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Blue Fugates: A Family Of People Whose Skin Was Actually Blue

The real life smurfs!

Blue Fugates

The earth is pretty diverse in terms of the skin colour of people as it is. You have the browns, the blacks, the whites, and then slightly red, yellow and more.

Even the undertone of our skin varies in colours going from blue to green to yellow and sometimes even a slight purple-ish colour.

The colour of someone’s skin is also a way to understand their health, someone who is more pale and clammy could be sick, jaundice gives the skin and the whites of one’s eyes a strange yellow colour and so on.

But we’ve probably never heard of someone having pink or purple or green skin colour. Unless they artificially colour themselves like that using paint, a person wouldn’t generally have such a skin colour.

However, what if you knew that there existed a family in Kentucky in the US that had blue skin. The Fugate family of Kentucky has for long been known as the “Blue People of Kentucky”.

Why was this though? And why did their skin have such a bizarre colour?

The Blue Fugates

There lived a family in the hills of Kentucky, the Fugate family back in the day. This family was mostly known for having a blue tint to their skin colour, something that was extremely unusual.

Around the 1800s, Martin Fugate and Elizabeth Smith had settled near Hazard, Kentucky, after getting married.

But unbeknownst to them, the couple were carriers of the recessive methemoglobinemia (met-H) gene. Not just that, but a clan that resided nearby also carried the same gene, enhancing it further when the Fugate family’s descendants intermarried into that clan.


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This led to a lot of the generations going forward to be born with the met-H and subsequently had blue-tinged skin.

A detailed study of this family was written up by hematologist Madison Cawein III and nurse Ruth Pendergrass around 20th Century. The family who continued to live in that area or around Troublesome Creek and Ball Creek came under Cawein’s radar.

He published his research on the family in 1964 in the Archives of Internal Medicine and talked about how he tried to treat the family’s condition using methylene blue.

As per reports, this did help to some extent where it worked to decrease the blue coloured skin and also eased their symptoms.

The last known descendant of the family is said to be Benjamin Stacy who was born in 1975.

Although he was born with a blue coloured skin tone, he lost that once he began to grow older.


Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News, Mental Floss

Find the blogger @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Blue Fugates, Blue Fugates Kentucky, blue skin, blue skin people, incest, genetic disorder, blue skin disorder, rare cases, kentucky fugates, blue people, blue people kentucky, Fugate family, weird skin colors, different skin colors, colours, skin problems, genes, genetic disorder


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