The woman who was described as the most ” ugliest” on earth was called Julia Pastrana. She was also referred to as the ” bear woman” because it is believed she had a link between humankind and the ” ape woman”.
Julia Pastrana was born in 1834 in the rural part of Mexico in the State of Sinaloa and was condemned from birth due to her physical appearance because it is dehumanizing and denigrating.
She only grew to just 4 feet and 5 inches tall and apart from her palms and the sole of her feet, she was all covered up with hair. She had a large nose and jaw and an abnormal size of lips and gums. She was however nicknamed ” the Ape Woman”.
Her own husband called her a ” bear woman. ” An 1854 advertisement in The New York Times said she was the ” link between mankind and the ourang- outang. ” She became known in the popular imagination during the mid- 19th century as ” the ugliest woman in the world. ” After she died from complications of childbirth, her body and the body of her baby appeared for decades in ” freak” exhibitions throughout Europe.
On Tuesday, more than a century and a half after her death, in 1860, the woman, Julia Pastrana, will finally be given a proper burial near her birthplace in Sinaloa, Mexico. Her return home from a locked storage room in an Oslo research institute would not have been possible without the nearly decade- long efforts of the New York- based visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata.
In 2003 Ms. Barbata’ s sister, Kathleen Anderson Culebro, produced a staging of ” The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World, ” in Texas. That play, by Shaun Prendergast, had its debut in London in 1998 and is performed almost entirely in the dark. Mr. Prendergast said in an e- mail that the setting ” seemed the perfect marriage— a woman known for her ugliness, but with a beautiful voice, presented in a way which would force the audience to conjure her with their imagination. “
Meet The World’s Ugliest Woman
Pastrana has also been the subject of films, including ” The Ape Woman” (1964); an alternative rock song; and a comic book.
Although she had strange looks, her manager Theodore Lent married her in the 1850s secretly. She later disclosed that she married secretly because she had to turn down more than twenty marriage proposals because of the low financial status of the male suitors who came her way.