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.

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