Images of a man who turned his skin completely blue after self-medicating several health conditions have resurfaced several years after he originally became famous.
Paul Karason, who suffered from a range of conditions including dermatitis, consumed a silver compound mix in an effort to stop his skin from flaking.
According to an episode of Inside Edition from 2008, the Washington native also started rubbing the mixture onto his skin, causing him to experience argyria – a rare medical syndrome caused by silver poisoning from dietary supplements.
Paul, who became known as ‘Blue Man’ and ‘Papa Smurf’ as a result of his blue-tinged skin, started drinking the homemade silver colloidal mixture after reading an advert in a new age magazine which said it could promote health and rejuvenation – claims which are unsubstantiated.
The mixture which features tiny silver ions and nanoparticles suspended in liquid, caused Paul’s skin to change colour completely – something he said he didn’t notice until a friend pointed it out to him.
Paul Karason (pictured while appearing on the TODAY show in 2008) turned blue after self-medicating with silver supplements
‘A friend that hadn’t seen me in a while came by and asked me what I’d done to myself,’ Paul, who was born with fair skin and red hair, told Inside Edition.
He added that having blue skin proffered some advantages, including never getting sunburnt.
However, Paul noted, he didn’t enjoy the stares he received as a result of looking different to other people.
But overall, when asked if he could go back to the way he used to be, Paul said he really didn’t know.
In 2008, he appeared on the TODAY show alongside his then-girlfriend Jackie Northrup, who discussed his reaction to being called ‘Papa Smurf’.
She said: ‘That was a nickname he didn’t appreciate, depending on who said it.
‘If it was a kid who ran up to him saying “Papa Smurf”, it would put a smile on his face. But if it was an adult, well…’
Several years after initially becoming known, Paul’s personal life took a downturn.
Sadly, Paul’s life took a downturn after he suffered from a range of health conditions as well as struggling to find work, leading him to lose his home and move into a homeless shelter in 2012
He struggled to find work, broke up with his fiancee, and suffered from several health crises including prostate cancer and heart issues.
After losing his home, in 2012 Paul was forced to move from Madeira, California to return to his hometown of Bellington, Washington to move into a homeless shelter.
However, after returning home he soon reunited with a school friend Jo Anna Elkins, and the couple – who would later marry – moved in together.
In September 2013, Paul Karason died aged 62 at a Washington hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia after suffering a heart attack.
In 2013, Paul Karason (pictured here in 2008) died while treated for pneumonia in a Washington hospital, after suffering a heart attack
His then-estranged wife Jo Anna Karason told press he had also suffered from a stroke.
Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver in a liquid base – in Paul’s case, distilled water.
Silver has antibacterial properties and has been used to fight infection for thousands of years.
But it went out of use when penicillin, which is far more effective, was developed.
It continued to be used in some over-the-counter medicines until 1999, when the FDA banned it because it causes argyria, which is a result of the silver reacting with light the same way it does in photography.
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