5 People, 30 Days Without Sleep. The Russian Scientists Didn't See This Coming.
In the late 1940's, five prisoners were chosen to take part in an experiment involving sleep deprivation. That would be acheived by using small doses of an experimental gas that could supposedly eliminate the necessity of sleep in humans. The subjects were given micriphones to communicate with the researchers, and kept in a sealed environment so the scientists weren't exposed to the experimental gas. The prisoners were provided with books, a toilet, running water, enough food to last each of them a full month. Each one had a cot stripped of it's bedding.
The prisoners were given the false promise that if they cooperated and didn't sleep for 30 days they would be freed. Everything they said and did was monitored. The researchers started to notice them opening up about their past traumas, and conversations started getting darker. By day number five, the prisoners started showing signs up paranoia as well as complaining about the past circumstances and decisions that got them where they were. They started to whisper into the microphones, and stopped talking to each other, apparently to win the trust of the experimenters by betraying and turning on the other prisoners.
Things started getting wild. On the tenth day of the experiment, a prisoner started screaming, and didn't stop for three hours, while running back and forth across the room. After his voice began to crack he could only get out squeaks which the doctors assumed were from the tearing of his vocal cords. The scariest thing is that the other prisoners didn't even respond to the screaming. Then, everything went silent. They used an intercom to try and get some sort of response from the prisoners. They explained that if they cooperated, the prisoners would be freed. And then a calm voice said, "We no longer want to be freed."
On the 15th day, the experimenters stopped the gas flow. In response, the prisoners begged for the gas to be turned back on. When they opened the chamber, they saw that only four of the five original subject were still alive. The food hadn't been touched in almost five days and pieces of flesh were missing from the dead subject's thighs and chest - later found to be clogging the drain and flooding the room. Even the ones left alive were missing skin and flesh - wounds that appeared to be mostly self-inflicted.
When they tried to free the prisoners, it got violent. Another prisoner was killed in the process and when they were asked why they were fighting, the only response was, "I must remain awake."
This story may or may not be true, but even if it isn't, it was certainly inspired by true events. Bizarre and heartless experiments were a characteristic in Russia in the first half of the 20th century.
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