Blue man leaves Oregon in search of acceptance

Blue man leaves Oregon in search of acceptance

MADERA, Calif. - It's not makeup or paint that makes Paul Karason's skin a bluish color.

The 57-year-old started making the transition from fair skin and freckles to what he looks like today 14 years ago.

"The change was so gradual that I didn't perceive it and for people around me, likewise," Karason said. "It was just so gradual that no one really noticed. It wasn't until a friend that I hadn't seen in several months came by my parents' place to see me and he asked me 'what did you do?'"

What Karason did was use a substance called colloidal silver, which is made by extracting silver from metal. It goes into water with an electrical current and then you drink it. Colloidal silver is billed as something that will cure just about everything that ails you and Karason swears by it.

Karason does not believe drinking the potion is what caused his discoloration. He believes it happened because he rubbed it on his face to treat a skin problem. A medical condition called Argyria has been linked to such discoloration since the days when silver solutions were used as antibiotics.

Whatever the cause, Karason said it is not easy living life as a blue man.

"I do tend to avoid public places as much as I can," he said.

Karason's girlfriend, Jackie Northrup, said she was surprised at first, but is now used to it.

"The only time now that I really think about it or notice it is if we're out in public and people start staring," she said.

Karason moved to Madera, California about six months ago after living in Oregon. He said too many people in Oregon were unkind to him and he hopes Californians will be different.

"I hope that they just accept me," he said. "And I think that will happen here. Where I was, I rather doubt it would have. This is a different kind of community here."

"He's very kind and has a big heart," said Northrup.

Karason said he has not sought medical attention for the condition and he is prepared to live with it for the rest of his life.