When Joseph Merrick, better known as The Elephant Man, died in 1890, his deformed bones in the London hospital were stored for medical purposes and the soft tissue buried in an unmarked grave.
“It was not possible to find his grave due to the large number of deaths at that time. When asked about this, local people told me that they were probably buried with the victims of Jack Razparac, who died in the same period,” according to the BBC – explained the author of the biography about Man Elephant Jo Vigor-Mungovin.
“I was thinking and browsing through the old documents of the London Cemetery and the crematorium near the Epping Forest. I was looking for a period of eight weeks around his death, and there, on the other hand, was written by Joseph Merrick!
Merrick throughout his life believed that his deformations were the result of his mother being frightened by an elephant during pregnancy. The diagnosis for his state of health was several and still unclear today which one is right. One of them was that he suffered for elephantiasis or. an elephant-borne disease caused by a parasitic infection, and the second is that it has a rare genetic disease called Proteus syndrome.
He died on April 11, 1890, aged 27 years. The cause was suffocation during sleep, which was largely due to the weight of his head.
The story of the Man Elephant attracted Hollywood too. Merrick’s life was presented by director David Lynch in The Elephant’s Life in 1980, with John Hurt performing in the lead. The story paved the way for the Broadway boards, where Bradley Cooper appeared as an Elephant Man.
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