Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Real Werewolves Among Us?

While internet surfing for Halloween trivia I came across a phenomenon called werewolf syndrome, also known as hypertrichosis. It is a rare congenital condition that causes an abnormal amount of hair to grow on the body and only about 50 cases have been reported worldwide.

The first documented case of werewolf syndrome was around 1566 with the birth of Petrus Gonzalez in the Canary Islands. He was taken from his family and presented to King Henri II who ordered the "furry boy" to be given a formal education. He married and fathered two children who inherited his hairy appearance.

In the early 19th and 20th centuries, individuals with this disorder found acceptance and viable work as circus and freak-show performers because of their strange, animal-like appearances.

Julia Pastrana (1834-1860), the original bearded lady of a freak show, had thick, dark hair distributed symmetrical over her body, including the palms of her hands. She was thought to be a “Digger” Indian from Western Mexico and stood only about 4 feet tall.

Meet the Kung Fu Werewolf~ Tai Djinn, (1849-1928) He was born in China and raised by Shaolin monks after his parents abandoned him because they believed he was afflicted with evil spirits. He became quite adept in the martial arts and mastered the skills of the seven Shaolin temples.

And in more current times, the wolf boys--Danny and Larry Ramos-Gonzalez, are talented circus performers from Mexico and were featured in an ABC News Primetime story in 2007.

There is no cure for hypertrichosis and it is mostly considered to be a "cosmetic" problem. The treatments are the same as for any hair removal, i.e., shaving, waxing, electrolysis, and laser hair removal.

For more information visit:
The Human Marvels

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Anonymous said...

Interesting. The most interesting part was how compassionate King Henry the II was. Hope the boys of our generation are treated with as much respect.

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