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


Nice try with the explanations, but this guy is legit. I talked with him after his show once. He swallowed a guy's cell phone, someone called it. We heard it ring and felt it buzz in his stomach. Then he brought it back up bone dry. That made me believe that everything we saw in the show was for real... just amazing.
Posted by Kevin  in  New York  on  Sat Mar 04, 2006  at  10:26 PM
BTW Alex, I used to work with developmentally disabled people and there is a common behavior among many to compulsively swallow items (not regurgitating them back up). It is called Pica. One woman would swallow any string she could find. It is was very common for some to eat cigarette butts they found, as they saw people bringing them to their mouths on a regular basis. One guy swallowed a tack. Sadly, he died from it. I saw far grosser things than that, but thought I'd let you know it is a legit and varied condition.
Posted by thecrwth  on  Mon Mar 13, 2006  at  02:33 AM
hi everyone, we saw this guy on tv a couple of months ago . totally amazing . he swallowed a lock then a key . coughed n spluttered and brought the whole lot back up . he had inserted the key , unlocked the lock . put the lock thru the keys hole and relocked it . im usually bloody good at spotting magic "tricks" as my late father in law was a member of the circle and passed many on to me . this guy though had me sat here with my mouth hanging open . totally amazing .
Posted by chooky  in  brisbane australia  on  Tue Mar 14, 2006  at  11:43 PM
people just dont want to admit that some people may an actual talent. there may be some slight of hand somewhere but not every time.. he can regugitate things without a doubt. watch the video its very entertaining
Posted by john  on  Tue Apr 18, 2006  at  03:54 PM
Just can't believe how na
Posted by Houdini  on  Wed Apr 19, 2006  at  10:52 PM
Watch carefully the "baloon trick". You can see, that he actually bites that baloon on the left side of his mouth (right chick for viewers, but his left).
Posted by gulldarek  in  Cracow, Poland  on  Tue Apr 25, 2006  at  11:03 AM
I have to chime in and agree with Phitz from Canada. I saw this guy at Clark University in Worcester, MA in the late 90's. (Somewhere around 1997). I was in the front row.

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 Steve  in  Boston, MA  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  11:34 AM
They clearly are not going into his stomach. He is vocalizing when the objects go in, meaning his epiglottis is open and any object would go into his lungs. He must be storing the items in his nasopharynx.
Posted by anonymous  on  Thu Jun 22, 2006  at  12:35 AM
It is possible to swallow and hark back up small objects, though I suspect he is tucking some of those things away in his mouth. His accent helps mask any distortion from having them under the tongue and so forth, though I'm sure a Scot would disagree with me.
Posted by Krystofer Robin  on  Sun Jun 25, 2006  at  05:27 AM
When I was an undergrad, Stevie Starr came to my college and did a show. I was part of the University Program Council and we sponsored the show. Part of our responsibility was taking him out to dinner at a local retaurant here in Warrensburg, MO. I assure you, there is no sleight of hand involved, as I sat right next to him as he repeated the sugar trick, and really managed to amaze (and disguist) our waitress and many customers who sat around us. Unfortunately, he won't answer questions about why he can do it, but I assume it is some strange physical condition that allows it. I think there is some trickery to it, but that night, I sure couldn't figure it out.
Posted by Jim  in  Sedalia, MO  on  Wed Jun 28, 2006  at  08:15 AM
If you go here: and watch at half speed I see the billiard ball go under and come back from under the tongue. Also with the lightbulb at the beginning watch the hands pick things up under the counter. I know the hand to the fish tail going down is key, but can't catch that on the video. Very polished act and well done.
Posted by Dan  on  Fri Jun 30, 2006  at  04:49 PM
It is possible to swallow and hark back up small objects, though I suspect he is tucking some of those things away in his mouth. His accent helps mask any distortion from having them under the tongue and so forth, though I'm sure a Scot would disagree with me.
Posted by Krystofer Robin on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 03:27 AM
I'm a Scot wink and his accent does seem strange to me at certain points in the video.
Posted by Gerry  in  Glasgow- Scotland  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  07:40 PM
You left out The Great Waldo, perhaps the greatest regurgitating geek of the past century. He worked mostly with live animals. His trademark was swallowing white mice and rats. I wrote a recent article on Waldo on July 30th, 2006 over on my site at
Posted by J. Tithonus Pednaud  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  12:50 PM
Just a note to say that I've known Stevie most of my life. Brought up in the same place, which as a matter of fact was NOT Glasgow, but Glenavon Childrens home in Strathaven Scotland. We had the same mentors, Mr Jim Dey and Mr Sandy Murray and we spent many funny times with Stevie showing his stunts.
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!
Posted by Tony  in  Sweden  on  Thu Aug 03, 2006  at  06:01 PM
Stevie is a wonderful guy, and although there is some sleight of hand and trickery in selling the tricks, *he is really swallowing everything he says he swallows, including hte pool ball*. Since this is not a hoax, and Stevie is not a huxter, can I ask why he is on your site?
Posted by Geronimo  on  Thu Aug 03, 2006  at  08:59 PM
Since this is not a hoax, and Stevie is not a huxter, can I ask why he is on your site?

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"
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Thu Aug 03, 2006  at  09:52 PM
If he's not using sleight of hand, he should consider changing some of his movements. Some of them were classic sleight-of-hand gestures (for example, the way he momentarily swings the hand holding the lightbulb out of sight just long enough to be able to switch it).

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.
Posted by Dave Rattigan  in  Liverpool, England  on  Fri Aug 04, 2006  at  03:09 AM
I might believe most of his act, but people on this thread trying to find an explanation... sleight of hands... you guys are pathetic. First of all, for those of you that claim the pool ball isn't swallowed or underneath this tongue, you're full of it. When you swallow of course you have to move your tongue in a way to move it to the back of your throat. When it comes back out, the tongue lifts up so that when something comes out of your throat, you simply try to deccelerate how fast it's coming out. It's a way to control it basically. I just don't believe that he stuck it underneath or on the side of his mouth... He might have a big mouth, but not big enough to camouflage a billiard ball. Come on people. For most of what he's doing... we haven't seen any precedent yet. Give the guy most of the credit and enjoy it!
Posted by Elias  in  Montreal, Qc, Canada  on  Sun Aug 06, 2006  at  10:56 PM
While there is some basic slight of hand going on, the basics of his feats are legit. He is swallowing all of the items and regurgitating them.

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
Posted by J. Tithonus Pednaud  on  Sun Aug 06, 2006  at  11:30 PM
Everyone's explanations on this are way more complicated than how he actually performs the tricks. It is way more complicated to have a "fake" ball and make a switch than it is to simply swallow a billiard ball and regurgitate it. Regurgitators are real, and have been for centuries. Stop trying to figure out the "trickery". Choose the simple solution, he swallows things and brings them back up. That's the "trick". People have been doing it legitimately for centuries, and it's easier to learn how to regurgitate or to sword swallow or to eat fire than it is to try to figure out some way to fake it. It's all training and a willingness to do something that might at first seem dangerous.
Posted by Nathan  in  Chicago  on  Sat Aug 26, 2006  at  10:00 AM
I was involved in booking his act 9 years ago and took him and his agent out to dinner afterwards. He told me his whole story about being an orphan and that when he was little he even swallowed live bumble bees. I am always a skeptic so I asked him to perform impromtu at the dinner table, He swallowed a whole pile of coins and brought them up one by one. Ate his food without chewing it .. like he would take a muffin and put it in his mouth and suck it down. We also had him play a joke on some table of old people next to us, he swallowed a bunch of coins and a set of keys and he went near their table and said "where are my keys" and then looked in his pockets, and he asked the table for some coins to make a call because he lost his keys, then all of a sudden he starts vometing up coins all over the floor and then pulls a set of keys out of his mouth.. It was so funny and totally impromptu. I interupted him a couple times and asked him to bring back up items he had swallowed and he was able to bring them up. this guy is just a biological freak, he is also a freaky person, not in the "david blane" sort of way, this guy is like a big baby, he even has his agent manage all of his personal money, kind of like a father. He is a really nice guy but you can see he just does not have the people skills or wits to be a magician, he is just doing stuff he can do. He has even done this under x-ray on Japanese TV with one of his tricks involving a key and a lock and a borrowed ring from the audiance within his stomach, and you can see his muslces using the key in the lock and putting the ring in the lock. I think it is possible that he swallows some things beforehand (like the rubix cube because I dont see how you can solve that blindfolded).. but the sugar is real no plastic bag (I tested him on that during our meal), also he kept a live fish partitioned of in his stomach throughout the whole show he did for us and then brought it up at the end.

I am so surprised he is still availiable after more than 10 years, his throat must be really tough.
Anyhow if you are from a college student government he is the best show we ever had (and we had some amazing ones), I cant reccomend him enough.. and be sure to take him out to dinner someplace with fun stuff to swallow.
Posted by Listen to me  on  Wed Aug 30, 2006  at  09:40 AM
I just heard about Stevie through a mutual friend. She's known him for 20 years and has no idea how he does what he does. But she stopped having him stay at her house because he is an overgrown kid and is constantly doing his regurgitation stuff (like with her food and any small objects in the house). She says it is absolutely real and he has been examined at length by doctors who have no idea how he does it. She did tell me an interesting story about him growing up in the orphanage. She has no idea how he does any of this but has seen him do it many, many times at her house while she was standing right there and watched him.
Posted by dansbooks  in  California  on  Mon Oct 16, 2006  at  08:41 PM
I just got back from his 2nd live show here at the University of South Alabama.. HE SWALLOWED MY RING along w/ about 10 others. It was so funny. Eveyone was hiding their stuff so that he wouldn't ask to swallow it! I have seen the show live twice, and it is so entertaining. The show was nearly exactly the same, but still just as fascinating and exciting as the first viewing. If you have the opportunity to see this man, DO!!! You will not be sorry. It is probably a con, especially since he says "you may be asking, is this a con? .... Of course it is.. But it's fun! (or funny. I cannot remember, due to the still-flowing adrenaline from the show)" but it is truly entertaining. At least you will get a good laugh out of it if nothing else!
Posted by Jade DAvis  in  Mobile, AL USA  on  Tue Oct 17, 2006  at  09:35 PM
i actually met steve in a bar while i was visiting family in scotland and we got to drinking he soon told me that he can make "pockets" in his stomach and that the sugar trick is done by putting the sugar into one of those pockets and then guiding the water past the sugar then end up coughing the sugar back up again...
Posted by P.Murphy  on  Mon Nov 06, 2006  at  09:22 AM
I've actually seen Stevie perform in Australia a few years back. I was standing 5 feet away from him for the entire show and from everything I saw he was swallowing the objects. I could see his throat move as a billiard ball went down or came back up, etc. I would agree that the rubix cube trick was probably done with two cubes. The one that isn't getting talked about too much is how he swallows an audience member's ring a locked lock and a key he then unlocks the lock puts the ring on the lock and locks it back up, bringing these items back up with him. For the show I watched he lifted his shirt up and you could see his stomach doing all this.

I have no idea how he does everything but I'd certainly recommend going to see him.
Posted by Andrew  in  Chicago  on  Tue Nov 07, 2006  at  01:20 PM
At least for the light bulb in the beginning it's very obvious that her replace it behind the table before putting it in his mouth. With what, or for what reason I can't tell, but it's not the same object he knocks in the table that goes in his mouth.
Posted by Dennis  on  Wed Nov 08, 2006  at  12:39 AM
He he - I must say.. Stevie is gooood. Just watched him live today and was quite amazed - hoax or not.... damn good entertainment :o)
Posted by Henrik  in  Denmark  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  03:30 PM
Hello all ,
what you see in the video is totally for real. When i was studying in uk, he came to visit my university on a show. Because I couldn't believe it I went back stage and I met the guy. he did it in front of me, he was wearing no clothes from his trousers and upwards so there was no way he could have tricked me. I still have the coin I asked him to swallow and bring back up again. Believe it or not, the guy is for real. I know what I've seen.
Posted by Alexandros Papandreou  in  Athens GREECE  on  Tue Dec 19, 2006  at  11:07 AM
I saw him last night doing his show, I've seen him before and it was still great and I do recommend it to everyone to see.

After the show a few of us went and spoke to him and he did a few other things for us (he was bribed with a few card tricks), one thing he did was swallow one of my friends mobile (or cell) phone and we rang it and could feel it vibrate inside him.

All those people that think he is doing some sort of illusion have no idea! He is 100% real and he does swallow things and bring them back!

He told us about when he was in school. He would swallow bees before he went to school and then release them in class to show his friends (as well as scare the teachers).

If anyone knows where I can see a video of him swallowing things with an x-ray please post it, also post links for his adverts as I would love to see them!
Posted by Jason Billyack  in  London  on  Mon Jan 08, 2007  at  08:24 AM
Obviously Starr has a parasitic twin still living in his stomach, whom he has trained to juggle all the things he throws down there and then toss them back up.
Posted by Becketo Flannidad  in  New York  on  Sat Jan 13, 2007  at  06:15 PM
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