Anybody can make themselves blue by applying a bit of makeup. But what if your natural skin hue was that colour? Unbelievable though it seems, this is the condition that some folks from a remote part of Kentucky were afflicted by. And it’s only in recent years that an explanation for this extraordinary phenomenon has been found.
In fact, to get to the roots of this story we have to head back to the Appalachian hills in the early 19th century. It was sometime around 1820 when a Frenchman who’d been orphaned as a child came to a location on Troublesome Creek, near the town of Hazard in the east of Kentucky.
That Frenchman was called Martin Fugate. He met and married a local girl, Elizabeth Smith, and the couple went on to have children together. Furthermore, their descendants went on to intermarry with other local people, often quite closely related. Geography played a big part in this story, or to be more precise the remoteness of Hazard did.