(ORDO NEWS) — In 1772, a couple living in rural France had a child named Tarrare. As Tarrare grew up, he appeared to be an ordinary, healthy boy, but it was soon noticed that he had an unusually healthy appetite.
At 17 years old, Tarrare weighed 100 pounds, which is quite normal, but historical records say that by that time he regularly ate food equivalent to his weight. Tarrare’s parents were poor and could not support Tarrare’s greedy appetite, so he was driven out of the house and left to his own devices.
Tarrare managed to take advantage of his unique fortune and became an itinerant showman. He teamed up with petty thieves and together they toured France.
Tarrare entertained the crowd by eating everything, while his accomplices ransacked the pockets of distracted spectators. However, Tarrare ate not only food, he ate everything that was placed in front of him. One of the stories about his appetite says: “He ate a quarter of beef in twenty-four hours.
He liked the most disgusting things. He especially liked the flesh of snakes, and he quickly devoured the largest ones.” Tarrare also ate cats and dogs and gnawed on their bones.
Doctors became interested in Tarrare. Although he had monstrous addictions, his body looked quite normal. However, his jaw was deformed and his stomach bulged when he ate. He went to the bathroom and threw away everything he ate, after which doctors described his excrement as “faecal, incomprehensible.”
Tarrare used stones, corks and even garbage. And although his behavior seemed strange to the surgeons, they came to the conclusion that he was not crazy, he just had an extremely large appetite for everything.
From eating large amounts of food and other questionable items, Tarrare developed a putrid odor, and it was even said that visible fetid plumes emanated from his body.
An entry in his medical record read: “He often stank to such an extent that he could not be kept at a distance of twenty paces.” Tarrara’s appetite did not leave him without consequences, and at one fine moment he was sent to the hospital due to indigestion.
In 1792, Tarrare joined the French revolutionary army. However, his unique condition prevented him from fulfilling his duties. Once he ate a dinner prepared for 15 people, and even if he was given four times as much as it should be for a soldier, this was still not enough to satisfy his hunger.
Overeating also drove Tarrare to exhaustion, which led him to a military hospital where he was examined by doctors. Realizing that Tarrare can eat almost anything, an experiment was conducted on him. He was forced to eat a wooden box wrapped in paper, which he was able to regurgitate untouched the next day.
The experiment was a success, and the general decided that although Tarrare would not be useful at the front, he could be a spy. The idea was to have him eat a wooden box containing a secret message, sneak into enemy territory and defecate in order to deliver the message to a French colonel who was in prison.
Tarrare was sent on a mission to Prussia under the guise of a peasant. However, the Germans quickly figured him out, as he could not speak their language.
Eventually Tarrare confessed and the Germans put him in a toilet and waited for him to throw out the wooden box. When it came out, it said inside, “Let me know if you got this message.” It turned out that this task was another test, which, unfortunately, Tarrare failed. As a result, he was released and sent back to French territory.
Upon his return, Tarrare implored Baron Percy’s surgeon to find a cure for his relentless hunger. The doctor tried several treatments, but nothing helped. Tarrare’s hunger intensified, and he began to drink blood obtained from patients who had undergone bloodletting in a military hospital, and even ate corpses.
He also ate animal entrails from a nearby butcher shop. Dr. Percy could no longer help him when a 14-month-old baby went missing from the hospital. Although there was no evidence that Tarrare had eaten the child, he was suspected of this act and dismissed.
Four years later, Dr. Percy received a message asking him to be sent to the hospital at Versailles, where a patient was waiting for him.
It was Tarrare, who was in serious condition after contracting tuberculosis. He died within a month. According to Ripley, some doctors wanted to perform an autopsy on Tarrare to find out what was wrong with him. It turned out that he had a very wide esophagus, and the gallbladder and liver were huge.
Although Tarrara was studied by doctors, there was no definitive diagnosis regarding his condition. Dr. Don Moore of Synergy Pro Wellness reviewed the results of Dr. Baron Percy’s study and said that Tarrare was not insane, although he may have had a large hypothalamus, which can affect hunger.
Dr. Moore also suspected that Tarrare suffered from pica, an eating disorder in which a person consumes items that are not considered food. Another factor to consider was that Tarrare was never overweight despite his bouts of overeating. This, as Dr. Moore said, could be because Tarrara had parasites.
Nowadays, Tarrara’s condition can be caused by hyperthyroidism, which causes the body to produce excessive amounts of the hormone thyroxine. According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is weight loss, even if food intake is increased.
There are other possibilities, such as polyphagia, or extreme overeating, or Prader-Willi syndrome, which causes a constant feeling of hunger. There is still no clear answer to the question about the causes of Tarrara’s health condition.
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