‘Wolf Man’ in ‘world’s hairiest family’ put in circus freak show and locked away

It might not be a title they want, but the Aceves clan are thought to be the world's hairiest family.

And unsurprisingly, it means life isn't always rosy, with cruel taunts and lingering stares not uncommon.

Jesus 'Chuy' Aceves and his relatives are known as "the Wolf Men" because of their looks.

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But in harsher moments, they have been branded "werewolves" and made to feel like monsters.

Their unusual appearance has led to them getting jobs in circuses and freak shows – but also being taunted and cruelly treated.

Jesus opened up about their struggles in a BBC documentary, revealing he was so depressed he nearly drank himself to death.

The Aceves family live in Mexico and suffer from the extremely rare condition, congenital hypertrichosis, which means they were born with an abnormal amount of hair on their faces and bodies.

Jesus's face is completely covered with hair and he also has 'fur' on the rest of his body as well.

Around a dozen members of his family, including women, suffer from the same rare condition.

In the TV documentary, Chuy, The Wolf Man, shown on BBC One in 2015, Jesus, now 48, explains how it has affected their lives.

He tells how growing up in Loreto, north west Mexico, he and his family were shunned by the local community and by 12, he was working at fairgrounds.

It was while working at carnivals that he and his two cousins, who also had the condition, were offered jobs working in a circus.

In the film, he says: "My life in the circus started when I was 13. The man said he'd pay us well and said he wanted all of us. He said he would house us and there'd be money, so I said yes."

The three boys spent several years travelling around Mexico, posing for pictures with members of the public.

But that was the start of the cruel behaviour they had to endure.

In the documentary, Jesus explains how when not working, they were locked up because the circus owners didn't want them seen on the streets.

"I didn't like that, being locked up so people wouldn't see us," he said.

Film-maker Eva Aridjis said the life they led was cruel and hard, adding: "The only consistent work they can find is in circuses and sideshows, exhibiting themselves as freaks."

In the film Jesus reveals how at one point when he was touring the US with an American circus, he became so depressed and lonely he almost drank himself to death.

"I used to drink a lot of beer. I would never eat and my liver was killing me… I wanted to liberate myself with the drinking. But I was doing the opposite, I was destroying myself," he said.

Fortunately he pulled through and went on to perform in circuses all over the world.

Now with a family of his own, Jesus has three daughters, the eldest a single mother in her 20s, all with hypertrichosis.

The condition is very rare, with only around 50 cases recorded in history – 30 from Chuy and his ancestors.

Eva added: "Never before in the history of the human race has there been such a hairy family, and Chuy, The Wolf Man is the only filmed portrait of this family in existence."


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