Hairy Men

If, as we may conjecture from the above, the ancient Briton was "a

rugged man, o'ergrown with hair," his full-dress toilette must have

occupied some time. But extreme hairiness in human beings is by no means

singular, and very many cases are recorded in medical books. Many of us

may remember the Spanish dancer, Julia Pastrana, whose whole body was

hairy, and who had a fine beard. She had a child on whom the hair began

o grow, like its mother; and, but a few years back, there was a hairy

family exhibited in London--their faces being covered with hair, as is

the case of the Puella pilosa, or Hairy Girl--given by Aldrovandus in

his Monstrorum Historia.

She was aged twelve years, and came from the Canary Isles, together with

her father (aged 40), her brother (20), and her sister (8), all as

hairy one as the other. They were brought over by Marius Casalius, and

first shown at Bologna, so that this is no doubt a faithful likeness, as

Aldrovandus lived and died in that city. He gives other examples, but

not so well authenticated as this.

There were two wonderful hairy people at Ava, in Burmah, who are

described by two most trustworthy eye-witnesses, John Crawford, in his

"Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Court

of Ava"--and in 1855, by Captain Henry Youle, in his "Narrative of the

Mission sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava." They

were father and daughter, respectively named Shu-Maon, and Maphoon. The

father may strictly be said to have had neither eyelashes, eyebrows, nor

beard, because the whole of his face, including the interior and

exterior of his ears, were covered with long silky silvery grey hair.

His whole body, except his hands and feet, was covered with hair of the

same texture and colour as that now described, but generally less

abundant; it was most plentiful over the spine and shoulders, where it

was five inches long; over the breast, about four inches, and was most

scanty on the arms, legs, thighs, and abdomen.

Of the daughter, Captain Youle writes: "The whole of Maphoon's face was

more or less covered with hair. On a part of the cheek, and between the

nose and mouth, this was confined to a short down, but over all the rest

of the face was a thick silky hair of a brown colour, paleing about the

nose and chin, four or five inches long. At the alae of the nose, under

the eye, and on the cheek bone this was very fully developed; but it was

in, and on, the ear, that it was most extraordinary. Except the upper

tip, no part of the ear was visible. All the rest was filled and veiled

with a large mass of silky hair, growing apparently out of every part of

the external organ, and hanging a pendant lock to a length of eight or

ten inches. The hair over her forehead was brushed so as to blend with

the hair of the head, the latter being dressed (as usual with her

countrywomen) a la Chinoise; it was not so thick as to conceal her


"The nose, densely covered with hair, as no animal's is, that I know of,

and with long locks curving out, and pendant like the wisps of a fine

Skye-terrier's coat, had a most strange appearance. The beard was pale

in colour, and about four inches in length, seemingly very soft and


Maphoon, when Captain Youle saw her, had two children, one, the eldest,

perfectly normal, the other, who was very young, was evidently taking

after its mother.

The Ainos, an aboriginal tribe in the north of Japan, who are looked

down upon by the Japanese as dogs, have always been reputed as being

covered with hair. Mr. W. Martin Wood read a paper before the

Ethnological Society of London[26] respecting them, and he said, "Esau

himself could not have been a more hairy man than are these Ainos. The

hair forms an enormous bush, and it is thick and matted. Their beards

are very thick and long, and the greater part of their face is covered

with hair which is generally dark in colour; they have prominent

foreheads, and mild, dark eyes, which somewhat relieve the savage aspect

of their visage. Their hands and arms, and, indeed, the greater part of

their bodies, are covered with an abnormal profusion of hair."

This, however, has been questioned, notably by Mr. Barnard Davis, whose

paper may be read in the 3rd vol. of the "Memoirs of the Anthropological

Society of London"--and he quotes from several travellers, to prove that

the hairyness of the Ainos had been exaggerated. However, Miss Bird in

her "Unbeaten Tracks in Japan" may fairly be said to have put the

subject at rest, for she visited, and travelled in the Aino country.

She, certainly, disproves the theory that, as a race, they were hairy,

although she confesses that some were--as, for instance (p. 232), "They

wore no clothing, but only one was hairy," and, writing from Biratori,

Yezo (p. 255), she says, "The men are about the middle height,

broad-chested, broad-shouldered, thick set, very strongly built, the

arms and legs short, thick, and muscular, the hands and feet large. The

bodies, and especially the limbs of many, are covered with short,

bristly hair. I have seen two boys whose backs are covered with fur as

fine, and soft, as that of a cat." Again (p. 283), "The profusion of

black hair, and a curious intensity about their eyes, coupled with the

hairy limbs and singularly vigorous physique, give them a formidably

savage appearance; but the smile, full of 'sweetness and light,' in

which both eyes and mouth bear part, and the low, musical voice, softer

and sweeter than anything I have previously heard, make me, at times,

forget that they are savages at all."