After being posted anonymously to a website called Creepy Pasta, the tale of the Russian sleep experiment has made much doubt whether this story is true or not. Hollywood has welcomed this account of a horrific experiment with open arms and made many adaptations of it. There are even books written on it. But the question still stands – is this just an urban legend? No! According to many conspiracy-minded people, this is a true story leaked from some secret government lab that was later shunned as folklore. Let’s look into the story and find out if something as grotesque as the Russian Sleep Experiment is truly plausible.
The story takes place in the Soviet Union during the late 1940s. The subjects were five political prisoners, placed into a sealed chamber and exposed to a gas which was supposed to prevent them from sleeping for 30 continuous days. The prisoners were falsely promised freedom if they complete the experiment. They were surveilled through cameras and microphones. A group of scientists kept constant watch through one-way glass and monitored each of their activities. They were provided with books and plenty of food.
Things went smoothly during the initial 5 days, though it was noted that their discussions were gradually becoming darker by the day. After nine days, one of the subjects began screaming uncontrollably for hours while the others did not react. The subject screamed until he could only produce occasional squeaks, probably having torn his vocal cords. Things turned even stranger when a second captive started screaming, the others tore pages from books and pasted them with their feces on the porthole windows, preventing the researchers from looking inside. Then things went quiet.
After 3 days of silence, the scientist began to worry as they noticed heavy oxygen consumption but not a single sound. On the 14th day, when the researchers announced the immediate release, a calm voice responded saying that they no longer want to be freed.
Unable to get any more response, the researchers decided to flush the stimulating gas and open the chamber on the 15th day. To their horror, they discover that the four surviving subjects have performed lethal and severe mutilation during the past days, including tearing off flesh and muscles, removing multiple abdominal internal organs, and eating them. The subjects violently refused to leave the chamber and begged for more stimulants. After forcefully bringing them out of the chamber, it was noted that the remaining subjects immediately died if put to sleep.
Seeing all this, one researcher could bear no longer and shot a subject as well as a staff member. With only one surviving subject, the researcher demanded to know what he is, to which the subject simply replied “We are you. We are the madness that lurks within you all, begging to be free at every moment in your deepest animal mind. We are what you hide from in your beds every night. We are what you sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven where we cannot tread”. *
The researcher then shoots the subject and kills himself as well.
Back to Reality
There is no historical data that backs up this account and after many scientific experiments, it was noted that the events that took place in this story are humanly impossible. Sleep deprivation can lead up to death in rare cases but cannot change one’s moral or overall behavior to the extent that they become cannibals. And so it is clear that the Russian Sleep Experiment is just a work of pure fiction. However, true or not, this creepy story is enough to make you stay awake at nights (or force you to sleep quicker).