Without a doubt, every main cast member of weight loss shows like My 600-lb Life, Extreme Weight Loss, The Biggest Loser, and Secret Eaters, among others wish they had the stomach and body metabolism of Tarrare, a French showman and soldier who is noted in history as being the greatest glutton ever. You would expect someone with such a title to weigh a few hundred pounds at least, however, genetics and some other things contributed to him being of normal size and weighing only 100 pounds at the peak of his lifetime when he was famous for being able to eat a meal intended for 15 people in a single sitting, as well as the ability to eat whole live cats, puppies, and snakes with room left for more.
At some points when food was not readily available for him to consume, Tarrare’s insatiable appetite would have him scavenging for food from gutters and refuse heaps, making him a wonder to not just the public but also physicians and surgeons who struggled to identify what was wrong and a cure for him. While eating, his skin could stretch to incredible degrees to fit all of the food as his stomach would blow up like a balloon, shortly after which he would step into the restroom and release nearly everything, leaving behind an indescribable mess. Read on to find out more on the truth about the Frenchman, including details of what happened to him and how he eventually met his death.
Who was Tarrare?
Exact details of Tarrare’s early life are few and far between, however, reports indicate that the French man was born around 1772 in the rural part of the country. His huge appetite was noticed at a young age when he could apparently eat a quarter of a fully grown cow in a single day.
Due to his parents’ inability to cater to him, he was forced out of his family’s home to fend for himself. After having begged and stolen food for a while, he was left with very little option but to join a roaming band of thieves and prostitutes who moved across France putting on acts where he was the star attraction. Tarrare would perform as the man who could eat anything, wowing the audience as his colleagues picked their pockets.
After spending some time with the robbers, Tarrare was hired as a warm-up act for a traveling charlatan. To draw a crowd, he would eat corks, stones, and live animals, and would open his massive, deformed jaw to swallow baskets of apples. His skin that could stretch to hold all the food he stuffed into his mouth and stomach would later sag down when empty that you could tie the hanging folds around his waist like a belt. His cheeks would further droop down to appear like the ears of an elephant.
Tarrare’s Military Career
Tarrare joined the French Revolutionary Army following the outbreak of the War of the First Coalition. His time with the military was nothing short of a disaster for both Tarrare and the military as he gobbled through several people’s rations but was unable to satisfy his appetite. This prompted him to visit the gutters and dumps for scraps which were further not able to satisfy him, leading him to suffer from exhaustion.
Military surgeons could not determine what was wrong with him but after studying him for a while, they decided to use him as a military courier since he could swallow messages and transport it to locations behind enemy lines without them being found when he was searched. His first attempt at doing so did not go as planned and Tarrare was caught by the enemies who almost took his life. He was later released to go back home to which he returned begging for the doctors to find a cure.
Everything from wine vinegar, tobacco pills, laudanum, and other medicine was used to try to treat him but nothing worked. It appeared that his appetite grew even more as he was caught drinking the blood that had been removed from a patient and even eating some of the bodies in the morgue. Hospital staff had it with him when a 14-month-old child disappeared from the hospital. Many speculated that Tarrare had eaten the child and so he was chased from the military hospital.
Death of The Greatest and Most Bizarre Glutton of All Time
Almost nothing was heard about Tarrare for four years after he was chased away from the military hospital until he turned up in a hospital in Versailles. The man who could eat anything was bedridden and weak as he suffered from advanced tuberculosis. He spent one more month on earth before passing away after a bout of exudative diarrhea. He died in the year 1978.