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The Russian Sleep Experiment

Among the many creepypastas circulating the internet, the story of The Russian Sleep Experiment is certainly one of the most horrifying ones. According to it, somewhen in the late 1940’s, Soviet scientists conducted an experiment on five prison inmates, sealing them in a specially prepared room.

The subjects were dosed with a gas that stimulated their brains, so the researches could test what effects a prolonged sleep deprivation has on a human being. The prisoners were promised to be freed if they were able to stay awake for 30 days straight.


The inmates were observed through a two-way mirror and the room was supplemented with microphones to record their conversations. At first, everything went normal. But on the 5th day of the experiment, scientists documented a noticeable increase in stress levels. People in the room seemed to close off from their fellow inmates, stopped talking to each other. They only whispered in the microphones, told compromising facts about each other. On the 9th day, they started screaming. The scientists observed, aghast, two inmates running inside of the room, bawling for hours. Other people’s behaviour was no less concerning, they ripped apart books, soiled them with their feces and placed the pages on the mirrors so the researches can’t watch them anymore.

Scientists though about intervening but suddenly everything went silent. For 3 days there was no screaming, no conversations coming from the test room. After this the researchers finally decided that they have to see what’s going on inside. They announced through the intercom that they are opening the chamber and ordered the inmates to lie flat on the floor. They have also promised immediate release in case the subjects did as they were told to. But then the voice from the room said: “We no longer want to be freed.”


For the next couple of days the conductors of the experiment were deliberating on their next plan of action. Eventually, on the 15th day of the experiment, they decided to terminate it. Fresh air was let in in the room to replace the simulating gas. The subjects understood that they are soon to be released but this didn’t make them happy. The screaming started, people were begging for the gas to be brought back again. When the door to the room was finally unsealed, armed forces stepped inside and saw a profoundly disturbing image.

One body was lying on the floor in a puddle of water and blood. He was missing pieces of his flesh. Other subjects were also mutilated and, what is most distressing, it appeared that the harm was self-inflicted. The inmates tore open their abdomens, even devoured their own flesh. The four people that were still alive refused to leave and fought back violently when soldiers tried to force them. One, having lost too much blood, died after thrashing violently for 3 minutes.

Others were immediately transferred to the hospital. When the doctors tried to operate one of the people, he was so afraid of being anesthetized that he fought violently till he tore his muscles and broke his bones. The medics managed to anesthetize him but as soon as they did, his heat stopped and he died on the operating table. The other two test subjects weren’t sedated and were awake during the operation. They weren’t even bothered by the intense pain and laughed maniacally. This creeped out the doctors so much that they administered a paralytic agent to make them stop.

After, when the survivors were asked why they wanted to go back to the room with the gas this badly, both have simply answered: “I must remain awake.”


The scientists proposed to euthanise them but the commanding officer ordered to continue the research with the remaining inmates. Moreover, he said that the three scientists who worked on the project are to join them in the chamber as a punishment. At this point, the chief scientist couldn’t take it anymore. He was so horrified at the prospect of resuming the experiment, that he took out a gun and shot the commanding officer and one of the test subjects. Then, he pointed the gun at the remaining one and, shaking, asked: “What are you? I must know!” The man smiled wickedly and responded: “Have you forgotten so easily? 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 in your beds every night. We are what you sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven where we cannot tread.” The researcher shot him right in the heart. As the last inmate was dying, he whispered: “So … nearly … free.”

What do you think?

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