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  • Location: Sinaloa de Leyva, New Orleans, New York, Russia, London

Orphans of the Carnival

Orphans of the Carnival

Why a Booktrail?

1800s, 2000s: The amazing true story of a woman forced into a circus

  • ISBN: 978-1782116547
  • Genre: Ghost/supernatural

What you need to know before your trail

Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor’s ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast, to be hidden from children and pregnant women.

But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in present-day South London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives connect in unforgettable ways.

Travel Guide


Julia Pastrana was a real life figure from history. She was born in 1834 Mexico and was quite the lady. She was intelligent, spoke three languages, was very accomplished in singing and dancing…but because of her unusual features and facial hair,she was described as a ‘bear woman’ and forced into a circus freak show.

She was born with a condition know as hypertrichosis lanuginosa, (excess body hair) which made her an object of curiosity all her life. This intelligent trilingual woman was seen as nothing more than a freak show.

America – New Orleans to New York

Many exploited her and the circuses made money from her. Everyone who paid to come and see her was part of this charade. She is unsafe in a world where people then (as they often do now) treat anyone different from the so called ‘norm’ as being odd and ripe for abuse. The other victims of this cruel world turned out to be those who she felt safest with.

Julia’s world is one of hate and despair, yet hope and salvation. In her world of circuses and side shows,she is in the centre of the ring, in a cage, on show but without freedom, looking up at the tightrope that is her life.

Even after her death, she wasn’t free – her remains were put on display in Oslo and her baby’s remains were destroyed by thieves . She was returned to her native Mexico and buried at peace.


Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:  Orphans of the Carnival

Author/Guide: Carol Birch   Destination: Mexico, Sinaloa de Leyva, New Orleans, New York, Russia, London

Departure Time: 1800s, 2000s

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