John Heidegger rose to fame in Switzerland and later in England as a promoter of masquerade balls. It should be no surprise that Heidegger was drawn to a profession that depended on masks and disguises. Heidegger, by his own admission, was the ugliest person in the country. Called “Count Ugly” by some and described by one woman as “the most ugly man that ever was formed,” Heidegger did not seem to be insulted; rather, he reveled in the attention.
When from Lord Chesterfield wagered he could find someone uglier than Heidegger, Count Ugly eagerly accepted the bet. On the day Chesterfield was to produce his specimen of hideousness, he paraded a woman from the slums of London whose repulsive appearance was certain to give Heidegger a run for his money.
Ironically, it was the unfortunately woman who decided the issue. Heidegger snatched the woman’s hat off of her head and placed it on his own. As the woman looked at the truly-grotesque sight of John Heidegger wearing a woman’s hat, she fainted, leaving Heidegger the undisputed ugliest person in England.
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