A group of unethical Russian scientists performed a sleep deprivation experiment on a group of political dissidents in the 1940s that lead to a horrifying conclusion The test subjects were political prisoners deemed enemies of the state during World War II. They were promised their freedom if they could go without sleep for 30 days.
The prisoners were dosed with an experimental gas that would prevent them from sleeping. Their conversations were electronically monitored, and their behaviour was observed through secret two-way mirrors.
For the first few days, everything seemed fine. But after the fifth day, they slowly began to exhibit signs of stress. They became paranoid and stopped talking to one another, whispering about each other into the microphones. Nine days in, the screaming began. Two of the sleepless prisoners just started running around the chamber, yelling so hard their vocal chords nearly broke.
Suddenly, however, the voices stopped, and the chamber became dead quiet. Fearing the worst, the researchers announced that they were opening the chamber. But a voice from inside answered: “We no longer want to be freed.”
On the fifteenth day, the stimulant gas was replaced by fresh air. The results were chaotic.
One inmate was dead. The inmates had been severely mutilated, flesh torn off their bodies and stuffed into the floor drain. Even worse, the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted. They had ripped open their own abdomens and disemboweled themselves with their bare hands. Some had even eaten their own flesh.
They refused to leave by force, fighting back with a powerful aggression none of the researchers could have imagined they possessed. They fought furiously against being removed and anesthetised; one even tore his own muscles and ripped his bones apart during the struggle. When asked why they had mutilated themselves, each gave the exact same answer: “I must remain awake.”
Most of the soldiers were Russian special operatives at the facility, but still many refused to return to the chamber to remove the test subjects. They continued to scream to be left in the chamber and alternately begged and demanded that the gas be turned back on, lest they fall asleep.
The researchers considered euthanizing them to obliterate every trace of the failed experiment, but were overruled by their commanding officer, who ordered that it be resumed immediately, with three of the researchers joining the inmates in the sealed chamber. Horrified, the chief researcher pulled out a pistol and shot the commanding officer point blank.