The human body is an endless maze of fascinating, complex, weird, and miraculous behaviors. It’s mind-boggling to explore the lengths it can go to. Imagine if our bodies rejected water; the one element absolutely essential for survival? Or if we suddenly start looking like Jacob Black from the Twilight Series? (Don’t get too excited, I meant the wolf form.) Or Papa Smurf from The Smurfs?
It sounds unbelievable, but such people do exist. From werewolves and tree-men to walking corpses, we’ve compiled some of the most bizarre conditions known to humans! Disclaimer: Some of these images may be disturbing to see.
1. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS)
This syndrome is named after the famous book by Lewis Carroll. Individuals with this syndrome suffer from an altered perception of body size and shape, i.e. a person may believe he/she is rapidly enlarging or shrinking, in relation to the objects around them. The person may also experience a flawed sense of passing time- much like the experiences Alice had!
The syndrome is linked to people who experience severe migraines, epilepsy or have brain injuries. Anyone who has experienced these symptoms before will know how much discomfort they can cause. In some cases, there may be so much discomfort that the individual will struggle to go about their daily life. Aside from reaching out for professional advice, some may have decided to look at and use the products from somewhere like Blessed CBD UK to help ease and relieve any pain and discomfort they are experiencing. It has been known to help and can help to create a better quality of life for the individual. However, others like to use this to their advantage. Rumour has it that Lewis Carrol’s own experience with migraine headaches inspired the events in the book!
2. Werewolf Syndrome
Many of us tend to grumble and whine every month to visit the parlor and get a few hair strands plucked. But imagine if your face was completely covered with long, thick hair! The werewolf syndrome, also called “Hypertrichosis”, causes abnormal hair growth all over the body.
This syndrome could either be congenital (by birth) or acquired later on in life. It occurs because of severe alterations in the genes of sufferers. Research shows that we can also acquire the condition as a side effect of anti-balding treatments. Scary, right? Permanent hair removal methods like laser surgery will provide no long-term results in such cases. The Mexican Actor Jesús Aceves is a good example of what it’s like to have Hypertrichosis.
3. Aquagenic Urticaria (Water allergy)
Aqua means water, and urticaria means hives or an allergic rash. Yup, there are people allergic to water! In 2019, a woman in the UK complained of highly painful and itchy rashes that developed on her skin after contact with water. She described it as ‘first a prickly feeling and then a full-blown rash’. What puzzled the doctors most was this- she did not have a water allergy a year back!
Several similar cases have also been reported around the world. The first known case dates back to 1964. Though there may be occasional swelling of the lips and mouth, individuals can usually drink water without breaking into hives.
4. Tree Man Syndrome
People suffering from tree man syndrome have skin that looks like a tree’s bark. The growths on the skin are actually warts that occur because of a rare genetic mutation. Scientists have yet to figure out the exact cause behind the mutation. Warts initially start out small in childhood, which eventually turns into foot-long lesions, sometimes even longer. It mostly develops over the sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, neck, hands, and feet.
5. Walking Corpse Syndrome
Cotard’s disease, also referred to as the ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’ is a rare mental health disorder. People suffering from this condition believe themselves to be dead, dying, or missing body parts and internal organs. It’s common for patients to starve themselves, or stop taking care of their body, because of a deluded belief that they aren’t alive.
Many of them visit the graveyard often, to get close to “their kind”. Some of them may also suffer from delusions that their close friends and family have been replaced by imposters.
6. Argyria (Blue Skin)
Prolonged exposure to silver particles (colloidal silver), can cause your skin to turn blue-grey. In 2008, Paul Karason famously appeared on the Today show, with a striking similarity to Papa Smurf. Paul drank colloidal silver for several years, which ultimately turned his skin blue. He drank it to improve his general health and dermatitis, after seeing a magazine ad in which a desiccated flower was brought back to life after being immersed in a solution of silver ions.
In Hyperthymesia, or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), individuals can remember a strangely large number of past events and life experiences in gross detail. They not only remember each and everything that happened to them but also exactly when it happened. This disease is so rare that in fact, there are only 61 cases of hyperthymesia worldwide! Have a look at the below video to get a feel of it;
8. Auto-brewery syndrome
Did you know a person can experience drunkenness without having a single sip of alcohol? That’s what happens when you suffer from a rare disease called Auto-brewery Syndrome, or gut fermentation syndrome. In this condition, pure alcohol (ethanol) is produced in a person’s stomach after consuming carbohydrate-rich foods. Yeast in the gut is responsible for this.
9. Morgellons disease
Imagine being tormented by a perpetual prickling, crawling, and biting sensation on your skin. Sufferers of Morgellons often presume they have an insect or parasite infestation. They describe multiple wounds (some of them non-healing) all over the body. The base of these skin lesions appears to be seed-like granules, from which thread-like projections extrude. Individuals also report episodes of short term memory loss, mental confusion, and inability to perform simple tasks.
Several cases report that the disease is contagious, but not everybody is susceptible. The condition can transmit to family members and close circle through physical contact. Doctors are yet to take this condition seriously, as most of them believe it to be a mental delusion.
10. Moebius Syndrome (Full face paralysis)
Moebius syndrome is a rare condition in which a person’s entire face is paralyzed. The facial muscles are too weak or do not function at all. Individuals cannot smile, or even blink properly, leading to an ‘expressionless’ face. The condition occurs because of improper development of the 6th and 7th cranial nerve and is usually present from birth.
Children often experience problems in swallowing and may even choke on food. They have slurred speech and drool frequently. A host of other developmental problems also occur.
Let us know in the comments below which condition seemed the most bizarre to you!
Written and Researched by Shaista Salam