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.)