A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

Categories: Europe | Health and Medicine | History | Science | World

He was the star of the Victorian freak show and the man with the most deformed appearance in history. Doctors tried to solve the mystery of Joseph Merrick until his death in 1890. The story did not end there: they continue to talk about him today. Scientists want to find the cause of Merrick's illness, and Michael Jackson even tried to buy his bones.

Read a story about a man with an ugly appearance and a beautiful soul.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

He was the object of interest and ridicule throughout his life. He was examined, pointed at, studied by admiring Victorians: from inquisitive doctors to idle onlookers.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, as he was called, suffered from many deformities on his body. He had huge bone growths on his head, his right arm was larger than the left, his right hip was larger and thicker than the left, and his spine was terribly curved, which caused the man's body to be twisted. An eight-centimeter tumor on Joseph's lips disfigured his mouth.The elephant man has been traveling around Europe all his life as part of a freak show. He died at the age of 27 in the London Hospital in Whitechapel. The patient surprised the doctors and the hospital staff with his intelligence and sensitive soul. Death occurred when the man tried to lie down to sleep: the weight of his own head strangled him. It happened on April 11, 1890.His skeleton is kept in the small museum of the London Hospital, where he expired. The place of burial of soft tissues and organs remained unknown until now. The author of Merrick's biography, Jo Vigor-Mungovin, claims that he managed to find the grave of the Elephant Man in the cemetery in the City of London. The discovery proves that interest in the personality of the most famous freak of the 19th century has not faded until now.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

The results of the autopsy, which was conducted by Dr. Frederick Treves (Frederick Treves) immediately after the death of the Elephant Man, indicate that he died of suffocation, and the cervical vertebrae were displaced. Hoping that doctors will be able to investigate the mystery of the patient's unusual condition in more detail in the future, he separated soft tissues and organs from the skeleton and placed them in a formaldehyde solution, and also made plaster prints of the patient's head and lips. All this was destroyed during the bombing of the Blitz in World War II, there was no hope of solving the mystery of Merrick.The loss of samples and archival documents destroyed all chances of establishing a correct diagnosis of the disease that made Merrick the most deformed person in history.Previously, doctors assumed that the man suffered from neurofibromatosis – a genetic disorder in which the patient has tumors. But recent studies of his preserved remains have shown that this diagnosis was erroneous.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

Some doctors suggested that Merrick had a rare Proteus syndrome, in which bones, skin and other organs grow excessively quickly. In 2003, scientists took a DNA sample from Merrick's hair and bones, but it was not possible to accurately determine the syndrome that progressed in the Elephant Man's body. 

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

Presumably, this is what Joseph "Elephant Man" Merrick might have looked like, if not for the disease

Now it is assumed that he suffered from two rare syndromes at once, which makes him a unique example in the history of medicine. However, scientists have not been able to establish an exact diagnosis.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

To shed some light on the life of Joseph Merrick, an international group of experts began searching for his relatives. They found the great-nephews, but they knew little about their famous grandfather. Scientists took DNA samples from them to determine whether there is something in the family genes that will help solve the mystery of the Elephant Man.It is rumored that Michael Jackson admired Joseph Merrick, drawing parallels between his own and his life. After repeatedly watching the black-and-white film "The Elephant Man" (1980), the pop king came to a London hospital and sat for hours near Merrick's skeleton. In 1987, Jackson even wanted to buy back his bones in order to add them to his collection of strange objects stored in a California estate.

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

A Freak with a Beautiful Soul: The Story of Joseph Merrick-The Elephant Man

The elephant man lost his mother at the age of 11. The woman was buried in a grave without giving a name, because the family did not have money for a stone tombstone. The place of her burial was discovered in 2014.Some relatives and those who are not indifferent to the story of Joseph Merrick are trying to ensure that his remains are buried in the cemetery in a Christian way.The short life of an unusual man, who became the object of close attention of scientists, was spent in pain and suffering. The elephant man with an ugly body and a beautiful soul was subjected to ridicule and mockery, and could only earn money by demonstrating his terrifying appearance. The mystery of Joseph Merrick has remained unsolved, but researchers hope that someday they will be able to solve it and find out the cause of the disease that made this man the most unhappy and the most famous among all the freaks in history.

Keywords: Death | Europe | Science | Health and medicine | Michael jackson | History | Mystery | Hospital | Disease | World | Circus | Ugliness | Skeleton | Burial | Bones | Secret | Grave | Syndrome | Victorian era

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