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June 2017

The Fugates of Troublesome Creek

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(6):513. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.1038

The beautiful and bountiful hues that decorate the human body range widely. Blue-colored skin is not relegated to the realm of fantasy, as illustrated by the peculiar case of the Fugate family of Eastern Kentucky.

Around 1820, a French orphan named Martin Fugate immigrated to Kentucky to claim a land grant on the banks of Troublesome Creek. According to lore he bore a blue-tinted complexion, and, after marrying a fair-skinned woman, 4 of their 7 children had remarkable blue skin.