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"Ape Woman" Julia Pastrana's Body Returned to Mexico

An indigenous Mexican woman put on display because of a rare genetic condition that covered her face in thick hair was buried in her home state on Tuesday.

According to Fox News, the woman’s burial concludes one of the most well-known episodes from an era when human bodies were treated as collectible specimens.

Julia Pastrana had a hairy face and body, a jutting jaw and other deformities. She became known as the "ape woman" after she left the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa in 1854 at the age of 20 while under the wing of United States showman Theodore Lent. Lent had Pastrana singing and dancing for paying audiences and the two ended up marrying and having a child together. Unfortunately Pastrana developed a fever related to complications from childbirth, and died along with her baby in 1860 in Moscow.

In a strange turn of events, her remains ended up at the University of Oslo, Norway. After numerous requests to return her body, the university shipped her remains to the state of Sinaloa, where they were buried.

The head of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Oslo, Jan G. Bjaalie, said he was happy that they had "finally been able to grant a worthy end to her life." He also condemned the practices that ultimately led to Pastrana’s remains ending up in Norway.

"Today, it's almost incomprehensible that a circus used corpses for entertainment purposes. Hers was used in a way we today would consider to be completely reprehensible," he said. "It's important that we now have a clear end to the way she was treated."

Rubio Ayala, mayor of Pastrana’s hometown of Sinaloa de Leyva, was glad to have her back where she belongs.

“Julia Pastrana has come home. Julia has been reborn among us. Let us never see another woman be turned into an object of commerce.”

Source: (Fox News)


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