In truly off-the-wall topics, did you know that there’s a history of people who turned totally unnatural colors? Most of the time doctors were able to figure out the reason behind the strange change in hue, and so here I am, relaying the strange – but true – tales to you.
Consider it a precautionary post. Unless you’re a method actor looking to land the part of Elphaba in the next traveling company of Wicked. If so, take notes.
#8. The Canary Girls
With the men away fighting in WWII, many women at home found themselves filling necessary factory jobs – like those at a munitions factory filling shells with TNT. The chemicals turned their skin and hair bright yellow, and even more dastardly, caused rashes, chest problems, and nausea.
Their babies were also born yellow, but without continued exposure, their skin returned to a normal color over time.
#7. Skin Whitening
In the Elizabethan era, having the palest of pale skin was considered to be a sign of class and wealth. In order to achieve a deathly pallor (sexy!), some people plastered their faces with makeup made from white lead.
And those people suffered from all of the ill effects that a modern person would associate with the direct contact with lead.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
It also rotted people’s teeth and caused baldness, and is even blamed for the death of Queen Elizabeth I.
#6. The Green Children of Woolpit
In the 12th century, two young children were found in the pits outside of Woolpit, England that were designed to trap wolves. Orphans were not that strange at the time, but the fact that the children were bright green, well…that raised a few eyebrows.
The two children were taken into town but refused to eat anything until green beans were put in front of them. Neither spoke English…or any other language the local villagers had heard. The boy died but the girl survived. Her green hue faded in time and she learned English.
When she spoke of their past, she told of the Land of Saint Martin where everyone was green and there was no sun. She and her brother wandered into a cave and emerged into our world.
Their story has become legend, and no one has ever been able to say that it wasn’t the truth…
#5. The Blue Fugates
Inbreeding causes strange deformities in families with a limited gene pool, but perhaps none have been aesthetically stranger than the blue skin of the Fugate family. They lived in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1800s, and, clearly, their babies were sometimes born with blue skin.
The discolored skin is the result of a rare recessive gene that causes methaemoglobinaemia, a condition that restricts the amount of oxygen carried by the blood. This condition is less common today, thanks to outsiders populating the area and expanding the gene pool, but as recently as the late 2oth century, doctors unfamiliar with the local history rushed blue newborns to the hospital out of concern for their safety.
#4. Not-So-Sunny Delight
A girl in England was allowed to drink up to 6 cups of Sunny Delight a day and, as a result, began to turn yellow. She was fine, despite the Willy Wonka-type experience.
Carotenoids were to blame.
#3. Careful With Those Carrots
I personally know that the “legend” that too many carrots will turn your skin orange is totally true. One of my cousins would eat nothing but carrots as a baby and took on a distinctively orange tone.
Like with Sunny D, it’s the high carotenoid concentration that does it – they build up in the skin and change its color, showing more in areas with more subsurface fat.
It’s easy enough to reverse though – just stop eating so many carrots!
#2. Dermatographic Urticaria
If you have this condition, you have to deal with your skin turning pale, raised and red at the slightest touch. It’s earned the nickname “skin writing” because sufferers are able to write on their skin by applying pressure that raises itchy welts. They usually last about 30 minutes.
Not a lot is known about the condition, but antihistamines can help curb the reaction.
#1. Colloidal Silver
Some health food fads are harmless. Others are technically harmless, but will turn your skin and eyes blue, so….you know. Buyer beware and all of that.
Colloidal silver is currently being hawked as an alternative medicine for everything from cancer to AIDS and a dozen things in between. The color changes it causes are permanent, so watch out. Though if you plan to join the Blue Man Group you may as well go for it.
We think you might like these other articles from Did You Know!