Morgellons is by far the best known example of one of several similar conditions characterized by crawling sensations, skin problems (lesions and sores), and the finding of fibers on the skin. The more general term for a condition like this is a “Fiber Disease”. Mary Leitao discovered it on the internet in 2002, and decided it applied to her son’s eczema She called it “Morgellons”, and started an internet phenomena. But the exact same list of symptoms has been around for a lot longer.

Of course, as the Morgellons Research Foundation points out, since these conditions resemble Delusions of Parasitosis, then similar things must have been happening at least since DP was first described over a hundred years ago. What is relatively new is the formation of groups that band together in their insistence that their conditions are caused by some unidentified parasite, toxin, or infectious agent. There are various groups, and various theories, dating back many years.

The following is a brief time-line of various important points in the development of Fiber Disease organizations.

1947, in Skin Manifestations of Internal Disorders, Kurt Weiner describes DP patients who:

“persistently bring little follicular plugs, scales, or woolen fibers wrapped in paper or kept in a box to convince the doctor they have worms or insects in their skin”

1951, Feb – Jay Traver published her paper “Unusual Scalp Dermatitis in Humans Caused by the Mite, Dermatophagoides“. This describes her experiences since 1934 of her own belief in infestation, but inability to get doctors to concur. While she does not mention fibers, her account is often pointed to as validation by people with the fiber disease. Later examination of her evidence concluded the few mites she found were ordinary dust mites, and Traver was in fact suffering from delusional parasitosis (see: John O’Donel Alexander, 1984, Arthropods and Human Skin)

1995 – Approximate date of cases of “NCS” described by Amin in 2001, below.

1995 – Approximate date that NPA started recording cases of “an increasing number of individuals reporting lice or scabies but describing symptoms inconsistent with either of these parasites.”

1996 – Approximate start of popular usage of the internet. From 1996 to 2007, internet usage grows from 16 million to 1093 Million. The internet is a major factor in spreading knowledge of the fiber diseases.

1998, Dec – Oldest archived version of the NUSPA web site. States:

However, because the parasite appears to have so many different metamorphic features, many of which may resemble, human hair, fabric or lint (for example) turn of the century physicians wrongly assumed their patients must have been suffering from a psychosomatic illness rather than a disease.
Rashes, lesions, itching, burning sensations, track marks, scratches, and papules appear from nowhere on the surface of the skin, along with burrows under the skin, containing what the sufferer describes as “eggs”. Some people complain of having symptoms in only one spot on the skin ( i.e., scalp, face, rectum, groin area) while others are infested from head to toe. Acute insomnia can also be a symptom of this disease.
Black specks, iridescent crystals, microscopic hairs, wormlike creatures, hairlike creatures (the size of an eyelash to several inches long, and colors ranging from transparent to shinny black) “lintlike balls” bloody and/saltlike granules and threads, have all been described as emerging from the lesions. Often clothes, bedding, carpets, furniture and cars are heavily infested, again without remedy.

1999, Feb -Postings on parasite mailing list mention parasites that look like “lint” and “hairs”. (Posts byJules and Curtis W. King.)

1999, Oct – Posting on “Elliot’s Disease“, mentions involvement with the NPA.

2000, Feb – NPA has a “Reporting Registry” for Elliot’s Disease (or: “undetermined pathogens which may mimic lice and scabies“), listing the following symptoms:

Sores or lesions, Biting or stinging sensation, Itching, Lumps on head/scalp, Sticky residue on skin, Sparkly particles on skin, Scaling skin, Hair breaking off, White specks on skin, Black specks on skin, Problem in genital area, Itchy, watery eyes, Crawling sensation, Rash, Tracking marks on skin, Hard/crusty shell-like particles on skin, Fibers/lint/fuzzy artifacts, Hair-like dust particles, Symptoms worse at night, Tiny salt-like crystals on skin, Skin discoloration, Scarring

2001, Summer, Mary Leitao finds fibers on her son’s skin. She finds a “Scabies Forum” on the internet where people are discussing finding fibers.

2001, Nov – Neuro-cutaneous Syndrome (NCS): A New Disorder, published by Omar M. Amin in Discover Magazine.

2002, March – and domain names registered.

2002, July – Posting by Mary Leitao on mentions, and says:

The symptoms of this skin disease include stinging, pruritic (itchy), non-healing skin lesions. FIBERS of unknown origin are found deep within skin lesions, and are NOT the result of clothing or environmental fibers. Oils or lotions rubbed into the skin can cause many of these fibers to surface on clean skin.

2002, Dec – First Usenet mention of Morgellons, seems to be an excerpt from linking Morgellons to chemtrails.

2003, Jun – The Morgellons Foundation, first recorded web site on, stating:

Individuals with the Morgellons experience itchy, inflamed, non-healing skin lesions. Stinging sensations are common. Unexplained hairloss is seen in a segment of the patient population, as well as a hardening or thickening of skin.
One of the most striking features of the Morgellons is the presence of fibers or filaments of unknown origin on or within skin lesions.

2003, Aug – NPA writes article on Collembola infestation based on digitally altered images, published May 2004.

2004, March, the first local TV News segment on Morgellons at KTVU, orchestrated by Ken Cowles. This is the start of a media campaign that culminates in the summer of 2006 with the ABC Medical Mysteries segment.

2004, May – Earliest mention of Morgellons on (Later home of the NMO)

2004, Dec – Earliest Mention of Morgellons on Lymebusters.

2005, May – Oldest archived Morgellons post on Lymebusters message board.

2005, May – W. John Martin proposes “Alternate cellular energy pigments” as a cause of the Fiber Disease

2005, Aug – A mammoth single thread is started on, entitled “The Fiber Disease“, the thread runs around 7000 posts until Jan 2007, when it is locked.

2006, Apr – earliest post, highlighting some inconsistencies on the MRF site.

2006, Aug – The MRF splits in two, and the NMO is formed.

8 Responses to “A History of the Fiber Disease”

  1. Amen. It’s always been clear, just like this.

    “The Orphan Patient”, from inside that link, evokes feelings that I can’t express.

    Also, on August 1, 2007, a member of Lymebusters’ message board started a topic thread asking, “Where did this first start?”. Much to my amazement, another member (the same person from the “Elliot’s Disease” link, cited above), voluntarily laid it all out. I’d read before, that prior to putting it on the internet, the small group of patients shared their illnesses over the phone.

    The beginning details of how this unfortunate misunderstanding first spread can be found within this link on “Elliot’s Disease”, under the media reports.

  2. One of the worse symptoms of “Morgellons Disease” is the inability to comprehend. Of course, there is no such thing as Morgellons Disease, and the inability to comprehend has other causes. This symptom, however, keeps the patients from understanding the afore mentioned fact, that the disease isn’t real, and it also keeps them from realizing the degree of harm they are causing. By reinforcing each other’s delusions and keeping each other convinced that Morgellons is a real physical disease, and by keeping each other convinced that they should refuse the DOP diagnosis and antipsychotic medications, they are prolonging each other’s misery. By instilling fear in each other’s minds, and by convincing each other that the situation is hopeless, they are also bringing some patients to the brink of suicide. In fact, the feelings of fear and hopelessness helped to push Travis to that point and beyond. No doubt, this was also the case with Elliot and perhaps some others. This is an unnecessary waste of precious human life, and it’s all because the patients do not comprehend.

    Tall Cotton

  3. Tall Cotton, I sense a tad of empathy in your post, however you continue to annoy the hell out of me.

    I call it “Morgellons” and I do comphrehend very well. Symptoms do not lie and no doctor has been the slightest bit interested (had the balls) in examining the severe manifestation of my symptoms.

    The information I have read about DOP does not fit my Morgellons symptoms & opinion. Morgellons is not an organism as such and DOP is a part of this disorder to a degree, but there is more to it, and you damn well know that.

    I will recover from this Morgellons, you mark my word. Looking back on Morgellons – hurts like hell and is like living a nightmare – sadly though that is just the tip of the ice berg, it gets worse.

    I deserve more than a proprosed investigation promise from the CDC next year. I am mighty disappointed and would love to rage & scream – but what for? I cried my eyes out instead beats a suicide attempt. I think the lot of you are severely delusional too. I have literally emailed/telephoned and written to the entire world asking for help and still no one is interested??? No one wanted to listen to me, if they did – only then to ridicle. No physical examinations, no “looking” at the skin and to be honest I don’t believe the docs believed my severe pain. Their own delusions prevented them from seeing or hearing the truth. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have broken down in tears in front of doctors. Morgellons likes to be fed, particularly through other peoples perception of the victim (namely the medical profession, friends & family) 9 times out of 10 their perception is very incorrect. We aren’t all born liars.

    Whatever your hidden agenda is TC I wish you would damn well get on with it and pull a rabbit out of your hat for the cause.

    This is so damn cruel.

  4. I’ve been looking at this site, and many others, for a week or more……I very much believe there is such a thing as ‘Morgellans Disease’…….
    I really wonder what some of your agenda’s are, by trying to disprove this. hmmmmm interesting.
    Have been checking out that Lymebusters site also. Many many of those people are total major nut cases, a few seem not to be…this could be why NONE of them are taken seriously.
    This all has a smell* to it, something like what is happening in Chicago, re; the so called ‘itch mite’, that has invaded.
    I live 90 miles SW of Chicago. I’ve had welt-like bites*, since the beginning of July. On both sides of neck, top of hand,top of wrist, top of one thigh. They don’t now itch like they used to, but they are still there. Thousands, not hundreds, as stated, have been affected. I’m real PO’D, cause it seems like a news blackout has been put on this, after the initial reporting of the so called oak leaf mites*, setting out traps for them, sending the traps to Nebraska for testing, thats it. No DEFINITE cause has been stated.
    I’m a woman in my 50′s, very sound minded. Oh, there’s no oak trees in our vacinity. My husband has had no bites*, nothing, and he’s outsisde waaay more then I am. ( btw, we don’t drink and have never used drugs).
    After staying in the house for several weeks, yep, was afraid to go out, well, 3 nights ago decided to go for a ride in my car, AFTER spraying my whole bod. w bug spray. Lo, later that night discovered 3 bites* of the inside forearm.
    Did I mention that I’m REAL PO’D???????? hmmmmmmmm
    “We could well be seeing something that hasn’t been recognized in the United States before, some other imported insect we’re not familiar with at this point,” said Dr. Craig Conover, medical director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.”

  5. Forgot..
    “A History of the Fiber Disease” 1558

    There is a type of intercutaneous worm which is wont very frequently to infest infants under six months and not infrequently also children of two years or of about that age. They are born, in preference to all other places, in the muscles of the arms, legs and back, and arise from an excrementory humour which is contained within the pores of the body, and is common at that age. This, because of the repression of transpiration and dispersal, undergoes putrefactive changes and becomes alive and, in proportion to the number of receptacles of the pores, is converted into worms, which have a shape not at all unlike those that are born in putrefying cheese, but very much smaller. They never creep entirely out from the pores, but protrude their little heads, which are distinguished as so many black points. How should they not then be most troublesome, for by exciting a sensation of extreme warmth and, at the same time, of itching, they bring in their train insomnia and restlessness. Where they are packed together in large quantities and are increasing, there they plunder away the living flesh, in the same way as do pediculi, the nourishing humours, taking for themselves that which should have been for tender bodies. Because of this little children pass rapidly into wasting and extreme emaciation. As soon as the women become aware of this, they bring them to the sweating chambers and turkish baths. They first soothingly massage the muscles and affected parts with the hand, and then also anoint them all over with honey. By this device the worms are enticed out as far as possible and so killed. The further prescription of the surgeons that their protruding heads should then be mown down with a razor is not, however, followed by our people so much as it deserves. Our German people refer to these as Mitesser and die zehrende Wurm [sic] from the fact that they seize for themselves and consume the food of the infants whom they infect. The Norumbergians call them die durzemaden [sic] or, as you might put it, the worms that induce wasting.

  6. Lacy says “I’ve been looking at this site, and many others, for a week or more……I very much believe there is such a thing as ‘Morgellans Disease’…….
    I really wonder what some of your agenda’s are, by trying to disprove this. hmmmmm interesting.”

    We’ve been looking at this site, and other Morgellons sites, for years or more, Lacy. Though your first week of reading Lymebusters seems to be convincing to you, it is not to us. I’d be interested in knowing what you found convincing?

    More, speaking on behalf of no one but myself, my agenda is the scientific process. People who assert Morgellons is an actual individual medical condition have yet to show any science supporting this claim, and rely on one doctor who has already asserted his results without any testing and is making many contradictions (Dr. Wymore). All I really see are ad-hominem attacks and baseless accusations against anyone who requests to hold the diagnosis of Morgellons to the skeptical scrutiny of science.

  7. “We could well be seeing something that hasn’t been recognized in the United States before, some other imported insect we’re not familiar with at this point,” said Dr. Craig Conover, medical director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.”

    Same thing w. Morgellans……

    Maybe the CDC will come up w a explanation?? Altho I would’nt trust them either any farther then I could see them……

  8. Tall said

    One of the worse symptoms of “Morgellons Disease” ??? Dude, your obsessing…. ADD?

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