The Tragically Gross 1980 Death Of Mayor Monica Meyer

We've all seen movies that depict an unfortunate adventurer sinking deeper and deeper into a treacherous pit of quicksand. Either they emerge victorious and live to fight another day, swinging from jungle branches and shooting bad guys in the back as they flee for the horizon, or they tragically become immersed in the mucky mayhem and perish. However, quicksand doesn't exactly have the cinematic effect that we've all been led to believe it does. According to Britannica, it's virtually impossible to drown in quicksand. The human body is apparently buoyant enough to stay afloat in any such scenario, so while you might find yourself in a murky mess for a moment, you'll likely live to tell the tale all the same. 

But what about another unsavory substance that shares some of the same properties of quicksand? Are you liable to die if you fall into a vat of say ... human waste? It's hardly a hypothetical musing you want to entertain, but it's worth mentioning that you should probably keep the unlikely threat in your arsenal of situations to avoid because according to Common Place Facts, it actually happened to someone. Her name was Monica Meyer, and on one fateful day in 1980, she literally and fatally found herself in deep crap. 

Who was Monica Meyer?

Once upon a time, Monica Meyer presided over the town of Betterton, Maryland as the mayor. An issue of The Vidette from 1980 reported that it was customary for Meyer to get up close and personal with various duties that the city's common folk carried out each day, regularly offering a helping hand in situations where it was hardly expected of her. That's what we call an official who cares. 

Tragically, her vivacious willingness to help ultimately became her undoing. According to The Vidette, mayor Meyer was known to go down to Betterton's sewage treatment plant to assist in cleaning the waste tanks. She even went alone at times, which is indeed admirable, but in hindsight, she probably should have brought some company with her on March 20, 1980. While tending to the tanks, she reportedly fell directly into a vat of sewage and quickly became submerged in the foul mass of human filth. 

Monica Meyer drowned in human waste

"It looks to me like she was on the catwalks over top of the tank and slipped and fell into the human waste," town deputy Buster Blackiston told the Lawrence Journal after Meyer's body was discovered. "It's just like putty, and she didn't have a chance to get out. It's like quicksand." However, as we now know, Meyer probably would have faired better had she fallen into a vat of quicksand instead. Sadly (for so many reasons), it was human feces that she drowned in. 

According to the same issue of The Lawrence, it was plant supervisor Karl Gustavson who, while traversing the facility's catwalks, peered over the edge and observed the late mayor floating face down in a giant mass of human waste. He said she would regularly test the material for chlorine and sediment, which is probably what she was doing before she fell in given that her testing materials were nearby at the time of the shocking discovery.