Julia Pastrana (previously at Neatorama) is the topic of a well written article at The Public Domain Review. Pastrana was an indigenous Mexican woman born in 1834 with deformities that resulted in her and her mother being shunned by their tribe. Julia was born with hypertrichosis terminalis and abnormalities of the mouth and jaw. These conditions made her appearance startling to most, as her entire body was covered in long, black hair and her face had an appearance more akin to prehistoric than modern humans.
Exhibited as a human oddity worldwide, Pastrana suffered the indignities and tragic life of a person in such circumstances. Even in death, Julia was not free of being an object to be gaped at and studied. Yet in the end, the fight of an artist from her native country freed her of being a slave to human curiosity. Thus, the article covers both the incomprehensible cruelty of humanity and the empathy and grace that, in Julia's case, triumphed over it in the end. Read her story at the Public Domain Review.
Via The Presurfer | Image: Wellcome Library