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Julia Pastrana: The True Story of the Hybrid Bear Woman. Also Known As The Ugliest Woman In The World

Updated on April 9, 2015

A unique woman

Julia Pastrana was born in 1834. She arrived, steeped in mystery, and her life was as strange and sad as her birth. She was believed to have been born within a small tribe of Native Americans on the western slopes of Mexico. Not a lot is known about her early childhood, but she first appeared in public, when, in 1854, she was brought out and exhibited at the Gothic Hall on Broadway. The name she was billed under was a cruel and sad insult to her condition. Known as the marvelous hybrid or Bear Woman, others called her The Ugliest woman in the World. Her handler or owner was named as a Mr M. Rates and he saw the potential in her the second he found her, working as a servant girl to the governor of Sinaloa Mexico. Realising that she would earn him lots of money, he decided to start showing her to the public, A quote from the time stated her as, The Great Freak of Nature. The newspapers of the day said she was hideous, but in her favour she had a very nice singing voice.

To the publics eye, she did have a very strange appearance. Her body was covered in hair, and her face even more so. A Jutting jaw, and very swollen gums added to her appearance. At four and a half feet, she was also said to look very like an ape in features. But she had dignity. Standing in front of an audience of thousands, Julia looked down at the audience and sang in a most beautiful voice. She had great poise. She was aware of the fact that she was different, but used her small frame and powerful persona to her advantage.

The scientists of the day thought that she was a hybrid between human and orangutan, and believed that they had found a missing link.

After moving to Cleveland with another new promoter, J.W. Beach, Julia began to turn the tide around and, charming the public with her grace, she began to get very well known, even being invited to grand balls and military gala's. On one of these occasions, she was given the honour of dancing with the soldiers, who lined up to have the chance to dance with this unique but strange human being.


Soon she began to travel all around America, and when she arrived in Boston she was billed as the 'Hybrid Woman, or The Bear Woman. Others called her the Bearded lady. By this time, curiosity had began to turn towards admiration, and she was invited to the Horticultural Society and the Boston History society.

England became aware of her and stated in the newspapers at the time, she is an amazing oddity, and promptly started to call her The Nondescript, which is similar to what we say today as unexplainable. The newspapers couldn't get enough of her and when they realised that not only was she a very good singer but she could also speak several different languages, including Spanish and English, they were astonished.

She had a great thirst for knowledge and willingly gave herself up to medical examination. Money didn't interest her at all.

By this time she was being 'shown' by a Mr Theodore Lent who became, in a sense her manager, helping her with her dancing and singing on stage. Soon she became better known on stage than just being a 'Freak', as they used to call people like her. But she was anything but a freak, she could cook and sew, sing romance songs, and even better, hold an intelligent conversation which impressed the gentry, in a time when women were not treated as intelligent human beings.


Fame in Berlin

After the adulation in London, Julia began a tour In Berlin Germany, which both changed her appearances from freak show, to Stage actress. She appeared in a play called Der Curierte Meyer, which was a cross between a love story and a comedy. By this time she had received many marriage proposals, and when asked why she had never married, she replied that they were not rich enough. This Idea came from Lent, who suddenly realised that if he didn't want to lose her, he had better marry her himself. In 1857 they married, and even though Julia was quite fond of Lent, he treated her appallingly. Taking her to scientists and Doctors, they examined her without any dignity afforded to the poor girl. By the time they got to Vienna, she wasn't allowed out in the daylight, because Lent was embarrassed to be seen with her. Mr lent became more and more aggressive, and by the time they had toured through Poland and Russia, Julia realised that she was pregnant. This was a disaster. Not only would she have to take time off, and lose money, from the tours, but Lent panicked because he thought she might die. And then where would that leave him? He Took her to many different Doctors who were afraid that she would not be able to have the child naturally because they believed her hips would be malformed.

On March 20th 1860, Julia gave birth to a baby boy. He was covered in hair. All Julia could think of was, please be healthy and not have a personality like your father. Sadly the child died after thirty five hours.

Julia's time was coming to an end. Complications during the birth left her weak and drained. Only five days later, Julia was dead.

 

Horrendous Treatment of a Legend

You would think that after she had died, Julia would have been given a dignified funeral, and treated like the lady she was. But it was not to be. Her husband would not let go of her earning potential that easily. Lent sold her corpse and her baby son, to a professor of Moscow university. He dissected them and then mummified them so that they could be put on display. After a few months perfecting the process, he put them in the Museum of the university, where they attracted great crowds of people.

Was this the end? No.

Lent realised what had happened and much to the public horror, he took the awful and unbelievable steps to go to court to win her back. He succeeded. In 1862 Julia returned to England. Displayed and humiliated, she was dressed in one of her dancing dresses.

Her son was placed on a pedestal and displayed, wearing a sailor suit.

The crowds came in their thousands, paying up to a shilling to look at this poor woman and her baby son. Unbelievable.

From University to museum, from curiosity stands, to freak shows, Julia was passed around and around. Eventually Lent got fed up of It and hired her out to the person who would pay the most for the privilege.

But it doesn't finish here. Oh no. Lent unbelievably went on to marry another woman who looked liked Julia, and after a while he then made claim to the fact that his new wife was Julia's sister. He named her Zenora Pastrana. If that was not bad enough, he then returned to the museum where Julia was being exhibited, and took her on tour with him and his new wife. One big happy family then.

.

 

Hypertrichosis terminalis: Excessive body Hair

What goes round comes around.

Eventually, Lent and his new bride retired to St. Petersburg, and set up shop in a small waxworks museum.

Then, unexpectantly, Lent had a mental breakdown and ended up in the towns local mental sanatorium. His wealth meant nothing. He was never going to be able to enjoy it. Shortly after, he died.

Zenora, his bride, carried on touring with the mummies, and then eventually married a much younger man.

Julia's mummie disappeared over the next few decades. She appeared again in Hitlers Germany where she was put on display in the occupied territories.

In the fifties and sixties, the mummies were displayed, mainly as a curiosity. Not many people believed that these mummies could possibly be real.

So we come to the end. Or do we? There is so much more to this story, but in a nutshell, Julia and her baby were passed from person to person, country to country, until one day in 1976, the storage facility where Julia was being kept, was broken into and vandalised. The baby was torn to pieces. Julia was then moved and the same thing happened again.

Julia disappeared.

Then in 1990, Julia was eventually found in the basement of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, in Oslo, Norway. It is still there.

Maybe our compassion and moral sense now realise that not only was she a unique woman, but with her quiet dignity and poise, and our disgust at our own human nature, makes us ignore her, and shut the door on our shame.

One day and I hope very soon, she will be buried with dignity, and a statue will be erected to show us all, this woman of courage.


Latest News - Julia Comes Home

At last Julia has been laid to rest in her home state of Sinaloa De Leyva in Mexico on Tuesday 12th February 2013. After a Roman Catholic Mass in a local church Julia's coffin was carried to the town cemetary and buried as a band played the local traditional music.

Saul Rubio Ayala the local mayor of her town stated 'Julia Pastrana has come home'. He went on to say ' Julia has been reborn among us, let us never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce'.

I am so pleased that at last she is at peace. To be returned to the home of her birth is something that we should all be thankful for. At last Julia Pastrana has come home.

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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 months ago from England

      Thanks Anna, I totally agree with you. the one good thing about this though was the fact that as I kept sharing it everywhere they eventually found her and buried her with dignity, so pleased.

    • Annie Wright profile image

      Anna Haun 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Neil,

      A wonderful article but so sad all the suffering she had to endure. I'm glad she was finally laid to rest it was so long overdue. Shame that greed played such an important part of her life, she didn't deserve to be treated that way. In a way, her greedy husband got a small taste of the pain she went thru in her life. That poor baby was torn to shreds when he should be laid to rest. You know it's not what is on the outside that matters but it what in a person's heart that matters. Why would you want to go to a show to stare at someone who is different? Doesn't make sense, it should be against the law to treat people that way to make a profit cause they are different. My nephew is a midget and he has been made fun of his whole life but he has a heart of gold, just sweet, takes it in stride.

      Annie

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      Thanks Kari! glad you liked it.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      13 months ago from Ohio

      Another great story! I will be back to read more of them. :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      18 months ago from England

      Hi Deb, I know its not much better these days. thanks for reading.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I read this with deep sadness. It took all those years for that poor woman to have a decent burial, but the baby could not. Humanity is disgraceful.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      18 months ago from England

      Thanks so much Lauren, glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      Lauren 

      18 months ago

      Great writing of an amazing story.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks for reading margie, yes she was one heck of a lady wasn't she? amazing woman!

    • profile image

      margie 

      2 years ago

      I guess i am a few years behind but i am glad i stumbled onto your hubpage. Amazing story. It seems she is very self assured despite her fate and circumstances and made the best of her situation.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Jodah, yes its a very strange story isn't it? I am glad she did get the burial she deserved, but what a horrible time she had poor girl, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Nell, I am late reading this but I enjoyed this interesting hub. I had read quite a bit about Julia Pastrana before ina book "Very pecial People" but not as in depth as you provide here. It is good to know she was eventually returned home for a dignified burial she deserved.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks so much m abdullah, glad you liked it, nell

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Very interesting Hub Nell Rose, reading about personalities pend down by you is simply a fascination. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Wiccan, thanks so much for reading, yes even though she was regarded as the ugliest woman in the world she still held her head high even though her husband treated her appallingly, its taken all these years for her and the baby to be buried! how awful was that? thanks, nell

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Wow, Nell Rose. You always find the most interesting people to write about. I also admire her and think she must have been such an amazing lady. It is such a shame how people will treat those different.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi heidi, thanks so much, some things never change, but thankfully the way we quickly deal with it is much better thankfully, glad you liked it, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Dabble, thanks for reading, yes some people just have it bad from birth don't they? such a darn shame, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Suzette, yes DNA has a lot to answer for! Lent just saw the cash flow, as simple as that, and when the baby came it was more cash, but sadly for Julia and just deserts for him it didn't happen that way. thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Silver, yes she definitely was, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      HI Blond Logic, Oh yes, Max Clifford! you have a great point there! women all over the world are being treated appallingly even today, and yes back then those shows were the only thing that would give them a job and pay, thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi cfin, yes that's so true, it all depends on which country she would have been born in I suppose, and as you say behind our so called modern values we may never learn these lessons, thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi LongTime, yes the whole thing was awful wasn't it? such a darn shame! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Peg, yes my mum used to say about the bearded ladies etc, I never saw them, and of course we never thought of how cruel it was at that time, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Levertis, yes it was such a sad story, if only she had been born today, it would have been so different, I hope. thanks for reading, nell

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      4 years ago from Chicago Area

      This story just shows how far society has really come in acceptance of those who are different than we are. Today we find the behavior of Julia's promoters deplorable, whereas in years past, exploitation was perfectly acceptable for many. Thanks for sharing her story and giving her the honor she deserved!

    • DabbleYou profile image

      DabbleYou 

      4 years ago

      What she had experienced is appalling. I guess, some people are born with sad stories and she is definitely one of them. It's sad that one human being has to experience such cruelty from others. It's an interesting story, by the way. :)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wow, Nell! What a story and what a life. This is so sad to read how this woman was exploited. Something went way wrong in the chromosome department when she was conceived. Thank goodness this exploitation is not allowed today. That Lent guy was horrible with what he did to her even after death. As usual anyone who is different is seen as freakish. I had never heard this story before, so thanks for sharing this.

    • Silver Fish profile image

      Silver Fish 

      4 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Amazing hub, loved reading this. I think Julia was a strong dignified and beautiful woman. So sad that she was treated so badly.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Nell,

      Although now we can look back and think that she was treated badly in life and in death, perhaps she wasn't. Freak shows, although now politically incorrect and unpopular, gave unique people a stage and they were made stars. In programs I have watched , people didn't feel like they were being used, they felt 'special'. Some people who had deformities which kept them from employment could earn from their problem and help their families.

      Times were much different then and it is easy to say they were being gawked at and used but the same thing happens today just slightly differently.

      As for Lent, is he any different than, let's say Max Clifford?

      An excellent hub Nell, well written and thought provoking.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 

      4 years ago from The World we live in

      This is so sad. And even more so when most of us probably agree that treatment today would not be much different. Some people might act politely as they have been "trained" to do so, but atrocities such as the treatment of this woman and her child are as much prevalent today as they ever were.

      RIP Julia Pastrana.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 

      4 years ago from Australia

      Nell, it would have been nice had she been buried with her child, but it sounds like that didn't happen. So pleased her journey has ended though. Voted up.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Beautifully written and touching story, Nell. What a shame that Julia was subjected to such treatment during her lifetime and even afterward. I remember as a child visiting the travelling side shows at the carnivals and hearing the barkers call out "See the bearded lady..." and their recruiting for other similar attractions. We weren't allowed to go into those tents.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      4 years ago from Southern Clime

      Oh, how sad. Julia finally went home but without her baby who was also human. Torn to pieces! I believe one day we all may be shocked at finding out who the real animals of the earth are.

      I read about Julia some time ago. I think she was featured in an article as a freak, along with others. Thanks for sharing this sad story.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much for reading suzzycue, yes she was an amazing woman, imagine having to face the world, and live with that evil man, but she came through singing, but sadly she had a terrible ending, nell

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      An amazing woman. I admire her dignity . What a terrible story of greed and the loss of a beautiful soul. God rest her soul.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks Mike, Lovedoctor, and mary, yes she was a very sad character, and used the talents that she had to get through an appalling life, I am so glad she has been taken back to her home and laid to rest, thanks for reading, nell

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      What a story! Profoundly sad of course... the world is so weird sometimes.... Thanks for the info, I had no idea about this woman but I've heard before about these freak shows of the European 19th century...

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this story. I didn't know who Julia Pastrana was prior to reading this. She does look unique and even before reading this, the first thing that came to mind was orangutan, which is what her appearance resembles, but I'm sure she had other qualities and attributes that people overlooked since they were fixated on her face and excessive body hair. People are judgmental and can be mean. I admire her courage to stand in front of a crowd and sing perhaps knowing that she would be ridiculed by others, but what could she do. It's her face and she is stuck with it pretty much. I hope I wasn't too mean. lol

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I just spent the past 45 reading your article and skimming through the comments. I don't know when I have read more interesting info. Poor woman. Someone must have cared enough about her to educate her, and teach her to sing and dance, don't you think??

      I just noticed some commented two years ago that an effort was being made to bring her to Mexico for burial. So, finally, that was done.

      Goodnight, Mary

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks Linda, I have read this story since I was a kid, and she has always fascinated me, so glad you liked it, and thanks!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Great story Nell. I never heard of Julia until now. Bravo to her for not backing down!! Boo to her husband for being greedy!! I'm glad Julia is finally at peace.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks midget, yes over a 150 years ago she was treated appallingly its so good to know they have had the decency to bring her back to her village at last, now she can rest in peace, thanks nell

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Glad that she's come home, Nell. It's not easy being under all that scrutiny all the time. Thanks for sharing!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi mizjo, I don't the know the answer to that, as I am sure you understand, when people treat each other with respect then this world will be a much better place, thanks so much for reading mizjo, nell

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 

      5 years ago from New York City, NY

      It seems that all through our human history, anyone who looked different from ourselves have been treated as freaks, and not always kindly. Julia Pastrana was bought and sold like a possession as well. Even after death. When will we learn to be kind?

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks Michele, yes it was such a shame that someone with so much talent was treated like this purely because of the way she looked, sadly it still happens today in some countries, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you for writing this hub. It is so sad, how people treated her. She was so smart, and intelligent. They were so cruel to her. Even after she and her baby died.

      This hub does a good job in teaching us how to treat other people.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi Juliet, lol! how I wish! haha! seriously, thanks for reading, and yes people back then were seen as animals, makes me so mad. And of course Lent took this as permission to treat her like it, I would say that I am glad this doesn't happen any more but of course it does. There are people in all races that treat others like this even today. What many people don't realise is that at the time of Slavery, the Turks came over to England, Wales and Ireland and took many of us Brits as slaves, they were treated appallingly, but for some reason history has decided to wipe the truth clean, and of course it still happens today in some of those countries, maybe one day we will learn to treat each other with respect, thanks so much for reading Juliet, glad you liked it, nell

    • Juliet Christie profile image

      Juliet Christie Murray 

      5 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

      Well this is truly amazing.This hub could have made you a millionaire but the content was so spell binding and mind boggling that I get the feeling no one saw the ads. This is such a sad yet unique story. Looking at the image of Julia she looked like an African cross bread with an Indian.

      Years ago such individuals during the time of slavery were seen not as persons but animals. That must have been de0humanizing to Lent. The things that money makes one do.

      It must have been pretty confusing because the animal was capable of singing and speaking in different languages to cook and sew and dance,

      This was enough to give Lent a nervous break down.

      Being kept in a Museum is still showing the height of disrespect for Julia still being treated as an animal. Why could she not be buried and a statue made of her. is she still being studied. If she was of another race would she be treated like this.

      Wonderful story shows how debase people are and cruel.

      Good story telling

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Thanks unknown spy, glad you liked it, nell

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      she may look strange outside.. but i think what matters most is the inside.thanks for posting this.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi colin, Aw thanks! lol! thanks so much, and warm wishes to you back! its half eleven here in good old England! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi diane, you may be right there, its a sad story but one that fascinated me, thanks so much as always, nell

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      6 years ago

      I say that she has nothing on me Nell -lol - the homeliest man on hubpages - lol - and Marvin Hamlisch wrote a song about you once Nell called - Nobody does it better - and you are a world class writer and hub superstar all of the way - sending you warm wishes and good energy and sharing this to the FB group Music and Writing - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie ontario canada 11:37pm

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 

      6 years ago from Fontana

      All I can say is, "Unbelievable!" I thought of terms I heard in the past. Possibly some of them originated with Julia. Thanks Nell! Just as interesting as all of your Hubs and very engaging.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Levertis, I think you are right there, these days its against the law I believe to exploit people with birth defects, but back then it was a common thing, and in fact some people, not all of them actually put themselves into the circus so that they could earn a living, and were annoyed when the law changed to stop them, but of course that was desperation on their part to earn money, Julia Pastrana never really had a choice, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      Oh, how unfortunate and sad for poor Julia and her baby! I wonder if the baby died naturally. I wonder if she was related to that family of Mexicans who were covered with hair. From this family was born the idea of werewolves. I am also reminded of the Hottentot Venus who had a similar fate as Julia. It is amazing what some people would do for money.

      Freak shows have been common for many centuries. We can still see them at State Fairs, although they do not seem to display the most exotic ones. I have seen what was called The Two-headed man, The Fat Lady, The Snake-eating man, and a few midgets. They looked nothing like the pictures displayed outside their cubicles. I suppose people with severe birth defects have been protected from public exploitation.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Sujeet, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Sujeet Baro profile image

      sujeet baro 

      6 years ago from Guwahati, India

      nice one as a youngster from india i love to read about this one of such kind a hidden jems of ancient world mystry

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks so much everyone, I am a bit behind so I will on this occasion just leave one comment and run over to your hubs! lol! thanks!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Nell, great hub - fascinating and heartbroken in equal measure. It is awful to think of her mummified corpse still doing the rounds as 'entertainment' during WW2, a human being deserves more dignity than this, even if she was unique in the way she looked. Voted up etc and pinned.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 

      6 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Wow - what a fascinating story I could not stop reading. You are an excellent writer Nell. I had seen pictures of this dear lady before but I did not know her tragic story, thank you for sharing.

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      It is so awful how people who are different are treated. Good article! Voted up.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Hi, Nell. Thanks for bringing up society's treatment of people who are different.....sad how differences, instead of being embraced, are treated as something to scorn. She was so incredibly tolerant and embraced a tough situation admirably. She definitely deserved so much more credit, which you have given brilliantly here. Shared and tweeted. I hope this gets out to more people.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Thomas, yes he certainly was! thanks so much for reading, and you take care too! lol! thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Suzie, thanks so much, she is such a fascinating lady, and I totally respect everything she went through, such a pity she had to live back then, thank you, nell

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 

      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Nell,

      This is an amazingly sad story. I'd never heard of Julia or her condition before and your depiction of her life is both compelling and heart warming. It's so sad that she lived in a time when science was so primitive and un-understanding. Oh...and Lent was asshole.

      Take care my friend!

      Thomas

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      What an incredible story, so much sadness and this gentle lady does deserve respect at last. The comments you have received are to be commended Nell - superb article written with love, respect and tenderness. Voted up more and sharing, great job!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Audrey, thanks so much, she just fascinated me for years, so I had to go and find out more about her, thanks again, nell

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Wow--such an unusual story--she led a sad life and we still do not understand much about this disorder--but what a great write!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi jainismus, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      6 years ago from Pune, India

      Interesting information about an unfortunate lady.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Deborah, I wrote this after reading about her years and years ago, and she seemed to stay in my mind, I just suddenly realised that I wanted to know more about her and what happened to her in the end, I am so glad you liked it, and thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi epi, yes so true, people always go by whats on the outside not on the in, its such a shame that Julia Pastrana had to go through this. Aw thanks epi, you are kinda amazing yourself! lol! over here its 20.38, so we are about 5 and a half hours different!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi The Annoying Life, love the name! yes Lent was an evil man, and thank goodness got what he deserved in the end, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Nell this is the most interesting hub.. I had no idea .. wow.. I am sharing.. I know you wrote this 2 years ago.. and wow.. that is amazing I love this hub

      debbie

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks Integrity, yes she went through a lot, it was a nightmare, glad you liked it and thanks for reading again, nell

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      6 years ago

      .....and don't forget my alter-ego - Jo Jo the dog faced Boy - lol - and yes this incredible story reminds me of The Elephant Man - and that beauty is always found from within -even though the sensational part of it - has been focused on the 'outside' part .....

      And you are pretty incredible and beautiful yourself Nell as a writer and hubber both inside and out -sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 1:18pm

    • The Annoying Life profile image

      Kevin Martin 

      6 years ago from United States

      This story is very, very interesting and sad. That Lent guy was extremely heartless and he only truly cared about his money, but he got what he deserved.

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 

      6 years ago

      I voted up for sure. That is very emotional and great. WHOA! She went through a lot.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Teresa, thanks so much for reading, yes Julia Pastrana was a very unique person, and I hope one of these days that she will have a statue or some sort of commemorative piece to honor her, thanks so much, nell

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting story and one I was not familiar with. So glad I discovered it ans I find stories with mysterious elements like this one fascinating. Read one of your commenters said she was finally laid to rest in a glass coffin. So glad she attained a fitting resting place.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi femme, good morning! lol! its 4.20 in the afternoon here, with grey clouds and rain! yes I believe that Julia should have a proper burial with a statue above it to show the world how wonderful she was, thanks so much for reading, and I am glad you liked it, cheers nell

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 

      6 years ago

      Nell,

      You have provided the spice in my coffee this morning. :)

      This was soooooo well written, and from an outstanding perspective. What an extraordinary lady you've introduced us to. It is her persona, talents, charisma and courage she should be remembered for, and you captured those qualities beautifully here.

      I agree with you in that I hope she will receive a proper burial. It is indecent that she is still being "kept" as an oddity, and her keeper(s) should be ashamed of themselves for not laying her to rest.

      femme

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi floriferous, I remember that on tv too, the bullying starts at school and spills over to adult life, even now, over a hundred years later, its still the same, will we never learn? thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

    • floriferous profile image

      floriferous 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great storytelling Nell. I've heard of this woman and of other people with the same sad disorder. I remember watching a documentary piece ... 20/20 or some such and the whole family had the disorder. They were also Mexican Indians. And the thing is, even today, cruel names are being given to people who "don't fit"... something like "gorilla people of Mexico." We've gained little empathy in the past 150 years or so.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi sgbrown, thanks so much, yes I agree with you, what a horrible person he was, imagine this happening today!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a very well written and interesting story. I had heard of her before, but never knew the real story. She was a very strong woman to keep her dignity as long as she did. Her husband was a horrible, disgusting person who I hope was destined for hell. I hope some day she gets the proper burial that she deserves. Voted up and awesome!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi shara, that is so true, thank you so much, I am glad you liked it, cheers nell

    • shara63 profile image

      Farhat 

      6 years ago from Delhi

      All praise to God who has created each & every creature with so much variation & uniqueness...different looks outside as well inner constitution wise, but then all equal of their need for love, care and generousity towards them. Its really sad we ignore this fact & ill treat people or misbehave tyem on the basis of their outer appearence & we forget that we desrespect God this way!

      thankyou for sharing this wonderful story of facts!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks Cathleen, glad you liked it, cheers nell

    • Cathleen J Wyatt profile image

      Cathleen J Wyatt 

      6 years ago from Reno, NV

      Very interesting read, thank you.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks bac2, it was such a sad story, to think that people even back then would treat someone so appallingly is beyond belief, thanks so much for reading it, nell

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Hi Nell. What a terrible story well told, with sympathy empathy and respect. It´s terrible that she and her baby even in death, should be toted around the world to be stared at and no doubt laughed at by some, ridiculed by others, and turned away from by lots.My god, it beggers belief. However at least in death all that was left was her shell. I´m sure her soul would have been in a far nicer place than the cruel unfeeling world she was born into.Voted up and awesome.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Tiffany, thanks so much for reading, and yes I totally agree with you. So many different people in the world and yet we still fear anything different, its so sad, nell

    • Tiffany Latte profile image

      TiffanyLatte 

      6 years ago from USA

      Sadly, the world still fears anything different; anything not understood. Yet, we live with variety each day. Funny though, if we are still, and listen, what is different will give us the answers, we seek.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Thanks again aviannovice, I had been wanting to write about Julia Pastrana years ago when I first saw her in a book called would you believe, 'freaks'! how insulting was that? I don't think they would get away with it these days! she was a really talented lady, and I was so glad to be able to write about her, thanks again, nell

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Poor Julia had no dignity until you told her story. You did it objectively, but gave it the grace and dignity that she deserved. Thank you.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, Koffee, sadly back in those days people were much more curious than caring, as long as they could see her and talk about her, they didn't really care that she was a human being, it was terrible, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

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