Morgellons is not Delusions of Parasitosis

I was looking at this KTUV video, and one thing that struck me was the similarity of the lesions on the afflicted people. They were very similar to the ones on WKRG Alabama. What do these people have in common?

Here’s a picture of the lesions.


Actually, I fib. The above picture is of lesions from someone suffering from what is termed Neurotic Excoriation, related to Dermiatitis artefacta.

The picture comes from the web site Dermnet, which has a fascinating (and sometimes disturbing) comprehensive photographic overview of what might go wrong with your skin. The eczema collection alone is quite amazing, and that’s where we find Neurotic Excoriations.


The above photo is taken from the WKRG Alabama video.

So, my actual point here is that Morgellons is not Delusions of Parasitosis, at least not always. Based on the what I’ve seen, I think it often can be one of any number of skin conditions, compounded with simply mistaking environmental fibers as being fibers emerging from the skin. Delusions are not necessary, just a mistake.

Sure, delusions may be present in some people. But I think a lot of people are quite reasonably minded, and simply found a few ordinary fibers, and then were fooled by the web and media reports into thinking that this was a genuine symptom of their problem.

The sad thing is, this hurts them two ways. Firstly, hurried doctors diagnose them as delusional, and secondly they diagnose themselves as having “Morgellons”, in both ways depriving them of appropriate medical care.

If you think you have Morgellons, perhaps you should browse though Dermnet first, just to get an idea of the range of possibilities.

Causes of itching

There are many causes of itching, here are a few:

People sometimes jump to conclusions, skipping over potential explanation in favor of the explanations they most desire. If you think you have Morgellon, did you actually check that none of the things listed here could be responsible for your symptoms?

Here’s something that might be responsible for a fraction of the Morgellons cases.


(It’s a scabies mite – it burrows into your skin)

Fibers are Everywhere – Part 2

You may be astonished to find them ALL OVER — your skin. your rug, your mirrors (they seem ‘attracted’ to mirrors!)… They’re in the air, swirling and floating on the slightest air currents. Check your hair — it is exposed outdoors — it can ‘host’ hundreds! Your clothes can glow like galaxies of miniature stars are on them. ‘Dust’ on every flat surface in your home can be filled with them.
Some wave and squirm, almost as if they’re alive.”

This is something I noticed myself, when playing around with a black light. I also noticed a white t-shirt (and most white items of clothing) glow bright white. It’s part of the dyeing process that makes them white. Plus, laundry detergent glows white. The fibers from these things are the fibers that you see under black light.

It’s funny – they make the same case I was making before, fibers are everywhere, yet somehow reason escapes them and they attribute it to aliens and the government’s secret mind control chemtrail spraying activities.

Why is it not lint?

First of all, you can SEE lint on your clothes. You CANNOT see these filaments in regular light EVEN if you are looking right at them. Catch one with tweezers under UV light, keep a firm grip, and turn on the room light. It ‘vanishes’! Turn the room light off, turn the UV on, and it’s still there

That’s because it’s tiny! You can see it under black light because it emits light against a black background. when you turn the light on, it blend in with everything, as it’s so small.

Secondly, there were a lot of people in the 1970’s who owned UV lights of this type for illuminating posters and creating a party mood. No one from that era claims to remember this material.”

WHAT!? “Er, do you remember, going to a party sometime in the 70’s, did you happen to notice, when it was really dark and you were next to a black light, that there were these tiny fibers on people’s clothes?” – This is evidence of a vast government conspiracy? – that you can’t find anyone who remembers the fibers from a party in the 70s? Well, that could equally well be evidence that detergent manufacturers started using stilbenes in their detergent sometime between 1980 and 2000? Or, it could mean nothing at all. Or maybe that people who decorated with black light did not do much laundry. What do you remember from the 70s? What color were lava lamps? Did pet rocks have hair? Did mood rings work?

Thirdly – […] all you need is a microscope […] a known piece of lint […] Note the twisted fibers — they look like rope. These are solid (not translucent), dusty-looking, and have bushy ends. […] Now pick up a suspected ‘CT-UV fallout’ filament […] They seem to made of some sort of prismatic flat filament that twists — extruded looking, about 1/3- 1/5 the diameter of a human hair laid side-by-side — obviously NOT fibrous

Total nonsense. Lint contains all kinds of fibers. Most of them are emphatically NOT twisted like rope, they are single fibers. Brushed cotton/polyester blend fibers also look like a “sort of prismatic flat filament that twists “. They are also about 1/3 the diameter of a human hair. Obviously fibrous.

And then:

No one posting at Carnicom seems to have access to a photography microscope. We hope that someone with access to such will post some photomicrographs

How unfortunate. Try the QX5, only $70

Here’s some “photomicrographs” of lint. 200x and 60x. Note how there are ALL KINDS of fibers. Probably a few from my florescent white t-shirts. Note the white ones, kind of “sort of prismatic flat filament that twists “, don’t you think?


Fibers are indeed everywhere. Perfectly naturally.

UPDATE: Looks like someone got themselves a QX3/5
Strikingly similar to my photos, you think?

Why do some hairs move?

Somewhere herein, Patti said:
When certain hairs on your head and body move while ones right next to them are dead-still, there simply is no explanation except whatever the “pathogen” is that has invaded our bodies

Interesting. So, I resolve to investigate:

I look at my arm, it’s got a bunch of hairs on them, up to nearly an inch long. I blow on them, they move. I blow very gently, ONLY ONE HAIR MOVES!

That one there. It’s a longer hair, kind of lonely out there on its own, it’s also a bit kinked.

So, here I’m theorizing, that hair is an older hair, that’s nearly at the end of its life cycle, it’s kinked because its internal structure is breaking down, making it lose rigidity. As it’s at the end of its life cycle, its root will not be firmly embedded in the follicle, in fact there is probably another hair growing, pushing it out.

I can blow very very gently towards that patch of skin, and I can’t feel the air movement at all. yet the hair still moves and occasionally a few other very isolated hairs move. Since I can do this, it seems quite possible that small air currents might do the same.

The point is Patti – there is an explanation as to why only individual hairs move. I was able to demonstrate this with just a few minutes of experiments. There are probably several other explanations as well. There is no need to go for the most complex explanation possible, just because you can’t immediately think of a simple explanation.

Tea-tree objects identified

Over on the incredibly long biology-online thread, someone was going into great detail on his experiences with tea-tree oil. He posted a link to a photo album:

I’d expect a lot of fiber photos, but was surprised to find most of the photos were of things that looked like blobs of some kind of gelatinous stuff, like this:

(lots more on the site, check it out).

Intrigued, I read that all he did was rub tea tree oil on his arm, and the fibers appeared. Fibers? He must include these blobs as some kind of compressed fiber.

Anyway, I got some tea tree oil and rubbed it onto my arm – smelly stuff!

Nothing seemed to be happening for a while, I notice the small hairs stuck to the skin, maybe that’s what people were seeing. Hmm, or maybe as the oil drys, the hairs pop up?

Nothing really going on, I stared at my arm, shining a flashlight, wishing I had a magnifying glass. Then suddenly I noticed a tiny little speck at the base of one hair. Whoa! I’m infected! I pinch the skin, and gently scrape it off with a sharp knife, and transfer it under the microscope, x200.


Hey, that looks familiar – it’s a “fiber” thing. I have Morgellons!

Zoom out a little:


It’s about 1mm long, 0.25 mm wide. Not sure where that fiber came from.

Okay, so I’m not itching. I probably don’t have Morgellons. So what is this thing?

It’s a sebum plug.

Hair on your arms is rooted in little pits called follicles. Sebaceous glands in the follicle secrete an oil substance called sebum. The follicles can become blocked (both with or without a hair growing from them). A plug of sebum forms in the follicle and can harden.

Tea tree oil dissolves the material (skin and hardened sebum) blocking the top of the follicle, and allows the sebum plug to emerge. Tea tree oil is a well-known treatment for blocked pores.

Tiny fibers could quite easily become trapped in the follicle and become part of the sebum plug. Not many of the photos actually have fibers though.

Shutterfly guy – you are collecting sebum plugs.

He also has a video of a sebum plug dissoving in some alcohol. It’s quite an energetic dissolution – titled “supernova”. Sebum is fat, alcohol dissoves fat. Fat is semi-soil and dissolving it is a naturally violent reaction due to localized changes in surface tension and density.
Here’s another sebum plug (60x)


You can see how people might think it was some kind of fibrous organism.

Fibers are Everywhere

Right now you are surrounded by billions of fibers.

This is perfectly natural, since fibers are everywhere. But if you think you might have a fiber disease such as Morgellons, then you need to able to distinguish normal fibers from fibers that are part of the disease.

Here’s a quick experiment. Turn your monitor off for a second and look at the screen. Covered with dust right? Look closer (get a magnifying glass if you have one), you will see the dust is mainly comprised of tiny fibers, about 1/16th of an inch long (1mm or so).

Where do they come from?

The biggest sources of fibers in the home are paper products and clothing.

Paper products are things like facial tissues, toilet tissue and paper. Paper is actually MADE from fibers. When you tear paper, the edges look like this (60x magnification):

That’s just regular letter sized paper, the kind you use in your printer. Paper is actually made of millions of fibers!

Here’s the same piece of paper at 200x


Those are some pretty serious fibers. Tiny though, only about 20 microns in diameter. They are visible to the naked eye if you have good eyesight.

Another common paper product is facial tissues such as Kleenex. Here’s some Kleenex at 60x:


See it’s just like paper, made from millions of fibers – the fibers are just more spaced out to make it softer.

All paper products are basically the same, made entirely from cellulose fibers (extracted from wood).

What about clothes?

When you wash your clothes and dry them in the dryer, some of the fibers in the clothes come off, and that’s what makes the lint. If you look at lint under a microscope, it looks like this:


You can see it’s made from all different kinds of fibers, all different colors. Both from the clothes that were in the dryer, and other fibers the clothes might have picked up as you wore them, perhaps in contact with other clothes, or the clothes of other people you touched, or off furniture.

When paper, clothing or furniture shed fibers, the tiny fibers float around in the air and land on surfaces. Often they will land on you. If you take a fresh post-it pad and dab the sticky part over your face a few times, you will find it get quite a few fibers on it. Like this (10x):


Here’s a close-up (60x):


Not many, but I bet you did not think there were any fiber on your face, eh?

So, all these fibers flying everywhere from natural sources. If they touch something soft, they stick to it. So you tend to always find a few embedded in (and under) scabs or any mucus-like stuff you have one your body. Like this:


Notice how the fibers here are just the same as the lint in the dryer. This indicates they are probably fibers from clothing. Paper fibers are probably there as well, just a bit harder to see.

What can we conclude?

There are lots of fibers on every surface and floating around in the air. This is not a bad thing, as the fibers are just paper or clothing fibers. The fibers will get on your skin, and get inside any damp lesion.

It’s almost impossible NOT to find fibers on your skin. Everyone has them, just most people don’t notice them, since they don’t look closely enough.

Objects in lesion on child’s lip look like Kleenex fibers has, for a long time (since 2002), shown two pictures titled:

Objects emerging from lesion on child’s lip at 200x

The two photos were probably taken with a QX3 microscope, and have an image size of 512×384 pixels (standard size for QX3 and QX5 microscopes) and they exhibit the characteristic lighting of QX microscopes.

Here is one of the photos from


Here is a photo I took on a QX5 at 200x


Notice the similarities. The size of the “structures” are almost identical. They exhibit a characteristic “flattening” in places. They have similar lengths, thickness and variety.

What are they? Kleenex tissue, stained with blood.

Here’s the same thing at 10x


The only difference here is in the color, which can be accounted for by the lighting, and the amount of blood soaked into the sample. Mine just had a tiny bit of blood on it, so the fibers are not fully soaked.

So, the fibers that were found in a lesion on a child lip look exactly like Kleenex soaked in blood. Does it seem at all unlikely that if you (or your child) has some seeping lesions on their lip, then they might at some time dab them with a Kleenex, perhaps leaving a few fibers? also says the fibers “have tentatively been identified as cellulose”. What is Kleenex made from? Cellulose (refined from wood pulp).

While this does not explain the dark fibers in other photos, it’s an obvious and simple explanation for the “Objects emerging from a lesion”, and should no longer be claiming that these are somehow unusual, unidentified, hyphae-like structures.

They look exactly like Kleenex fibers, soaked in blood. That’s probably what they are.

Hypha? Hair?

Consider the photos here:

* “These structures can be described as fiber-like or filamentous”
* “The unknown fibers associated with skin lesions can be described as coenocytic (aseptate), smooth-walled, branching, filamentous objects. The fibers have been analyzed by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) and have tentatively been identified as cellulose.”
* “The fibers are clearly hyphae-like structures, and yet, do not fall within the description of known hyphae or pseudohyphae

So can the items in the photos be described as “coenocytic” or “hyphae-like”? The two photos are titled “Objects emerging from lesion on child’s lip at 200X”. Now given this “200X”, how long does that make the “objects”? We can’t really say, as the images themselves could be scaled to any size. But approximately, the “fibers” on my screen are 40mm long, and 2mm thick. This makes them 0.2mm long, and 0.01mm thick. (200 microns by 10 microns, where 1 micron=0.001mm). This puts them approximately in the same scale as hyphae (the living, growing parts of fungi, tiny tubes filled with cytoplasm and nuclie).

On an old page at, that is still up, but seemingly not linked to, it says:
“The fibers are clearly hyphae-like structures, and yet, due their immense size (150 microns wide), they do not fall within the description of known hyphae or pseudohyphae. “
Huh? Even if measuring off 1:1 the screen, then at 200x magnification, 150 microns would appear as 30mm wide (about an inch). Plainly the objects are not 150, and are more like 15 microns thick. Either that or the photos are labled incorrectly. However, the SEM photos clearly show “fibers” that are about 15 microns.

Hypha can be both septate and aseptate (Coenocytic). Septate hyphae are divided by cross section segments called septa. Aseptate hyphae are not. Detrmining if a structure is septate or aseptate is difficult with the images provided, as the most of the structures are out of focus. The clearest structure (in the first image) actually shows some evidence of being septate, rather than aseptate. The picture appears to have been taken with reflective light (from above), and a better determination could be made with transmissive light (from below). Additionally, the specimen should be mounted on a slide and stained to enhance contrast.

Additional stained images are given here:

However, this photo does not resemble the first photos at all, clearly they are different structures, much longer, and smoother.

Then we have some SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) photos. These photos reveal surface features.

Here we have a scale, showing the object is about 15 microns thick. Human hair is generally described as “60-100 microns in diameter”, which would seem to eliminate that as a candidate. However, that is the diameter of full grown head hair (a “terminal” hair). Finer new grown body hair will emerge with an initial diameter that is much smaller, children are covered in “vellus” hair, which has a diameter of under 30 microns.

Going back to the first photo, since the “structures” here are from a lesion on the lip of a child”, and the lesions clearly extend beyond the actual lip surface, then is it not reasonably to think they might be vellus hairs, coated in some viscous liquid (blood, puss or sebum)?

In this photo of the site from which the specimen was obtained:

You can clearly see what look like vellus hair in the lower portions of the image