Morgellons: A Hidden Epidemic Or Mass Hysteria?

morgellons_picsIs Morgellons disease from out of this world or all in our heads? Will Storr from the Guardian writes:

It all started in August 2007, on a family holiday in New England. Paul had been watching Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix with his wife and two sons, and he had started to itch. His legs, his arms, his torso – it was everywhere. It must be fleas in the seat, he decided.

But the 55-year-old IT executive from Birmingham has been itching ever since, and the mystery of what is wrong with him has only deepened. When Paul rubbed his fingertips over the pimples that dotted his skin, he felt spines. Weird, alien things, like splinters. Then, in 2008, his wife was soothing his back with surgical spirit when the cotton swab she was using gathered a curious blue-black haze from his skin. Paul went out, bought a £40 microscope and examined the cotton. What were those curling, coloured fibres? He Googled the words: “Fibres. Itch. Sting. Skin.” And there was his answer. It must be: all the symptoms fitted. He had a new disease called morgellons. The fibres were the product of mysterious creatures that burrow and breed in the body. As he read on, he had no idea that morgellons would turn out to be the worst kind of answer imaginable.

[Continues at The Guardian]

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  • Haystack

    The “weird alien fibers” turn out to be sort of stuff you pick up from sitting on a sofa or wearing a sweater after you’ve scratched yourself raw from anxiety.

    What people don’t appreciate is that psychogenic illnesses are real. Phrases like “it’s all in your head” make is sound more trivial than it is, and come off as insulting or dismissive to the people who have it. It’s hard, then, for doctors to know how to respond because they risk alienating their patients by diagnosing them with a psychogenic disorder, but if they say “these sofa threads are clearly of alien origin” they’re being dishonest.

    • http://twitter.com/Sarcastic_Molko Jimmy Lightyear

      I wonder if this is just paranioa combined with a very simple and common thing… heat rash. “Prickly fibres protruding from the skin” I get these sometimes after intense sweaty exercise and either cant be bothered showering or forget to. These OCD types (who probably dont work out much) have no clue. The pores get blocked and inflamed and protrude from sweat and rubbing, usually in areas of folding skin, then become itchy and “prickly”. They go away after a few days when you shower and use some anti bacterial cream or something, but scratch them and they get worse and hang around. Anyone else have this come to mind?

      Granted Doctors tellling them they are insane only makes it worse.

      • quartz99

        Yeah, that’s the first thing I thought of too. That combined with the fact that if you scratch, esp. if you scratch enough for there to be a little moistness or skin tearing, you pick up fibers which can become embedded when the skin heals, making them prickly right at the skin. I kind of think that’s something most dermatologists would look for though. BUT, we use more and stranger chemicals every day. Who knows how they interact with each other. Maybe the residue from the new! and improved! color-brightening detergent has a chemical in it that interacts with, say, the older rayon that’s getting scuffed and fraying on certain theatre chairs (to use the example in the article), and it causes a little skin irritation in people with sensitive skin, at which point they pick up fibers on their roughened skin. Those chemical interactions would wash away the next time they showered, but the skin irritation would remain. Doesn’t have to be in their head to not be a disease in the sense of having a common cause and disease vector that can be diagnosed reproducibly by common medical tests.

    • Tuna Ghost

      Tell me one more time my sofa doesn’t come from the stars and I’ll punch you directly on the mouth

  • Haystack

    The “weird alien fibers” turn out to be sort of stuff you pick up from sitting on a sofa or wearing a sweater after you’ve scratched yourself raw from anxiety.

    What people don’t appreciate is that psychogenic illnesses are real. Phrases like “it’s all in your head” make is sound more trivial than it is, and come off as insulting or dismissive to the people who have it. It’s hard, then, for doctors to know how to respond because they risk alienating their patients by diagnosing them with a psychogenic disorder, but if they say “these sofa threads are clearly of alien origin” they’re being dishonest.

  • Mr. Coffee

    Commander Keen, Episode 7: Morgellons are in my Daddy!

  • Mr. Coffee

    Commander Keen, Episode 7: Morgellons are in my Daddy!

  • JoiquimCouteau

    This is a metaphor for virology

  • Anonymous

    This is a metaphor for virology

  • Godozo

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there’s a strong petrochemical component in these things. SOMETHING’S triggering people’s responses to the stuff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some strange reaction going on that’s causing red, blue and white fibers (always those three colors, am waiting for yellow, green or brown fibers) to be picked up from the skin.

  • Godozo

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there’s a strong petrochemical component in these things. SOMETHING’S triggering people’s responses to the stuff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some strange reaction going on that’s causing red, blue and white fibers (always those three colors, am waiting for yellow, green or brown fibers) to be picked up from the skin.

  • http://twitter.com/Sarcastic_Molko Jimmy Lightyear

    I wonder if this is just paranioa combined with a very simple and common thing… heat rash. “Prickly fibres protruding from the skin” I get these sometimes after intense sweaty exercise and either cant be bothered showering or forget to. These OCD types (who probably dont work out much) have no clue. The pores get blocked and inflamed and protrude from sweat and rubbing, usually in areas of folding skin, then become itchy and “prickly”. They go away after a few days when you shower and use some anti bacterial cream or something, but scratch them and they get worse and hang around. Anyone else have this come to mind?

    Granted Doctors tellling them they are insane only makes it worse.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Tell me one more time my sofa doesn’t come from the stars and I’ll punch you directly on the mouth

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that’s the first thing I thought of too. That combined with the fact that if you scratch, esp. if you scratch enough for there to be a little moistness or skin tearing, you pick up fibers which can become embedded when the skin heals, making them prickly right at the skin. I kind of think that’s something most dermatologists would look for though. BUT, we use more and stranger chemicals every day. Who knows how they interact with each other. Maybe the residue from the new! and improved! color-brightening detergent has a chemical in it that interacts with, say, the older rayon that’s getting scuffed and fraying on certain theatre chairs (to use the example in the article), and it causes a little skin irritation in people with sensitive skin, at which point they pick up fibers on their roughened skin. Those chemical interactions would wash away the next time they showered, but the skin irritation would remain. Doesn’t have to be in their head to not be a disease in the sense of having a common cause and disease vector that can be diagnosed reproducibly by common medical tests.

  • justagirl

    BREATHING TUBES?! it looks more like residual wiring to me. i should like to examine these poor, frightened people with my microscope and unbiased expertise in psychosis. i am not afraid.

  • justagirl

    BREATHING TUBES?! it looks more like residual wiring to me. i should like to examine these poor, frightened people with my microscope and unbiased expertise in psychosis. i am not afraid.

  • nevertrusta3sum

    All I can say for you sad sad bunch of DEBUNKERS is, GOD DAMN, do you even read these articles you so precariously tear apart?

    “The morgellons particles didn’t match any of the 800 fibres on their database, nor the 85,000 known organic compounds. He heated one fibre to 600C and was astonished to find it didn’t burn. By the day’s end, Wymore concluded, “There’s something real going on here. Something we don’t understand at all.”

    I seriously wonder about the validity of intellect on this site, sometimes. All I mostly hear from this peanut gallery is a a bunch of know it all, narcissistic, glad handy, Occcam’s Razor HORSE SHIT. Are you all a bunch of government disinformation advocates or something? Your god (SCIENCE) doesn’t explain everything that this world offers, it never will.

    This isn’t to say that some of these cases aren’t what you, or these A$$hole Dr.s say they are. If you don’t believe that there are lies being told, and there are things happening in this world that we don’t yet understand you are dead fucking wrong. Get your heads out of your asses and start doing some deeper digging Watsons, cause we haven’t heard the last of this. If this terrible thing was happening to you I’m sure you would be screaming louder than a banshee. Where is your compassion? You all sound like a bunch of troll sub-humans!!

    • justagirl

      furthermore, hiccups are actually caused by a giant, hairy, spider-type leg that hangs down from the sky and attaches itself to the torso. i sawrit.

      ~the screaming banshee

      • nevertrusta3sum

        it’s funny to to me, you are just a girl. don’t worry your little head with things that don’t concern gum drops and lollypops. All of your statements of sarcasm show your ignorance and weak intellect. If I wanted comedic satire I would be checking out cracked.com or theonion.com …  If you really wanted to argue pathology, anatomy, physiology we could go blow for blow with some real information on what is possible, I’m not sure you have background on such topics, so I suggest you stick with what you know. Minimalist explanations or fanciful ideas to explain things unknown to convince your ego, amongst others as well, that “i am not afraid”. 

        P.S. that spider is real, it wants to eat your soul, he will cleanse the world of anti-intellectuals such as yourself.

  • nevertrusta3sum

    All I can say for you sad sad bunch of DEBUNKERS is, GOD DAMN, do you even read these articles you so precariously tear apart?

    “The morgellons particles didn’t match any of the 800 fibres on their database, nor the 85,000 known organic compounds. He heated one fibre to 600C and was astonished to find it didn’t burn. By the day’s end, Wymore concluded, “There’s something real going on here. Something we don’t understand at all.”

    I seriously wonder about the validity of intellect on this site, sometimes. All I mostly hear from this peanut gallery is a a bunch of know it all, narcissistic, glad handy, Occcam’s Razor HORSE SHIT. Are you all a bunch of government disinformation advocates or something? Your god (SCIENCE) doesn’t explain everything that this world offers, it never will.

    This isn’t to say that some of these cases aren’t what you, or these A$$hole Dr.s say they are. If you don’t believe that there are lies being told, and there are things happening in this world that we don’t yet understand you are dead fucking wrong. Get your heads out of your asses and start doing some deeper digging Watsons, cause we haven’t heard the last of this. If this terrible thing was happening to you I’m sure you would be screaming louder than a banshee. Where is your compassion? You all sound like a bunch of troll sub-humans!!

  • justagirl

    furthermore, hiccups are actually caused by a giant, hairy, spider-type leg that hangs down from the sky and attaches itself to the torso. i sawrit.

    ~the screaming banshee

  • cedarleather

    Please watch [ Fuzz Noir – human fiber coming from scalp] on youtube – The Tulsa lab techs are sayng it isn’t textile. And no it did not come from a towel.

  • cedarleather

    Please watch [ Fuzz Noir – human fiber coming from scalp] on youtube – The Tulsa lab techs are sayng it isn’t textile. And no it did not come from a towel.

  • jack

     I had a doctor try and diagnose me with pod, after I came in complaining of a skin disease. my head had swollen up and broke out in a oozing rash that spread to my whole body after a day at the beach. I was miserable. everything itched. he said psychosomatic. eventually it let up. then I died my hair and boom, it hit again. i thought, like before, hydrocortisone would stop the itch, because it must be an allergy. bad move. it got worse. so i went to the hospital and they gave me a steroid shot, and a weeks prescription of steroids. cleared up in a day. healed over in a week.
    turns out I had a PPD allergy. polypropyl diamide. it is a chemical in mostly american beauty products and cleansers. as well as sunscreen, that is a nightmare. can cause contact dermatitis that is exacerbated by using itch creams. 
    For a whole year I tried about everything to get rid of it, thinking I was nuts, and my doctor neglected to think of allergies as a cause, all because I initially came in thinking I had some sort of parasite. funny how a little language can Skew a doctors opinion of you.
    what strikes me is how these people started with the same sort of problem I had, each remembers when it started. my advice, talk to an allergist, and fuck the rest of em.

  • jack

     I had a doctor try and diagnose me with pod, after I came in complaining of a skin disease. my head had swollen up and broke out in a oozing rash that spread to my whole body after a day at the beach. I was miserable. everything itched. he said psychosomatic. eventually it let up. then I died my hair and boom, it hit again. i thought, like before, hydrocortisone would stop the itch, because it must be an allergy. bad move. it got worse. so i went to the hospital and they gave me a steroid shot, and a weeks prescription of steroids. cleared up in a day. healed over in a week.
    turns out I had a PPD allergy. polypropyl diamide. it is a chemical in mostly american beauty products and cleansers. as well as sunscreen, that is a nightmare. can cause contact dermatitis that is exacerbated by using itch creams. 
    For a whole year I tried about everything to get rid of it, thinking I was nuts, and my doctor neglected to think of allergies as a cause, all because I initially came in thinking I had some sort of parasite. funny how a little language can Skew a doctors opinion of you.
    what strikes me is how these people started with the same sort of problem I had, each remembers when it started. my advice, talk to an allergist, and fuck the rest of em.

  • nevertrusta3sum

    it’s funny to to me, you are just a girl. don’t worry your little head with things that don’t concern gum drops and lollypops. All of your statements of sarcasm show your ignorance and weak intellect. If I wanted comedic satire I would be checking out cracked.com or theonion.com …  If you really wanted to argue pathology, anatomy, physiology we could go blow for blow with some real information on what is possible, I’m not sure you have background on such topics, so I suggest you stick with what you know. Minimalist explanations or fanciful ideas to explain things unknown to convince your ego, amongst others as well, that “i am not afraid”. 

    P.S. that spider is real, it wants to eat your soul, he will cleanse the world of anti-intellectuals such as yourself.

  • justagirl

     you reek of naivety and presumptuousness…  i like iT.

  • nevertrusta3sum

    you remind me of this song.. i kind of like both.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IHoauTFzKs

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