preserved human remains

Julia Pastrana (1834–25 March 1860) was a woman born with hypertrichosis who took part in 19th-century exhibition tours in Europe. Pastrana, an indigenous woman from Mexico, was born in 1834, somewhere in the Sierra of Sinaloa State.[2] She had hypertrichosis terminalis; that is, her face and body were covered with straight black hair. Her ears and nose were unusually large and her teeth were irregular. Charles Darwin described her as: “Julia Pastrana, a Spanish dancer, was a remarkably fine woman, but she had a thick masculine beard and a hairy forehead; she was photographed, and her stuffed skin was exhibited as a show; but what concerns us is, that she had in both the upper and lower jaw an irregular double set of teeth, one row being placed within the other, of which Dr. Purland took a cast. From the redundancy of the teeth her mouth projected, and her face had a gorilla-like appearance”.[3]

During her career, she was advertised as a hybrid between an ape and a human, as well as a ‘Bear Woman’. She was examined several times to dispel the accusation that she was of African American descent. One doctor, Alexander B. Mott, M.D., certified that she was specifically the result of the mating of a human and an “Orang Outang”.[4] Another, Dr. S. Brainerd of Cleveland, declared that she was of a “distinct species”.[5] However, Samuel Kneeland, Jr., a comparative anatomist of the Boston Society of Natural History, declared that she was human and of Indian descent.[6] Francis Buckland stated similarly that she was “only a deformed Mexican Indian woman”.[5]

Theodore Lent (also known as Lewis B Lent) discovered her and purchased her from a woman who might have been her mother. Lent taught her to dance and play music and took her on a worldwide tour with the name “Bearded and Hairy Lady”. She also learned to read and write in three languages. They married and she became pregnant.

During a tour in Moscow, Pastrana gave birth to a baby with features similar to her own. The child survived only three days, and Pastrana died of postpartum complications five days later.

Lent did not abandon the tour; he contacted Professor Sukolov of Moscow University, had his wife and son mummified and displayed them in a glass cabinet. He later found another woman with similar features, married her and named her Zenora Pastrana, becoming wealthy from her exhibition. He was eventually committed to a Russian mental institution in 1884, where he died.

The mummies disappeared from the public view. They appeared in Norway in 1921 and were on display until the 1970s, when an outcry arose over a proposed tour of the USA, and they were withdrawn from public view. Vandals broke into the storage facility in August 1976 and mutilated the baby’s mummy. The remains were consumed by mice. Julia’s mummy was stolen in 1979, but stored at the Oslo Forensic Institute after the body was reported to police but not identified. It was identified in 1990 and has rested in a sealed coffin at the Department of Anatomy, Oslo University since 1997. In 1994, the Norway Senate recommended burying her remains, but the Minister of Sciences decided to keep them, so scientists could perform research. A special permit must be obtained to gain access to her remains.[2]

On the 2nd of August 2012 it was reported in Aftenposten[7] that she would finally be buried in Mexico at an unspecified date.

source - wikipedia