World's 'Ugliest Woman' Buried 153 Years Later
Julia Pastrana's body finally returned to her native Mexico
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2013 8:26 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2013 10:59 AM CST
Julia Pastrana   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – The "world's ugliest woman" has been laid to rest—153 years after she died. Born with a genetic condition that covered her face in thick hair, Julia Pastrana was called "bear woman" by husband/manager Theodore Lent and described in an 1854 New York Times ad as the "link between mankind and the ourang-outang"; less kind papers called her "revolting in the extreme." She died six years later, at age 26, in childbirth (her hair-covered son also died), but Lent carted her embalmed body to audiences throughout Europe for decades, reports the BBC.

The story gets stranger still: Lent later married a bearded woman who he dubbed Pastrana's sister; she performed alongside the body. Pastrana's remains were stolen from a warehouse in Norway in 1976, and later found in the garbage; they were transferred to the University of Oslo, where they spent decades in storage. She finally found her way back to Mexican soil this week, thanks to a campaign Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata launched in 2005 to bring Pastrana home. (In other unusual burials, the only European king interred in the US has been returned to Europe.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
World's 'Ugliest Woman' Buried 153 Years Later is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 57 comments
Feb 18, 2013 6:02 AM CST
I can only imagine how this woman felt. I'm in the same position, except my facial hair only occurs on the chin and throat. I've been dealing with it for years. I've had this problem since I was 15 yrs. old, and I'm now 50. I'm taking medication for the condition and am using some methods to permanently remove the hair from my face. I'm now looking better and feeling better. My condition exists because the cells in my face misread the hormones in my body, but can be controlled with medication from the endocrinologist. People need to have more reverence for women that are dealing with unwanted facial hair. Just because a woman may have a facial hair problem, doesn't mean she's not a loving caring person, or a smart person, or is ugly. Some women with facial hair have a feminine face like I do, and have lots of people that care for them as friends and men that are attracted to them, and also have beautiful looking children, such as myself. People need to look at themselves in the mirror before they go around judging other people. The only person that should be judge, is Jehovah God himself.
Feb 17, 2013 9:15 PM CST
But beauty is only skin deep. This woman was a child of God the same as any of us, and in His eyes, she was as beautiful as any other. We should feel sorry at what a miserable life she endured.
Feb 17, 2013 4:12 PM CST
On the bright side, I understand that when it came to sex this babe was a beast in bed.