In the early 19th century, a family living in eastern Kentucky, together with their children, strangely had all their blue skins.
This is the Fugate family! The family’s first “blue” ancestor was French-born Martin Fugate, who moved to Kentucky where he married Elizabeth Smith. Their babies had also a bluish skin, and all their offspring were bright blue!
The scientific explanation
This rare phenomenon is due to a rare hereditary condition called methemoglobinemia (also known as a met-H gene), which reduces one’s ability to carry oxygen to his blood, resulting in blood in the veins becoming a very dark blue color which in combination with light complexion gives the appearance of light blue skin. Normally the met-H gene does not pass to the next generation, however in the case of the Fugate family, due to endogamy, the phenomenon was more common.
A random event
The family was first discovered in 1958, when one of the blue descendants of the family, Luke Combs, went his white wife at the Kentucky hospital, where doctors were more concerned with him than with his wife!
This bizarre story certainly brings to mind the famous cartoon “The Smurfs”, the little blue creatures that live in the forest. It is noteworthy that the Smurfs made their first appearance in 1958, the same year that the Fugates story was published!
*Cover photo shows US politician Stan Jones, who has acquired blue skin as he got older