This New York Times story about one artist's decade-long quest to get the embalmed body of a 19th-century circus performer, Julia Pastrana, a woman once billed as "the ugliest woman in the world,” repatriated to her birth place in Mexico, is sad and fascinating:
Pastrana was born in Mexico in 1834. She had two rare diseases, undiagnosed in her lifetime: generalized hypertrichosis lanuginosa, which covered her face and body in thick hair, and gingival hyperplasia, which thickened her lips and gums.
... In 1859 Pastrana became pregnant by Lent while touring. Her infant inherited her hypertrichosis and died hours after his birth in Moscow, and Pastrana died from complications five days later.
Lent soon began exhibiting the embalmed bodies of his wife and son. He later found a bearded woman in Germany whom he married and billed as Pastrana’s sister, “Zenora Pastrana.” The couple traveled, and Zenora performed alongside the bodies.
After Lent’s death, Pastrana’s body was exhibited widely, most recently by a Norwegian fairground operator in the early 1970s. In 1976 thieves broke into a warehouse owned by the fairground’s heir and stole the bodies of Pastrana and her son...
According to the article, Pastrana was finally laid to rest in Sinaloa, Mexico, today.