Location: The goat woman: Chinese grandmother, 101, grows mystery horn on forehead

Discussion: Fingernails, Toenails, Hooves, Horns, KeratinReported This is a featured thread

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Fingernails, Toenails, Hooves, Horns, Keratin
Mar 28 2010, 4:55 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 28 2010, 4:55 AM EDT
As I briefly stated in the description I added under the photo of this 101 year old Chinese woman, women (and men, too), of a "certain age" can and do develop sometimes astounding growths of hair (as said in the Daily Mail article), from moles or warts on their faces.
These growths can be controlled by depilatories or careful shaving (a small cut can bleed for a long time, and may be unsanitary).
Depending on the culture of the community around the individual, such hair growth could be considered a sign of evil or a sign of being favored by the gods. That is why, in western cultures, witches are always shown with a wart or mole spouting hair. The fact that this woman is being regarded (I assume) in a favorable way, is probably that her neighbors see her strange condition as something that makes her a "kind of good luck charm".
Now, what is this all about? Keratin. Hair, fingernails, toenails, hooves, and horns are all made out of a very strong protein substance called keratin. What makes a patch of human skin grow strands of keratin that form into a horn-like shape? A change in body chemistry? Exposure to radiation? Is there a correlation to this condition to what is called Morgellons?
Quirky outgrowths can appear in any species of living creature on earth. We have seen pictures of a boa constrictor that grew a complete lizard-like leg. There are all those sad specimens steeped in formaldehyde in glass jars in science labs all over the world of two-headed lambs, two-bodied frogs, and the like. The freak shows of yesteryear were filled with human physical oddities; if you can find a copy of the book, see WE WHO ARE NOT AS OTHERS.
It is good that this woman is able to keep on with her life, not only at the age of 101, but with this peculiarity that has come to her late in life. In a way, I think if the "horn" were removed, it would be devastating to her.
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1. RE: Fingernails, Toenails, Hooves, Horns, Keratin
Mar 28 2010, 9:08 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 28 2010, 9:08 AM EDT
it is not only the abnormalities you mention they cause strange growths, I personally have a strange growth on my ankle which resembles a claw it, both in look and feel, which I have to regularly keep trimmed.
Many doctors have been unable to identify exactly what it was until I found one doctor who had come across the phenomena once before.
This thing is actually a type of cyst, which if not fully removed regrows. It can turn literally into anything from a claw, a toe, finger or amazingly even an eyeball. I guess I was lucky mine chose a claw.

As for witches, I read somewhere recently and it seems to make a lot of sense, the image we get of witches and is often portrayed is often the result of the torture the poor individual went through before being lead to the stake to burn. Disheaved and bedraggled, broken noses giving the classic witch nose, burn marks and welts giving the impression of warts. Broken and shattered teeth. Filled with content and confusion it is no wonder the image of the witch is portrayed as it is as often as not this was the only public viewing people got before the burning.
In other words to the simple people of the time which had been made to reveal herself. Perhaps from the beautiful woman the townspeople knew to this haggard old crone being led to the stake.
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