morgellons disease - deepest viral ever?

photo courtesy of

A couple of weeks ago, a story was making its way around the technology boards like Slashdot and Digg, and was even posted on BoingBoing. Morgellon's Disease is a disease where patients get lesions that never heal, and strange colorful "fibers" that grow out of their skin (pictured above), all while it feels like bugs are crawling under the skin. It received mainstream news coverage too.

Well now Adrants points out that the whole thing could be fake - created as a viral campaign for the movie A Scanner Darkly.

It's possible the disease is real - and the campaign latched onto it. Many of the websites that cover it are registered anonymously - and nearly all of the news reports covering it appear to have been generated by the same VNR. Many of the websites associated with the disease also claim some major announcement in June or July - and the movie is set to release on July 7, which would make sense.

If this is viral, it's producers planned it years in advance. Impressive. Or, have we become paranoid, conspiracy theory lovin' branding people who see viral campaigns in everything around us? We'll all find out by July 7.


oltimeybioman said...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

(404) 639-3311

June 1, 2006

Dan Rutz of the CDC on the phone.

The CDC has chosen a head researcher to lead a group, currently in the process of assemblage, to investigate Morgellon's.

Here's a very lucid person with a dry sense of humor, an Intel microscope, and continuing to keep an open mind about possibilities:

Exactly What Morgellon's IS...

whether natural or unnatural mutation, whether something very old awakened in the environment or something very new released, whether a unique complex of the known come together naturally or unnaturally, whether something that has been going on under the radar and is just now coming to light or something that really is a recent novel addition to the scene

...the, "kind," with the physical evidences that has prompted formation of a CDC group dedicated to finding out, hopefully will be known sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

I had this condition or something just like it in 1999. It lasted perhaps 3 months and baffled the dermatologists.
I developed it while staying over at my metally ill brother's apartment, a few nights a week. Things seemed to crawl over my body but I would look in the mirror with bright light and seen nothing. On the top of the upermost joint of a left hand finger, a lession had, what felt like a bundle of stiff little bristles, about a 1/2 millitermer long, above the level of the skin. Fortunately I am a photographer and had access to 35mm good camera lenses, that would act like a low power microscope, I examined the lesions, which became about 200 in number, and saw little dark fibers. I would try to extract them above the surface to see if they were solid. I couldn't actually
resolve the question. I moved out from staying with my sick brother, and moved in with my girl friend to the exclusion of any but the briefest short contact with my brother. I assumed that some kind of micro dust mite was the culprit. Sadly, my brother passed away soon after I bailed out,with a heart attack... perhaps having no further significant human interaction...obviously I feel very bad about that! He had a rash as well but would not discuss it. It may not be connected, but I gave a ride for a few minutes to a girl in San Diego about 19, who was hitch-hiking. She was quite pretty, but was plagued with some type of skin disease that looked a lot like the condition I later developed. I didn't ask her about it, and dropped her off with just having a slice of Pizza with her. There was no physical contact, other than sitting next to me for 20 minutes in the car.I think that was perhaps 2 months prior to the onset of the rash. One of the side symptoms of the rash was the loss of all the hair on the back half of my lower legs at about the same time frame. I
checked the sofa where I slept with mylar tape, to see if any dead scabies parts would show up, nothing ever look like that.
Frankly I don't recall how the condition ever went away, other than I left that unhealthy setting, and washed, showered and dried a lot. About a year later I developed the heart condition know as AF (atrial fibrilation) and over time developed a serious neuropathy in my toes. My blood sugar seems to be bordering on diabetes, but only to a degree. Like many of the "Morgellons" sufferers, I seem to be forgetful and somethings fatiged or confused. Last week 3 small bumps occured on the back of my right upper arm. It is too early to know if this is any kind of relapse.
It is possible that something too small to see without special equipment is digging into the skin like a mico mite, say 1/20 of the size of a regular scabies crab,
or it could be some kind of fungus. I suspect the people who wrote and the people who are marketing the new film, that I've just read about, have based their concept on this very real, but
mystery condition that has been around for at least
a generatation or two. Remember, the cause of ulcers
was thought to be from stress and acid until about a decade ago. I worked on research films about ulcers back in the middle sixties as a film student. I'll watch all this with great interest!

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in Morgellons Disease or experience Morgellons symptoms, I would like to invite you to participate in the Morgellons Disease Information Community and Message Board at

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