Behind the Music: Le Petomane

The Regurgitator

Stevie Starr has found fame and perhaps fortune by swallowing things and then throwing them up on command. Coins, cue balls, tennis racquets, whatever. Stevie turned dry heaves into high art.

But as crazy as Starr's act is, there was one in the early 20th Century that was crazier still.

Classical Gas: Enter Le Petomane

Joseph Pujol enjoyed a successful decades-long stage career by releasing gas from his anus on cue. Pujol performed crowd favorites like O Sole Meo by forcing air out of his rectum on time and in tune.

He also used his talent to do animal impressions and to simulate battlefield artillery.

Hell, by using a rubber tube, he could even play La Marseilles on the ocarina.

And the man was versatile. It's reported that he could blow out a candle from several yards away.

Pujol was billed as Le Petomane, the French Flautulist. What he did, however, was no school boy prank.

During a swimming accident as a young boy he discovered that water had somehow been sucked into his rectum.

By manipulating his sphincter and abdominal muscles, he was able to force the water out at high velocity.

By learning how to suck in air rather than water, Pujol realized that he could do something that had never been done before -- something that the world was waiting for.

He was sitting on a gold mine.

You see, the air streaming out of his anus was fresh -- well relatively fresh -- air as opposed to the intestinal outgassing that we're all more familiar with.

This was an act he could take on the road.

Before long Pujol was at the Moulin Rouge tooting up a storm for the likes of Kings and Queens.

It's reported that even Sigmund Freud was a fan.

We have no idea if the audio clip below captures a real stage performance by Pujol from the early 1900's as the uploader claims.

But if this is Pojul, we wonder just what the hoopla was all about.

This isn't exactly what we'd call a virtuoso performance.