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Extraordinary story of woman with two faces whose life changed permanently due to rare condition
Featured Image Credit: Public Domain/A.R Coster/ Getty Images

Extraordinary story of woman with two faces whose life changed permanently due to rare condition

Mary Ann Bevan was a nurse until she started suffering from abnormal bone grown.

A woman swapped her life as a nurse to become the ‘Ugliest Woman in the World’ due to suffering from a rare medical condition.

Mary Ann Webster was born in Plaistow, East London, in 1874.

At the time of her birth, Bevan was one of eight children and went on to pursue a career as a nurse.

Around the age of 32, she married Thomas Bevan, a farmer from Kent, and the woman changed her name to Mary Ann Bevan in 1902.

Mary was a nurse and went on to have four children with her husband Thomas before his death.
Public Domain

The pair later welcomed four children into the world, but disaster struck in 1914 when her husband died unexpectedly.

It’s reported that Bevan suffered after Thomas’ death and that it took a profound toll on her body.

Unfortunately, the nurse had acromegaly - a hormonal disorder that forces your bones to increase in size.

According to the Mayo Clinic, adults who suffer from acromegaly will commonly see this increase take place in their hands, feet and face.

The rare disorder can lead to life-threatening health problems and sometimes takes years to recognise.

Nowadays, acromegaly can be treated if detected early, but as medicine wasn’t as advanced in the 20th century, Bevan had to live with her ever-changing features.

Following Thomas’ death, her face allegedly began to grow abnormally and began to distort.

Mary was branded the 'World's Ugliest Woman'.
A.R Coster/Getty Images

Due to the loss of her husband’s income, the mother-of-four could no longer support herself and her children working as a nurse before losing her job as well.

In light of a bad situation, Bevan capitalised on her changing appearance and entered a local London ‘Ugliest Woman’ contest.

As per Rare Historical Photos, she joined the competition by the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus after seeing an advertising spot for an ‘ugly woman’.

The article read: “Wanted: Ugliest woman. Nothing repulsive, maimed or disfigured. Good pay guaranteed, and long engagement for successful applicants. Send recent photograph.”

Mary ended up sweeping the contest, beating 250 participants.

Mary Ann was on show at various circus attractions.

After winning, she was later employed by Sam Gumpertz to appear in Coney Island's Dreamland sideshow.

This event space was more commonly known as a 'freak show', where Beven performed for most of her remaining life.

In two years, she earned £20,000 ($25,413) in New York, which is equivalent to $1.6 million in today's money.

She also made various appearances at the Ringing Brothers Circus despite suffering from constant pain and increasing blindness.

In December 1933, Bevan died at the age of 59 and was buried at the Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery in South London, as she had requested.

Topics: Health, UK News, Weird