity.
“The weather was really sunny, there was champagne and a jazz band. It was perfect.”
But just after 9 p.m. on August 11, 2018, as diners finished their “delicious” lasagna entree followed by chocolate mousse — an unfortunate decision in hindsight — Karen made a terrifying discovery on the restroom floor.
“As soon as I opened the door to the women’s room, I saw the silhouette of this perfect poop emoji-looking bastard far away from the stall,” she recalls. “I stopped dead in my tracks.
“The first thing I noticed was that it was early in the evening and people weren’t drunk enough to really apologize for that.
“But it was also very far from the toilet bowl and – sorry for the detail – was really tight.”
“It didn’t seem like an accident to me. That was on purpose.”
Karen, who had just delivered her speech, said she felt a surge of conflicting emotions because while she was elated and having the best time, she was suddenly faced with a “marriage pile.”
“I saw it and immediately got back out there as fast as I could,” she continued.
“I didn’t even tell Helen until the wedding was over and we were back at the hotel, simply because it wasn’t really appropriate to interrupt her beautiful day.”
As if finding feces on the floor at their wedding wasn’t bad enough, for the couple the fact that the perpetrator had to be someone they’d invited, as the event was taking place on a boat, was an added bonus.
Karen told Helen what happened when they got back to the hotel later, and an Agatha Christie-esque “puudunnit” ensued.
As soon as I opened the door to the women’s room, I saw the silhouette of this perfect poop emoji-looking bastard far away from the stall
They studied her guest list, trying to figure out who the phantom pooper might be.
“We stayed up until about 3 a.m. going through this list,” says Helen. “It was awful… it had to be someone we know.
“It’s awful to have to wonder which of your friends and relatives you think it could be.
“We had to consider whether it was Karen’s side or mine — and I think everyone agreed it was Karen’s side.”
Adds Karen, “By 2 a.m. we had lists of medical issues and motives and already had basic groups of suspects.”
Inspired by true crime podcasts, the couple, along with their amateur detective friend Lauren Kilby, 37, decided to create their own podcast called Who S**t on the Floor At My Wedding? to find the culprit.
The three women bought a cheap polygraph online and began questioning their guests.
Each interview ends with Karen and Helen asking the suspects, “Did you shit on the floor at our wedding or didn’t you?”
They even received advice from a criminal psychologist, a lawyer, and a forensic analyst – who usually reports homicides – in trying to track down the “cotter.”
“The forensic psychologist is quite famous,” says Karen. “He has investigated some of the IRA crimes of leaving faeces on the wall.
“His mantra is, ‘If it’s solid poop, that suggests someone did it out of anger, but if it’s loose poop, that was stress,’ so there seems to be an emotional connection between the consistency of the poop as well .”
Meanwhile, the criminal psychologist wondered if it might have been a homophobic attack, or if Karen’s “despised” ex-boyfriend might have been upset that she “had become a lesbian after meeting him.”
The list even included Karen’s mum – who insisted it couldn’t be her because she’s “very regular” and it’s “the wrong time of day”.
Helen says it was “excruciating” having to ask her mother-in-law if she was the perpetrator.
“Everyone was a suspect,” explains Lauren, an advertising producer based in Amsterdam.
“We’ve worked hard for the families because there are definitely some unresolved issues there.”
Ad producer Karen also questioned her old boss — the CEO of a top advertising agency, who remained anonymous for the podcast.
She says, “I sent her in a cab for a two-hour round trip to get her hooked up to a professional lie detector, and she was like, ‘Of course, no problem.’ I have nothing to hide.’
“She was a good sport — but I started to think of a motive for her, like, ‘God, could I have done something to piss her off?'” Was I not a good co-worker? Did I try to steal the wind from her?’
“You get into this weird downward spiral of reactions, questioning everything you’ve done in previous relationships.”
One guest who was questioned multiple times over the course of the podcast was Henk – who bravely stepped in to clean up the poop when it was spotted.
Helen says: “He was an absolute hero. Who wants to get on their hands and knees and start scraping this off the floor?
“You can’t really expect that from the employees either. If one of your guests did that on the floor, you need to take care of it. He was an absolute legend.”
However, his exploits only increased Lauren’s suspicions.
“What was he doing in the women’s room? “He was in there for five or six hours,” she says. “It’s too suspicious for my taste – it’s like those murderers who kill and then go back to the scene to solve the case.”
Unfortunately, 13 episodes later, the three women still haven’t found the culprit, but they’ve narrowed it down to a handful of suspects.
They also learned of other unexpected, strange events they didn’t know were happening that day — including the fact that many guests had complaints about one of the wedding entertainers.
“We left the wedding with our own experiences of the day, the people we spoke to, the memories we had,” says Karen.
“When you then step back and analyze the whole event from everyone else’s different perspective, the things that happened that we had no idea about, it was overwhelming.”
“There have been some weird and strange sightings in the canals of Amsterdam.”
The podcast was first released in late 2020, but Who S**t on The Floor went viral earlier this month, amassing over 1.1 million views. It is currently number one on Apple Podcasts.
And for the fans of Karen, Helen and Lauren, it’s not the end.
“We’ve now recognized our expertise in the non-crime comedy podcast category, so we’re currently working on season two and have a brand new case to take on,” reveals Karen.
“It’s a slightly different tone than the first season, but it’s still a crime-free crime comedy that represents a new genre.”