Great Waldo - swallower of rats, frogs and ping-pong balls (5 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 16
25 February 2024

It only seems that rare lucky people have talents. But that's not true. You just need to find a unique trait in yourself. And then you can easily turn it into a way to make money and even become famous.

Dagobert Reumann, better known by his stage name The Great Waldo, had the amazing talent of regurgitating whatever he wanted to swallow. Smartly dressed, he always stood out from other artists of the mid-20th century. The man appeared before the audience, smiled dazzlingly and, to the sounds of a mixture of horror and delight, swallowed white rats. Again he smiled dazzlingly, and then easily removed the animals from the depths of his stomach alive and healthy, although a little frightened.

During his show, Waldo continued to shock viewers by swallowing rings, watches, lemons, goldfish, coins, frogs, and much more that viewers offered him. When swallowing frogs, he first drank water in order to provide the amphibian with comfortable conditions in his stomach - a cozy swimming pool.

After swallowing the watch, Waldo would invite someone from the audience onto the stage to listen to the ticking in his stomach and confirm the absence of fraud. Even more amazing and impressive was his ability to swallow colorful balls and then bring to the surface the color that the audience requested.

The inspiration to develop such unusual abilities came to Great Waldo at an early age, after frequent trips to carnivals. Waldo was born in 1920 in Germany and loved the circus as a child. The boy loved music, costumes and unusual people. He respected eccentrics because they managed to make good money on their features, which made them different from others. But what fascinated Waldo most were the performers who swallowed and regurgitated objects. He soon learned their secret and trained his own abdominal muscles to perform similar feats for the amusement of the public.

In 1938, Waldo moved to Switzerland. While performing in one of the nightclubs, he was discovered by an American talent agent and quickly transported to the United States.

It was the white rat that became his calling card. "One morning I just thought, 'I want to swallow a live rat.' That’s what I did,” he once explained. “Then it became my hobby. Other people play golf or bridge. And I swallow rats."

This complete muscle control was useful not only during performances, but also for preventing indigestion. There are no dangers of stomach problems when you can only remove everything unnecessary from the stomach with just a little effort. No pain, no discomfort, no bloating, no indigestion – beauty.

From left to right: Great Waldo swallows a mouse, smokes a cigarette with the mouse in his stomach, removes the mouse back

Unfortunately, any uniqueness has a second side to the coin. In Waldo's case, it turned out to be unrequited love. If the men sincerely laughed at the artist’s tricks, then the female part of the audience was sincerely disgusted by regurgitation of objects. The artist became famous, but could not find personal happiness. When a man received a refusal from the woman he was in love with, he could not stand it. The Great Waldo committed suicide by gassing himself.

Today, this trick continues to be performed by other artists, in particular the Scot Stevie Starr and the American illusionist David Blaine.

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