Cambridge academic uses cotton swab, eyeliner to escape locked bathroom


Published in Weird News

(UPI) A University of Cambridge academic who was trapped in the bathroom of a medieval tower for seven hours said she took inspiration from MacGyver to make her escape.

Krisztina Ilko, 33, who resides in the rooms once occupied by 16th Century philosopher Desiderius Erasmus at Queens College, said she heard the heavy wooden door in the windowless bathroom lock behind her.

Ilko, who suspects the door's latch had been broken by a plumber who recently worked on her shower, said she found herself locked inside the room on Thursday and it wasn't due to be cleaned until Monday.

"I was trying to remember how long a person can survive on just water and hoping that I wouldn't die there," Ilko told BBC News. If people came looking for me would they check the bathroom, or would I have to wait for Monday.

She said her initial attempts to escape proved fruitless.

"I tried to bang the shower head on the door, break it with brute force, and shout for help but nothing worked and no one could hear me," she said.

Ilko said she took inspiration from her childhood love of MacGyver, a show where the titular hero was known for his ability to turn everyday objects into useful tools, to mount her escape.


Ilko used a cotton swab to fashion a hook and used an eyeliner pencil to push down on the latch so she could pick the lock.

The method freed the post-doctoral student from the bathroom after about 7 hours.

"I was really happy and also quite proud that I could use my wit to get out," she told the Telegraph. I felt relief, absolutely.

Ilko said she feared becoming a campus legend during her ordeal.

"Sometimes when I hear sounds around here I joke that it it is the ghost of Erasmus, then I thought I was going to join him and become a Cambridge legend," she said.

Copyright 2024 by United Press International


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