The sleep experiments during World War II
In the late 1940s, Soviet researchers have created a stimulant that they believed can keep a person awake for a long time, which is very useful when you’re fighting a war!
Like in the movies which we see about war today, there were a lot of research going on, specially in terms of stimulating the efficiency of the war comrades.
In the second world war specifically, the Germans had their version of such a stimulant, which was a formidable methamphetamine called the ‘Pervitin’. This was used by the Nazi Military to increasing the time a soldier was up and running (reducing sleep). This drug also increased energy & reduced hunger, making the perfect soldiers in battle.
While the Germans were at it, the Americans and the British were dosing their troops with the amphetamine Benzedrine. You must have seen the experiments done to Steve Rogers, in Captain America.
This drug gave high alert for a long time, for whoever consumed it. However, both Pervitin & amphetamine Benzedrine showed side-effects after a 3 day period.
The Soviets however, were looking to further making their drug more effective and efficient. They were creating their own version to overcome the issue the Germans, Americans and British had. So, they made something special!
As the Soviets made a new drug, they wanted to try this on humans first. Unlike in todays terms, it was very easy to find test subjects back in World War II, as there were plenty test subjects in prisons.
And unlike in todays terms, ethical code of conduct for prisoners weren’t considered back in the early 1940s.
So, the Soviets set up a test area where five subjects will stay in a sealed environment.
The researchers then released the stimulated gas into these chambers to carry out their test!
Even though it was unethical, the subjects were given fair amount of dry food, each a bed, running water and a toilet! The researchers were heavily monitoring the subjects through a 5 inch glass window and of course, with microphones and a camera.
Sleep Story – continued…
The sleep story continued, as sleep help was given to these test subjects keeping them awake for 3 straight days!
On top of that, the subjects were said they will be freed, if they were to stay up without falling a sleep for 30 straight days!
Sleep Story – 4th day
But the sleep story came into a disaster, starting from the 4th day! As all these prisoners were soldiers fighting for a foreign land, they’ve had seen the horrible actions of a war! They were discussing with one another, the horrible nightmares they had & all other ghastly things they’ve witnessed.
On the 5th day, the soldiers started having psychosis. They were talking to themselves, and started getting paranoid!
Sleep Story – 5th day
The researchers thought this was because of ‘sleep deprivation’ as they haven’t slept for 5 straight days! But then again, the researchers were in doubt, making them wonder, if it was the gas or lack of sleep.
Sleep Story – 9th day
The sleep pill/ drug researchers knew by day 9, this was the drug that was creating the test subjects insanely paranoid as a subject for screaming so loud he tore his own vocal cords.
Sleep Story – 15th day
A few more days later, on day 15, the researchers were shocked, as they couldn’t see the test subjects through the windows and there was no sound at all! But the oxygen levels indicated that there were five breathing men.
The researchers wanted to go inside and check, so they communicated through the intercoms saying that they will stop the gas and give clean air. The researchers were however shocked by their response, ‘we want more gas’.
Sleep story – what happened after
A Russian researcher enters a room where he expects to see his human test subjects alive.
Instead, he witnesses absolute pandemonium as he hears the screams and right in front of him is a body that has been torn apart and eviscerated.
It showed as if a devil was present in the room ripping this person into parts.
Even the survivors who were breathing had their fingers ripped apart and their faces were sheared of skin. And the researchers wondered what this madness was as the test subjects had done this to themselves. Some test subjects were eating their own organs whilst enjoying it.
The researchers wanted to clear this as they invited their soldiers to take these subjects out of the chamber. However, 5 soldiers were reported to have lost their lives as these men were ripping their skin and organs enthusiastically.
Sleep Story – ‘We need more gas’
Even after the researchers injected morphine, the subjects were begging for gas as they were heavily addicted to it! Out of the 5 subjects, only 3 survived the research and were moved to a secure facility, costing the life of 5 soldiers.
The 3 subjects were taken to a hospital, whilst subject number 3 was given anesthetic to control himself. After so much of agony, subject number 3 died. Moving towards subject number 2, the doctors decided not to give anesthetic and started to sew his ruptured organs and patched up his skin.
Test subject 1 was also given the same procedure of patching him up, but he along with subject number 2 were continuously asking for ‘the sleep gas’.
Right when they were patched, a former KGB agent suggested to put these two test subjects back into the chambers, as they were asking for more gas!
After so much of pain test subject 2 was dead just after a few hours inside the gas chamber again. Seeing test subject 2 dead right in front of him, test subject 1 was blabbering to the researchers that it was the devil who was alive right before the researcher shot test subject 1, making the research a dead end.
Sleep Study – Is it believable?
Even though you can’t just think that a soldier will rip out his own lungs, history suggests otherwise. As all fighting nations wanted their comrades to win the war, they did everything possible to make it happen.
But with the latest researchers competing their own story, it is often wondered if the Russian Sleep experiment was true?
Was it Insomnia then?
As sleep insomnia, or other massive sleep loss called as ‘Fatal Familial Insomnia’ which is passed through genes causes sleep deprivation, it will not show the side effects as it was shown in the Russian Sleep Experiments.
But sleep deprivation is a tactic which is used by the Russian KGB and other agencies out there, to keep the subject up during intense interrogations. Often you must have seen, as soon as the subject is fallen asleep or is snoring, agents will throw buckets & buckets of water at them, to keep them awake!
Even after decades of this story, the truth behind it isn’t still proven. However, as the Russians were testing, it could be true. Who would share such horrible stories or even ‘war crimes’?
If you are a fan of the story, you can watch a short movie based on these experiments: Click here
After hearing this story, you must know how important your sleep is!. Sleeping is important to your body, as much as water and food. So make sure you get a good night sleep!
Let me know your comments!