Meet The ‘Ugliest’ Woman In The World And Why She Rejected Over 20 Marriage Proposals From Different Men

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This lady was a performer and singer back in-time during the 19th century.At that time, she became one of the most renowned human curiosities, captivating audiences worldwide as the “bearded lady,” both in life and even after her death.

Julie Pastrana, was born in 1834, somewhere in the state of Sinaloa.
She is an indigenous woman from Mexico, and was born with a rare genetic condition – hypertrichosis terminalis (or generalized hypertrichosis lanuginosa); her face and body were covered with straight black hair.


Her nose and ears were unusually large, and her teeth were randomly irregular. The latter condition she had was caused by a rare disease, undiagnosed in her lifetime, gingival hyperplasia, which thickened her lips and gums and gave her a prominent jawline.

Unbelievably mind-blowing!

Countable forms of Pastrana’s early life exist:

Literature produced by those who managed and organized the freak shows she performed then described her as belonging to a Native American tribe that is called “Root Diggers” whose members were similar to apes and lived in caves.

>> In this version, it is said that a woman particularly identified only as Mrs. Espinosa was kidnapped by the tribe and hid in a cave and when she was able to escape, took Pastrana with her.

In another version, which is based on the saying of indigenous villagers in Ocoroni, Mexico, described Pastrana as a local girl whom they referred to as “wolf woman.”

>> In this form, tragically, Pastrana lived with her mother until she died. After which, her maternal uncle sold her to the circus, exploiting her appearance and earning substantial profits by presenting her as the World’s Ugliest Woman.

Both accounts claim that, at some point, she lived in the home of Pedro Sanchez, the reigning governor of Sinaloa then, and ran away from the home in 1854.

But why did she decline over 20 marriage proposals?

When Pastrana was purchased and brought to the United States by Francisco Sepúlveda(a customs official in Mazatlán), she performed well under the management of J.W. Beach.

Despite her unconventional appearance, men were both curious and enchanted to be close to her.

Pastrana performing

She received several(over 20) marriage proposals from suitors, which she turned down due to their financial instability.
Pastrana revealed that being financially stable would bring her real happiness and satisfaction and this decision affected her choice of picking a marriage mate considering her experience in previous encounters.

Her manager(Theodore Lent), on the other hand, feared that he would lose his most famous star and refused to allow her to leave the hotel due to her popularity.

During this time, in 1854, Pastrana ran away secretly with her manager, getting married to him in Baltimore, Maryland.

Many people believed that Pastrana was very fond of him, not knowing Lent’s motive of marrying her.

Lent took over her management, and they traveled on a tour throughout the US and Europe.

Julie Pastrana gained notoriety and was promoted as a hybrid between an animal and a human.

She worked in sideshows and freak shows under the stage names; the “Baboon Lady”, the “Dog-faced Woman”, the “Ape-faced Woman”, the “Hairy Woman”, the “Ape Woman”, the “Bear Woman”, and “The Nondescript” due to her perceived resemblance of an unusual human.

During her enthralling performances, she demonstrated her intelligence and talent: singing, dancing, and interacting with the audience.
And despite possessing remarkable intelligence and exceptional skills, Julia faced constant insults from her relatives and others.

During a tour in Moscow, Pastrana gave birth to a child(a son), with features closely similar to her own.

Unfortunately, the child survived only three days, and Pastrana died of postpartum complications(birthing difficulty) five days later.

During her life, Pastrana’s management organized to have her examined by doctors and scientists, while using their evaluations in advertisements to attract a larger audience.

>> One doctor, Alexander B. Mott, M.D., certified that she was precisely the result of the mating of a human and an “Orangutan”(Orangutans are great apes which are native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia).

>> Another Dr. S. Brainerd(a Doc in Cleveland), declared that she was of a “distinct species”.

>> Francis Buckland stated inclusively that she was “only a deformed Mexican Indian woman”.

>> Samuel Kneeland, Jr.(a comparative anatomist of the Boston Society of Natural History), declared that she was human and of Indian descent.

After Pastrana’s death, her husband, Lent, sold her dead body and their son’s remains to Professor Sukolov of Moscow University who permanently preserved the bodies.

Her remains and her son’s dead body were taxidermically preserved(ie; specially prepared by certain materials to make them look as if they were alive). The process was a blend of taxidermy techniques and embalming chemicals.

Some authors generically referred to it as a “mummy” though, but her preserved body was technically not a mummy because it was not mummified.
Her body was “stuffed”, as stated by Charles Darwin(a renowned naturalist and taxidermist).

After the bodies were preserved by Sukolov, Lent re-purchased them from him and started exhibiting them throughout Europe.

Lent later found another woman you know…, with similar features.
He married her and changed her name from Marie Bartel to Zenora Pastrana, becoming wealthy from her exhibition.

For over a hundred years, the bodies of Pastrana and her son were displayed around the world in circuses, museums and amusement parks. They appeared in Norway in 1921 and toured the US as late as 1972.

Later that year, a travel tour of Sweden drew considerable public opposition, resulting in the bodies being removed from public view.

In 1976, vandals broke into the storage facility and damaged the dead remains of the baby.
The remains were later eaten by mice.

On the other hand, Julia’s preserved body was stolen in 1979, but stored later at the Oslo Forensic Institute after the body was reported to police but not identified.

Later in 1990, it was identified and for many years kept in a sealed coffin at the Department of Anatomy, Oslo University.

The Minister of Sciences decided to keep her body in 1994 so that scientists could perform continuous research, despite the recommendation the Norway Parliament gave to bury her.
A special permit was required to gain access to her remains.

On 2 August 2012, it was reported in Aftenposten that Pastrana would finally be buried in Mexico at an unspecified date.

So with the help of Mario López Valdez(Sinaloa state governor) in February 2013, New York-based visual display artist Laura Anderson Barbata, Norwegian authorities, and others, the body was turned over to the government of Sinaloa and her burial was arranged.

Unexpectedly, hundreds of people attended her Catholic funeral, and her remains were buried in a cemetery in Sinaloa de Leyva, a town close to her birthplace……See More

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