Coolidge Winesett, 75, said there’s only one way to describe what it was like being trapped for almost three days at the bottom of his Southwest Virginia outhouse after its floor gave way.

“I compare it to the Bible’s hell,” said Winesett, a World War II veteran and retired janitor.

It had hellish elements–the smell, maggots, snakes, spiders, rats. Plus there was the persistent notion that he’d done something wrong to deserve it, recalled Winesett, speaking by phone from his bed at Wythe County Community Hospital, where he is recovering from dehydration and injuries he suffered when the 50-year-old outhouse floor collapsed from dry rot Saturday afternoon.

Winesett’s ordeal began about 4 p.m. Saturday after he returned from getting a new battery for his 1978 Chevrolet Impala. Winesett said he was getting ready to pick the banjo on his back porch when he decided to make a pit stop.

“I screamed ’till I run out of voice,” he said.

After he fell, Winesett said, he was suspended over the “bad stuff”–the sludge–by a subfloor and the cracked floorboards. Eight-penny nails from the planks dug into his flesh, and his body was contorted and immobilized. But that, he said, was nothing compared with the horrors of the next 69 hours, which he spent dealing with creepy, crawly things.