Quote: One summer’s day in the mid-1860’s, a young French boy named Joseph Pujol had a frightening experience at the seashore. Swimming out alone, he held his breath and dove underwater. Suddenly an icy cold feeling penetrated his gut. Frightened, he ran ashore, but then received a second shock when he noticed seawater streaming from his anus. The experience so disturbed the lad that his mother took him to a doctor to allay his fears. The doctor complied.

The boy didn’t know it at the time, but this unsettling rectal experience at the beach not only indicated no illness, but it also foretold of a gift that would later make him the toast of Paris and one of the most popular and successful performers of his generation. —Paul Spinrad, from The RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids.

So began the ascendance of the most celebrated and beloved of flatulists known to grace a stage at the turn of the twentieth century- Le Pétomane! Translation: “The Fart Maniac” or simply, “The Fartiste.”

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