Home » Episodes » Episode 46 – Memphis, TN & Lyon, France (A Murder Virgin)

First Rachel shares the true story of Machine Gun Kelly – the gangster bank robber, not the rapper. Then Emily shares the unbelievable story of Tarrare, the insatiable glutton who could eat anything and everything. Hopefully, you’re horrified.

Emily 0:13
Hi, welcome to Horrible History. I’m Emily Barlean.

Rachel 0:17
And I’m Rachel Everett. How are you?

Emily 0:19
I’m doing well. I had like the lovey loveliest weekend. It.

Rachel 0:24

Emily 0:24
it actually felt like a long weekend, which almost never happens. I feel like every weekend, it’s like you blink. And it’s Monday again. But something about this weekend I just, I don’t know. I baked and went to brunch. Cleaned my house. Worked on the podcast. You know, it was just, it was just nice. So…

Rachel 0:46
That is nice. I also had a really lovely weekend. No complaints, so

Emily 0:51
no complaints.

Rachel 0:53
Yes. Also did adulting went to Costco on a Friday night like the cool kids do.

Emily 0:57
Yeah! What did I do something similar. I went to I just went to the grocery store on Friday night. Yeah, same same kind of thing. But it was just like that nice leisurely walk down the aisle. Look at everything. I had, like a my podcast in my headphones.Listening to murder stuff while I…

Rachel 1:15
The best

Emily 1:16
People had no idea that I was listening to people be murdered in my head.

Rachel 1:22
In my head… That makes it sound like you’re like hearing death in your brain.

Emily 1:27
Yeah. Before we do get started, we should shout out our newest patron. Rachel, thank you so much for joining us, Rachel.

Rachel 1:35
Beautiful name by the way. Gorgeous.

Emily 1:38
Rachel is very partial to your name obviously. Thank you so much for joining us on Patreon. We love you. And

Rachel 1:51
we have a new review as of Friday,

Emily 1:52
I want to say and in your message to us when you became a patron. You said that you listened to every single episode except for the one about the bloody doctor one and not to foreshadow, but I apologize for this episode.

Rachel 2:08
And Rachel, clearly we have more than our names in common. We also got a new review, actually just this last week from Vicki. Thank you, Vicki. It’s called

Emily 2:21
I haven’t even seen it!

Rachel 2:22
No, I hadn’t either. I just clicked in. It’s called great horrible history show. Thanks for making horrible history. It makes my day better when I get to listen to one of the shows. I love history and when you throw the horrible in it makes it that much better to listen to. So thank you so much, Vicki. We are type threes. we thrive on validation. Give us a five star review and we will read it on the podcast. Thank you so much.

Emily 2:47
Thank You Vicki. Yay.

Rachel 2:49
Our fans are the best. So sweet.

Emily 2:50
They really are. Alright, what do you got?

Travel Tips: Memphis, TN

Rachel 2:53
So this week, I’m taking us to Memphis Tennessee. Have you been?

Emily 2:57
I have, I have. I have some good stories from Memphis. Yeah, excited for where in the world!

Rachel 3:03
For where in the world next week? Okay,

Emily 3:04

Rachel 3:05
So obviously if you and I go to Memphis, I’ve never been there. We are checking out Graceland first.

Emily 3:12
Oh, yeah.

Rachel 3:13
I don’t think I realized how massive Graceland actually is. Because it’s not just Elvis’s house, his mansion. You can also check out his jets and his motorcycles. And apparently there are multiple shops and restaurants. And they have an interactive iPad Tour, which is kind of cool. So you don’t have to wait for a tour. You could do a self guided tour of Graceland.

Emily 3:35
Oh, that’s new. Because when I went to Graceland, there weren’t iPads. They didn’t exist everybody.

Rachel 3:45
What did you like doing at Graceland? Because they have like restaurants and stuff, too, right?

Emily 3:49
I honestly don’t remember; I went with my family. When I was like 12. I just remember we went that’s all and we have a picture like you can get your picture taken in front of the gate. It’s like my grandparents and my cousins and everybody. I don’t really that’s all I really remember.

Rachel 4:06
Okay. I would probably also want to check out the National Civil Rights Museum.

Emily 4:12
Ohhhhhh Yeah,

Rachel 4:13
so some of their exhibits go in depth on the main figures in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Freedom Riders, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, etc. But they also have an exhibit called standing up by sitting down, which has figures of the college students that did the sit in and the actual lunch counter where they staged the sit in.

Emily 4:38

Rachel 4:38
I think it looks incredibly powerful.

Emily 4:41
Oh, yeah, that sounds awesome.

Rachel 4:43
Lastly, when in Tennessee, you know, I’m going to get some whiskey.

Emily 4:47
Oh, yeah.

Rachel 4:47
So we are going to Old Dominic Distillery. They have been around for 150 years, and they do a tour which I’m into, and you know me. I’m getting the bourbon.

Emily 4:58

Rachel 4:59
Obvi. This is straight from their website. polling station is a small batch bourbon in homage to the whiskies of pre prohibition Memphis with a high ride mashbill reminiscent of those offered by dominico canali in his heyday,

Emily 5:16
that sounded like a foreign language.

Rachel 5:20
Maybe I know it’s fancy

Emily 5:22
No just like all the words you said, I didn’t understand any of them

Rachel 5:25
You’re not really a whiskey person though.

Emily 5:27

Rachel 5:28
I even got excited about their website because it has a feature where you can find this bourbon near you. And I was like, ooooohhhhhh! it is not anywhere within 100 miles of me, which is very disappointing, because if I could find it, I was going to try to get it for happy hour later, but I couldn’t get it.

Emily 5:43
Is it close to me?

Rachel 5:44
Oh, maybe? I bet it is the Midwest. Even so, we are just going to need to go to Memphis for real, I guess. Yeah. Drink all the bourbon

Emily 5:53
and it’s on the way to Nashville. I mean, could stop in St. Louis. All kinds of stops.

Rachel 5:58
Yeah, so many places we need to go – road trip!

Emily 6:01
Road Trip.

Rachel 6:02
ROAD TRIP. Okay, so a little backstory before I tell you why I chose Memphis.

Emily 6:07

Rachel 6:08
I was listening to a different podcast about

Emily 6:11

Rachel 6:12
I know.

Emily 6:12
You listen to other people’s podcasts!?

Rachel 6:14
You have other friends? Yeah. So I was listening to deathbed confessions over on Spotify, which is very good. And she was talking about a guy who confessed to escaping from Alcatraz and surviving. So it was a really good one. They were talking about some of the other hardened criminals, including Al Capone, who you covered at least a little bit when you talked about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and Machine Gun Kelly. And instantly I thought the rapper?

Emily 6:46
I know, I was like whaaaaaa?

Rachel 6:47
No, not the rapper. So today, I’m going to tell you the story of the other one.

Story 2: Machine Gun Kelly

Emily 6:52
Good because I do not want to have to even think about him anymore. That picture of him and Megan Fox making out next to Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian making out it just haunts my dreams. It’s horrible. I’m like you’re adult people. Why are you doing this?

Rachel 7:06
Like I love making out as much as the next guy.

Emily 7:08
I don’t want to see your tongue touching her tongue in public. I’m so sorry!

George “Machine Gun” Kelly — FBI
George Kelly Barnes

Rachel 7:13
No. Do that shit in private. Do it in private. So George Kelly Barnes was born on July 18 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee. He seemed to have a pretty normal childhood, or at least I didn’t read anything of note. I read a couple sources that said he came from a modest family and then one said he came from a wealthy family or and I’m just like, well, I don’t know – he came from a family.

Emily 7:39
Funny how that works.

Rachel 7:42
The only thing notable is that he started bootlegging, when he was a teenager,

Emily 7:47
Ooooh bad ass.

Rachel 7:49
Badddd assss. just a quick reminder that prohibition lasted nationally from 1920 to 1933. So George studied at Mississippi a&m College, and he got married to Geneva Ramsey at 19 years old, which we all know in today’s years would be like 27.

Emily 8:07

Rachel 8:08
Anywho. They had two sons, but ended up divorcing because Geneva did not like the crowd that George was running in. George tried to be legitimate. But as we remember from Louise Vinciguerra, Nebraska’s bootlegging queen who I covered a few months ago, when bootlegging is all you know, and all you’re good at. It’s really hard to get out.

Emily 8:30

Rachel 8:31
In 1927, George was caught selling liquor for the first time. He spent a few months in jail in New Mexico. A little later, he was caught again, this time for selling liquor on a Native American reservation. And this time, he served at Leavenworth prison, which is in Kansas, so he’s kind of bouncing around all over. George made friends at Leavenworth, and he was rumored to have helped a couple of them, Frances Keating and Thomas Holden, escape from Leavenworth prison.

Emily 9:00
Oh, an escape artist!

Rachel 9:03
An escape! But don’t you worry, because when George was released from prison in 1930, he was clearly reformed. We all know, prison works. it reforms everybody… No? everything’s fine. George decided that bootlegging was no longer the life for him. He went to Minnesota with Kathryn Thorne, his girlfriend, and for the record, I’m not sure if they met before he went to prison or if she was a fan girl with hybristophilia. No idea regardless. In St. Paul, Minnesota, they met up with Francis Keating at Thomas Holden, the two guys who he helped to escape. And they were like, Oh, hey, George. Glad you’re here. Listen, we’re going to rob a bank later. Are you down? And George was in fact down?

Emily 9:52
Did we just become best friends? Yup.

Rachel 9:54
Yup! Apparently, robbing banks was more fun than selling liquor.

Emily 9:59

Kathryn Thorne

Rachel 10:00
Obvi. at some point in 1930 George marries Kathryn and she is his hype woman. He keeps living the dream robbing banks in different states all over the country Washington, Texas, Iowa, etc – other states – and Kathryn was all get it baby.

Emily 10:21
Rah rah shish boom bah. GOOOOO George!

Rachel 10:25
Well, and she bought him a machine gun and then she nicknamed him after the weapon so he would get a killer reputation – pun intended!

Allegedly, Kathryn would also hand out shell casings to morbid curious to keep her husband’s infamy in the forefront of people’s minds.

Emily 10:51
So when I have, I’ll have the raisin from the cake next to the shell casing from machine gun kelly

Rachel 10:58
I thought of you immediately. I was like, Emily is going to want that.

Emily 11:01
and I would, I would, I’m going to get a little shelf in here in my podcast room and just put my paraphernalia up

Rachel 11:09
You know, what you should have is one of those glass enclosures like in Beauty and the Beast.

Emily 11:13
Beauty and the Beast style. Yes, I actually have a teeny tiny one that’s like this big.

Rachel 11:19
The raisin just wilts away and then you have this old witch who’s all like, If she doesn’t find love by the time the raisin stops molding.

Emily 11:28
Well, guess I’m going to turn back into the beast or whatever. Be stuck in this form forever.

Rachel 11:35
She’ll need to get another cat.

Rachel Emily 11:36

Rachel 11:38
You’re like actually, that sounds nice.

Emily 11:40
Actually, yesterday, I walked outside my house, I was pulling out of my driveway and I looked over to the left up towards by my door. And there was a cat sitting right there. And I was like, cat number four. Just like what they just are drawn to me.

Rachel 11:57
They find you. You’re all, Welcome home.

Emily 12:00
You’ll Never leave again.

Rachel 12:02
(Whispering) Never. But MGK, as I’m now I’m going to be calling him, got a little too big for his britches, and decided it was time for another way to make money. So he tried his hand at kidnapping.

Emily 12:16
Oh, good lord.

Rachel 12:17
And apparently, he made several kidnapping attempts.

Emily 12:23
I’m just picturing this, I can see it already.

Rachel 12:26
I only read about one in the research. So I’m guessing they didn’t go so well. Nevertheless, he persisted.

Emily 12:34
He tried to grab it and that little shit just wriggled right out of his arms.

Rachel 12:38
You know, parents listening: back me up on this when you try and pick up a kid and they don’t want to be picked up and they just go limp.

Emily 12:47
Don’t go boneless on me!

Rachel 12:50
They totally go boneless picturing that’s what happens every time. He’s like, haha, they’re just like, boneless. Gumby!

Emily 12:57
He was like, don’t do it. He just tosses him to the ground. FINE. You win again!

Rachel 13:03
this is a deep cut. But in the 90s Did you ever watch The Secret Life of Alex Mack where she can like turn into that goo and go under doors and show up places?

Emily 13:12
I Think I did but not enough to really remember it. Oh, wait. Yes. I totally watched it.

Rachel 13:18
Yeah, that’s what, that’s what all these people can do. They can just yeah, slurp away.

Emily 13:24
Or like a cat. They can just go through the seams in the walls. Oh, yeah. As Charlie Kelly says.

Rachel 13:32
kitten mittens.

Emily 13:33
Okay. We got on the tangent there

Rachel 13:37
That was a good one. Hopefully everybody followed it. If not, just sounds like Yes, we are, We are one brain.

Emily 13:45
Well, they should all get out their red string and boards and try to follow this shit.

Rachel 13:50
You’re welcome. We’re just giving you these little brain exercises to keep it fresh. Keep it going.

Emily 13:56

The kidnapping of Charles F. Urschel - Photo Gallery
Charles F. Urschel

Rachel 13:56
on July 22 1933. MGK and Kathryn, along with this other guy. His name is Albert Bates. decided they were going to kidnap a wealthy oil tycoon in Oklahoma. Charles F. Urschel.

Emily 14:11
Okay. Like, an actual man. Not a child.

Rachel 14:16
He’s an adult man. Kidnapping does not discriminate by age, it’s not just napping for kids. The name makes no sense.

Emily 14:24
I’m like, wait a minute. This kid’s an oil tycoon?!?!? Wow.

Rachel 14:29
This baby is rich!

Emily 14:30
baby genius over here.

Rachel 14:34
No, he’s an adult man. So this poor rich dude was just minding his own business doing rich people shit. It was late at least by our old lady standards. 1115 at a Saturday night.

Emily 14:49
God that’s late.

Rachel 14:50
Right? Charles and his wife were playing bridge on their screened-in porch with two of their friends. Walter R Jarrett and his wife, whose name doesn’t matter cuz she’s a lady. And this is 1933,

Emily 15:01
Mrs. Jarrett

Rachel 15:03
Mrs Jarrett. Yeah that’s how it was written in all the sources

Emily 15:06
name redacted.

Rachel 15:08
Name redacted! We call her Mrs. J. (uncomfortable laughter). Ooooooh it hurts so bad.

Okay, MGK and Albert, open up the screen door waving around – you guessed it a machine gun – and pistol respectively asking the group which man was Charles Urschel. This is hilarious to me that they wouldn’t know which guy to kidnap but I guess you can’t Google it. It’s 1933.

Emily 15:39
Right! What if they’re like he’s in the bathroom?

Rachel 15:45
They’re all Jeeves. I need you to take one for the team. And he I mean, Charles Urschel, he wasn’t a bad guy; he was not on any wanted posters or anything.

Emily 15:58

Rachel 15:58
So I guess if they’re both rich white dudes who I imagine to be wearing some form of top hats and monocles. They wouldn’t know which one to take. They all look the same like the Monopoly Man. So, Machine Gun Kelly and Albert are like, Screw it! we’re taking them both.

Emily 16:17
Oh, no!

Rachel 16:19
And of course they look at the wives who shall not be named and they’re all don’t call the police. Mrs. Urschel, That’s right. Her first name is also not written anywhere.

Emily 16:29
Oh, God,

Rachel 16:30
but she’s a rich white lady. So she’s all operator. Get me J. Edgar Hoover with the FBI.

Emily 16:36
Everybody’s calling J Edgar. It’s like everyone back then just knew his direct line. It’s so weird.

Rachel 16:42
I know. And obviously the FBI was on it like white on rice.

Emily 16:46

Rachel 16:47
A few hours later, Walter Jarrett moseyed his way back up to the Urschel home. So Albert and MGK had figured out which white man was Charles Urschel and they let Walter out of the car. But they were like,

Emily 17:02
I’m just picturing like how they figured it out. Like, at one point, there’s,

Rachel 17:06
Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot!

Emily 17:08
At one point, they’re just like, Charles? and he’s like, yes, Damnit!

Rachel 17:13
Foiled Again. So they let Walter out of the car, but they were like, Don’t you dare tell anyone which way we went. But much, much like you know, Mrs. Urschel no first name. Walter immediately told authorities that the kidnappers were headed south. This story quickly goes 1930s viral and the FBI gets a few leads but none of them were especially helpful.

Emily 17:39
What exactly does 1930s viral mean like,

Rachel 17:42

Emily 17:43
Seven or eight people knew?

Rachel 17:45
10 at least! so the FBI is able to be like J Edgar! We’ve got some leads let’s you know…. track the leads.

Emily 17:55
J Edgar is Like Stop calling me

Rachel 17:59
he’s in a nightcap and a onesie, he’s like, God, this job never really rests. No rest for the wicked. And j Edgar Hoover. He’s a story for another time. So on July 26, which is four days after the kidnapping, JG Catlett, another Oklahoma oil tycoon got an unexpected package. Inside was a letter from Charles Urschel, asking JG to essentially be the middleman to help him get unkidnapped.

There was also a letter from Charles to his wife, which was handwritten, and a typed letter from the kidnappers telling JG Catlett to go to Oklahoma City. And don’t you say anything to the Urschel family in Tulsa?. And there was another letter to another rich white dude named EE Kirkpatrick who is also in Oklahoma City

Emily 18:51
Very confused.

Rachel 18:52
Very confusing. This one had the ransom note – there are like four different letters in this box. MGK and Albert asked for $200,000 in 20s – $20 bills

Emily 19:03
so that they can indecent proposal?

Rachel 19:05
That’s exactly it. And of course they gave more instructions like don’t write down the serial numbers no double crossing blah blah blah

Emily 19:13
Promise you won’t

Rachel 19:15
don’t cross your fingers now. Remember we’ve got your boy Charles love Machine Gun Kelly and

Emily 19:21
Megan Fox. Wait, no.

Rachel 19:23
Albert, I guess. They also ask JG Catlett to post an ad in the Daily Oklahoman so that they knew he got their letters. On July 28, the kidnapper sent a letter to the daily Oklahoman asking again for the $200,000 in “a light colored leather bag.” That’s a direct quote. I love this detail because as I was writing this story laughing to myself because you know, I find myself charming as you do when we tell our stories. We’re like, hahaha, good job self. All I keep picturing is the satchel that Zach Galifianakis’s character wears in the Hangover.

Emily 20:02
That is what I pictured too! A light-colored bag

Rachel 20:06
Indiana Jones wears one! they also gave specific instructions for how someone was to transport the satchel full of cash on a couple of different trains, and at some point they were going to throw the bag. It was all really complicated and also remember no funny business! I just love that they keep being like hey don’t you go to the police and immediately she’s like – J EDGAR!

Emily 20:30
J EDGAR! The police are like literally on the phone and they’re like we already know but stop saying don’t call the police

Rachel 20:39
You guys are gone. What are you going to do now? Yeah, know what we did you just I mean, how would you know you can’t trace – you can’t bug our phone or anything right now.

Emily 20:47
Stupid criminals. On a train!

Rachel 20:54
Adult napping! Man, I could go for an adult nap right now.

Emily 20:58
Mmmmm. I tried to take one today and it didn’t take Hate when that happens.

Rachel 21:04
They said that Charles Urschel’s whole family was under surveillance and also remember we still have Charles – no funny business. So the FBI decides not to try and track them down and identify the kidnappers right away because Charles Urschel, important rich white dude – we’re gonna get him home safe. But obviously the FBI is like, sure, sure, sure. No funny business.WINK. So they prepared two satchels or Gladstone bags, whatever. One was filled with the $200,000 but obviously they recorded the serial numbers. The other was filled with old magazines. Hahaha!

Emily 21:46
Not even like things shaped like money. It’s just a bunch of life magazines.

Rachel 21:51
I’m sure they cut it up and they were like, this is money! JG Catlett had the money on the train and then EE Kirkpatrick, the other rich guy hung back with the magazine bag on the observation platform. I believe it’s still a part of the train because both men went to Oklahoma City, but there were no signals from the kidnappers. So this is the second kidnapping story I’ve done. And let me tell you both times it seems to be fairly anticlimactic.

Emily 22:23
Like when George just walked home

Rachel 22:26
nothing happens! There’s just like goodbye Godspeed.

Emily 22:29
Oh my god.

Rachel 22:30
Or like, you know the notes but then like the tin cans with the notes from the last one.

Emily 22:35
Nothing like criminal minds. I just watched a kidnapping criminal minds and they cut her ear off.

Rachel 22:41
That’s way worse. Yeah, no, no real life. It was very anticlimactic. Anywho the train buddies get to the hotel in Oklahoma City that the kidnappers had asked them to go to. And EE Kirkpatrick registered under the name EE Kincaid, which he was directed to do by the kidnappers as well.

Emily 23:02

Rachel 23:03
at the hotel, he got a telegram that basically read, our bad Something came up. We got busy, so…. sucks to suck, bro.

Emily 23:14
Listen, if you’re gonna be a kidnapper or a bank robber or any, any kind of criminal,

Rachel 23:18
be punctual?

Emily 23:19
you need to be more organized. Disorganized organized criminals never win.

Rachel 23:24
it is – every time I read these stories, look, I’m not cut out for a life of crime. Personally, Emily is but –

Emily 23:27
I am…. you don’t even know what I do on the weekends. Oh, JK, I am not a criminal. Don’t come for me

Rachel 23:41
WINK. But I feel like I’d be a better criminal than these guys. And it’s because you and I would do it together and we’re a highly organized Well-oiled machine.

Emily 23:51
Oh god, no one would catch us ever,

Rachel 23:54

Emily 23:54
Except that I’d post about it on Instagram, probably.

Rachel 23:58
You would be Tom Haverford tweeting – too much traffic. Hashtag all yellow lights.

Emily 24:08
And that’s when I hit the hydrant allegedly.

Rachel 24:10
Allegedly. Oh shit, I think I just hit a hydrant! Okay, Then. At 530 That evening, the kidnappers called and asked EE to take a walk toward the west. After about half a block. He was approached by a man who said, Mr. Kincaid, I will take that bag. So the two rich dudes, wait, I mean the one rich dude in this case, gives them the bag and then they go home. They go back to Tulsa and wait for their third rich friend to be released – fingers crossed.

Emily 24:46
Did they give him the magazine bag or the money?

Rachel 24:49
Oh, they gave him money.

Emily 24:50
What was the point of the magazine bag? I’m so confused.

Rachel 24:53
Well, I think it was supposed to be they had both of these guys. One of them had the money, one of them had the magazines, and so They were trying to have the one guy who ended up having the money, stand watch and be able to like kind of get a look on them and then be like, haha, got you. I don’t know the FBI website has a very long detailed story about this case. I’ll link it in our sources, but some of the details I was like, not super relevant.

Emily 25:19

Rachel 25:19
I don’t really care why, let’s just get to the good part. Allegedly. And released he was. YAYYYY. late in the evening of July 31. So he said he didn’t. This is Charles Urshel. He said he didn’t get to sleep much when he was kidnapped. He was allowed to nap, I think before he was interviewed by the FBI. Got a little catnap. That’s nice.

Emily 25:44

Rachel 25:44
Charles actually remembered quite a bit. He said he was blindfolded as the kidnappers took him to another location, but he was able to use his spidey senses to describe the smell of gasoline and the sound of oil pumps. He was essentially using all of his five senses so he could say even though I was blindfolded, I can tell you all of the sounds all the smells I can tell you what it felt like. I don’t know that they gave him anything to eat but if they did, also taste

Emily 26:13
I licked the floor at one point it tasted bad.

Rachel 26:17
very sticky. So when they took Charles to the secondary location, he heard a woman’s voice; they continue to move him, had him write the letter to JG Catlett, et cetera,

Emily 26:32
Still blindfolded?

Rachel 26:34
I think so. They’re just like, practice your cursive. There was almost some reverse Stockholm Syndrome stuff going on. Because the kidnappers were an older man and a younger man who started to get a little too comfortable around him. They were all, Yeah, bro. We’ve been stealing for 25 years, just like Bonnie and Clyde.

Emily 26:54
Oh, God.

Rachel 26:56
They talked in detail about all of the bank robberies they’ve committed. So they also took him to what ended up being a fairly conspicuous house, because there were a ton of barn animals. And Charles could hear a plane flying overhead every morning and every evening at the exact same time except on Sundays. So they ended up releasing Charles Sunday, July 31, with $10 in his hand, which I didn’t Google how much it is in today’s money, but enough to get him home.

Emily 27:24
How long did they have him for? a couple weeks?

Rachel 27:28
So they kidnapped him on July 22. And he got back on July 31.

Emily 27:33
So nine days,

Rachel 27:34
nine days.

Emily 27:36
I was gonna say if he heard, it was like every day except on Sundays, for a second. I thought he’d been with them for multiple weeks.

Rachel 27:43
No, except on Sunday, but I’m assuming that would be the flight pattern. Now that Charles was home safely, the FBI was ready to track down some kidnappers. They knew after a couple of days that it was MGK and Kathryn Thorne. Kelly. They were able to compare Charles’s memories with flight schedules within 600 miles of Oklahoma City. Which is kind of good police work, I think.

Emily 28:07
Well they are the FBI.

Rachel 28:08
Yeah, surprise, surprise: Kathryn’s mom lived pretty close to paradise, Texas, which was right in the flight path. So the FBI checks out the ranch they live on on August 12. But Machine Gun Kelly and Kathryn were not there. But they found this other asshole Harvey J. Bailey, who had escaped from a Kansas prison in May of that year after being convicted on bank robbery charges.

Oh, and not great, He also murdered three cops, which the FBI was like, yeah, we don’t love that. They were also able to take in the Shannon family, who are relatives of Kathryn, I’m not exactly sure how they’re related. And so they take them into custody for helping house criminals. And also, Charles Urschel had been held prisoner at their ranch.

Emily 29:00
Oh, shit.

Rachel 29:01
and I think that was like the male and female voice that he had heard.

Emily 29:05
Oh, that like aunt and uncle or whatever.

Rachel 29:07
Yeah. However, they’re related.

Emily 29:08

Rachel 29:09
I don’t think they were so much hardened criminals because they caved pretty much right away. And they’re all yeah, it was Albert and MGK. Like it was them. please don’t, please don’t put us in jail. So Albert Bates actually was arrested pretty quickly in Denver on a different charge. I’m not sure what he did. But he had over $600 of stolen money and a machine gun on his person. So he was pretty easy to catch.

Now, the FBI had to track down Machine Gun Kelly and Kathryn, who were living the highlife on that tracked money and on the move. So they followed them from Minnesota to Memphis so this story goes full circle back to Memphis. I was writing it and I was like, shit, this really doesn’t take place in Memphis at all. And I was like, I’m gonna have to rewrite the beginning part but no, everything’s fine. They’re back in Memphis, right? It’s fine. At the end of September 1933, MGK and Kathryn are finally arrested. Ironically, his machine dead was nowhere near him. And allegedly, he cried out, Don’t shoot g men, repeatedly as he went into custody without a fight.

Emily 30:22
What a wuss. I’m picturing him crying.

Rachel 30:30
G-Men NO! this next detail. Apparently, Machine Gun Kelly was hung over and in his pajamas when the FBI found him and Kathryn was passed out on her bed.

Emily 30:43

Rachel 30:44
Party hard.

Emily 30:45
Oh, yeah, I’m picturing his pajamas have farm animals on them? I don’t know why.

Rachel 30:50
I picture tiny feet.

Emily 30:52
Oh footie pajamas! Like the rabbit pajamas from Christmas story where he’s got that big rabbit costume.

Rachel 31:01
I have a pair of those.

Emily 31:02

You need to wear those.

Rachel 31:05
I like to wear them to ugly sweater parties.

Emily 31:07
So, when we hit 20 patrons, which won’t be that far from now, and do a q&a you’re gonna wear that.

Rachel 31:16
I actually think it’s at my mom’s house! she borrowed it for something and I don’t think I got it back. Maybe I did.

Emily 31:21
Well, she lives pretty close! no excuses.

Rachel 31:25
That 15 minutes away. I guess.

Emily 31:28
You’re like I can’t I’m so sorry. It’s too far!

Rachel 31:31
No, I don’t know where it is, but I’ll find it. Or I’ll buy a new one. That’s what your patronage money is going to: Financing our footie, pink bunny pajamas.

Emily 31:43
I’ll wear my deer outfit. It’s my Halloween costume. My one Halloween costume.

Rachel 31:49
Oh my god. Mgk and Kathryn were both sentenced to life in prison like three weeks later because the shit move super fast in the 30s

Emily 31:58

Rachel 31:58
but they were still pretty cocky. Machine Gun Kelly said he would escape from Leavenworth in time to be with Kathryn for Christmas.

Emily 32:06
How is she supposed to escape?

Rachel 32:09
I guess he was gonna break her out too because he had helped people escape in the past. this bit him in the ass because in August 1934 Machine Gun Kelly was moved from Leavenworth to Alcatraz.

Emily 32:21
Oh shit,

Rachel 32:22
maybe don’t say you’re going to try to escape!

Emily 32:23
Then they’re gonna put you in with the dementors.

Rachel 32:26
with the dementors. But he was still bragging about his endeavors at Alcatraz. Apparently, he made up a bunch of stories about robbing banks that he never robbed and killing people that he had never killed.

Emily 32:40

Rachel 32:42
Yeah, and if you think that a bunch of hardened prisoners at Alcatraz would be annoyed by MGK’s bullshit, You’d be right. They call this –

Emily 32:50
This all circles back to me always for some reason. When I think about men lying about, like, over exaggerating things they’ve done I just always picture Steve Carell in 40 year old virgin. Yeah, her boob felt like a bag of sand. He’s like describing, like killing someone and they’re like, hold up.

Rachel 33:08
A bag of sand. Really? You’ve never touched a boob.

Emily 33:11
Have you ever killed anyone before? You’re a murder virgin.

Rachel 33:15
A Murder virgin. So the other prisoners called him Pop Gun Kelly. After the cork guns at the time that were popular with kids. You know, give kids pretend guns. Essentially, they all thought he was full of crap. Yeah. But you know, the guards liked him. He was a teacher’s pet!

Emily 33:36
As a teacher’s pet, I can’t ridicule him for that, but

Rachel 33:39
I mean, same, but we can for this: Mgk ended up being an altar boy in prison.

Emily 33:46

Rachel 33:47
Apparently they have altar boys in prison in Alcatraz in the 30s. He worked some administrative jobs etc. He seemed to genuinely feel bad for hurting people. And he worried about his wife a lot. Mgk ended up being transferred back to Leavenworth in 1951. And he died on July 18 1954, which is his 59th birthday of a heart attack..

Emily 34:11
Awww, he died on His birthday?

Rachel 34:12
He died on his birthday,

Emily 34:13
someone jumped out of a cake to surprise him and scared him to death?

Rachel 34:16
AH! my heart! What a terrible way to die. God. Kathryn was released in 1958. So four years after that, and she lived in Oklahoma until her death in 1985. Which feels very recent.

Emily 34:31
Yeah, I mean, 30.

Rachel 34:32
So essentially,

Emily 34:34
36 years ago,

Rachel 34:35
I mean, not as, I guess not that recent because like we weren’t born but, 85 sounds way more recent because this is a story from the 30s!

Emily 34:42
Oh, I still thinkthe 90s were 10 years ago

Rachel 34:44
they were not

Emily 34:44
like nope.

Rachel 34:45
No, no. So essentially, even though Machine Gun Kelly’s name is well known as a notorious bootlegger. He did a lot of minor things, and then one pretty big thing and then he got caught young. and that’s his whole story. The end.

Wow. What a loser. Sounds like Machine Gun Kelly of today hasn’t done much and yet somehow has a big name. I don’t quite understand it.

I don’t get the appeal either. But also, if you’re going to pick – it’s like the people who named their daughters Daenerys before the end of the series.

Emily 35:20
Yes. And then they’re like, shit!

Rachel 35:22
maybe Wait, maybe do a little research. See how it all plays out?

Emily 35:26
Yeah. Right? Like, why did he name himself Gun Kelly?

Rachel 35:29
I don’t know! Cuz I was like, He sounds like such a badass. And then I did some research and was like, like, not really, not really.

Emily 35:37
Not really, but excellent story. Honestly, I’d never heard of him as a bank robber or anything before. I’d only heard of the rapper. So yeah, I’m glad to know the origin story.

Rachel 35:49
Thank you.

Emily 35:50
Thank you.

Rachel 35:51
Thank you.

Travel Tips: Lyon, France

Emily 35:52
Awesome. Well, friends, today I am heading back to France, but -. I’m going to the other side of France because I know I went to Poitiers like three episodes ago, but this is who I am. So deal with it.

Rachel 36:07
No, I was just talking with somebody this morning about how much I want to go to France and just like eat bread and cheese for weeks. And the French people are gonna hate me anyway. So I might as well be drunk and gassy, like,

Emily 36:19
yeah. They’re like, ugh, Americans.

Rachel 36:19
And I’ll just be like, ouuuiiiii french laughter

Emily 36:28
Oh, my gosh. But yeah, so I know I just went there, deal with it, it’s who I am. I also considered going to completely the other side of the country different enough. So I don’t really feel bad. It’s not like Boston and Boston. It’s Poitiers and Lyon. Like they’re different. Okay.

Rachel 36:46
(Laughing) Boston and Boston!

Emily 36:50
For real, though, the reason I’m going back to France so soon is because I found a story that absolutely baffles me. I actually googled, did this really happen? Or is this a mythical story? Because I could not believe that this was a true story. But everything I saw says it is, including medical journals, so I could not resist. But first let’s talk about Lyon. Lyon, France.

Rachel 37:19
Let’s do it.

Emily 37:20
So like I said, Lyon on the other side of France from Poitiers, so it’s on the east side. And it’s actually the country’s third largest city, right after Paris and Marseille, so it’s a super important hub for art and culture and gastronomy, which is my new favorite word. And winemaking and commerce. So sounds like are kind of locale

Rachel 37:44

Emily 37:46
So we could definitely go and visit old Lyon and see the stunning panoramic views of the city. There’s this lookout point outside of the Basilica that’s like on this hill. And there’s ruins from Roman arenas, and like Gallo Roman archaeological museums and things like that. So lots of fun stuff to see and go do. It’s also a really important historic site for film, which I thought was interesting. Like I kept reading that it was like the birthplace of film and cinema, which surprised me

Rachel 38:22
I always think of that as New York, maybe? and then it moved to California.

Emily 38:26
Yeah. But I guess Paris -like France, maybe?

Rachel 38:29
Yeah. I mean, I have no doubts that America was like, No, no, no, we did this after we just stole it from other countries.

Emily 38:38
Change the history books, people. And they’re like, Yes, sir. Okay,

Rachel 38:42
okay. J. Edgar Hoover. We got it.

Emily 38:45
So apparently there is a museum called the Lumiere Institute, and the Museum of miniatures and cinema. And it like tells more about the city’s key role in the development of moving pictures. But it’s kind of like two museums and one because it’s the magic of special effects and miniatures. Like, totally different, but I love seeing – I Love Little tiny things. Small versions of things. Like one time I was at a restaurant, and it gave me an individual serving of Tabasco. It was just a little tiny bottle.

Rachel 39:21
That’s kind of cute.

Emily 39:23
I stole it. It was so cute!

Rachel 39:26
After Emily said She’s not a criminal. “I stole the tiny tabasco!”

Emily 39:32
Listen, it was for me. I’ve also stolen tiny jams from restaurants because I was like, it’s in a tiny jar!

Rachel 39:38
do you have, in your Beauty and the Beast glass enclosure, Just a bunch of tiny condiments?

Emily 39:45
Little tiny condiments! Yep, I sure do. Okay, so Lyon is also widely considered the gastronomic capital of France. They have more Then 1000 restaurants and they have this thing called the Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse

Rachel 40:08

Emily 40:09
which Paul Bocuse is a chef, I guess like renowned, late French chef and so they named this food Hall and market after him. And so it’s this cupboard food Hall, which is like, I love that kind of shit. It’s just like the Chelsea Market in New York, like 48 market stalls. They’ve got butchers and bakeries and fishmongers and chocolatiers and wineries and cheesemongers which I didn’t know was the thing.

Rachel 40:36
What is a cheesemonger?

Emily 40:38
I guess like someone who like curates cheese and sells it. Want someone like that to work for me and bring me cheese whenever I want it.

Rachel 40:52
I want them to be my best friend

Emily 40:54
rude – first of all,

Rachel 40:55
second best friend – second best friend. You’re my silver medal.

Emily 41:04
You better make it bronze or Jessi’s going to be mad!

Rachel 41:07
No, You and Jess and Erin are tied at gold. I have different besties on all coasts slash Midwest slash Colorado…. is also landlocked.

Emily 41:16
I got you I got four or five up in there.

Rachel 41:18
West Coast still open.

Emily 41:23
Anyone cared to be a taker on the west coast? Oh my gosh. So we could go to this place. There’s fruits and vegetables and dried meats and truffles and spices and all kinds of stuff.

Rachel 41:36
God, now I want to

Emily 41:38
Oh my gosh, that’s like in my next line. It was like, there’s all these restaurants surrounding it too. But honestly, I would love to just go hunter and gatherer style and like buy things from the market and go to that panoramic view and enjoy a handcrafted charcut.

Rachel 41:53

Emily 41:54
charcuterie. Charcut! my parents told me I have to stop abbreviating things, and I’m like never.

Rachel 42:01
You can’t abbreviate charcuterie. to charcut. It sounds dirty.

Emily 42:09
Cooter. JK.

Rachel 42:13
Don’t call her that!

Emily 42:13
Look, I laughed at the word erect last time – Don’t call her that! (Immature Laughter)

Rachel 42:13
(Immature Laughter) I’m glad you caught that.

Emily 42:14
We are in rare form today. Oh my god. We won’t use the word charcut. We’ll say charcuterie fine, I guess. Another thing I’d really love to experience which would determine basically when we went to France. for four days, every December, Lyon transforms into a spectacle of Technicolor. They have something called the fete de lumieres that dates back to the 14th century, when the Black Death was decimating the city and inhabitants would march to the Basilica with a candle, like in a prayer for good health.

And so now every year, leading up until December 8, which is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the City Council organizes these light shows in the streets and on the light facades of buildings. Households decorate their windows with candles. It’s like a super vibrant celebration of like gratitude and tradition and pride for their city. It’s just like, oh, sounds so cool. I love experiencing cultural things like that. So I’d have to see that for sure. Okay, now that I’ve covered that, and I’m officially adding Lyon to my bucket list, we’ll get into my story. But before we talk about the most shocking story I have ever read. I do have a quick question for you.

Rachel 43:49

Emily 43:49
Have you ever had one of those days when you’re just like starving and every hour, It seems like you need something to eat?

Rachel 43:56

Emily 43:57
I had one of those days the other day. Also have you noticed that every time you eat an apple no matter what you’ve eaten that day or after that Apple You’re so hungry. Does that happen to you?

Rachel 44:09

Emily 44:10
every single time I eat an apple I feel startling afterwards? Yeah, and I talked to two other people who agree with me so maybe just check yourself next time you eat an apple

Rachel 44:20
I don’t I don’t just like eat apples that often. My kids love them so I always have apples in the house. But I don’t ever eat a plain Apple I’ll like dip it in peanut butter I’ll dip it in cookie butter or something like that. So maybe it’s like that protein with it.

Emily 44:33
That’s the way they do it for sure.

Rachel 44:35
Yeah, I mean it tastes way better

Emily 44:36
if you eat like the other day I was hungry and so I ate just an apple as a snack. I swear to God, I was hungrier afterwards I was like, well that was pointless.

Rachel 44:45
Yeah, no, I I guess I I can’t tell you the last time I ate an apple. Well, like no cookie butter, none at all?.

Story 2 – Tarrare the Insatiable Man Who Could Eat Anything

Emily 44:56
But anyways, so back to this thought of like the days when you, You’re just starving. That is probably the way that the hero- question mark – of my story today felt all the time. Because today we are talking about Tarrare the insatiable glutton whose stomach was never satisfied.

Rachel 45:21

Emily 45:22
this is not a tale of murder. It is not a stupid criminal, but it is horrible in every damn way. So buckle right on up, because before I finish, you will never be the same. You will never – it has scarred me. It has scarred me for life.

Rachel 45:38
Scarred For Life, I’m ready

Emily 45:39
prepare yourself, prepare yourself everybody. Okay. Okay. So Tarrare was born in Lyon in 1772. And he appeared to be a relatively normal child. you know, happy and cute and whatever. But he hadn’t really insatiable appetite. And so at first his parents kind of brushed it off as him Oh, he’s a growing Boy, you know, a hungry baby, whatever. Maybe they even thought he’s a bit of a glutton, you know, chubby little thing.

Rachel 46:08

Emily 46:09
But as he continued to age, it didn’t seem that he was like growing out of this phase, quote, unquote. It only kind of seemed like it kept accelerating. He was just starving all the time. Eventually, even as a little boy Tarrare could consume his entire body weight in cow meat in one day.

Rachel 46:31
Oh my god.

Emily 46:32
Like I’m just thinking about that feeling at the end of Thanksgiving dinner, right? When you’re just gross.

Rachel 46:38
When you just have to unbutton your pants. You have to.

Emily 46:41
You have consumed more food than you can really hold like, I just imagine this boy had to feel that way constantly.

Rachel 46:48
You know, maybe. Well, first of all, I feel like that right now because I ate out for dinner every night this weekend. Like it was all meat it was like steak and then it was Chinese food. And then it was Arby’s like, we’ve got the meats. It’s all the meats

Emily 47:05
Stretched your stomach right on out.

Rachel 47:07
I’m so bloated, like my kids kept trying to feed me french fries. And as like my belly is saying no kids like, my belly does not want your french fries. Thank you. No, thank you.

Emily 47:16
Okay, so this continues on. Eventually, when he was a teenager, his parents had to kick him out. Because they couldn’t afford to feed him anymore.

Rachel 47:24

Emily 47:24
I mean, he was literally eating them out of house and home,

Rachel 47:28
which everybody says about teenage boys. But this time, it was factual.

Emily 47:31
It was actually factual because Okay, so think about this. What does a grocery bill look like when you have to essentially provide 700 pounds of meat to your kid every week?

Rachel 47:44

Emily 47:45
Because he weighed 100 pounds at 17.

Rachel 47:47

Emily 47:48
and shocking that he didn’t weigh more than that.

Rachel 47:50
Yeah, well, teenage boys can be skinny

Emily 47:52
and he was eating his own bodyweight every day. And if he didn’t get that much food, he was like, Oh… I’m so hungry, you know, like he needed it. So they were just like, we can’t afford that anymore. So I was thinking about this grocery bill right? Like of like, how much that would cost and how much you would actually need. And I did some very strange research. Like, it was like, the things I research for this podcast but I was just trying to wrap my head around how much meat that would be. so straight from the South Dakota extension office:

From a 1200 pound cow: You can expect 740 to 770 pounds of carcass, gross, which is like the fat and the bones and the meat and stuff but it isn’t all edible. So they say that you should expect a yield of like retail cut beef of about 55 to 75% of the cow so from a 1200 pound cow you get about 500 pounds of boneless trimmed meat so if Tarrare is eating his body weight every day, at 100 pounds. Like the math I just walked through means a cow a week when even satiate him. Like that’s insane.

Rachel 49:14
That’s too many cows. Did they not feed him –

Emily 49:16
They’d have to be so rich to afford 50 plus cows a year.

Rachel 49:21
Here’s the thing , maybe this is he said 17 hundred’s Right.

Emily 49:25

Rachel 49:25
So I don’t know what the 1700s version of a steak houses if it’s just like a like a barn, but maybe, maybe let him fill up on bread. You know what I’m saying? Like,

Emily 49:36
right, right? Well, and I’m not saying that he ate only steak or whatever, but it’s like if we were using that as the equivalent like, but even even if he was eating pasta or bread or like cheaper things. It’s like 100 pounds of food a day is insane. insane! and so they kicked him out, which is really sad that they just

Rachel 49:58

Emily 49:58
but they were like listen, we’re gonna all go hungry because you’re eating all of our food. It’s like on, on friends Ross. It’s like I grew up with Monica, if you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat at all. So he gets kicked out. He does what any homeless 17 year old would do becomes a traveling showman. Obviously

Rachel 50:22
sure, as one does.

Emily 50:23
Joins a circus, as one does. And so members of the morbid curious, obviously would come and watch him eat things.

Rachel 50:34
So he was one of like, the sideshow acts like the bearded lady.

Emily 50:38
Yeah. Because he, not only did he eat a ton, he ate weird shit too. So he would eat corks and stone. And like an entire bushel of apples one at a time in quick succession. He just like gulped down a barrel of apples.

Rachel 50:57

Tarrare: The Man Who Ate A Cat Whole - Unfortunate History
A depiction of Tarrare, the man who could eat anything

Emily 50:58
Like literally just like, gulp, gulp gulp. swallowed them whole. craziness. Okay, and super super trigger warning for animal lovers. He would also eat live animals.

Rachel 51:12
I knew you were going to say it after the trigger warning and I still don’t like it.

Emily 51:17
Not just animals, live animals. So like, simply for the morbid amusement of the onlookers, he would pick up a snake and eat it alive.

Rachel 51:30
Thank you.

Emily 51:32
Ahhhhh. I am mortified by this and it only gets worse. I’m not gonna lie

Rachel 51:37
you lost me at pick up a snake. I don’t care what you do with it after I don’t want to pick up a snake.

Emily 51:41
I don’t like it. I don’t touch your hand ever now. Sorry. No. So eventually falls in with a band of sex workers and thieves. And they were touring France and putting on acts. And then they were also picking the audience’s pockets at the same time. So they could fund themselves Of course, and Tarrare was one of the star attractions. The incredible man who could eat anything, right?

Rachel 52:06

Emily 52:06
so medical journals actually say that he had this massive, deformed jaw.

Rachel 52:14
Oh no.

Emily 52:14
which I’m not sure if it was a birth defect or like an-as-he-aged evolution of his jaw to like work better for him. Like I know evolution doesn’t happen that fast. But it’s like a muscle right? If you like stretch your muscle enough for your whole life. Maybe it would just deform itself. I don’t know. But apparently, he could open it so wide that he could hold multiple apples in his mouth.

Rachel 52:42
Apples, apples are big.

Emily 52:45
Apples are huge. I mean, not as – apples were probably this big in the 1700s. Now like honey crisps are like a bowling ball. But they’ve been mutated, but still. It’s a big and it’s sturdy. Yeah, it’s not like a marshmallow.

Rachel 52:59
I was just thinking Marshmallow and you play chubby bunny.

Emily 53:03
Exactly. He plays chubby bunnies, but it’s with apples

Rachel 53:07
And he wins every time

Emily 53:09
every single time. So the next part is definitely one of the more horrible parts of the story and it makes me want to cry and it makes me want to barf. And I almost took it out. But this is horrible history. And so I figured I should leave it in. But according to those who saw his act, he would sometimes take a live cat – would make me so sad – and disembowel it and suck its blood and then eat it and leave only the skeleton. Which I’m just like, I know we’re trying not to swear right now in this podcast, but like go fuck yourself. What’s that? There’s a whole Netflix show. Don’t fuck with cats. Okay, leave cats out of it.

Rachel 53:53
Yeah, Leave cats alone. We love cats.

Emily 53:54
I’m very upset about it. and he also did it to dogs. And is apparently on one occasion, he swallowed a live eel without chewing it.

Rachel 54:05
Ewww. I’m glad you said eel, because I thought you were getting bigger and bigger. So I’m like, okay, cats, dogs, small children, like, NO NO NO.

Emily 54:15
Would he eat a baby. A live baby!

Rachel 54:17
I’LL EAT A BABY. Not great.

Emily 54:27
It’s horrendous. It’s disgusting. I honestly sincerely hope that that is not true that it- but it’s like, quite literally written in a medical journal by his surgeon.

Rachel 54:39
I’ll just asterisks to -It’s not that we’re anti profanity in our life or on this podcast. It’s that our moms have asked us respectfully to say fuck less. Love you, mom.

Emily 54:54
Respectfully. We love you. As my mom put it, and I agree with her, It could potentially limit our audience and we don’t want. We don’t want the audience to be small.

Rachel 55:08
That’s true. Tell your friends.

Emily 55:11
Tell your friends, even your children friends. No, maybe not.

Rachel 55:14
Don’t let them listen. My kids are not allowed to listen to this podcast.

Emily 55:16
But also why do you have friends that are children?

Rachel 55:18
Yeah, ewww.

Emily 55:20

Rachel 55:21
But also we love Keep listening.

Emily 55:23
Keep listening. Okay, so his surgeon Dr. Baron Percy is quoted as saying, the dogs and cats fled in terror at his aspect as if they anticipated the kind of fate he was preparing for them. So,

Rachel 55:39
dogs know though – animals know if you’re a bad person, and probably also if you want to eat them. And I’m a meat eater. But you know, not house pets.

Emily 55:49
Not a dog. not a cow. Not while it’s alive for sure.

Rachel 55:53
No and I don’t want to like engage in fisticuffs with the cow. I’m not trying to have a staring contest and prove dominance, like,

Emily 55:59
they’ll murder you with those hooves.

Rachel 56:01
I want it on the back end when it’s been processed from a local butcher into our grocery store.

Emily 56:07
Yeah, exactly. So he was seriously seriously messed up. And he was performing these things on stage for people who were also messed up and wanted to see him murder cats and dogs in live fashion. But one time there – is this story that one time he collapsed mid performance because he had an intestinal obstruction, which I’m honestly surprised didn’t happen more than once. ‘

Rachel 56:31

Emily 56:32
because homeboy was eating everything. But apparently, the audience picked him up and carried him to a nearby hospital. And then they gave him a bunch of laxatives. Once he felt better, he offered to demonstrate his talents by eating the surgeon’s pocket watch. The surgeon was like,

Rachel 56:52
You know why you’re here bro? You remember? member?

Emily 56:57
We literally just had to do this.

Rachel 56:59
It was just now. Member?

Emily 57:01
It was just seconds ago. Apparently the surgeon was like, yep, you can eat my pocket watch on one condition that you allow me to cut you open to retrieve it. And Tarrare was like Never mind. He declined

Rachel 57:16
Smart surgeon. He’s like listen this is a nice watch.

Emily 57:19
Right? I’m not letting you deal with it. Yeah, exactly.

Rachel 57:22
I don’t want to. I don’t want to sift through your feces to find it later. I’m getting it quick

Emily 57:27
yeah, exactly. So at this point, any surgeon that comes upon Tarrare is baffled by this man, right? He’s eating rocks, and trash and live animals, but from what they could tell from, like interacting with him, he appeared to be mentally sane, by all intents and purposes. So they, they all seem to say that, from what they could tell he was just a young man with an inexplicably insatiable appetite. They couldn’t explain it. It was weird, but he didn’t seem like he was crazy, either. But I’m like, he didn’t have to eat live animals. That seems crazy to me. But I don’t know. Anyways. So let’s talk a bit about his body. Because, no,

Rachel 58:19
because WINK

Emily 58:21
because, as you might imagine, it was not a pretty sight to see.

Rachel 58:27
Oh I can imagine. Yeah.

Emily 58:29
Are you picturing? A 1000 pound man?

Rachel 58:33
No, I was picturing a dude with a, like a hairy dude with a beer belly.

Emily 58:40
I definitely when I was reading, this was thinking, how could you eat this much and not be very large, like those people like, my 600 pound life or whatever,

Rachel 58:50
giant shits. It’s science.

Emily 58:53
That’s not the case. He maintained his status as like a 100 pound man, through all of this

Rachel 58:59

Emily 59:00
But his skin had to stretch to such incredible degrees to fit all the food that when he would eat, he would blow up like a balloon, like especially in his stomach region. And then shortly after that, he’d step into the bathroom and take what I can only imagine is the world’s largest shit, as you just said, and then his stomach would go back down.

Rachel 59:22
He’s a parachute person! Just I’m picturing the parachute games that you played in the 90s.

Emily 59:27
Yes. Yes, exactly. When his stomach was empty, his skin would sag down

Rachel 59:34

Emily 59:35
So okay, this is what he said in a medical journal. It sagged so deeply that you could tie the hanging folds of skin around his waist like a belt, which is not computing in my head. how that would work.

Rachel 59:50
Did he do that? Or did they just measure?!?

Emily 59:53
What, he’s like: And my new sideshow – ties it up. Yuck yuck I hope not. I’m assuming so because otherwise

Rachel 1:00:01
why would you? Why would you say that? Who wrote that in a medical journal?

Emily 1:00:06
I can’t picture it. I don’t want to but also apparently his cheeks would droop down like elephant’s ears too, because his skin in his mouth was so elastic to be able to like hold all that food. So I’m just picturing like a melting human like, skin melting is what it has to look like – so nasty. So those were some of the main effects of the his mass consumption of food. But there was another stinky part. The stinky part. Apparently he smelled terrible.

Rachel 1:00:40
Well, yeah,

Emily 1:00:41
all the time. His medical records said, quote, he often stank to such a degree that he could not be endured within the distance of 20 paces.

Rachel 1:00:54
So you know, for those of you who are new and don’t know, I love rescue animals. I have two rescue dogs and a rescue cat. Love them. I know you love them, too. I will say maybe not the cat so much except for his shits. But like my dogs when they need a bath. They smell so bad,

Emily 1:01:12
It like radiates off of them or like if they get wet, wet dog is like, Oh, yeah, it’s one of those smells.

Rachel 1:01:19
And it depends on the type of dog like my long haired dog. She definitely smells like a dog, you know? But beans, who has my little seven pound dog who has like more human kind of feeling hair, she’s more hypoallergenic. When she needs a bath. She smells like corn chips. I don’t eat corn chips anymore. It’s just like a weird gross, stale corn chips kind of smell.

Emily 1:01:41
Ah that’s funny.

Rachel 1:01:41
It’s funny, weird, but to imagine because I just smelled them. And I’m like, Oh, I need to , have like, you know, like pet spray and shit and like, I’ll brush on him. And obviously I take him to get groomed regularly but you don’t want to eat it.

Emily 1:01:56

Rachel 1:01:56
And if you’re eating it, like, you know how there are certain foods that kind of make your pheromones smell better, yeah, what are your pheromones going to smell like if you’re eating dogs and 17? trash and we’re not even bathing regularly, then those dogs are not getting right. Yes.

Emily 1:02:11
So those people are very used to stinky people. And they couldn’t stand this man. Like that says a lot.

Rachel 1:02:18
Not to be stereotypical. But also let’s remember, this is France.

Emily 1:02:22
Oh, yeah,

Rachel 1:02:23
Oui Ou.

Emily 1:02:25
Oui Oui,

Rachel 1:02:26
that was a little Scottish. Oui Oui!

Emily 1:02:30
Um, so I also was thinking about is that feeling when you’re so hung over that, like the booze smell kind of?

Rachel 1:02:38
Oh, yeah.

Emily 1:02:39
out of your body? Or like if you go to a fish fry, and then that smell just kind of like lingers on your clothes.

Rachel 1:02:46

Emily 1:02:47
I’m just imagining that, but instead it smells like sewer water. Not fish or alcohol. Like,

Rachel 1:02:57
no way worse.

Emily 1:02:59
And apparently he was always super sweaty. And his body was always super hot to the touch. So I’m just like, well, in the words of Joey, he had the meat sweats pretty much all the time. So

Rachel 1:03:12

Emily 1:03:13
So if you’re spending your day eating, do you have time for a job? If You reek like shit? Does anyone want to work with you?

Rachel 1:03:23
Isn’t he getting paid for this? The sideshow shit? Is he just doing it for fun?

Emily 1:03:28
He’s like, guys, check it out!

Rachel 1:03:30
free food! free trash!

Emily 1:03:32
Exactly. Free trash! He’s picking their pockets but not of money. It’s like taking their handkerchiefs and eating them gross

Rachel 1:03:41
gum wrappers or 1700s gum wrappers.

Emily 1:03:45
Well, so no, I don’t think anyone wants to work with you or spend time with you. But in the 1790s General alexandre de buanderie – might have butchered that one – decided that maybe
Tarrare could serve his country because

Rachel 1:04:06

Emily 1:04:07
Her? France was at war with Prussia and the general was pretty convinced the
Tarrare had this condition that would make him the perfect courier.

Rachel 1:04:21
(HUGE GASP) Oh, I have heard of this before. Oh my god.

Emily 1:04:28
So this general ran an experiment – he put a document inside of a little wooden box and had
Tarrare eat it and then waited for it to pass through his body and then he had some poor unfortunate soldier

Rachel 1:04:44

Emily 1:04:45
Dig through the mess- intern, and fish out the box and see if the document could still be read because obviously like yeah, there’s no point in doing it if it – your stomach acid like ruins it or whatever

Rachel 1:04:57
Yeah well, and nobody wants to read a paper covered in shit. Let’s be real.

Emily 1:05:01
So need the box Exactly. Well, so it worked. Once they got the box out, they’re like perfect. This message is great. It smells, but we can read it. So that’s great. And so they gave him his first mission. So they disguised him a prussian peasant, and made him swallow this box with a message in it. He was supposed to sneak past enemy lines and deliver this message to a captured French Colonel. The message was hidden in a box safely enclosed in his stomach, but he didn’t get very far. so I don’t know. Perhaps they were like, what is this strange man with sagging skin and a putrid stench?

Rachel 1:05:45
Oh I thought you meant He like took a couple steps. It was like, gotta go!

Emily 1:05:50
I didn’t get very far I have lots of shit! No more, They were sniffs like, something wicked this way comes – my God. Well, and also he was supposedly a Prussian peasant, but he didn’t speak any German and so it like didn’t take long for them to figure out he was a spy. And so they stripped him and searched him and whipped him and tortured him for like a day before he finally gave up his plot and was just like, I’ve got a secret message in a box in my belly. I’m sorry!

Rachel 1:06:27
He’s like, Actually, can I use your restroom? Can I use your outhouse perhaps?

Emily 1:06:33
I’m nervous I have to poop well

Rachel 1:06:35
A hole in the ground over here?

Emily 1:06:37
Yeah, so he told them that he had this box with a secret message in it and so they chained him to a toilet and waited for like hours, like he just had to sit there until he could, you know go. He probably had poop performance anxiety like he didn’t want to let his country down obviously.

Rachel 1:06:55
I mean that is a secret skill of most men is they can like sit on the toilet for an hour just like ,I mean usually they have their cell phones now

Emily 1:07:03
just Yeah,

Rachel 1:07:04
why don’t your legs fall asleep?

Emily 1:07:05
I don’t know how your legs don’t fall right asleep! Well he finally accomplished his task. And all the prussian general found inside the box was a note that said ,let us know if this was delivered successfully. Like it was just a test; they didn’t even give him any real information like he didn’t trust him they were just like let’s test this out first and see if It works so the Prussian general was so furious that he ordered that
Tarrare be hung.

Rachel 1:07:38
It wasn’t his fault!

Emily 1:07:38
Right? he’s a Patsy and all of this. but eventually the general calmed down and felt a little pity for the flabby man that was probably openly sobbing on the gallows. And yeah, it’s like Dude, your life is bad enough the way it is also, You reek please get away from me. But he did have a change of heart and he’s like alright, I’ll let you go back to the French lines, but he whipped him good a few times to make sure that he never tried to stunt like this again. So when he got back to France, he served as a normal soldier for a little while but the army was not having it. They had to quadruple his rations.

Rachel 1:07:41

Emily 1:07:42
but even after he would eat enough to feed four men, he would still like scavenge through the piles of trash and eat any shred of waste that they’ve thrown away plus you know all the stinky stank like yeah, they were just like you got to go

Rachel 1:08:39
You gotsta get got.

Emily 1:08:40
Get got and so they eventually let him go and like dismissed him from the frontlines. But there were these two military surgeons Dr. Courville and who I mentioned before Dr. Percy that were like we cannot let this man go, like this dude is a medical Marvel we need to study this shit like oh my god.

Rachel 1:09:01
Like airplanes!

Emily 1:09:02
Yeah. It’s a modern marvel! So they ran test after test on him. They’re trying to understand what was wrong with him and how he could do this and not gain weight or die or whatever. And poor Tarrare was like, begging them please make me like everyone else. You know, he did not want to be like this, obviously. So they tried all their witch doctor tactics, and they like fed him. vinegar and tobacco pills and laudanum, which is opium by the way, and like every medicine that they could imagine, hoping to quench his incredible appetite.

But he stayed the same no matter what they tried, and it even said that no matter – or even said that, if anything he was hungrier than ever. Like no amount of food would satisfy this man.

Rachel 1:09:57
Thanks for the opium. Got any cake?

Emily 1:10:01
Yeah, right? And so he started to seek out meals in the worst possible places. During one desperate fit of hunger, he was caught drinking blood that had been removed from hospital patients. And then he was caught multiple times Eating a body in the morgue.

Rachel Emily 1:10:26

Emily 1:10:27
Oh, and then this is horrible. The last straw was when a 14 month old baby disappeared. And rumors started to spread that he was behind it- never found the baby.

Rachel 1:10:43
Is it too late to take back my fat bastard joke because I would like that redacted from the record. I didn’t know he really would eat a baby or I never would have made that joke. Like that’s terrible – was really horrible.

Emily 1:10:56
I mean, they never found the baby. He obviously never like owned up to it. But they were like, well, there’s no other real excuse or explanation here. So they got fed up and chased him out. And were like, sorry, we’re not going to help you anymore.

Rachel 1:11:10
It’s a torch and pitchfork situation. Like

Emily 1:11:13
Yeah, like get out of here. I’m surprised they didn’t arrest him to be honest. Yeah. But they just kicked him out. Said fend for yourself. And I’m guessing the doctors just tried to figure out how to erase it from their brain so they didn’t fall asleep with those awful sights and Thoughts in their head every night

Rachel 1:11:33
as will We, after this episode, that’s why we’ve got happy hour with horrible history on Patreon.

Emily 1:11:42
I can’t wait for that. I’ll tell you more at the end about what we’re gonna do.

Rachel 1:11:45
Oh god, I’m nervous. definitely gonna need a bourbon.

Emily 1:11:48
Yep, yeah. So four years later, Percy received – Dr. Percy received word that
Tarrare had turned up in a hospital in Versailles. And the man who could eat anything was dying, essentially. So this was the doctor’s last chance to see his medical anomaly alive. And he died in 1798 at the age of only 26. of tuberculosis. Oddly enough,

Rachel 1:12:16
I was gonna think rabies, like he’s eating all these animals.

Emily 1:12:21
Yeah. Well, and like who knows how well that what their tests were. If they’re like, well, it presents like tuberculosis. Yeah, yeah, who knows. But so it said that for all of the horrible smells that directed out of that man’s body when he was alive, nothing compared to the stench that poured out when he died. The doctors said they were struggling to breathe because this like noxious odor, like filled the entire room.

And then when they did the autopsy, they didn’t even get all the way through the autopsy because they were like, We got to just we gotta get the hell out of this like midway through they’re like, nope, but what they did see were that he was all messed up. Like he was very messed up inside. His internal organs were all like bound together, like fused together and infected. his liver was super big, his gallbladder was huge. His stomach was all deflated, but it was massive.

So he didn’t have any food in his belly when he died, but it like the skin of the stomach took up the entire abdominal cavity. And it had a bunch of ulcers on it and stuff. And weirdly enough, they also found that he had a shockingly wide esophagus they said that they could open his mouth and look directly into his stomach.

Rachel 1:13:43

Emily 1:13:45
Like what? Like that’s where I was like This can’t be true. It’s in a medical journal. It’s true!

Rachel 1:13:52
I believe you; I’m just processing this

Emily 1:13:54
I’ll cite the source!

Rachel 1:13:55
I’m trying very hard not to picture is what I’m over here doing.

Emily 1:13:58
Well, so they they didn’t finish the autopsy they didn’t really learn what the hell was causing all of this but they did learn like this was not in his mind. He was not crazy. He had a genuine biological issue going

Rachel 1:14:17

Emily 1:14:17
that was causing him to need to eat. And so you know, the poor man’s like every experience in his life was dictated by this strange body that he’d been born with and this curse that he had to this eternal hunger, so I feel bad for the guy like I really do that’s 26 years is a long time to feel that way.

Rachel 1:14:41

Emily 1:14:41
To feel starving all the time like gross. oh I did have a note here of like, Is this true? Because there’s a part of me that’s like this- come on. Like I just said I’m like, I swear it is – but so I did read some stuff that was like it was a 17 hundred’s so it’s possible to Dr. Percy Like, elaborated a little bit or something.

But he was credible enough that at the time of their publication, his writings on
Tarrare were featured in medical texts such as the study of medicine, popular physiology, London medical and physical journal. And Dr. Percy is considered the father of military surgeons, he was the chief surgeon to the French army. He was a university professor. And he was the inventor of several important battlefield medical implements, and is just considered an all around highly reputable person. So I was like, I guess this is real.

Rachel 1:15:41
seems legit

Emily 1:15:42
In some way. shape, or form. This was legit. So it’s like, What the hell was wrong with this person is the question. And so a few doctors have offered theories. One doctor said, this is a quote, it can be broken down by category, he didn’t suffer from psychosis. So he was completely aware and cognitive, that doesn’t rule out hyperactivity of hormones or dysfunction of components of the brain. The sensor that would let him know that he was full was maybe damaged.

And so if he would have underwent a brain study, maybe they could have identified an enlarged hypothalamus or something like that. your hypothalamus is what regulates your temperature and like causes a sensation of hunger and fullness and everything like that. So given the he was constantly overheated, and in dire search of food, it’s kind of a perfect fit that maybe his hypothalamus was damaged. And Dr. Moore, who is this doctor who was saying all this suspects that he had a case of pica, which is the eating of non edible objects.

And that could be related as well. Also, as far as for why he never weighed more than like 100 pounds. Doctors theorize like, maybe it’s because he would eat raw meat all the time, like maybe he had a parasite. They said the fact that he was of normal size probably means something else is being nourished, not him. And so like the fact that he was constantly hungry could make them lean towards he was feeding a secondary organism like a hookworm, or a round worm or something

Rachel 1:17:25

Emily 1:17:25
though to me. I’m like, wouldn’t, that eventually get big enough inside of you that you’d be able to see that? like, or wouldn’t you poop it out or something eventually? How do you ever hookworm for 26 years?

Rachel 1:17:40
I don’t know. it’s like, on the office when Kelly’s like, creed gave me this great tapeworm. So I’m losing all this weight. And he goes

Emily 1:17:50
I’m gonna be so skinny.

Rachel 1:17:51
No, that wasn’t a tapeworm.

Emily 1:17:52
No. That wasn’t a tapeworm. Yeah.

Rachel 1:17:57
It’s like, yeah, yeah, there’s something something gross. Yeah.

Emily 1:18:02
So there are a ton of other theories. Here’s a quick list: hypothyroidism, which can cause excessive appetite and sweating as well as fine hair. It said that he had really fine hair as well. Prader Willis syndrome, which causes constant hunger even for non edible items, an extreme iron deficiency could cause some of these cravings.

Rachel 1:18:23
Yeah but he was eating a lot of meat.

Emily 1:18:23
Yes. Yeah, that’s true. A damaged amygdala could be a possibility, as it can cause Polyphagia which is the medical term for extreme overeating. And also, he had cannibalistic tendencies, which some think could have been induced by one or more of the things that I just listed so – I don’t know, crazy. Interestingly enough, there was a similar, albeit less extreme case, right around the same exact time in the same general area.

There was this man, Charles Domery, who also had this kind of insatiable hunger thing, which some people say could point to like an environmental cause maybe, because it all happened during the French Revolution. So it’s like maybe there was like famine are a nutritional deficiency deficiency that could have like, caused this which I’m a little skeptical on, but ultimately, we’ll just never know for sure what caused this insane health issue. But it took this man’s life after just 26 years and probably scarred the lives of everyone who ever had to meet him. I know it certainly scarred me. So

Rachel 1:19:36
and now me and all of you. Yeah. Jeez.

Emily 1:19:44
That is the story of
Tarrare. Yucky

Rachel 1:19:47
Great job?

Emily 1:19:50
I like the weird ones like the gross ones, don’t I? Okay, so guys, I’m going with a theme. So for happy hour, for patrons get excited. I’m going with a food theme this week So first and foremost my terrible today’s next week you’ll hear are are are all food related crimes. And then for happy hour, what I did was, I found the last meals of 20 criminals, serial killers and things like that. And instead of just reading them to you, I made a single elimination bracket and we are going to figure out whose meal was the best.

Rachel 1:20:35
Oh my god! I love that. That’s so fun! That’s way more fun than fantasy football.

Emily 1:20:40
Right? Exactly.

Rachel 1:20:41
So you guys all know where to find us. We have a website horriblehistorypodcast.com Find us on Patreon patreon.com/horriblehistory.

Emily 1:20:51
You can check us out on the socials if you’d like. obviously we’re on Instagram and tiktok at horriblehisotrypod Or you could shoot us an email horrible history podcast@gmail.com

Rachel 1:21:03
thanks so much for listening.

Emily 1:21:05
Hopefully you’re horrified.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: