Status: Magic trick 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
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.
One of his tricks was top swallow a pack of needles,a length of thread and then he'd regurgitate one end of the thread, and pull it out with the needles threaded and knotted evenly along it.
Penn(of Penn and Teller) does one of my favorites; He swallows a pea, then acts like he's horked it up onto his sinuses, hams it up a bit, and just when you think he's gonna blow it out his nose, pulls down his eyelid and there's the pea.
Not as impressive, but funny!
Some of these performers could swallow several objects (e.g., balls) and bring them up in a different order. So I imagine he must swallow a solved Rubik's cube beforehand to do that trick.
As for the sugar, the most obvious solution is that he has swallowed a waterproof bag of sugar beforehand. He eats the sugar, drinks the water, brings up the bag of sugar, bites it open with his teeth, and there it is.
Even so, it's a great trick.
Any good magician can hide things in his/her hand so you'd never notice if you didn't know how the trick was done. Special pockets and surgical implants are completely unnecessary.
Harry Houdini once had himself locked into a jail cell stark naked. A few minutes after the witnesses left the room, he had escaped. Years later, he revealed that he had taped a lock pick to the sole of his foot, and then managed to distract the people searching him so they neglected to look at the bottom of his bare foot.
Now, when it comes to the sugar... my guess is that the sugar is going under his tongue, and when he swallows the water, he can depress his tongue to prevent as much of the sugar as possible from being dissolved.
This guy may have "discovered" he could get his money back - but I'm guessing it was only when he was older that he started doing weird things on purpose. He may have figured out where the things go & bring them back from there. People mentioned him having extra folds of skin or pouches in his neck/mouth.
I also heard that Houdini hid a a block of metal in his straightjacket to break locks open when he did the "hanging-upsidedown-in-a-locked-straightjacket" trick. Or something like that.
I can shed some light on the subject... Starr is a "Regurgitater" or what is know in the sideshow world as a "Human Ostrich"... I wont say that he doesn't use any sleight of hand or that some of his stunts aren't gaffed, but regurgitation is a ligament skill... Like sword swallowing it requires a lot of training & mussel control... Kind of how a belly dancer can flip a coin or fold a $$ bill with her stomach mussels a regurgitater trains his/her mussels to hold & manipulate objects (internally)...
It's real & can be done...
The things that can be done with the human body through intense training is sometime unbelievable, but nonetheless real...
Hmm, are you claiming that this guy has live shellfish hidden somewhere in his body?
It comes from under his tongue. I had to watch it a few times.
Then he drops the fake one into his hand, switches it for the real one, puts the real one on the plate, and grabs the napkin (fake one in hand), and leaves the fake one near where he took the napkin.
His show is a riot. I wouldn't hesitate paying the price of admission to see him again.
Now I'm not saying there isn't any slight of hand going on here, but there is a little bit that I can add.
1. He did the padlock + an audience member's wedding ring trick at this show.
2. He did the smoke trick. An entire cig worth of smoke that disappeared while we watched him smoke it, without using his hands. Which he then blew into a bubble.
3. He did the rubick's cube trick, but I guess that could've bene staged. However, given the padlock trick I think its possible.
4. There may be some slight of hand going on, but 1 thing is absolutely certain. He was swallowing and regurgitating large objects.
5. He did some other trick, not a cell phone, that involved putting a microphone up to his stomach...
Oh, he was also a miserable SOB after the show. I imagine its not terribly pleasant doing all of this and he wasn't in the mood to talk with anyone afterwards.
Just my $.02
Posted by Krystofer Robin on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 03:27 AM
I'm a Scot 😉 and his accent does seem strange to me at certain points in the video.
I've read the posts and all I can say is that this guy is gen! Some of the solutions that you come up with made me laugh just as much as Stevie does. When he was around 14-16yrs old he was entertaining the whole village with his pool ball and sugar tricks. Some say slight of hand???? a bit hard when all you're wearing is Swim shorts!
Because Alex actually goes into more than just hoaxes and covers all sorts of unusual things. As his tag-line on the homepage says "Examining dubious claims and mischief of all kinds"
Also, in the billiard ball trick, you can plainly see the ball goes to the side of his mouth when he's giving the impression he's just sucked it straight down his throat.
Maybe he does have some regurgitation talent, but if so, he's mixing it with illusion and sleight of hand.
There have been precedents, by the way. The Human Ostrich was a fairly common working act in the early days of sideshow.
Starr's act very much like The Great Waldo's feats of regurgitation.
~ J. Tithonus Pednaud