This post is obviously unrelated to hair loss cures or hair loss science and research. After the recent demise of Bryan Shelton, I could not help but wonder: whatever happened to Ernie Primeau and Arfy?
From when I first started reading hair loss forums in the early 2000s, I remember ten or so people/usernames quite vividly. Ernie Primeau was probably the craziest person ever seen on hair loss message boards, and no-one will surpass or even match him in that regard. Hair loss forum veterans are unlikely to ever forget that name, especially considering that he probably holds the world record for most number of hair loss forum/discussion group posts. Ernie was obsessed with his theory that permanently removing all your body hair via plucking would grow back scalp hair.
Update: Ernie is still alive and replied in the comments section to this post, and he actually even sounds sane! There is also a picture of him here, but I can’t vouch for its veracity.
Arfy was damaged by a hair transplant surgeon during the time when they used pluggy grafts and older surgical techniques. He was quite an advocate for those who had been disfigured, and went out of his way to help people about to get surgery. He was probably as prolific a poster as Bryan Shelton for a few years. I have not read any posts by Arfy in many years it seems, although my frequency of visits to hair loss forums has varied significantly over the past decade.
Update: Arfy is also still alive and has been posting on various hair loss forums again as of 2016.
I would have preferred to continue making optimistic posts related to new hair loss cure related developments, and was in fact not planning to post at all today. However, I just learnt that one of the all-time legendary personalities of the hair loss forums, Bryan Shelton, passed away on September 16th, 2013. He was only 63 years old and had stopped posting on hair loss forums during the past year. I was curious as to what had happened to him and guessed that he must be sick, since in all the years I have frequented hair loss forums, Bryan was one of the few constants. Perhaps the only constant, when excluding the people who ran or owned these forums.
Bryan seemed to have more hair loss and hair related knowledge than any other poster out there. I say “seemed to” because once people such as Bryan cross a certain threshold of expertise in this field of study, I am not the best person to figure out the legitimacy of what they are saying. Some of Bryan’s posts were at a level that was too complicated for me to comprehend fully without doing a lot of research. Luckily, most of Bryan’s posts involved presenting interesting ideas, offering advice when asked, or legitimately correcting people. Bryan was usually correct as far as I could tell.
I was surprised to learn that Bryan had no college education. Even more impressive, Bryan tended to do a lot of his research at libraries. I suppose it is not surprising, considering that he grew up in an era without the internet. When a journal article could not be found online, Bryan would find it at his main local library.
I encourage readers to search for Bryan Shelton’s posts on all the hair loss forums and message boards out there. On several, he has close to 9,000 posts! As you will see from his posts, Bryan’s expertise will be greatly missed. For me, Bryan’s demise represents the end of an era during which hair loss medications, hair transplants and wigs were our best hope. Hair multiplication, hair cloning and stem cell related treatments now seem much closer to becoming a reality. It is too bad that Bryan will not be able to witness the final cure when it arrives.
It says a lot that I never met Bryan, never saw his picture, and maybe only interacted with him on the hair loss forums one or two times in all these years. Yet I think enough of him to type such a lengthy obituary.