Joseph Merrick was born on August 5, 1862, in Leicester, England, to two working-class parents. He was probably a healthy child, a relief to his mother, who lost two of her four children to disease in infancy. However, things changed when Merrick approached the age of five, when his lips began to swell and he developed large bumps on his forehead that were hard, often said to look like elephant skin. Over time, his right hand also began to grow larger and bumpier, with similarly rough and thick skin.
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