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

Nell is a psychologist and writer. She is interested in many aspects of Psychology and how we treat each other. plus DNA and Genealogy.


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 marvellous 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 favor she had a very nice singing voice.

To the public 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.

Juia Pastrana

ugliest woman in the world (according to her owner)

ugliest woman in the world (according to her owner)

The Hybrid Bear Woman

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 begun 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 unexplained. The newspapers couldn't get enough of her and when they realized 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 a 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.

On show with her still born son after death. Julia Pastrana

On show with her still born son after death. Julia Pastrana

Fame in Berlin

After the adulation in London, Julia began a tour In Berlin Germany, which both changed her appearances from a 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 realized 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 who 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. Theodor Lent became more and more aggressive, and by the time they had toured through Poland and Russia, Julia realized that she was pregnant.

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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 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


Another Nineteenth Century Mystery. Nell Rose

Strange Tales.

  • What If Werewolves Were Real?
    This is a review of a series of novels. The idea of werewolves goes back centuries, built on fear, prejudice and ignorance of both natural phenomena and human deformities.

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, unexpectedly, 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 vandalized. 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 realize 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 cemetery 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.

Real Life Stories Of The Supernatural

© 2009 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on July 01, 2020:

I totally agree with you Alvene. Thank you for reading.

Alvene Alston on June 29, 2020:

God made her and she is has a beautiful voice and GOD never made anything that He didn't love.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 16, 2019:

Thanks Liz, I will take a look! sounds fascinating.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 06, 2018:

Thanks Tim, yes its an amazing story isn't it? What a great woman!

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on December 04, 2018:

Stranger than fiction, Nell. This story made me tear up. Poor lady and her child. That husband needed a good lashing, indeed. I'm glad they finally laid Julia to rest. Great ending to a sad story, Nell.

Love your work.

Keep our minds opened to things few people talk about and even fewer know about, Nell.



Nell Rose (author) from England on December 04, 2018:

Thanks for reading it Charity, and glad you liked it.

charity mtisi from Johannesburg on December 04, 2018:

Its a relief that she was finally laid to rest. Its quite a story , she really had amazing courage and grace.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 31, 2018:

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.

Anna Haun from USA on July 31, 2018:

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.


Nell Rose (author) from England on September 12, 2017:

Thanks Kari! glad you liked it.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on September 11, 2017:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 23, 2017:

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 22, 2017:

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 (author) from England on April 22, 2017:

Thanks so much Lauren, glad you liked it.

Lauren on April 22, 2017:

Great writing of an amazing story.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 14, 2016:

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

margie on October 13, 2016:

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 (author) from England on September 10, 2015:

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

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 10, 2015:

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 (author) from England on September 04, 2015:

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

muhammad abdullah javed on September 04, 2015:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 06, 2014:

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

Mackenzie Sage Wright on May 05, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on May 04, 2014:

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

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 04, 2014:

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 on May 04, 2014:

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. :)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on May 04, 2014:

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 from Edinburgh Scotland on May 04, 2014:

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

Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 04, 2014:

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 from The World we live in on May 04, 2014:

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 from Australia on May 04, 2014:

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.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 04, 2014:

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 from Southern Clime on May 04, 2014:

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 (author) from England on April 28, 2014:

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

Susan Britton from Ontario, Canada on April 28, 2014:

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 (author) from England on February 14, 2013:

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 from London on February 14, 2013:

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...

lovedoctor926 on February 13, 2013:

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

Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 13, 2013:

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 (author) from England on February 13, 2013:

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!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on February 13, 2013:

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 (author) from England on February 13, 2013:

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

Michelle Liew from Singapore on February 13, 2013:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 16, 2012:

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 from New York City, NY on December 15, 2012:

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 (author) from England on November 26, 2012:

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 from U.S.A. Ohio on November 26, 2012:

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 (author) from England on November 26, 2012:

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 Murray from Sandy Bay Jamaica on November 25, 2012:

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 (author) from England on November 18, 2012:

Thanks unknown spy, glad you liked it, nell

Life Under Construction from Neverland on November 16, 2012:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 14, 2012:

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 (author) from England on October 14, 2012:

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

epigramman on October 13, 2012:

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

G. Diane Nelson Trotter from Fontana on October 13, 2012:

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 (author) from England on September 21, 2012:

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 from Southern Clime on September 20, 2012:

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 (author) from England on September 02, 2012:

Hi Sujeet, thanks so much for reading, nell

sujeet baro from Guwahati, India on September 02, 2012:

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 (author) from England on September 01, 2012:

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!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on September 01, 2012:

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.

Sheila from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State on September 01, 2012:

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 from Southern California on August 31, 2012:

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

Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 31, 2012:

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 (author) from England on August 31, 2012:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 31, 2012:

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 from Reno, Nevada on August 31, 2012:


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!


Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on August 31, 2012:

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 (author) from England on August 31, 2012:

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

Audrey Howitt from California on August 31, 2012:

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 (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

Hi jainismus, thanks so much for reading, nell

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on August 15, 2012:

Interesting information about an unfortunate lady.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

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 (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

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 (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

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 Langford from Brownsville,TX on August 15, 2012:

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


Nell Rose (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

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

epigramman on August 15, 2012:

.....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

Kevin Martin from United States on August 15, 2012:

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.

IntegrityYes on August 14, 2012:

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

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

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 from Ontario, Canada on July 09, 2012:

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 (author) from England on July 09, 2012:

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

femmeflashpoint on July 09, 2012:


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.


Nell Rose (author) from England on June 25, 2012:

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 from Canada on June 25, 2012:

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 (author) from England on June 19, 2012:

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

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 18, 2012:

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 (author) from England on June 13, 2012:

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

Farhat from Delhi on June 13, 2012:

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 (author) from England on May 19, 2012:

Thanks Cathleen, glad you liked it, cheers nell

Cathleen J Wyatt from Reno, NV on May 18, 2012:

Very interesting read, thank you.

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