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Jesus Aceves was born with a rare condition that means he has thick hair all over his face. About 30 members of his family also have hypertrichosis making them almost certainly the hairiest family in human history. Asthe thick, dark hair that covers his entire face quickly earned Aceves the nickname "The Little Wolf". He grew up in the small town of Loreto in north-west Mexico where, as a result of his appearance, his family was shunned by the local community.
By the age of 12 he had started travelling from city to city to work at fairgrounds. One summer he sold tickets for a Ferris wheel, another year he ran a stall where people popped balloons to win prizes. It was there that a circus owner spotted him.
The circus owner asked if any other family members had the same condition - and by this time Aceves' two younger cousins, Larry and Danny, had also been born with hypertrichosis. He said he would house us and there'd be money. I said, 'Yes. The three boys were ed up by the circus and spent several years travelling around Mexico where they used to greet the audience and have their picture taken. Accompanied by Aceves's mother, they always had somewhere comfortable to stay and plenty of food to eat but there was one thing that he didn't like.
They were presenting us as attractions so we couldn't be seen on the street. I didn't like that, being locked up so people wouldn't see us. As a young child, Aceves had wanted to hide away. He didn't like going outside and at school he was bullied by other children, who pulled his facial hair and called him names. But his self-esteem Hairiest man ever stronger as he grow older.
Now, even at the age of 41, he has conflicting emotions of shame and pride in being who he is. It's a decent job. As an artist you entertain people and make them laugh," he says.
But there was one tough time, touring the US with an American circus, when he became seriously depressed. Lonely, isolated, and unable to speak much English, he almost drank himself to death. I would never eat and my liver was killing me… I wanted to liberate myself with the drinking. But I was doing the opposite, I was destroying myself," he says. Fortunately he pulled through and went Hairiest man ever to perform in circuses all over the world. He learned to walk the high wire as part of an act in Coney Island's Sideshow and how to walk up a ladder of swords while travelling with the Circus of Horrors, which brought him to the UK in Aceves had hoped to make enough money to set up a small business near the home he shared with his partner, Victoria, and youngest daughter, Araceli, in the state of Mexico.
But their year relationship broke down soon after his return from the UK and he's now back in the family home in Loreto, earning money by picking beans on a farm. Aceves and most of his family live in two houses, next door to each other, that were given to them by the mayor when Aceves and his cousins were young, because no-one would rent them a home. One house was for Aceves's mother and the other for Larry and Danny's mother.
Today, each holds about 10 family members. Aceves has three daughters, all of whom have been born with hypertrichosis. His eldest, Karla, is now in her early 20s. Her mother left when she was a baby and because her father was always away she was raised by her grandmother. But for the men, they are actually considered virile and tend to have a lot of girlfriends.
After giving birth to a baby, she was abandoned by the child's father. Aceves's great-grandmother was the first of his relatives to be born with excessive hair on her face. Now about half of his family have the genetic mutation.
What they do know is that there are about 50 documented cases in human history and it was my fate to be one of them," says Aceves. In Aceves's family, the X chromosome appears to be the location of the mutation. And the women who have the gene, half of their children will also have hypertrichosis, regardless of whether they're male or female," says Aridjis.
They were particularly interested in this excess of hair because they wanted to find a cure for alopecia - for baldness. They know it's a gene that has laid dormant for a very long time which suddenly resurfaces, but they don't know how to turn it on or off. Aceves trims the hair on his face and some of the women in his family shave their faces. For the men it's impossible to shave completely because they have hair on their nose and eyelids. They can't afford afford electrolysis or anything hi-tech," says Aridjis. While these other procedures, such as laser hair removal, would help reduce the total amount of hair, they would not permanently remove it.
Aceves has not done any circus work for a couple of years and says he has no plans to return to it in the future. He is now determined Hairiest man ever ensure all the younger members of his family born with hypertrichosis get an education, and have the confidence to look for jobs beyond circuses, freak shows and "wolf" roles.
In the past, some of them have begun circus work before they can even walk. One of Aceves's nephews, Derian, was one year old when a circus owner came to their home to make an offer. Derian's mother, Gladys, had been adamant that her two sons would finish school, but with no partner to support her she made the difficult decision to let people stare and touch her son for a small fee.
She spent a few weeks travelling with a circus, presenting her little Hairiest man ever to the crowds as "Derian from the Wolf Boys". Aceves' cousin Danny, with whom he began his life in the circus, also continued with it and was taken on by a well-known clown who taught him acrobatics, how to swing on the trapeze, and his favourite discipline - the trampoline. Another cousin, Eliud, is thinking about enhancing his circus act by growing his hair longer and replacing his incisor teeth with prosthetic fangs.
One day he hopes to own his own circus.
Other family members, though, have succeeded in forging other careers. Aceves's sister Lilia was, until recently, a police officer in Zacatecas. And his cousin Larry now lives in San Bernadino in California, where he runs his own business renting out bouncy castles and other party equipment. All his life, Aceves has been compared to a wolf. Hairiest man ever wolf howls follow him down the street. In the opening scene of Aridjis's film, he visits a zoo in Mexico City in order to see one of the animals up close.
Find out more. All the information in this article, the quotations and the photographs, come from Eva Aridjis's film, Chuy, The Wolf Manas well as from interviews with Eva. He says doesn't regret having worked in circuses. Image source, Aridjis. Other cases of hypertrichosis. The earliest recorded case is Petrus Gonsalvus. Born in in Tenerife, he was exhibited at royal courts in Europe with his children who also had hypertrichosis. Julia Pastrana from Mexico picturedcould be distantly related to Aceves's family. Exhibited as an "ape woman" she married her manager and died shortly after giving birth in Her son lived only a few days longer.
Her husband continued to tour with their embalmed bodies. A woman called Krao was born in Thailand in and became the marvel of her age, touted as proof of Darwin's "Missing Link" between apes and humans. By the s he had become one of the highest paid sideshow performers. Related Topics.Hairiest man ever
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