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1930s & Earlier / Le Petomane - Professional Farter
Le Pétomane was the stage name of French flatulist (professional farter) Joseph Pujol. He was famous for his remarkable control of the abdominal muscles which enabled him to fart at will. His stage name combines the French verb péter, 'to fart' with the -mane, '-maniac' suffix, which translates to 'fartomaniac'. Pujol was 'gifted' in the sense that he was able to inhale water or air into his rectum and then control the release of it using his sphincter muscles (avoiding any associated odor). When Pujol joined the army he told his fellow soldiers about his special ability, and repeated it for their amusement, sucking up water from a pan into his rectum and then projecting it through his anus up to several yards. He then found that he could suck in air as well. Although a baker by profession, Pujol would entertain his customers by imitating musical instruments, and claim to be playing them behind the counter. Pujol decided to try his talent on the stage, and debuted in Marseille in 1887. After his act proved successful, he proceeded to Paris, where he took the act to the Moulin Rouge in 1892. Some of the highlights of his stage act involved sound effects of cannon fire and thunderstorms, as well as playing 'O Sole Mio' and 'La Marseillaise' on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus. He could also blow out a candle from several yards away. He performed before various VIPs, including the Prince of Wales, King Leopold II of the Belgians, and Sigmund Freud. In 1894, as a star attraction at the Moulin Rouge, Pujol was earning 20,000 francs per performance. In the following decade Pujol tried to 'refine' his acts to make them 'gentler.' One of his favorite numbers was a rhyme about a farm which he himself composed--and which he punctuated with the usual anal renditions of the animals' sounds. The climax of Pujol's act was his farting impression of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.