Ever wondered what will happen if all of us can go on for days without sleeping? It should be cool, right? This is a Russian fictional story where five five people were experimented to not sleep for 30 days.
A fictional horror story
In the 1940’s scientists in Russia decided to conduct an experiment to test the effects of extreme sleep deprivation. They selected five World War Ii political prisoners deemed as enemies of the state and promised them freedom if they could stay awake for 30 days. They were then sealed into a small chamber and exposed to an experimental gas stimulant to keep them awake. The prisoners were monitored through portholes and microphones, and the y were provided with enough food to last for a month along with some books, running water, a toilet, and beds.
For the first five days, very little happened – apart from the discussion between the prisoners were getting more emotional and they have started to reveal inner thoughts to each other. On day 6, their behavior took a turn for the worst. They were getting paranoid, stopped communicating, and started blaming each other for being trapped inside the room. They started seating with their backs to each other, and strange, inaudible whispers could be heard through the microphones.
After nine days, one of the men started screaming. He ran up and down the small chamber in crazed terror. Screaming and crying so much that he lost his voice and reduced it to a whimpering croak. It was later discovered that he completely tore his vocal cords. The four other captives seemed oblivious to the screaming man, but two of them observed quietly – tearing pages from books, defecating on them and sticking them to the glass pore holes in the chamber.
By day fourteen, the scientists can no longer look in and observe the subjects. On day fifteen, the screaming had stopped, and the room was silent. It was only the oxygen monitors that indicate any sign of life and no longer able to see in the chamber. Scientists were concerned, the men had fallen unconscious.
At midnight of the fifteenth day, they decided to open the chamber to check. But before opening it, they sent this letter to the men, “We are opening the chamber to test the microphones. Stay away from the door and lay flat on the ground or you will be shot. Compliance will earn one of your freedom”. They remained silent until one quivering voice said, “we no longer want to be free.” The scientist entered the cell and was greeted with a vision of unimaginable horror. The food provided was not eaten, but the men had blood dripping from their mouths. Each of them had chunks of flesh ripped from their bodies, and there were indications from the destruction of flesh and exposed bones on their fingertips that these horrific wounds had been self-inflicted, not by teeth but by the subject’s bare hands. They had been eating themselves. Some of them had so much flesh stripped from their bodies that their rib cage would clearly be seen, and their internal organs that were still attached and working had been removed from the body cavity.
The subjects were still and silent, but when the scientists turned off the gas, it sent them into a frenzy. They attacked the scientists and the guard with such strength that one of the security guards who tried to stop the attacks died after having his testicles ripped out with the bare hands of one of the subjects along with this five guards were also killed. All efforts to sedate the five men were resisted. It was as if their bodies were rejecting any drugs that tried to pacify them. Even after receiving a dose that would normally have put down three men; it failed to calm the subjects. In the frenzied violence that followed, two of the subjects succumb to their horrific self-inflicted wounds. Finally, the three remaining men were restrained and tied up. All three of them were begging to be kept to wake, refusing anesthetic and choosing to have their surgical procedures – to have their removed organs placed back in their bodies while wide-awake and without any painkillers.
The first subject to be operated on died due to blood loss and it was discovered that nine bones in his body had been broken. The 2nd man who had started screaming on day 6, of course, unable to speak, communicated by smiling as surgery was performed in a seemingly sick satisfying way. When the surgery ended, he became angry and demanded by writing on paper that the surgeon should keep cutting him. The 3rd subject simply muttered over and over “I must remain awake.”
Although distressed at the monsters they had created, the scientists were still intrigued by their subjects behavior and decided to return the two surviving men to the chamber, exposing them once again to the gas. Only one made it back to the chamber though, the other fell asleep and pass away. The final surviving subject grew impatient, demanding he is returned to the chamber immediately. He broke free from his restraints and grabbed one of the guarding soldier’s guns, shooting two of the scientists in the head. He was overpowered, and before damage could be done, one of the scientists grabbed the gun and pointed it at the subject. The scientist shouted, “what are you? I must know!” The subject replied, “Have you forgotten so quickly? We are you; we are the madness that lurks within you all, begging to be free at every moment in your deepest animal mind, we are what you hide from your beds every night, we are what used to sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven we cannot thread.” The scientist staggered backward before shooting him. As the subject lies dying on the floor, he splatted his last words, “so nearly free.”
Although this is just a fictional story, we could have a slight glimpse of what it will be like if we don’t sleep at all.