The Horror of Sleep

russiansleep

Yes, the above picture is very different from photos or images I usually post. I ran across it while looking for photos and images to inspire me during my first foray into writing horror/thriller fiction.  The idea came to me during the ghost walk I enjoyed a few weeks ago – an evil house in which no one could bear to live.  Why? What had happened to and in the house? And what had driven away the couple who had moved in…only to move out again a few days later?

I had toyed with what horrors may have occurred in the bowels of the large mansion. But they all seemed either too cliché to write or too disturbing to have rolling around in my brain.  And I confess, when I first came across this image, I felt a little nauseous.  However, instead of clicking on “view image,” I clicked on “view site.”

And there is was, a creepypasta about the so-call “Russian Sleep Experiment,” in which prisoners were kept awake using a gas for 30 days.  The prisoners, of course, descended into varying permutations of madness, paranoia, suicidal ideation, and worse.  And there it was – the root of the house’s evil.

You see, it is a dark secret that sleep experiments were not restricted to Russia.  A small group of people, from children to the elderly, were housed in an empty mansion in Decatur in the early 1900’s.  The location was chosen for its privacy, as the research was not strictly sanctioned by any agency or institution.  The individuals were given numbers and instructed to stay awake for a period of three weeks.  Personnel would work in shifts to ensure that the participants stayed awake and to attend to their basic needs.  Notes would be taken and recordings made to document observations.

At the end of the three weeks, the house remained silent until someone reported a foul odor.  The police were summoned, and when they managed to unlock the door and move the makeshift barricades, they found the decomposing bodies of 9 people, two of whom wore laboratory coats covered in blood.  The notes and recordings were never released.  If they had been, perhaps the Russians never would have attempted their ill-fated study at all.

NaNoWriMo one more time….

EVIL HOUSE

It had not even occurred to me to attempt NaNo this year.  My life is very very busy.  But then I went on a ghost walk through the historic portion of a nearby town…..and I couldn’t resist.  Who could resist hypothesizing about what might have happened during 3 days in which a couple moved into a new house….and then moved out again without explanation? Something tr.uly terrifying must have taken place. After all, the house has stood empty ever since…

Evil House

evilhouse

Dearest Daughter:

Come back to town with your new husband.  I have bought a house, and you both may have it for your home.

She had reread the letter over and over and couldn’t believe their good fortune.  A grand new home for her new life with her new husband.  As they pulled in behind the moving truck, the couple looked at each other with excitement.  It was grand and stately…a wonderful place for a family.  They held hands as they hurried inside.

The neighbors were happy to see someone moving into the house.  A house left empty for years was bad for the neighborhood – an invitation to vagrants.  Several of them made it their duty to warmly greet the young couple and welcome them.  There was excitement and happiness and boxes and furniture.  A flurry of activity covered the property that first day.

When the moving truck reappeared two days later, the neighbors were confused.  Did a young couple just starting out have that much to bring?  And the house was so quiet – no sign of the couple.  What was going on, they all wondered.  Finally, a neighbor saw them coming out of the house and ran across the street to greet them.

What she saw stopped her short.  The happy couple looked gaunt and drawn.  Their faces were pale, as if they were both ill.

“Oh my dears, what has happened? You are leaving already?” She reached out to touch the wife’s arm but drew her hand back when she saw that they were both trembling.

“Not another night,” the wife whispered.  “We’ll not spend another night in that place.”

The couple hurried past without another word, climbed into their car, and sped away from the house.