FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Benjy Stacy, A Man Born With Blue Skin?
A photo shared on Facebook over 200 times purportedly shows Benjy Stacy, a descendant of the well-known blue-skinned Fugate family.
While the story of the blue-skinned Fugate family is correct, the photo shows a man named Paul Karason, not Benjy Stacy.
The image shows a man with a dark blue complexion. “When Benjy Stacy was born in 1975, nurses were shocked by his dark blue skin – only to learn he was descended from the Fugate Family of Kentucky that was famous for having blue skin,” reads the image’s caption. “The first two Fugates, married in 1820, both possessed a recessive gene leading to a rare blood disorder that caused half of their children to be born blue.”
The photo is not of Benjy Stacy, however. A reverse image search revealed the image originated from a 2008 interview with NBC News’ “Today.” The interview focused on Paul Karason, a man who developed blue skin through the use of a silver-based skin product. (RELATED: Does This Picture Show Josephine Myrtal Corbin, The Four-Legged Woman?)
The photo can also be seen in a 2013 article from Today, which was published after Karason passed away from a heart attack and a subsequent stroke. The article explained Karason had been using the silver-based preparation to treat dermatitis, along with drinking colloidal silver he himself produced.
Aside from the photo, the caption describing Stacy and his blue-skinned family’s history is accurate. The condition may have originated from a genetic condition called “methemoglobinemia” in which an abnormal amount of hemoglobin is produced and cannot carry or easily release oxygen, according to ABC News. Stacy eventually lost the blue color of his skin, the outlet reported.