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The Blue People Of Kentucky


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#1 earth_spirit

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 12:04 PM

I first heard the story of the Blue People Of Kentucky many years ago, but it wasn't until just recently that I found documented evidence (unfortunately, it's repeated over and over on the Internet) about a small group of people in the hills of Kentucky who, because of an inherited condition, had a blue, sometimes, purplish, skin color.

The condition, called methemoglobinemia, is a rare hereditary blood disorder that results from excess levels of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin which is blue, is a nonfunctional form of the red hemoglobin that carries oxygen. It is the color of oxygen-depleted blood seen in the blue veins just below the skin.

After reading the article, I wondered if this condition might have been mistaken for something more sinister in the not-so-distant past. The group in Kentucky is descended from a Frenchman named Martin Fugate (believed to be a blue person himself) who settled in Kentucky in the mid 19th century. Perhaps Fugate came to America to escape persecution in his native France. After all, someone who was blue was obviously one of the "undead"--or so people must have thought.

Even after many of Fugate's descendants were born with the same condition, the family chose to isolate itself in the hills and hollows around Troublesome and Ball Creeks. Most lived to their 80s and 90s without serious illness associated with the skin discoloration. For some, though, there was a pain not seen in lab tests. That was the pain of being blue in a world that is mostly shades of white to black.

Fortunately, hematologists have discovered a simple remedy for this condition. Taking a daily methylene blue dye tablet changes the skin color back to pink in a matter of minutes.

The November 1982 article from Science magazine
http://www.nclark.ne...esomeCreek.html

A picture of a "blue" person
(While not graphic, this may be disturbing to some people)
http://www.doh.state...ges/silver2.jpg
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#2 leonie

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 01:31 PM

WOW This is immense, at first I was thinking god they are going to look odd (after years of watching the smurfs as a child) but they are just normal human beings, fantastic. Well Ive learnt something new today thankyou very much!!

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#3 MoonChild

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 01:47 PM

Very interesting article, how many more things do humans fail to discover yet!
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#4 Mark London

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 01:48 PM

Good article, reminds me of those lost or undiscovered amazon tribes :whee:

#5 SherryWV

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 07:35 AM

Thank you for the information. I had never heard of this.

#6 SeekX

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 07:25 PM

I first heard the story of the Blue People Of Kentucky many years ago, but it wasn't until just recently that I found documented evidence (unfortunately, it's repeated over and over on the Internet) about a small group of people in the hills of Kentucky who, because of an inherited condition, had a blue, sometimes, purplish, skin color.

The condition, called methemoglobinemia, is a rare hereditary blood disorder that results from excess levels of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin which is blue, is a nonfunctional form of the red hemoglobin that carries oxygen. It is the color of oxygen-depleted blood seen in the blue veins just below the skin.

After reading the article, I wondered if this condition might have been mistaken for something more sinister in the not-so-distant past. The group in Kentucky is descended from a Frenchman named Martin Fugate (believed to be a blue person himself) who settled in Kentucky in the mid 19th century. Perhaps Fugate came to America to escape persecution in his native France. After all, someone who was blue was obviously one of the "undead"--or so people must have thought.

Even after many of Fugate's descendants were born with the same condition, the family chose to isolate itself in the hills and hollows around Troublesome and Ball Creeks. Most lived to their 80s and 90s without serious illness associated with the skin discoloration. For some, though, there was a pain not seen in lab tests. That was the pain of being blue in a world that is mostly shades of white to black.

Fortunately, hematologists have discovered a simple remedy for this condition. Taking a daily methylene blue dye tablet changes the skin color back to pink in a matter of minutes.

The November 1982 article from Science magazine
http://www.nclark.ne...esomeCreek.html

A picture of a "blue" person
(While not graphic, this may be disturbing to some people)
http://www.doh.state...ges/silver2.jpg



Extraordinarily interesting.

Thanks , SeekX



#7 Laurie Ann

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 12:08 AM

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#8 rayzrwyre

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 10:59 AM

A little late, but a good article indeed! Blue grass country, blue people? Coincidence?
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#9 MoonChild

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 11:54 AM

A little late, but a good article indeed! Blue grass country, blue people? Coincidence?

On a more philosophical term, is there coincidence?
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#10 earth_spirit

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:25 PM

You guys are too funny :headbang:

No, the blue people of Kentucky have absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky bluegrass.
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#11 GiaCat21

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 04:50 PM

I can't believe I missed this until now! I love those weirdo conditions! I'm really interested in the ones that have come about as a result of "the founder effect" (like the blue people of Kentucky). If I wasn't so interested in Pyschology I'd be going into genetics...
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#12 earth_spirit

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 05:13 PM

If this sort of topic piques your interest, you might want to check into a condition called argyria where the skin turns gray. Unlike the Blue People, this condition, while harmless, isn't treatable with any type of medication. Those with it have to suffer through painful sessions of dermabrasion where the first few layers of skin are literally removed with surgical sandpaper.

I also found an interesting blog with a picture of Lorenzo & Eleanor Fugate. Unfortunately, the picture is black and white!

The Fugates

Scroll down to the bottom of the blog page to see the picture and article.

Here's an article from the Baylor University Medical Center that might be of interest to you, stellakitty:
Max Perutz

Edited by earth_spirit, 05 July 2007 - 05:30 PM.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#13 vernonw1

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 06:09 PM

I actually remember there being something about the Blue People in my eighth or ninth grade science book. Though not paranormal, of course, I was fascinated by it...and still find the condition intriguing.
"When you let beauty and peace sink into you, dissension and strife begin to look like sheer insanity. Everything that people make a fuss about seems unimportant " Anne Frank

#14 rayzrwyre

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 10:30 PM

"Blue People? Where is this Kentucky?"Posted Image
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#15 axlfoley

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:10 PM

This is so interesting to learn there are blue people.




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