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  • Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.

  • The Russian Sleep Experiment.

  • Author: Unknown.

  • Narrated by Jesse Cornett.

  • Stalinist Soviet researchers in the late 1940's kept five people awake for 15 days using an

  • experimental gas-based stimulant. These people, or rather test subjects, were political prisoners

  • deemed to be enemies of the state during World War II. They were kept in a sealed environment

  • and carefully monitored. Their oxygen intake was regulated so the gas didn't kill them,

  • since it was highly toxic mixed with oxygen. The levels were watched closely. This was

  • before closed-circuit cameras, so the monitoring was achieved through microphones and porthole-sized

  • windows in the walls of the chamber. These were made with five-inch thick glass. The

  • chamber was stocked with books. They had running water along with a toilet. There were also

  • cots to sleep on, but no bedding, along with enough dried food rations to last all five

  • test subjects for over a month. Everything was fine for the first five days;

  • the subjects hardly complained, having been promised falsely that they would be freed

  • if they submitted to the test and did not sleep for 30 days. Their conversations were

  • listened to. Their activities were watched. The researchers noted that, with each passing

  • day, the subjects spoke increasingly about traumatic incidents in their past. They discussed

  • things usually hidden deep within the psyche, not easily revealed to strangers.

  • After five days, the subjects started to complain about the circumstances and events that led

  • them to where they were. They increasingly demonstrated severe paranoia. Soon, they stopped

  • talking to each other and began alternately whispering to the microphones and peeking

  • through the one-way mirrored portholes in the chamber. Oddly, they all seemed to think

  • they could win the trust of the researchers by turning over their comrades. They began

  • betraying the other subjects in captivity with them. At first, the researchers suspected

  • this was an effect of the gas itself, but more time was needed before they could draw

  • any conclusions. After nine days, the first of the subjects

  • started screaming as though he were in mortal danger. He ran the length of the chamber,

  • repeatedly yelling at the top of his lungs. After this prolonged behavior went on for

  • what seemed like hours, he continued attempting to scream, but was only able to produce occasional

  • squeaks. The researchers postulated that he had physically torn his vocal cords. The most

  • startling thing about this behavior was the other subject's reaction to it, or rather,

  • lack thereof. They continued whispering to the microphones until another of them started

  • to scream. The two who remained silent calmly took the books in the chamber apart, smeared

  • page after page with their own filth, and pasted them carefully over the glass portholes.

  • The screaming promptly stopped. So did the whispering into the microphones. The chamber

  • went silent. After three more days passed, the researchers

  • decided to start checking the microphones hourly to make sure they were working, since

  • they thought it impossible that no sound could be coming from the chamber with five people

  • inside of it. When checking an oxygen monitoring device connected to the chamber, the researchers

  • noted oxygen consumption rates which indicated the subjects were consuming oxygen at the

  • rate of individuals engaged in strenuous exercise. This worried the researchers immensely.

  • On the morning of the 14th day, in an attempt to get a reaction from the subjects, the researchers

  • did something they had initially agreed not to; they used the intercom inside the chamber

  • to speak directly to the subjects. There was real fear the test subjects may have died

  • or gone into a vegetative state. That would have been frowned upon by the funder of this

  • endeavor, who had arrived to see the results of the experiment. The lead researcher nervously

  • announced, "We are opening the chamber to test the microphones. Step away from the door

  • and lie flat on the floor or you will be shot. Compliance will earn one of you your immediate

  • freedom." To the researchers' surprise, a calm voice

  • responded with a single phrase: "We no longer want to be freed..."

  • Debate broke out amongst the researchers and the military forces funding the research over

  • how to handle this development. For the time being, the subjects would remain exposed to

  • the gas. After finding it impossible to provoke any more responses from the subjects using

  • the intercom, it was decided that the chamber would be opened at midnight the 15th day.

  • When the clock struck midnight, the chamber was flushed of the stimulant gas and filled

  • with fresh air. Immediately, voices from the microphones began to object. Three different

  • voices began begging, as if pleading for the lives of their loved ones, for the gas to

  • be turned back on. Undeterred by these protests, the researchers ordered the chamber opened

  • and soldiers were sent in to remove the subjects, who proceeded to scream louder than ever.

  • The soldiers, normally extremely disciplined and emotionally neutral, began to scream as

  • well when they saw what was inside the chamber. Only four of the five subjects were still

  • alive, and, of those four, what remained made several of the soldiers recoil and vomit.

  • The food rations past day five had not been touched. The body of the dead subject had

  • been torn to pieces. There were chunks of flesh from his thighs and chest stuffed into

  • the drain in the center of the chamber, thoroughly blocking it. This had allowed four inches

  • of soupy red fluid to accumulate on the floor. Precisely how much of the detritus on the

  • floor was actually blood was never determined. All four surviving subjects also had large

  • portions of muscle and skin torn away from their bodies as well. The destruction of flesh

  • and exposed bone on their finger tips was initially believed to be caused by teeth.

  • It was later determined to have been caused by using their fingers to pierce their own

  • flesh. Closer examination of the position and angle of wounds on the dead subject indicated

  • they were mostly self-inflicted. The heart, lungs and diaphragm of the one

  • of the subjects remained in place in his chest, but the skin and most of the soft tissue attached

  • to the ribs had been ripped off. This exposed the lungs through the ribcage. All the blood

  • vessels and internal organs from below the ribcage remained intact. However, they were

  • no longer inside his body. His organs had been removed and laid on the floor. They had

  • been fanned out in random piles around the eviscerated, but still somehow living, body

  • of the subject. The digestive tract of the unfortunate was spread out across the length

  • of the chamber. They could be seen to still be digesting food, pulsing and contracting

  • on the floor. It quickly became apparent that what was being digested was the subject's

  • own flesh. In spite of most of the soldiers being "spetsoperatsiya,"

  • Russian Special Operatives, having served in multiple combat operations under the service

  • of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces during World War 2, many refused orders

  • to re-enter the chamber. They were exposed to more gore and violence in a few years than

  • most witness in a lifetime, yet this they could not face.

  • A few of the soldiers, after being threatened, gave in to their superiors' demands and began

  • to remove the subjects one-by-one. All the while, the subjects continued to scream to

  • be left in the chamber. They alternately begged and then demanded that the gas be turned back

  • on, lest they fall asleep. To everyone's surprise, the subjects put up

  • a fierce fight in the process of being removed. One of the soldiers died from throat injuries

  • and another was gravely injured when a subject attacked his groin, severing an artery in

  • the soldier's leg with his teeth. In total, seven soldiers lost their lives. Two were

  • massacred that day and five more followed, committing suicide in the weeks following

  • the incident. In the struggle, the spleen of one of the

  • subjects was ruptured, and he began to bleed out faster because of his trauma. The medical

  • team attempted to sedate him, but this proved impossible. The subject was injected with

  • more than 10 times the dose of a morphine derivative considered to be lethal to humans

  • and he continued to fight like a cornered animal. His feral thrashings broke the ribs

  • and arm of an attending doctor. Technically, he bled to death, yet the subject's heart

  • still continued to beat for another two full minutes. When the subject's heart finally

  • stopped beating, he began to scream and flail wildly, struggling to attack anyone within

  • his reach. He repeated the word "more" over and over, becoming weaker and weaker, until

  • he finally fell silent minutes later. The surviving three subjects were heavily

  • restrained and moved to a medical facility. The two with the intact vocal cords continued

  • begging for the gas, demanding to be kept awake.

  • When they arrived, the most severely injured of the three were taken immediately to the

  • only surgical operating room the facility had. In the process of preparing the subject

  • to have his organs placed back inside his body, it was found that he was effectively

  • immune to the sedative they had given him in preparation for surgery. He fought furiously

  • against his restraints when the anesthetic gas was applied to put him under. He managed

  • to tear most of the way through a four-inch-wide leather strap on one wrist, even with a 100-kilogram

  • soldier adding his weight atop his chest. It took quite a bit more tranquilizer than

  • normal to calm the subject. The instant his eyelids fluttered and closed his heart stopped

  • and he seized wildly. The autopsy would later show that his blood had highly toxic levels

  • of oxygen. His muscles were badly torn, and he had broken nine bones in his struggle to

  • not be put to sleep. Most of the breaks in his bones were from the force his own muscles

  • had exerted on them. The second survivor had been the first of

  • the five subjects to start screaming in the beginning of the experiment. His vocal cords

  • destroyed, he was unable to verbally object to the surgery. He reacted by shaking his

  • head violently in disapproval when the anesthetic gas was brought near him. He shook his head

  • yes when a surgeon suggested reluctantly that they try to operate without anesthetic. Over

  • the entire course of a six-hour procedure to repair damage due to self-mutilation, he

  • didn't even blink. The head surgeon remarked repeatedly that it should be medically impossible

  • for the patient to still be alive. One terrified nurse who assisted the surgery stated that

  • she had seen the patient's mouth curl into a smile several times, whenever his eyes met

  • hers. When the surgery ended, the subject looked

  • at his saviors and began to wheeze loudly, struggling to talk. Assuming the subject must

  • have something of drastic importance to say, the surgeon had one his assistants fetch him

  • a pen and pad so the patient could write it down. The message was simple: "Keep cutting."

  • The last remaining subject was given the same surgery, also without anesthetic. The surgeon

  • found it impossible to perform the operation due to the patient laughing continuously.

  • The decision was made to inject him with a paralytic to prevent his muscles from moving.

  • Once paralyzed, the subject could only follow the medical team with his eyes; however, the

  • calm did not last, as the epidural cleared the subjects' system in an abnormally short

  • period of time. He was soon trying to escape his bonds once again and motioning for the

  • stimulant gas. The researchers and military officials, who

  • had arrived and were observing outside the surgical room, tried communicating via intercom

  • with the surviving subjects. The researchers asked why they had injured themselves, why

  • they had eviscerated themselves. The military officials asked why they wanted to be given

  • the gas again. Only one response was given: "I must remain

  • awake." Both subjects' restraints were reinforced,

  • and they were placed into a holding chamber to await a determination as to what should

  • be done with them. The researchers, facing the wrath of their military benefactors for

  • having failed to achieve the stated goals of their project, considered euthanizing the

  • surviving monstrosities. The commanding military officer instead saw potential and wanted to

  • see what would happen if the subjects were put back on the gas. The researchers strongly

  • objected, but were overruled. In preparation for being sealed in the chamber

  • again, the subjects were connected to an EEG monitor and their restraints were padded for

  • long-term confinement. To everyone's surprise, both stopped struggling the moment it was

  • let slip that they were going back on the gas. It was obvious at this point that they

  • were extremely desperate to stay awake. The subject that could speak was humming loudly

  • and continuously smiling, his reddish yellow teeth glistening with small bits of flesh.