Sleep is a necessity of life. We need it to survive and not getting enough can have serious consequences.
Russian scientists decided to do an experiment to see if they could bypass the whole sleeping thing, and instead keep humans awake, for not just days, but weeks.
The results were shocking.
It took place in the late 1940’s where five men were enlisted for the study. They were enemies of the state so their involvement was likely not one of choice. The sleep deprivation study would aim to employ small doses of experimental gas which would hopefully eliminate any need for sleep.
They were placed in a sealed environment. This way the researchers would not be exposed to the experimental gas. The prisoners had microphones to communicate, and were given running water, food, a toilet, and books to read. All of this was just enough for a month. They were also given a cot, but the bedding was removed, likely in anticipation that the study members would not need it.
Three days went by. And things actually went well. The deal with the prisoners, which apparently was phony, was that if they didn’t crash out for 30 days, they would be free. Their dialogue and action was monitored. The prisoners began opening up about past trauma they had been through. These became darker after the fourth day.
It was day 5 when paranoia started to set in. Complaints regarding past decisions and circumstance of how they got here started surfacing. They were not conversing with one another, but rather whispering into their mics. There seemed to be something at play where they believed winning the trust of the scientists and betraying their fellow prison mates was key.
Day 10. Screaming begins. Three hours straight a prisoner is seen running back and forth continuously across the room, screaming to the point of not being able to produce a sound, only squeaks as scientists figured his vocal cords had torn.
There was no response from the other prisoners regarding the screaming.
Suddenly there seemed to be silence from the chamber. The scientists were not hearing anything, so they used the intercom, something they did not plan to do, in order to elicit a response from the prisoners. They even said that if they participated in responding, they would be freed. This is the response they got from a single calm voice:
“We no longer want to be freed.”
Day 15. The gas stimulant was removed from the chamber. It was replaced with fresh air. But the prisoners began begging for the gas to be put back on. Soldiers then came in to get the prisoners. Four of the five were still breathing. No food had been eaten in 5 days. The man who was dead, was also missing pieces of flesh. Mainly from his thighs and chest. It was clogging the drain, which in turn flooded the room as four inches of water filled the floor.
The ones who were alive were also missing skin and flesh and had wounds present, which seemed to be self-inflicted. Meanwhile the corpse was something that even the top level soldiers did not want to go near let alone bring outside.
A prisoner was killed in the process of trying to free the subjects. Violence ensued. One of prisoners explained why he was acting violent upon attempting to be freed. He simply said:
“I must remain awake.”