"Ugliest Woman In The World" Finally Buried 150 Years After Her Death

She spent her life performing around the world and her taxedermized body has been kept at a Norwegian university until now.

This is Julia Pastrana. She was a Mexican woman who suffered from hypertrichosis and gingival hyperplasia, which meant she had a thick-set jaw and lots of facial hair.


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She was known as “the ugliest woman in the world,” “ape woman” or “bear woman” and she toured the United States and Europe with her husband, singing and dancing for paying audiences.

The Bridgeman Art Library / Getty Images

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“Today, it’s almost incomprehensible that a circus used [people with genetic conditions] for entertainment purposes,” said Jan G. Bjaalie of the University of Oslo.

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“[She] was used in a way we today would consider to be completely reprehensible,” he said. “It’s important that we now have a clear end to the way she was treated.”


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More than 150 years after she died due to complications from childbirth, she was finally buried in her hometown of Sinaloa de Leyva, Mexico.

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She died in Moscow in 1860, and her body had been kept at the University of Oslo. There have been private and government requests to return her body to Mexico.

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The current mayor of her hometown spoke at her burial and said he was glad she was home. “Let us never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce.”

Mexico / Reuters

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