Sometimes nature likes to play cruel tricks on people who are born with body deformities.

In some cases, their defects are disturbing to look at and make these poor people’s lives a living hell.

Here are ten incredible stories of people born with extreme deformities.


10 /10 Didier Montalvo - The Turtle Boy

Colombian boy Didier Montalvo had a terrible childhood, dealing with a body deformity that left him looking like a turtle and being shunned by the people in his native village.

The boy’s ‘carapace’ was, in fact, one colossal mole that grew up to cover most of his back.

It’s a condition known as congenital melanocytic nevus, but to the villagers, it was the devil’s mark, which is why they banned the child from attending the local school.

The nightmare ended when he was six, and a British surgeon traveled to Colombia to rid the boy of the burden he was carrying.


9 /10 Kankang - The Mask Boy

Little Kankang was born with a facial deformity, making him look like he’s wearing a mask.

According to doctors, it’s a sort of facial cleft that grew on top of his regular face.

Experts are unsure about what caused this congenital disability, maybe an infection or a consequence of his mother’s drug use.

Kankang’s parents spent a lot of money on several plastic surgeries to allow them to lead an everyday life.


8 /10 Dede Koswara - The Tree Man

Indonesian man, Dede Koswara was not born with his deformity.

It was a fungal infection that caused huge and painful growths on his limbs, which earned him the nickname Tree Man.

The fungus growing upon him looks almost like tree bark, and at some point, it was so out of control, Dede couldn’t use his hands and feet anymore.

He had part of the fungus removed, but that provided only temporary relief as it immediately started growing again.


7 /10 Jose Mestre - The Man With No Face

Hard to imagine something more dreadful than what Portuguese Jose Mestre had to endure.

He lived for 40 years with a tumor growing on his face.

It started with a little bump on his lip that turned into a giant tumor that left him almost totally blind, unable to breathe unassisted or usually eat.

An American doctor eventually removed the tumor.

Otherwise, Mestre would not have survived another year.


6 /10 Manar Maged - The Two-Headed Girl

Egyptian girl Manar Maged made headlines around the world soon after her birth, quickly dubbed the ‘two-headed girl.’

The fully-formed second head was, in fact, a parasitic twin.

Her twin ‘sister’ had no body or limbs. It was just ahead, one that could smile, laugh, or cry, which made the whole situation even more disturbing.

When Manar was ten months old, the parasitic twin was separated and died since it had no body to support it.

Unfortunately, Manar suffered complications after the surgery and died one year later.


5 /10 Rudy Santos - The Freak Show Star

Santos’s story is somewhat similar to Manar’s as he, too, has a parasitic twin.

In his case, the twin was developed in his abdomen. Rudy has an extra pair of arms growing from his stomach.

The twin’s parasitic body occupies a large part of his pelvic area, and there’s even an underdeveloped head growing out of him.

Rudy was born in the 1950s in the Philippines, and surgery was impossible at the time.

He spent much of his adult life working the freak show circuit.


4 /10 Ming Anh - The Fish Boy

Vietnamese orphan Ming Anh is one of the many people in his country whose lives were destroyed by using the infamous Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

His skin is prone to scaling and flaking, which leaves him looking like a fish.

The condition is only manageable with frequent baths, something the orphanage where he lives cannot provide.

In his early childhood, he used to violent outbursts, which prompted staff to tie him to the bed.

Luckily, he met an English woman who now visits him regularly and makes sure his basic needs are met.

His condition has improved, and he is no longer restrained.


3 /10 Petero Byakatonda - The Little Alien

Ugandan boy Petero Byakatonda was born with Crouzon syndrome, a rare condition that affects the skull’s bones.

As the bones grow abnormally, they slowly push the eyeballs out of their sockets and the ears down.

That’s disturbing to see and affects the patient’s quality of life as it causes vision and hearing impairments.

Petero’s is a story with a happy ending as he traveled to the US where he had reconstructive surgery, and today, he looks like any other boy.

Wikimedia Commons

9 /10 Joseph Merrick - The Elephant Man

Born in the early 19th century, Englishman Joseph Merrick became famous for his extreme deformity you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy.

Merrick suffered from Proteus syndrome, which caused large lumps to grow on his face and back.

The abnormal growths pushed hard on his bones, which became deformed.

He became somewhat of a celebrity in Victorian London, as people were shocked to discover that he had average intelligence despite his physical deformity and was quite well-read.


1 /10 Mandy Sellars - The Elephant Lady

This English woman suffers from the same syndrome as Joseph Merrick; only it’s her legs affected by it.

At one point, her legs weighed over 90 kg.

Since then, she’s had her left leg amputated after she developed an infection.

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