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“Ape Woman” Buried After 150 Years Was A Circus Display

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Julia Pastrana, who was labeled as “Ape Woman” and described as “the ugliest woman in the world” during her time, has finally been shipped home and laid to rest after over 150 years of being on display to the public.

Pastrana was born with the rare disorder congenital terminal hypertrichosis, which left her face and body covered in thick hair, and gingival hyperplasia, which made her lips and gums thick. Combined, those things left her with the appearance of an ape, which was widely regarded as “freak” status in 1854. When she left her Pacific coast home of Sinaloa that year at age 20, she was quickly joined by Theodore Lent, who used her unique appearance to their advantage by taking her on a tour of Europe in a traveling exhibition. Pastrana sang and danced for paying audiences, and she and Lent eventually married. When she became pregnant, however, Pastrana developed a fever and she and the baby both died.

But rather than lay her body to rest, Lent kept Pastrana on display alongside their son, propping them up inside glass cases for audiences to look at. For years, Pastrana’s body toured the world, until Lent’s death in 1884. After that, the bodies found their way to a Norway fairground warehouse, where they were stolen in 1976. Pastrana’s body was recovered from a trash bin, but her son’s body couldn’t be salvaged. The remains were taken to the University of Oslo, where they’ve been until recently. After several requests from those who knew her story, Julia Pastrana’s body is now at peace in Sinaloa.

“Julia Pastrana has come home,” said Saul Rubio Ayala, mayor of her hometown of Sinaloa de Leyva. “Julia has been reborn among us. Let us never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce.”

Pastrana made quite an impact on those who knew her story, even decades after her death.

“Today, it’s almost incomprehensible that a circus used corpses for entertainment purposes,” said Jan G. Bjaalie, who is head of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University. “Hers 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.”

Lead image: Wikipedia

Pastrana and her son on display (DailyMail)

ape woman buried

“Ape Woman” Buried After 150 Years Was A Circus Display
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  • http://aol Debra LaCorte

    You mean they finally buried Michelle Obama?????

    • sako

      oh my, who’s the freak . . . that would be you! hideous debra!!!

    • stand up to idiots

      Debra you show the world your lack of class and just how much of an idiot you really are! Go live in a cave!!!!!!!!

    • Flair D

      Wow, this is what our substandard educational system in the US will get you…a country full of unenlighted yahoos!

    • ME

      Go SUCK a Roten Egg Deb… U R A LOSER!!!

      • ME

        That’s a ROTTEN EGG… Unlike you Deb., I have an education!

    • http://Facebook Wanda Ricciardelli

      What a terrible comment to make.

    • Band-AID

      hahahahahaha GO DEB !!

      • sako

        both deb and ‘Band-AID’ need to bandage their sick and intellectually decrepit asses and go lay down somewhere and get out of our way to make room for the humanly enlightened!!!!

    • sako

      oh my, who’s the freak . . . that would be you! hideous debra!!!

    • sako

      deb and ‘Band-AID’ need to bandage their sick and intellectually decrepit asses and go lay down somewhere and get out of our way to make room for the humanly enlightened!!!!

    • http://leonaboudin.com lola

      Debra you are a racist pig and not worth the air you breath. We are in the 21st century with the first president since Clinton who has the brains to not mangle the job and Michelle is no Barbara Bush who does what she is told. She is a tough woman who is up to the job of being a spectacular first lady. Grow up and try to catch up with the rest of us.

    • danielle

      you are as ugly as the comments you make about others. it is not uncommon for people like you to walk around commenting on others when you yourself and others like you should be displayed and gauked at for the dirty trash you are. this woman you speak of is more has more beauty in her pinky toe than you have in your whole being. have some respect.

  • KLR

    Less than 5 years ago in Las Vegas there was an “Art Display” that encluded human bodies between glass. We haven’t come that far.

  • Jstamre

    “never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce.”You haven’t heard of strip clubs or seen our magazines???Women have been set back years,by themselves!

  • cedric

    debra debra debra bad girl! now go to your corner and sit like a good dog before i get mad

  • sako

    both deb and ‘Band-AID’ need to bandage their sick and intellectually decrepit asses and go lay down somewhere and get out of our way to make room for the humanly enlightened!!!!

  • Nila

    It goes to show you what Lent, really thought of his wife and child. Even after their deaths. He still used them to make money, Wow such a loving husband and Father. And why did it take a 150 years to bury her and her son? Total disrespect for the dead. I am glad that Sideshows, Or freak shows are no longer allowed to exhibt people with conditions for profit.

  • Janice Stemmons

    The comments about Michelle Obama needs to be taken taken down. African-Americans and Hispanics respected Laura Bush. This comment was vey disrespectful. I have forwarded this article to the White House and singled out the comment about Michelle Obama

  • Jstamre

    Their tasteless comments shouldn’t give them the stage.Just quit giving them the attention.

  • Jstamre

    “never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce.”You haven’t heard of strip clubs or seen our magazines???Women have been set back years,by themselves!

  • weaselspleen

    Debra is actually a group of college boys trolling the forums from their frat house.

  • Ernie

    “never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce”

    Good looking Femals turn themselfs into objects of commerce, beeing forced by noone, but themselfs. Uncounted Masses of them eagerly wait to be discovered, seen, bought, leased or rented.

    In contrary to the ‘real’ Nature, Human Females don’t seek natural strength, they seek wealth, popularity and long term security. To reach that Goal, some are willing to ‘pay’ just about any price.

    Not so good looking Females have disadvantages, they just don’t qualify, getting to be a ‘Princess’. But this unfortunate Fact does not qualify those Woman in any way to continuosly blame ‘Man’ for this natural ‘Selection – Process’.

    By the way, would one Woman in the Wold refuse an offer to present a new Avon lipstick on the Vogue Front Page, showing just enough clothing to avoid real harmful Media Critic?

    Never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce,
    …exept, if she wants to do it by (and for) herself…

    as most do…