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.

Body Manipulation Food Magic

Posted on Tue Feb 14, 2006



Watch the video on Stevie Starr performing the butane gas (trick/illusion)

Normal human anatomy cannot hold butane gas and he is literally putting butane gas in his mouth. A sleight of hand is REALLY difficult or impossible with hiding gas away. Even if he stores the gas in his cheek or somewhere else, when the host lights the gas in his mouth (1, 1:23), it should blow up. So explain that trick? Where does the butane gas go? Or the part where cigarette smoke and butane gas are mixed together inside a bubble that he blew and when a lighter is brought up to it, the bubble goes in flames (2, 4:06 - end)

If there is a way to show a sleight of hand using gas, then I want to hear it.
Posted by Desmond  on  Sat Apr 07, 2012  at  01:14 AM
the only real mystery in the world?
pity he wont swallow under an xray machine.

i have kept track of him for over thirty years!

he is the best !

he definately swallows lightbulbs,as for locking the lock,
what a great illusion,i have no idea how he does it!
Posted by julian  in  new zealand  on  Mon May 14, 2012  at  03:26 AM
Okay, He is not fake. I've seen him live and i've seen him close up. I managed to get him to swallow different currency and bring it back up. Now this is with me watching him and I made him hold out his hands to prove it is empty. He generally swallows stuff and brings them back up. It is as simple as that. Personally when and if he dies in my life time, i'd like to perform an operation to figure out If he might have anything internally different to a normal human. But before that I want to meet him again. And ask him how the fuck he does it.
Posted by Dya  on  Fri Jun 01, 2012  at  10:31 AM
No problem believing him either swallowing much of the stuff or keeping it in his mouth/throat in some way but some of the tricks are very evident.

The padlock and ring he conects before ever swallowing it. The sugartrick...if he regurgitates or "just" keeps it in a pouch in his throat don't know but what another guy wrote earlier about a hidden pouch he bites a hole in seems plausible. A second rubixcube also seems more believable.

^alias chainlink link a vid on here that shows another guy doing a the poolball and you can clearly see his throat bulge.

So some of the stuff is fake (maybe not all of it). Don't care still a cool act.
Posted by Derp  on  Mon Jun 04, 2012  at  06:09 AM
I understand it's important to protect "the act".
But the plethora of anecdotes placed here reek of desperation.
I enjoy a good show anytime, but people don't come to this page to be lied to.
Instead of investing so much time in fabricating witness reports, perhaps this article had a lower google rank if there didn't come up a totally believable eyewitness belittling any explanations or observations. Observations that are often backed up by video links.
That kind of desperation makes me think there is nothing real to this act, while beforehand I was willing to believe there might be something to it.
Posted by Paul  in  germany  on  Mon Nov 26, 2012  at  12:00 PM
As for the butane gas:

First of all it's not that big a deal to inhale smoke, keep it in your lungs and exhale it again. There are many videos on youtube of people doing tricks with smoke or inhaling different gasses.
I even think it's totally possible for him to store smoke and gas separately in his stomach and lungs but this doesn't proof anything in regards to his other tricks, which in my opinion definitely involve sleight of hand.
Then we don't know if it's actually butane gas and we don't know if it actually comes from the can. (Could be stored in a little balloon. Could be the soap-water he is rubbing on his hand right before he does the trick, could be in his stomach all along.
That said, I think it's a great show, but the "proofs" presented here seem gullible at best and misleading and dishonest at worst.
Posted by Paul  in  Germany  on  Mon Nov 26, 2012  at  12:36 PM
Oh my, Paul, you are a sceptical soul! As Stevie's manager, every post I make is identified as coming from me. The anecdotes you dismiss as "desperation" are from genuine people who have seen Stevie. Nothing I can or will ever say can convince people of Stevie's legitimacy. The only thing you can do, instead of hypothesising, is to actually see him close up for yourself & check the butane, sugar & other props & then make your decision.
Posted by Mike Malley  in  London  on  Tue Nov 27, 2012  at  03:25 AM
Is there sleight of hand? Absolutely. How do I know? He's not that good at it. Why isn't he that good at it? Because he's a better regurgitator and doesn't really need to be that great at sleight of hand.

That's why he bills himself as a regurgitator: because that's primarily what he's doing. Does he pre-swallow some stuff to make for a more interesting presentation? Probably. You can only cough up coins and other objects in a selected order so many times in one show before it starts to get redundant. Solved Rubik's cubes and padlocks linked to jewelry just makes it interesting. The sleights are only in place to enhance the actual feats. I find it way more appalling that Criss Angel calls himself an illusionist considering most of the stuff you see from him either involves him stooging the live audience or creative liberties in the cutting room.

For those of you who are too skeptical to believe any of it is what it appears to be:

As a skeptic myself I thought the philosophy of the skeptic was to be an analytical thinker. If you were a true sketpic, an analytical thinker and thoroughly put off by this act you would do some actual research. Regurgitation as a performance is documented back to vaudeville... at least. Hadji Ali shoveled multiple GIGANTIC handfuls of unshelled hazelnuts into his mouth (estimated to be 30-50 total hazelnuts), swallowed them and showed his cheeks and under his tongue empty before drinking a glass of water. he would then spit the dry nuts one at a time onto a platter. He would drink a liter or two of water and regurgitate it as one continuous stream over a period of time approaching a minute. He would swallow different colored handkerchiefs and regurgitate them in the requested order. He drank a bunch of water followed by kerosene, regurgitated the kerosene onto an open flame then extinguished the flame with the water. He even performed his entire act in front a panel of doctors that examined him during his act and they walked away satisfied that all of his feats were legitimate. 80-90% or so of Stevie's stunts are nearly identical to Hadji Ali's and require no sleights.

Keeps a billiard ball under his tongue or in his cheek? Are you high? He's lucky to be able to fit the ball into his mouth to begin with let alone be able to hide it somewhere. I have a huge tongue and can't hide a guitar pick under it without it flashing. Most sideshow arts--which is what this is--are exactly what you see. Eating glass, swallowing swords, human blockhead, lying on a bed of nails, fire eating, et al. It's about manipulating your body correctly, not the audience.
Posted by Joe  in  Oregon  on  Sat Dec 01, 2012  at  07:31 AM
Okay, let me say something first. I do believe he is swallowing the stuff. If you watch his routines with the goldfish for example, he opens his mouth wide and he's always happy for someone to check it.

But I think there are several things here:

1/ I wonder if his has an internal abnormality in that he has a separate chamber and he is able to control where what he swallows goes. This would explain why the goldfish aren't affected by the acid in his stomach and how the sugar comes out as dry as it went in.

2/ I think this chamber is higher up than his stomach. When he swallows small things he is still able to talk (although slightly exaggerated), but when it comes to the lightbulb or pool ball he doesn't speak once he swallows them, and he doesn't keep them down for long. I wonder if the size affects his breathing, which would indicate the chamber is up nearer his lungs.

3/ I think he uses some sleight of hand for some of the tricks, most notably with:

3a/ He swallows coins numbered 1 to 5 and then brings up them up in whatever order the audience wants. He could bring a coin up and using sleight of hand it becomes the coin the audience member shouted out (he therefore has another set of coins)

3b/ He swallows someone's finger ring, a locked padlock and the key. He then supposedly unlocks the padlock, puts the ring on the padlock & then locks it again - all while in his stomach. This is another variant on a trick you see a magician do. So he uses the "trick" to get the ring on the padlock, in combination with swallowing.

3c/ He swallows a mini Rubik's Cube and when it comes back up the sides have turned, again, that could be sleight of hand.

So, I'm not saying he's not swallowing the stuff, but he is doing that in combination with sleight of hand and other tricks that usual magicians use.

However, none of the above spoils my enjoyment, I just wish he had a few knew stunts up his sleeve (or perhaps in his mouth), as he has been doing these ones for as far back as I can remember, I remember him first coming on the scene in the 1980s, when I was a teenager.
Posted by Ashley  in  Lewes, Sussex, UK  on  Fri Jan 25, 2013  at  06:09 AM
I find it amazing how many people don't get this so I'm going to post once and hopefully this will be read and more than a few people will realize something about how ignorant some of these comments are.

A little about me and my "credentials", my name is Dean Formica and I'm with The Amazing Traveling Circus Sideshow

I'm a genuine sword swallower. Trained by John Red Lawerence Stewart, the oldest living sword swallower on record. Although there ARE in fact ways to fake swallowing a sword that many "magicians" employ, the art of sword swallowing is very much real and documented. Sword swallowing and regurgitation acts are centuries old and have stood the test of time because they inspire people, they show human potential to do things they put their mind to. To consciously overcome their own perceived limitations.

Stevie's claim is completely genuine AND noteworthy. Believe it or not the fact is that he can swallow and regurgitate objects, he is not the first nor will he be the last but his act is VERY entertaining and you can tell he put a lot of thought and time into his execution and apparently now skeptics chastise him for the extra effort in forums like this all over the internet.

The slight of hand is real and present (though half of you only point out that it's there and completely miss the very apparent purposes for it. None of which I care to expose but nothing that devalues the true ability...) it is AS AN ACCENT to the very REAL regurgitation act. To make it more entertaining, for you.

How do I know this? LOGIC! If YOU could regurgitate objects on cue and had been for years and years eventually YOU would think of ways to improve the entertainment value of your act... wouldn't you? well you would if you weren't just an overly opinionated skeptic devaluing a man's life work of literally RISKING HIS LIFE to entertain people like you who afterward call him a fraud because suddenly you're a youtube detective.

It's sad really. I see comments like "just a magician",

So if I swallow a sword and then perform a magic trick that would obviously be "just magic?". It would make me subject to the scorn and ridicule of the audience? Even though the presentation is fun and entertaining? Wow.

even if he was (which, for the record he isn't) "JUST" a magician that'd be one heck of a trick. Does he incorporate magic? Of course, and why wouldn't he, magic is awesome especially when mixed with actual human marvels. It'd be easier to actually swallow the ball and regurgitate it historically speaking than it would be to create THAT convincing an illusion.

Believe what you want but the truth is stranger than the fiction on this one and my hat goes off to the guy.

Hope this helps clear things up though I'll NOT be checking back on this thread because I KNOW this won't reach everyone and there will be comments back that will probably either make my head explode or cause me to lose faith in humanity as a whole.
Posted by Dean Formica  in  new jersey US  on  Sun Mar 03, 2013  at  11:28 AM
i tjink this will help you solve the mystery!
Posted by ameer marc  in  Philippines  on  Mon Mar 11, 2013  at  11:49 AM
Well, ameer, that is a fantastic revelation! It explains exactly what? How he does the numbered coins? How he does the light bulb or pool ball? How he does the smoke in the bubble or the gas? How he pops the balloon? How he does the sugar? How he does the ring in the lock? How he does the fish? I don't think so. Try again, genius.
Posted by The Manager  in  London  on  Tue Mar 12, 2013  at  03:03 AM
As a sword swallower, I have studied Stevie Starr for the past few years. As a sword swallower, I am more than happy to let doctors x-ray my stomach when I swallow swords (LOTS of videos on my website and YouTube channel). But Stevie Starr refuses to allow himself to be x-rayed.

Also, from over 10 years of research swallowing swords (published in the British Medical Journal), I have learned that the esophagus is rather tight, and must be stretched to swallow swords (the most I have swallowed was 21 at once). But the hardest part is relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter which is an extremely tight muscle that closes off your stomach, and it would be even harder to get it back up again. I do NOT believe that Stevie Starr swallows his props down into his stomach - he merely swallows them back to the esophageal plateau where the epiglottis is (just below the back of the tongue), and then he forces them back up again. But he does NOT swallow them down into his stomach.

I have performed on some of the same TV shows that Stevie has around the world, and I challenge him to be x-rayed like I am, but he has never accepted the challenge. He is a great entertainer, but he does NOT swallow things down into his stomach like we sword swallowers do.

Dan Meyer
President, Sword Swallowers Association International
Cutting Edge Innertainment (dot) com
Posted by Sword Swallower Dan Meyer  in  on  Mon Jul 15, 2013  at  04:50 PM
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