Blue People Look for Genetic Connection to Kentucky Fugates Rare genetic condition gives people blue skin color. The Blue People Of Kentucky: For almost two centuries, the “blue skinned people of the Fugate family” lived in the areas of Troublesome Creek and Ball Creek in the hills of eastern Kentucky. Hence this discrimination resulted in that the Blue family isolated themselves from the rest of the people. People with severe methemoglobinemia (methemoglobin level above 50%) may exhibit ... a family that lived in the hills of Kentucky, had the hereditary form. In the 1960s, a young hematologist named Madison Cawein traveled to the region with an aim to cure the blue people of their skin color. Due to their isolation, the Fugates began inter-marrying, which led to a higher likelihood of passing along the met-H gene, and having blue-skinned children. Dr. Cawein was working at the University of Kentucky in 1961 when he heard talk of a group of people in Kentucky who had blue skin color. There were no roads, and the railroad would not reach the area until 1910. The True Story of David Ghantt and the Loomis Wells Fargo Heist. They settled in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. Since neither parent had symptoms of methemoglobinemia, they were shocked and confused, and no one could offer an explanation. … The isolation made this difficult, and created a strangely perfect environment for the hereditary disorder to continue. Story Behind “The Blue People in Kentucky” – Blue Fugates Family. The Blue People of Kentucky, also known as the Blue Fugates, have long been of scientific interest. Normal methemoglobin levels are less than 1%. There was a young hematologist from the University of Kentucky named Madison Cawein. Facebook . As ABC details, Dr. Madison Cawein III set out to find a group of blue people.At first blush, this mission smacks pure lunacy, or even purer cocaine.Did this guy get high and convince himself he was Gargamel searching for Smurfs?Shockingly not. by Cathy Trost ©Science 82, November, 1982. Because of their family and their prominence as Blue People of Kentucky, patients today, especially blue-syndrome babies, have the benefit of information about methemoglobinemia and options for cures and treatments. The blue people of Kentucky and the deaf of Martha’s Vineyard illustrate the dilution of genetic disease. You can also explore how animals are biologically related to each other in Homologous and Analogous Structures: What's the Difference? Ask below and we'll reply! Again, they were unable to prove a connection to the Fugates. Blue People of Kentucky, Appalachia (Blue People of Kentucky) Fugates: The genetic form of methemoglobinemia is caused by one of several genetic defects. Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here: © PrepScholar 2013-2018. Many Fugates were in good health despite having methemoglobinemia, and some reportedly lived into their 90’s. As the story goes, Martin Fugate, a French orphan, settled on the banks of eastern Kentucky's Troublesome Creek around 1820 to claim a land grant. What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For? See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. The Fugates, a family that lived in the hills of Kentucky, had the hereditary form. They rushed him by ambulance to… THE BLUE PEOPLE OF TROUBLESOME CREEK The story of an Appalachian malady, an inquisitive doctor, and a paradoxical cure. For a hundred and fifty years, locals in the area of Hazard, Kentucky were stumped by a group of people. He made frequent trips to Hazard in the hope of finding some blue people. (John Vibes) The Fugates, a blue-skinned family from the hills of Kentucky has attracted and baffled scientists for generations, although their condition has now been explained as being caused by the disease Methemoglobinemia, which can make a person’s skin blue. In the late 1950s, a hematologist named Martin Cawein from the University of Kentucky was fascinated by the stories of the blue Fugate family. When Benjy was born his skin was a dark blue. The area was extremely rural and isolated in the nineteenth century. Karason’s blue appearance and white beard drew comparisons to Papa Smurf, and brought renewed attention to the Fugate family though Karason’s ailment was unrelated. 017 | Blue People of Kentucky from Southern Oddities on Podchaser, aired Thursday, 14th January 2021. Deep in the woods of Kentucky, a fiercely private family gave birth to blue-skinned children since the 1800s. Which suggests that the Blue people of Kentucky are not just an urban legend. . With regard to the other blue people of Kentucky; following the opening up of rail tracks and motorable roads, they began to move away to other communities and inter-marry with people without the gene. There is more evidence to this argument but I don't want to waste your time. [5], Cawein treated the family with methylene blue, which eased their symptoms and reduced the blue coloring of their skin. Unbeknownst to the couple, they were coincidentally both carriers of a recessive gene (met-H) that caused methemoglobinemia, which can tint the skin of sufferers blue. The Fugates and their descendants were forced to show the world their history of inter-marriage with their blue skin. Telegram. She worked in book publishing for several years, and believes that books can open up new worlds. Samuel Haddix, a native… Read the following article on the Blue Family in Kentucky. Neighbors laughed at the family’s blue coloring and most avoided the Fugates. Others might think of the Blue Man Group or even the Smurfs. Met-H is a recessive gene that occurs due to an enzyme deficiency (NADH) which prohibits oxygen from traveling in the blood. Cussy is a pack horse librarian and she delivers books to people that live in the mountains of Kentucky. I enjoy historically based novels because I can see into a world different from my own. [8], Benjamin Stacy, born in 1975, is the last known descendant of the Fugates to have been born exhibiting the characteristic blue color of the disorder, though he quickly lost his blue skin tone, exhibiting only blue tinges on his lips and fingertips if he was cold, or agitated. In 2019, the novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson, described a fictional version of the Fugate family during the Great Depression. The are… The Fugates, a family that lived in the hills of Kentucky, commonly known as the "Blue Fugates"[1] or the "Blue People of Kentucky", are notable for having been carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, which causes the appearance of blue-tinged skin. The disorder is extremely rare. The Blue People of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Library Project are both fascinating historical realities that are barely understood today. Mar 14, 2017 - Explore Carol Kline's board "Blue Fugates of Kentucky", followed by 227 people on Pinterest. People with methemoglobin levels above 10% may experience shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and cyanosis, the blue skin color that the Fugates were known for. Usually, when we think blue people in Kentucky, the first thing that comes to mind is University of Kentucky Wildcat fans… as they are known to dress in and paint their faces blue to show team spirit. [2][6] He found that a report from 1960 by a public health doctor, E. M. Scott, who published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation his research on the phenomenon among native Alaskans, based on the theory that a deficiency of the enzyme diaphorase is the cause of the oxygen deficiency in the red blood cells, causing the blood to appear brown, which in turn made the skin of those affected appear blue. Those who are otherwise healthy with levels under 15% may exhibit minor symptoms or none at all. Haddix, Kentucky.. is an unincorporated community and coal town in Breathitt County, Kentucky. Vitamin C has also been used to reduce cyanosis temporarily. Fast forward to the seventies and Benjamin Stacy has just been born. Kept to have plenty of troublesome worksheet alaskans scott speculated these were reported to achieve a situation that turned his aunt bessie fugate, learn more travelers to understand. Not knowing this fact, the blue people of Kentucky were shamed by their uniqueness & misled by a Country Doctor. Methemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that contains the iron Fe3. Diagnosis and Treatment of the Blue Fugates of Kentucky. Our story starts near the town of Hazard, Kentucky where Martin Fugate and Elizabeth Smith settled down. All Blue Fugates were insulted continuously because of their unusual appearance. In the 1960s, a hematologist in Lexington, Kentucky embarked on a bizarre quest. Patients then take pills for as long as they wish to continue being not-blue. The ancestral line began with a French orphan, Martin Fugate, who settled in Eastern Kentucky. Most stories about the blue people of Kentucky include an eerie, compelling drawing of a family, with the stark faces of 5 of the 9 members a striking bluish-gray, due to an inherited disease. In the early 1960’s, two blue descendants of the family, Rachel and Patrick Ritchie, met Doctor Madison Cawein III. This will usually go away on its own. The Fugates and the met-H gene they passed for generations can teach us a valuable lesson about genetics and understanding disease. As a result of this weird disorder, they decided to isolate themselves from the community. THE BLUE PEOPLE OF TROUBLESOME CREEK The story of an Appalachian malady, an inquisitive doctor, and a paradoxical cure. Exposure to the oxidizing drugs can overwhelm the system, and convert hemoglobin into methemoglobin. A sad recent example is the He was born in a hospital near Hazard, Kentucky. Way back in 1820, a French immigrant named Martin Fugate settled in the mining country of eastern Kentucky in a small town called Troublesome Creek. Blue People of Kentucky Why the Fugate Family Had Blue SkinA Frenchman arrived in Kentucky in 1820, bringing with him his strange blue skin. Blue people’s life wasn’t that easy. Total body cyanosis, like that of the Fugates, is rare for this disorder. Their ancestral line began six generations earlier with a French orphan, Martin Fugate, who settled in Eastern Kentucky. The blue people in Kentucky began to disappear in the early 20th century as families moved apart and the disease therefore became less common as inbreeding reduced, reported ABC News. The Blue People of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Library Project are both fascinating historical realities that are barely understood today. Infants have naturally lower levels of the enzyme NADH– the same enzyme that prohibits oxygen from traveling in the blood in those who inherit the mutation, and are at a higher risk for developing methemoglobinemia, especially when exposed to nitrates. When the “Pandemic of 2020” hit I was reading “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.” The book is a story about a young woman who lived in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1930s. Thus, the family continued passing down the trait. He determined that injections of methylene blue would be able to cure them (more later on why that worked). Jan 25, 2014 - Explore Janice Jordan's board "Blue People of Kentucky", followed by 192 people on Pinterest. blue troublesome creek was white to connect it was blue people of kentucky. Are there really blue skinned people living in Kentucky? The Blue People of Kentucky are still discussed, but less is known about. Twitter. For nearly two centuries, the Fugate family of Kentucky passed their unique characteristic of blue skin from one generation to the next. March 7, … The Blue people of Kentucky were segregated in the 1930s much the same as those who had anything but white skin. 00:10:34 - Haddix, Kentucky.. is an unincorporated community and coal town in Breathitt County, Kentucky. Though these blue skin people were accepted socially in some places, in others they were discriminated against, pointed to as a warning against inter-marriage, and held up as a symbol of rural stereotypes. Methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder where there are elevated levels of methemoglobin in the blood. The College Entrance Examination BoardTM does not endorse, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner or any content of this site. This is especially true of the ‘Blue People of Kentucky’. All Blue Fugates were stigmatized due to their unusual appearance. Patrick and Rachel Ritchie, Fugate descendants, were cured by injections of methylene blue. The Fugates, a family that lived in the hills of Kentucky, commonly known as the "Blue Fugates" or the "Blue People of Kentucky", are notable for having been carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, which causes the appearance of blue-tinged skin. Martin Fugate came to Troublesome Creek (near Hazard) from France in 1820 and… well… he happened to be blue. With two parents that were potentially carriers, or affected themselves, it increased the likelihood of having children who inherited the disorder or were unaffected carriers. Check out this post about cell theory and why it's important and a discussion of enzymes and what they do. 00:10:34 - Haddix, Kentucky.. is an unincorporated community and coal town in Breathitt County, Kentucky. Looking for more information on how cells, enzymes, and genetics work? They became known locally as the Blue Fugates. Most stories also borrow heavily from a terrific article by Cathy Frost from Science 82, a long-gone magazine that I quite liked. Madison Cawein began hearing rumors about the blue people when he went to work at the University of Kentucky's Lexington medical clinic in 1960. As the Fugates spread out geographically over time and generations, the disease was less likely to be passed on but also harder to track. He began hearing rumors about these blue people when he went to work at the University of Kentucky’s Lexington medical clinic in 1960.… Neighbors used to laugh at the family’s blue appearance. SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination BoardTM. Green cannot definitively trace his lineage back to the Fugates, but suspects he inherited the disorder from his father, whom he never met. But how on earth can someone get blue skin? Martin and Elizabeth had seven children, four of whom had blue skin. As time passed, descendants of the family moved out of the area, and new populations moved in, which allowed the Fugates to meet and marry people who did not share their genes at all. Shame, psychological trauma, and discrimination resulted in that the Blue People of Kentucky isolated themselves from the rest of society. "Blue-skinned family baffled science for 150 years", article on the Fugates of Appalachia, an extended family of blue-skinned people, "Fugates of Kentucky: Skin Bluer than Lake Louise", "Blue People Look for Genetic Connection to Kentucky Fugates", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blue_Fugates&oldid=988865350, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 15 November 2020, at 18:44. This is why the Fugate family was affected so frequently. Original source unknown, via ABC News The Blue Fugates are shown in this colorized black and white photo. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body, and raised levels of methemoglobin happen when the mechanisms that defend against oxidative stress are overwhelmed by Fe3. Many people wondered if there was someone that heard about these people and help them and actually there was. Named after an early settler. As time went on, fewer and fewer people with the condition were born and the blue skin condition disappeared altogether. Or if you can't get enough offbeat history, check out The History of the Hole Punch and The True Story of David Ghantt and the Loomis Wells Fargo Heist. Martin Fugate and Elizabeth Smith[2] who had married and settled near Hazard, Kentucky, around 1820, were both carriers of the recessive methemoglobinemia (met-H) gene. Blood is also likely to be a chocolate brown color instead of bright red in patients with methemoglobinemia. It was a military doctor and hematologist by the name Madison Cawein, who figured out what was ‘wrong’ with the blue people and treated them. Not myth or legend; The Blue People of Kentucky were an isolated enclave of Appalachian people who lived with an embarrassing skin discoloration until a young hematologist took notice and found a solution. Who Are the Blue People of Kentucky? The Fugates probably had a deficiency in the enzyme called cytochrome-b5 methemoglobin reductase, which is responsible for recessive congenital methemoglobinemia. Image: via NClark Illustration of Martin Fugate and his family. Source – The Mind Unleashed A Comprehensive Guide. As a result, four of their seven children exhibited blue skin, and continued progenation within the very limited local gene pool ensured that many descendants of the Fugates were born with met-H.[3][4][5], Descendants with the gene continued to live in the areas around Troublesome Creek and Ball Creek into the 20th century, eventually coming to the attention of the nurse Ruth Pendergrass and the hematologist Madison Cawein III, who made a detailed study of their condition and ancestry. This is wonderful, but it could facilitate transmission of the disease when carriers have children together. She loves reading, the outdoors, and learning about new things. What if these Blue people, or even the Melungeons of eastern Kentucky (who by the way, migrated from the Carolinas in their own lore) could be the lost piece of this Atlantean Colonial system. The year is 1936 and the setting takes place in the Appalachian Mountains into the woods of Troublesome Creek. In a diverse gene pool, a recessive trait like this one would have died out quickly, or only been a rare occurrence. The last known member of the Huntsville subgroup to be born with blue skin was Benjamin Stacy in 1975. He injected both patients with methylene blue, and nurse Ruth Pendergrass noted that they “changed color before her eyes.” Both patients continued to take methylene pills to make sure their blue color didn’t return. Oyata Bulaya says: May 17, 2018 at 1:03 am. It’s recommended that the Methylene blue is first injected slowly, and repeated if necessary. Cawein ran tests, and discovered that the levels of methemoglobin in the blood were extremely high. Unknown to the couple at the time they both carried a … There is more evidence to this argument but I don't want to waste your time. ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, Is the ACT easier than the SAT? He finally found a couplePatrick and Rachel Ritchiewho was willing to participate in his study. (John Vibes) The Fugates, a blue-skinned family from the hills of Kentucky has attracted and baffled scientists for generations, although their condition has now been explained as being caused by the disease Methemoglobinemia, which can make a person’s skin blue. In the 1800s a family of blue-skinned people fascinated and, as we might imagine given the times, horrified many people in the state of Kentucky. As the Fugates had children with people outside of the isolated Kentucky mountains that they’d originally settled, the likelihood of inheriting met-H decreased. It’s not likely that this would be permanent, and is also unlikely to cause the "blue all over" look of the Fugates. They settled in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. [7] He eventually published his research in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1964. Old color photographs of the family clearly show about half of the members to have a distinct cobalt blue skin color, while the other have regular white skin color. Why Are They Blue? Cawein remembered that the two were embarrassed to be blue-skinned, since it had become associated in the area with inter-marriage. Apparently, their ancestral line began six generations earlier with a French orphan, Martin Fugate. The doctor hiked through the Appalachian hills, on a mission to find the famous blue people of Kentucky. Although the blue people of Kentucky are a real phenomenon that has been well documented and written about in all manner of publications from science journals to mass-market magazines, I really don't want you goofballs loading your cameras and going on a gawking spree, bothering innocent people. Cawein had just started work at the University of Kentucky’s Lexington medical clinic. Reference: Adapted from an article in Science 82, November 1982 by Cathy Trost For more information on the Blue Fugates of Kentucky go to google.com and type in blue fugates The ailment, which was later revealed to be a symptom of methemoglobinemia, was contained mostly to descendants of the Fugate family of Troublesome Creek, and a related family in nearby Ball Creek. Yet Facebook groups have enabled the meeting of many people who have mutations in the same gene. 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