Tarrare the Glutton -Who Ate Everything Including Human Flesh

Tarrare is a French showman who existed in the 18th century. He ate enough food to feed 15 people and never cared about what he ate. He was born in 1790 in Tarrare and was a French soldier with an abnormal appetite.

Tarrare could eat food for four men at a time and then take the remaining’s. one thing he ensured was that no food was thrown away. The funniest bit was that he looked like a starving man. Despite all the feeding, he was very light, weighing barely 100 pounds.

He also looked tired and malnourished. However, his feeding habits would show how superior he was. Many of his colleagues would want his disposal, but he was indispensable because of two military surgeons.

Dr. Baron Pency and Courville said Tarrare was very interesting and cartoon-like. Interestingly, this tiny man would swallow a whole wheelbarrow of food without getting tired and satisfied.

Who was Tarrare


He was known for his strange appetite that dominated his whole life. When he was a teenager, his parents found it quite challenging to satisfy him. They had to kick him out of the house because they could no longer afford his meals.

Tarrare became a traveling showman who entertained and attracted people. So he began to walk around with prostitutes and thieves who did pickpocketing. His role was to attract people as the man who could eat anything.

He had a massive and deformed jaw that would open wide enough to swallow a basket of apples with a dozen of them. His cheeks would, therefore, fill like those of a chipmunk. Imagine a man who would swallow stones, corks, and live animals without a hassle.

This man would swallow a rat and leave its skeleton. In the same way, he would eat a dog. To mark the climax, the man swallowed an eel without chewing it. His reputation was always before him both to humans and animals. Rats and dogs would run away in fear of what may happen.

Sagging skin and a putrid stench

At the age of 17, Tarrare weighed 100 pounds. Although he had started eating his funny things, he had an abnormal appetite. Tarrare was known for his folding skin on the stomach, which would stretch like a balloon after eating.

The funniest bit is that he would go to the bathroom and release a stanching mess, which the surgeons called ‘fetid.’ His stomach would then begin to sag after he gets hungry. He would tie his skin like a belt to avoid sagging and his cheeks down like an elephant’s ear at the waist.

The reason behind feeding several buckets of food was the sagging skin. However, his body also had a putrid stench. While sweating, you could think it was streams of the river. The sweat was smelling bad.

Tarrare’s secret mission

The time doctors met Tarrare, he had already denounced his life in the sideshows.  He decided to fight for France’s liberty, but the country wasn’t comfortable with him. The two doctors conducted several tests after he was brought to them from the front lines.

Even though France didn’t have confidence in working with Tarrare, General alexander loved him. He felt that Tarrare would help the country a big deal. France was in war with Prussia, and the general thought that he was a perfect choice for a courier.

General Beauharnais decided to do an experiment where he put a document in a wooden box. He let him eat it, then got a poor unfortunate soldier to clean the mess to get the document and see if it would be okay.

The trick worked, and Tarrare was offered his first mission. The mission was to sneak and give a letter to a captured colonel through his stomach on a box.

Botched attempt

Tarrare’s mission failed. He was caught by the Prussian government who tortured him. They frisked him and chained him putting him in a toilet. They, therefore, got the note and the information leaked. Prussian general wanted him hanged but let him go back to France.

Tarrare begins to eat human flesh

Tarrare's meal
Tarrare’s meal

Tarrare came back and requested not to be sent again. He, however, asked to be made like anyone else. Several remedies, such as pills and medicine, were tried but failed. His hunger continued as he ate everything he came across. 

He was then found drinking blood meant for patients. In another instance, a 14-month baby went missing. The suspect was Tarrare, who at the child.  He was, therefore, chased away.

Autopsy of Tarrare

Tarrare died in 1798 of tuberculosis. After his death, his body was still producing a harsh stench. Baron Percy did the autopsy, whose results found out that he had a huge stomach, a huge liver, and a gullet. His mouth was huge and would stretch like a cylinder.

Tarrare’s condition was, therefore, biological. His urge to eat as a  result of the demands of the body and not psychological.