The man who turned a Smurf-like blue after taking colloidal silver for dermatitis has died, though not from his self-administered medical regimen.
Paul Karason, who changed color over the course of 15 years while using the preparation of silver particles suspended in liquid, died on September 24 in Washington state. He had suffered a heart attack, contracted pneumonia and had a stroke, his estranged wife, Jo Anna Karason, told Today. The 62-year-old was a heavy smoker with heart problems, the New York Daily News reported, and had had a triple-bypass five years ago.
Karason administered his silver doses himself, according to Today, using electrolysis to produce the colloidal preparation. He took it both internally and rubbed it on his face to treat a skin condition; the latter act, he believed, is what made him change color.
Silver is known to do this because of the way it reacts with light, and that is part of what got it banned by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. The antibacterial properties the metal possesses were not as potent as those in penicillin, which was developed in the 1930s, according to Today.
“The silver collects in the skin and other organs and does not dissipate,” Today said. “Karason is blue for life.”
His 15 minutes of fame were bracketed by two Today appearances, the first in 2008 when he initially appeared on Today to discuss his blueness, and the second in 2009 when he showed up for an update on his curious hue. Karason had a sense of humor about the condition, known as argyria.
“It’s lightened up,” he told Today in 2009. “I’m anxious to try green.”
Below, the memorable interview and visage of Paul Karason.