Hypertrichosis

Stephan Bibrowski (1891–1932), better known as Lionel the Lion-Faced Man, was a famous sideshow performer. His whole body was covered with long hair that gave him the appearance of a lion; this was likely due to a rare condition called hypertrichosis.

Bibrowski was born in 1891 near Warsaw in Poland with one-inch hair covering his body. His mother blamed the condition on the mauling of his father by a lion, which she witnessed while pregnant with Stephan. She considered Stephan an abomination and gave him up to a German promoter  when he was four. The promoter gave him his stage name and started exhibiting him around Europe.

Above image was a promotional photo by Barnum and Bailey.

By the time he was put on exhibit, Lionel’s hair had grown to eight inches (20 cm) on his face and hung about four inches (10 cm) everywhere else.  His body was almost entirely covered with hair, the only exceptions being the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet.  In 1901, Lionel traveled to the United States and started appearing with Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. (adapted from wikipedia)

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