The Blue Fugates

If you’re a Southerner, I am sure that you have at least been made fun of once in your life for being inbred.  If you’re from one of the other directions, then I’d be willing to bet that it has been you who have made this ‘hilarious’ joke a time or two.

While most of us are not barefoot and pregnant with our uncle cousin’s baby, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  My mother, a proud Kentuckian and scientist, would always joke that inbreeding isn’t a problem; unless you’ve got bad genes…

One fascinating case of genetics are the Blue Fugates of eastern Kentucky.  Benji Stacy, pictured below, was born in 1975 “blue as Lake Louise.”  The doctors were in a panic and Benji was rushed to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for a transfusion, when his relatives remembered that his great-grandmother Luna had the same blue skin.


Martin Fugate settled with his family in the 1820’s on the remote banks of Troublesome Creek, near Hazard, KY. At the time, there were very few families established there and intermarriage was common. Fugate’s wife, Elizabeth, was the carrier of the recessive methemoglobinemia gene. The Fugates intermarried with Fugate cousins with the last names of Combs, Smith, Richie and Stacy; producing more and more blue children carrying the gene.

As the world developed and people began to “marry” people other than their cousins, there were less and less blue Fugate descendants.  Benji was the last known blue person born in 1975.


  1. To start, that picture is not Ben Stacy. This man pictured was on Dr. Phil years ago and paints his skin. The Blue Fugate’s are missing the chemical methaemoglobinaemia. Martin
    wasn’t an orphan and if you researched your genealogy, you’d find some kissing cousins too. Martin’s son Zacharia married a Smith and some of their children were blue. This is my line too,
    Here is an article with a picture of Ben Stacy in 2012. You should read it, and get rid of that Blue Smurf fool, for none looked anything at all like him.

    1. Brenda is partially correct. That’s not Ben Stacy, it’s Paul Karason. But he didn’t paint his skin, he developed the blueness unintentionally from taking huge amounts of colloidal silver.

      Methemoglobinemia is not a chemical, it’s the name of a disorder characterized by the presence of a much HIGHER than normal level of methemoglobin. Methemoglobin is a red blood cell protein. The predisposition toward this rare condition was simply multiplied by repeated instances of intermarriage.

      1. Thank you Buckeye Bob. It had been too long since I viewed the show with the Blue man 😀 UVA did a large study of the Fugate/Smith blue line that use to be accessible on their website. I find it interesting. There are supposedly a small group of the Inuit people that also share this condition.

    2. This is fascinating! I just found out about this doing my family history and we go back to fugates… never heard of this before… very interesting.

      1. Thanks for the update, I had forgotten how he became blue. His only crime was being blended into factual truth of the Blue Fugate’s. 😀

      2. This picture of Paul Karason should be removed or the entire article should be taken down. One look at this blue faced, white haired man and I knew he wasn’t born in 1975. There’s no need to mislead people. There are actual pictures of the blue Fugates that can be used for clickbait😒.

        1. Thanks for that. I am sick of misinformation regarding this condition. It is not life threating and most are not blue, occasional blue lips and nails. The family that started the blue line is Zachariah Fugate and his wife Mary Polly Smith. Some of his children were blue including John Fugate. My ancestor and father of Elhanon, the father of Walter who is my grandpa.

Tell me your story!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s