Paul “Papa Smurf” Karason died earlier this year, but stories of people who have had their skin turn blue as a result of exposure to colloidal silver continue to surface:
Rosemary, a retired Spanish teacher from Vermont, U.S., said: “When I was 11 years old, my mother mentioned to an ENT specialist that I always had a cold. He told me that it had to be allergies and prescribed nose drops that contained silver, recommending that I take them ‘as needed’.” She did as she was told, using the drops every time she had a stuffy nose.
At first, no could notice any difference in Rosemary’s skin, not even her parents. “The change in my color was so slow, I didn’t notice. My family and friends didn’t notice either because they saw me every day,” she said.
A nurse finally spotted the difference in color and Rosemary went to see a dermatologist. A skin biopsy revealed that there were silver particles bound deep beneath her skin. Unfortunately, there was no cure for argyria in the 1950s, and it was too late to reverse the effects by stopping the drug. “They told me the color was permanent. It was devastating,” she said.
Rosemary has longed to be normal all her life. She has been a victim of discrimination and cruel comments for a very long time. Strangers would think she had a contagious disease and go out of their way to avoid her. “People point and stare, calling me names and telling me to take my Halloween makeup off. Some even say I look like the walking dead.”