The Russian sleep experiment is one of the most famous urban legends, although few know that there is truth in this macabre story of Soviet Russia. Beyond his fame as an Internet creepypasta, we review the history of one of the most disturbing experiments that could have been carried out in the name of science.
- To know more: What is a creepypasta and the 3 most famous examples.
The Russian Sleep Experiment: The Theory
According to this theory, the Russian state gave its go-ahead to a macabre experiment in the late 1940s . Five subjects, political prisoners who had betrayed their country , were treated like human guinea pigs somewhere. remote Russian steppe. The main objective was to analyze how these captives would react to a new exciting gas, capable of keeping them awake for an entire month.
According to urban legend, several researchers in collaboration with the Russian administration locked five subjects in a sealed chamber and gave them a gas that kept them awake.. Inside the chamber there was enough food, books and a small table. The captors could observe the subjects through a window and communicate with them through microphones.
During the first five days, the researchers observed no perceptible changes , but after the fifth day everything changed. Several of the captives began displaying erratic behavior, paranoia, and whispering into microphones for no apparent reason.
The ninth day was another turning point. One of them began to act violently, running around the room and screaming nonstop for three hours, until his vocal cords said stop. The other four individuals ignored it and continued whispering into the microphones.
Apparently, one of them tore the pages out of a book and stuck them to the window with his own feces , causing the researchers to be confused and disgusted. Then the screams and whispers stopped, although the scientists knew that they remained alive thanks to the measurement of oxygen consumption.
On the fourteenth day, the captors decided to check the status of the microphones and warned the subjects that they would go in and replace the gas with fresh air. Their surprise was capitalized when one of them replied that they did not want to be released.and that they needed to “stay awake”.
The next day, and against the request of the captives, several soldiers entered the room . The spectacle they saw was Dantesque. Four of them were still alive, although three had ripped the skin off their abdomens, exposing their intestines. They also found signs that the four had practiced self-cannibalism.
Urban legend suggests that, after several struggles and attacks, the investigators chose to execute them.
The Russian Sleep Experiment: The Truth
There is no documentary evidence that the experiment took place, although if there was, the evidence could have been destroyed many years ago.It is very likely that the Soviet state carried out experiments of this kind for military purposes (to keep up with political rivals of the time, such as the United States), but to say this would be pure speculation.
As for the symptoms of lack of sleep, they do not correspond to those of the supposed experiment. It is true that lack of sleep can cause paranoia and hallucinations, but science says that death occurs between 3 and 4 weeks after the start of sleep deprivation . On the other hand, the insomnia to which the subjects of the Russian sleep experiment were supposedly subjected would reduce their cognitive capacity to practically 0.
What is difficult to believe is the accuracy with which the story is transmitted, something more typical of the collective ideology of the Internet. In fact, the story was first published on August 16, 2010 on the Creepy Pasta website by user Orange Soda. Since then, the article has undergone multiple changes and revisions.
In any case, it is still a terrifying story worthy of the best Hollywood productions. In fact, there are already several film adaptations, such as the short film The Russian Sleep Experiment (Timothy Smith, 2015), which we offer below in its entirety, or Depravation, in the post-production phase.
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