The skin condition that came to be called Morgellons was first noticed about 10 years ago. It consists of strange fibers poking out of the skin. At first it was dismissed as a form of psychological hysteria, but now it's being taken seriously and may even be caused by genetically-modified foods. The Charles E Holman Foundation, which is studying the disease, says there are cases in "every continent except Antarctica." In the Guardian, Will Storr quotes Morgellon's researcher and sufferer Greg Smith, whose body is covered in waxy scars caused, as saying, "You feel the sensation of something that's trying to come out of your skin."
In 2005, when pharmacologist Randy Wymore read an article about Morgellons that said the fibers protruding from the oozing sores were produced by an unknown parasite, he thought "This should be easy to figure out." He got samples of the fibers from sufferers all over the country, then tried to identify them, comparing them with known fibers from various types of cloth, but couldn't get a match, despite the fact that he compared them to a database containing 800 fibers and 85,000 organic compounds. When he heated one of the Morgellons fibers, he found that it didn't burn. Storr quotes Wymore as saying, "I don't think I've ever seen anything like this. There's something real going on here. Something we don't understand at all."