A 101-year-old Chinese grandmother just might be the world's horniest woman. No, she's not a cougar. With one pronounced horn in her head, and a second emerging, Zhang Ruifang is closer to a rhino.
Last month, the nearly 2½–inch horn sprouting from Zhang's noggin made world news, and now, a report from the U.K.'s Metro newspaper states another horn is poking out on the opposite side. The good news is, she's thrilled about it.
According to Metro, Zhang said she is "quite looking forward to when the matching one has grown a bit." She's refused offers to remove the horns.
Such growths are generally cutaneous horns, which are composed of the same substance as fingernails, called keratin. Most cases are harmless, unless of course the horn pokes someone in the eye.
Amazing as it sounds, Zhang isn't alone in the world of human horns. In fact, other elders from China have recently made headlines with their own impressive growths.
In October 2007, 95-year-old Xiou Ling flaunted a 6½-inch horn that jutted out of her forehead and curled downward over her face. It had been growing for four years.
Just one month later, 93-year-old Ma Zhong Nan showed the media the 4-inch horn growing on the top of his head. He hadn't thought much of it until it got itchy, at which point he decided to seek help.
Human horns are hardly new phenomena. In 1930, Robert Ripley brought a Manchurian farmer named Wang to the world's attention under the moniker "The Human Unicorn." Wang -- who sported a 13-inch protrusion on the back of his head -- had been exhibiting himself with a group of Chinese fakirs when a Russian banker snapped a photo and sent it to Ripley.
Unfortunately for Ripley, a photo was all he would ever get. Ripley spent years offering a large reward to anyone who could track Wang down and bring him to America. But the horned farmer proved as elusive as a real unicorn and was never to be found again.
A year before Wang's discovery, Ripley had written about a 16th-century man named Francis Trovillou, better known as the Horned Man of Mezieres.
According to a book published in 1860, "The Book of Wonderful Characters: Memoirs and Anecdotes of Remarkable and Eccentric Persons in All Ages and Countries," by Henry Wilson and James Caulfield, Trovillou's horn began growing at the age of 7. It extended from his forehead and bent backwards. By the time he was 35, "this horn had both the bigness and the resemblance of a ram's horn."
Many cases of human horns are documented in the 1894 book, "Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine," by George Gould, M.D., and Walter Pyle, M.D. "Probably the most remarkable case of a horn was that of Paul Rodrigues, a Mexican porter," they wrote, "who, from the upper and lateral part of his head, had a horn 14 inches in circumference and divided into three shafts, which he concealed by constantly wearing a peculiarly shaped red cap."
While the majority of horns seemingly appear on the head, Gould and Pyle also reported several cases of penile horns. One of these very unfortunate men grew his horn at the age of 52. He had been circumcised four years earlier -- which seems painful and disturbing enough -- only to have a small horn "the size of a marble" grow where the wound healed.
The book also lists examples of horns growing on the arms, legs, buttocks and nipples.