The Museum of Hoaxes
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September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Stevie Starr, Professional Regurgitator
Status: Magic trick
image Stevie Starr calls himself a professional regurgitator. He's been doing his act for a long time, and is quite famous. (He's appeared on shows such as Jay Leno and Ripley's Believe it or Not.) But I just became aware of him through a video of one of his performances on Google Video, and I'm at a complete loss to explain how he does what he does.

His performance includes some of the following tricks: He swallows sugar, followed by a glass of water, and then regurgitates the sugar, completely dry. He swallows a live goldfish and regurgitates that a minute later, still living. (As he does this, he mentions the urban legend about goldfish having 5-second memories.) Reportedly he's also able to swallow a (miniature) rubik's cube and bring it back up — solved. (Though the Rubik's cube trick isn't shown in the google video.)

I can't find anyone on the web who has a decent explanation for how Starr is able to do all this. Obviously he has a genuine talent with his stomach. An article about him in the Amherst Student reports that:

he was born in a children’s home in Scotland, where he lived for the first 19 years of his life. When little Stevie was four years old, he discovered this unique talent by swallowing his lunch money and realizing he could bring it right back up. Thus, a freak of nature was born.

But this doesn't explain how he can swallow sugar, followed by water, and bring the sugar up dry. Or the trick with the rubik's cube. Does he have a second stomach, or something like that? To do the rubik's cube trick I assume he must have swallowed a solved rubik's cube before the show. But like I said, I'm pretty much baffled.

Incidentally, history is full of famous vomiters, so Stevie Starr evidently isn't the only one who has ever had this talent. In 1621 there was the case of the nail-vomiting Boy of Bilston (who had been trained by a priest to simulate the symptoms of being bewitched). This was followed in 1642 by Catharina Geisslerin, "the toad-vomiting woman of Germany," who, as you might guess, had a talent for vomiting up toads. In 1694 there was Theodorus Döderlein, who vomited up twenty-one newts and four frogs. (I'm getting this info from Clifford Pickover's The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits.) Pickover also reports that there have been cases of compulsive swallowers who don't later regurgitate what they swallow, including one guy in 1985 who had "53 toothbrushes, 2 razors, 2 telescopic aerials, and 150 handles of disposable razors" removed from his stomach.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Food, Magic
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 14, 2006
Comments (193)
I would just like to point out two other professional regurgitators of yore:

HADJI ALI - The Great Regurgitator
http://thehumanmarvels.com/?p=964

THE GREAT WALDO - The Regurgitating Geek
http://thehumanmarvels.com/?p=60
Posted by J. Tithonus Pednaud  on  Wed Apr 28, 2010  at  10:11 PM
Hate to say it but his act is a fake - just watch the clip of him on Britain's Got Talent and pay close attention to the left side of his mouth after he swallows the pool ball - you can clearly see the coin hidden there.

I was very annoyed when I found that out, as I wanted to believe that he was genuine.
Posted by Keith  in  UK  on  Thu Apr 29, 2010  at  05:29 PM
To reply to Harriet first, his accent is real. When he first came to London no-one could understand him and as for when he first went to the US... Well! He has had to tame his accent & it now is a mixture of all the places he has been rather than pure Scottish.

As for Keith, look at what you have written "after he swallows the pool ball" So he can swallow the ball but has to hide a coin in his mouth! Anyway, I have looked closely & can't see the coin but even if it were there, what does it prove? Maybe because the pool ball is the largest thing he can swallow, he actually brings the coin back immediately before swallowing the ball. Try hiding ten 10p pieces in your mouth & talking normally. It's impossible.
Posted by The manager  in  London UK  on  Thu Apr 29, 2010  at  06:18 PM
Keith it is entirely genuine, when he was at our students union i was sitting less than 2 feet from the stage. He got students, some of my mates also to check his mouth at points, there is no way it can be a fake.

And he is scottish, glasweigen was brough up right outside glasgow.

Not sure what keith saw, couldnt see it anyway.

The guy is genuine and is one of the best shows of anything i have ever seen, keep watching britains got talent, the stuff he can do just gets better
Posted by Chris  on  Thu Apr 29, 2010  at  07:05 PM
In response to matthew, he does swallow alot of water when swallowing the fish also and he does say its to stop the acid building up.
Posted by dave  on  Thu Apr 29, 2010  at  07:08 PM
First of all sorry but how can it be waterproof sand if he showed you by putting it in the water and it dissolves? I have to admit it is bloody amazing how he does it but in a few other videos there are some tricks that you can see are fake For example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZFIRhJrHJE&feature=related
He puts five keyrings in his mouth and brings them up connected but you can see him put five allready connected ones in his mouth before. He does this very well and tbh I think this guy will be famous no matter how many people think he is fake and until he stands behind an xray and people can prove its fake he will never be found out. And he will always be entertaining!
Posted by Abi  in  London  on  Tue May 25, 2010  at  09:41 AM
I've seen this guy live in a pub in ireland and was stood 10 feet away from him, sure there has to be some slight of hand but he's a damn good entertainer. maybe he has a cleft pallet or pouch in his mouth ????
Posted by russell  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  03:17 PM
There clearly is slight of hand going on here, if you don't think so just watch the end of his act on Britain's got talent, unfortunately he just got found out!
Posted by The Dog  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  03:23 PM
How did he get found out? The 'phone thing? I thought taht was great :D
Posted by Pob  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  04:04 PM
I know a guy who grew up with this man. He says what he does is totally genuine and he did it at school to entertain people. Later, when they were older, they would charge people to see him without telling him. It is totally genuine!
Posted by Adam  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  05:01 PM
Omg he's totally not faking this... he's just been on the LIVE SEMI FINAL of britains got talent.... how can you hide a blooming billiard ball under your tounge? In the show he had a small padlock, key and took one of the judges very expensive diamond engament ring (she was reluctant...) he swllowed her ring.... she locked the lock took the key out and he swallowed both seperately then brought her ring up on the padlock... locked then the key... he was only there minutes.... if it was fake the judges wouldn't be involved! He didn't get thru btw cos there were so many amazing acts this week.... if the judge was involved then surely he would've ??? Imho he's really doing it.... gross but real!
Posted by dani  in  nnottingham  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  06:16 PM
Many years ago, back in the mid 1980's I used to work with Stevie Starr on the cabaret circuit and probably did about 10 shows with him over time. At no time does he keep anything is mouth or under his tongue but everything is swallowed. He does have incredibly well developed stomach muscles and has learnt to control just how far something can go down before he has to regurgitate. Stevie would never and as far as I know has never actually divulged how he does it but it is all genuine. No slight of hand or fakery.
Posted by Ray  in  London  on  Mon May 31, 2010  at  06:30 PM
Firstly, as a couple of people have mentioned there is definately something 'off' about the accent. If he is indeed from Scotland, the accent is not quite right (perhaps from travelling a lot he has picked up other accents but as a Scot myself I know that the accent is definately odd) but I feel it is more than this, and infact I suspect some sort of anatomical abnormality, namely a cleft palate.
I am pretty sure that he is disclosing the items in his mouth and this is helped by the cleft palate - he is secreting the items in his nasopharynx. Given a cleft palate deformity this is actually a large space more than adequate to fit the objects he 'swallows'. It also explains how he is able to talk as the objects are not technically in his 'mouth' but stuffed up inside the nasopharynx space.
As for the lock/key rubix cube illusions, this is either done before the show or is done with the coercion of an audience member. In the case of the Britains Got Talent, the judge was obviously 'in on it' before the act.
To those who think he is actually swallowing these things and somehow has superhuman control of his stomach/oesophagus, I ask - why has he not submitted to medical exam? Where is the PROOF he is swallowing these things?
This is clearly an entertaining hoax, nothing more. Not two stomachs, not remarkable (impossible) control of muscles, not anything other than slightly abnormal anatomy and a bit of patter.
Posted by Louise  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  10:23 AM
Louise, I assume you have met Stevie for your facts to be so "precise"?

Part of his act used to be to allow someone to put their hand inside his mouth and feel around. Every time I saw somebody do this no-one ever found anything inside his mouth, under his tongue or in your theory in the nasopharynx space. Not sure a pool ball would fit there in any case. Also, he has had people put their hand against his throat to feel the item being swallowed. You are talking out of pure guesswork.
Posted by Ray  in  London  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  10:38 AM
And I assume you personally have seen/felt inseide his mouth? Until YOU have seen or felt inside his mouth then this is the most logical explanation.
Is it not within the realms of impossibility that the so called 'audience' member is part of the act and is in on the illusion from the get-go?
This is done the world over in 'illusion' type shows. Why should we believe anything an 'audience' member says/sees when we know nothing about them either?

What is more realistic or reasonable?
That it is an illusion helped by his particular anatomy, or that he is in fact swallowing and regurgitating enormous items and flying the face of every single other human being's ability on the entire planet? That he alone has the amazing control of his stomach/oesophagus to be able to regurgitate said items in a particular order at will, appearing not affected by stomach acid, water, etc?
Where is the scientific proof?

Your assumption relies entirely on the so-called observations of audience members who could clearly be a part of the act.

Sorry to say but I find the naievity of many people on this forum to be astounding.
Posted by Louise  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  11:35 AM
Well, Louise, you really are on your high horse! And talking absolute rubbish, to boot. I find it hard to believe how silly some explanations are that people come up with. See above about his accent, that has already been explained. As for a cleft palate, there are always other signs of this and I can assure you he does not have one. He has been examined by doctors with xrays before being allowed to go on Guinness Book Of Records and was found to be physiologically exactly the same as anyone else - no cleft palate, no double stomach etc. I can further assure you that Amanda was not "in on the act", that would definitely not have been allowed on BGT. Yes, he swallowed the phone immediately before bringing it up again but that was just for a gag for the voting! I am sorry but you will just have to face up to the fact that you are totally wrong.
Posted by The manager  in  London UK  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  11:48 AM
Not on any high horse, just apparently one of only a few sane members of this forum.
Heaven forbid that a second rate talent show presenter would 'lie' to make an act look good for TV ratings (that's NEVER been done has it - ie recent phone rigging on TV competitions etc) - TV execs are clearly a beacon of purity and would never be economical with the truth.
And no, cleft palate can exist independantly of other visible abnormalities. One does always have to have a cleft lip etc in addition to the cleft palate. Even if he does not have this condition there is no doubt that the objects never leave his mouth at all.
I'm not going to keep replying to this - I find it bizarre how I'm apparently the one who is 'totally wrong' when you are willing to swallow (pun intended) this utter tripe.
He is an illusionist who DOES TRICKS FOR ENTERTAINMENT - obviously a decent one because he has managed to convince a lot of people that he can do these things.
Maybe I should check if that statue of Liberty is still there , because I seem to remember Mr Copperfield made it vanish - was that real too?
Posted by Louise  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  11:58 AM
Louise, you are not only totally wrong, you are delusional! And spiteful. Be careful what you say about people like Simon Cowell & his associates. I do not "swallow (OMG what a funny pun!) any tripe". I have seen the act up close and, as Jay Leno (or is Jay a second class presenter as well?) said, if Stevie is a magician, he has to be the best in the world! Also, as I said before, he DEFINITELY does NOT have a cleft palate.

I think you need to get out more.
Posted by The manager  in  London UK  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  12:16 PM
So I've to be 'careful' now have I?
Simon Cowell really cares about crappy forums like this and will be round at my door with the heavies to break my legs?
Get a grip on yourself.
Posted by Louise  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  12:20 PM
I actually meant from a legal point of view. We are getting crabby aren't we? If you can't win your point you resort to villification. Very adult.
Posted by The manager  in  London UK  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  12:25 PM
From a legal point of view? So now it's illegal to say you think a talent show is second rate? Or that a presenter is less than great?
Give me a break.

If you really are this person's manager he should consider new representation, because you certainly are not doing him or his act any favours on this forum.

(And if you can't win your point you resort to threats).

I and many others can see the act for what it is - an illusion / trick. Simple .
No amount of posturing on your behalf will change that.
End of.
Posted by Louise  in  Edinburgh  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  12:33 PM
House Judiciary Committee Chairman ~ James F. Wilson March 1866
"We must depend on the general law relating to subjects & citizens RECOGNIZED BY ALL NATIONS FOR A DEFINITION and that must lead us to the conclusion that every person born in the United States is a natural-born citizen of such States, EXCEPT....children born on our soil to temporary sojourners or representatives of foreign Governments."

B.Obama Sr - sojourner, personified, in this nation

sojourn-to stay or reside temporarily
Posted by tom  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  01:53 PM
"Amanda was not "in on the act", that would definitely not have been allowed on BGT"

Firstly do you really think Stevie Starr would wait until his live performance to ask Amanda whether he can borrow her almost certainly very expensive engagement ring for his trick? What if she had just said no? He must have asked her previously and if he really is an unusual medical anomaly that can swallow light bulbs, she was definitely in on the act. He would have swallowed the engagement ring previously attached to the pad lock and then taken a fake engagement ring from Amanda during the show. He would then swallow it and an identical padlock and regurgitate the real ring attached to the padlock and the key. That is the simplest and therefore most likely explanation.

I would also like to point out that during the performance they zoomed in on his 'stomach' muscles moving in odd ways. Anyone who knows anything about anatomy knows that the stomach is much higher up and no where near his moving muscles. The camera actually zoomed in on his large intestines. That was obviously all for show.

Now onto my final point. In one act Stevie Starr swallows and then regurgitates a gold fish. There is absolutely no way a fish could be submerged in stomach acid and then be regurgitated without damage. If the fish did not die, it would have severe acid burns and would be blind. The pH of stomach acid is normally between 1-2 with a concentration of 0.1M. This is very corrosive stuff and the burning feeling experienced during heart burn is from the acid attacking the lining of the oesophagus. No matter how much water Stevie Starr drank before hand, the stomach would not be diluted enough for the fish to avoid serious damage. For this to work, Stevie starr must lack stomach acid naturally, a condition called hypochlorhydria which causes gut infections and stomach cancer among other things, and some strange genetic gift of extreme control of the stomach lining muscles which are not normally controlled by a conscious part of the brain. The whole stomach explanation therefore starts sounding more and more implausible.

I disagree that he keeping the objects in his mouth. I think he must be holding the objects in his oesophagus and must have a naturally large oesophagus so as not to cut of his air supply and incredibly strong oesophageal muscles. So in a sense he is swallowing the objects, just not all the way to his stomach.
Posted by Matthew  in  London  on  Wed Jun 02, 2010  at  02:07 PM
Let me ask you Louise.. have you even been in the same building as Steve Starr? As I said, I have worked with him back in the mid 80's when we would appear on the same bill. I have felt his throat and stomach and you can fill the object going down and not up as you imply. But that clearly is not enough for you who I suspect would want x-ray proof that he does as he says.
Posted by Ray  in  London  on  Thu Jun 03, 2010  at  09:07 AM
Would it be possible for him to have a cup or something in the top of his throat, with holes in the bottom of it so he could breath? That would explain why the items come up dry. If this is slight of hand it is the best I've ever seen, you really do see the lightbulb go down.
Posted by Martin  in  Manchester  on  Thu Jun 03, 2010  at  11:28 AM
a friend of mine was very drunk one night and thought it be funny to swallow a goldfish....a few seconds later he brought it back up, and he had really swallowed it, and the fish was fine.

right back to stevie starr, i belive he can swallow things and bring things back up, but to unlock the padlock and put the key in then lock it back up, impossible to do!...i agree i think he swallowed the ring in the padlock before the show. then just brought it back up
Posted by shellby  in  great yarmouth  on  Thu Jun 03, 2010  at  06:52 PM
I don't think solving a Rubik's cube is part of his act. That part is where he puts down an already solved Rubik's cube and brings it back up with some colours changed around, the idea being he has rotated some pieces while it was down there. Entertaining, and far more plausible. There is no way he could solve one while it was in his stomach.
Posted by jack  in  Manchester  on  Fri Jun 04, 2010  at  06:46 PM
Hi, been reading all this with intrest and giggles....

Just wanted to say...Louise...we think you are awesome...

Can't believe how much people want this ACT to be real.......and all the stories by people who think it is......and 'Worked with him back in the mid 80's'.....surely that has given you a couple of decades with which to realise you'd been had.

Love the guys act but come on guys.....
Posted by David  in  UK  on  Sat Jun 05, 2010  at  12:18 PM
1. on the show he opened his mouth held out his cheeks and lifted his tounge to show his mouth was empty. 2. if you look at the footage, you can actualy see when he sucks back on the object you clearly see it go to the back of his throat ... and his hands are no where near his mouth to remove the stuff. This is legit ... but agreed he is bringing up an already solved rubix cube. The putting the ring in a padlock while inside stomach is amazing
Posted by bambam  in  Wales  on  Tue Jun 08, 2010  at  05:35 PM
oldddd news, he's already been discovered a fake
if you watch such videos like when he appeared on the jay leno show (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZFIRhJrHJE)
you will see sleight of hand.
at 4:08 he takes something out of his pocket, and it looks like he takes something out of his mouth and puts it back in his pocket
at 6:12 he goes back to his pocket, this time obviously putting the completed keychain into his mouth
at 9:21 he again goes into his pocket, and clearly has just taken out a packet of sugar (for his water+sugar trick).. he swallows the sugar and water, then bites on the packet of sugar, giving dry sugar to leave his mouth

he's practised these a lot, and his sleight of hand is very sneaky, but at the end of the day he's just a magician
Posted by dan  in  Manchester  on  Tue Jun 22, 2010  at  07:47 PM
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