The remains of Julia Pastrana, a Mexican who was paraded in fairs and circuses as the “ape woman” in 19th century Europe, have returned home from Norway 150 years after her death.
Pastrana suffered from a rare disease - congenital generalized hypertrichosis terminalis, or CGHT - that covered her face and body with thick hair and gave her fat lips and gums. The Mexican woman was put on display in Victorian-era Europe because of this rare genetic condition was buried in her home state on Tuesday in a ceremony that ends one of the best-known episodes from an era when human bodies were treated as collectible specimens.
Born in 1834, the woman, who measured 1.34 meters and had a gift for dancing and singing, was brought to Europe by an American businessman to be shown in circuses and fairs.
She died in 1860 and her mummified body was acquired in 1921 by a Norwegian show promoter who displayed her remains in “freak” shows.
Her remains were handed to the University of Oslo in 1996. Authorities in her home state of Sinaloa, in northwest Mexico, demanded that her remains be returned home.