Jesus ‘Chuy’ Aceves and other members of his family are known as the hairiest people in the world. This is due to a genetic mutation known as Hypertrichosis or Ambras syndrome. Their excessive hair growth covers their entire bodies, including their faces, and happens to both men and women in the family.
It all started with his great grandmother, and has been inherited by the next five generations.
When Jesus was only 12 years old, a circus owner saw him and his two cousins and he offered them some money to travel around Mexico as a circus act. For years, the three cousins were a laughing stock to audiences as they were locked up and paraded around as freaks of nature. They were given the title of ‘wolf boys.’
Several years passed by and Jesus decided he would give up his circus life and return home to his wife and daughter.
Because he had joined the circus when he was so young, Jesus has no formal education after the age of 13. His only qualifications and means to support his family involve manual labor jobs, such as fruit picking or waste disposal. Filmmaker Eva Aridjis made the family the focus of a documentary titled Chuy, El Hombre Lobo (Chuy, The Wolf Man).
Aridjis said of Jesus: “He can’t get a decent job due to the huge discrimination he suffers.”
He currently works at a dump site where he burns garbage.
In their hometown Loreto, Mexico, Jesus and his family are persecuted and shunned daily due to their condition. Whether it be harsh words, derogatory howls or long stares, the family has been through it all. Their neighbors even allegedly poisoned over twenty of their cats.
Through her documentary, Aridjis hopes to help Jesus and his family to find a better life. She says, “These are people who have no friendships, no careers, stable love-lives or lasting relationships because of how they look,” and she hopes to change that.