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Tarrare (French performer)

As a child, Tarrare had a huge appetite and by his teens could eat a quarter of a bullock, weighing as much as Tarrare himself, in a single day.[4][5] By this time, his parents could not provide for him and had forced him to leave home.[1][6] For some years after this, he toured the country with a roaming band of thieves and prostitutes,[7] begging and stealing for food,[1] before gaining employment as a warm-up act to a travelling charlatan.[6][8] Tarrare would draw a crowd by eating corks, stones and live animals, and by swallowing an entire basketful of apples one after the other.[1][6] He would eat ravenously and was particularly fond of snake meat.[2][8]

In 1788, Tarrare moved to Paris to work as a street performer.[6] He appears to have been successful in general, but on one occasion the act went wrong and he had severe intestinal obstruction.[6] Members of the crowd carried him to the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, where he was treated with powerful laxatives.[6] He made a full recovery and offered to demonstrate his act by eating his surgeon’s watch and chain; M. Giraud, the surgeon, was unimpressed by the offer and warned him that if he did so, he would cut Tarrare open to recover the items.[6][8]

Source: Tarrare – Wikipedia


Coracle (Boat)


Erysichthon of Thessaly (Greek mythology)


  1. Tim B.

    “Despite his unusual diet, Tarrare was slim and of average height.[9] At the age of 17, he weighed only 100 pounds (45 kg; 7 st 2 lb).[1][5] He was described as having unusually soft fair hair and an abnormally wide mouth, in which his teeth were heavily stained[9] and on which the lips were almost invisible.[10][11] When he had not eaten, his skin would hang so loosely that he could wrap the fold of skin from his abdomen around his waist.[9][10] When full, his abdomen would distend “like a huge balloon”.[6] The skin of his cheeks was wrinkled and hung loosely, and when stretched out, he could hold twelve eggs or apples in his mouth.[11][12]

    His body was hot to the touch and he sweated heavily, he constantly had foul body odour;[9][11] he was described as stinking “to such a degree that he could not be endured within the distance of twenty paces”.[11] This smell would get noticeably worse after he had eaten;[10][11] his eyes and cheeks would become bloodshot,[9] a visible vapour would rise from his body,[11] and he would become lethargic, during which time he would belch noisily and his jaws would make swallowing motions.[11] He had chronic diarrhoea, which was said to be “fetid beyond all conception”.[11] “

  2. Tim B.

    See: Polyphagia

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