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Russian Sleep Experiment Story


Article circulating online and via email tells the horrifying story of an experiment conducted by Russian researchers during the 1940's in which five  prisoners were kept awake in a sealed environment for 15 days.

Bloodshot eye
© Birgit Reitz-Hofmann

Brief Analysis

The story is fictional. No such experiment took place. None of the claims in the story are based on actual events. The story is a popular Creepypasta offering. Creepypasta describes a genre comprising short - mostly supernatural - stories that are posted by their authors to various online forums.


The Russian Sleep Experiment

Russian researchers in the late 1940s kept five people awake for fifteen days using an experimental gas based stimulant. They were kept in a sealed environment to carefully monitor their oxygen intake so the gas didn't kill them, since it was toxic in high concentrations. This was before closed circuit cameras so they had only microphones and 5 inch thick glass porthole sized windows into the chamber to monitor them. The chamber was stocked with books, cots to sleep on but no bedding, running water and toilet, and enough dried food to last all five for over a month.

The test subjects were political prisoners deemed enemies of the state during World War II.

Everything was fine for the first five days........ Click to read complete story

Detailed Analysis

This story describes an experiment conducted by Soviet scientists in the 1940's,  in which 5 Russian political prisoners were kept awake in a sealed room for 15 days straight. To ensure that the prisoners did not fall asleep, a stimulant gas was piped into their room.  The story goes on to describe in detail the quite horrific results of the experiment.

However, the story is purely a work of fiction. No such experiment was conducted. In fact, the story is a popular example of the type of offering known online as a "creepypasta".

Creepypasta describes a genre comprising short - mostly supernatural - stories that are posted by their authors to various online forums.  Inevitably, some of the stories escape their original context and begin circulating via email, the blogosphere and social media posts.

As is the case for the Russian Sleep Experiment creepypasta, these out of context stories are sometimes mistakenly believed to describe true events.

The Russian Sleep Experiment story can be viewed in context on the creepypasta wiki, which identifies its author as "unknown".  It is also available on Wikia and many other locations online.

In some postings, the story either includes the name "OrangeSoda" as part of the title or lists "OrangeSoda" as the author. However, it appears that "OrangeSoda" may have become associated with the story after a user with that name reposted it.

Sleeplessness - Russian Sleep Experoment


Last updated: July 9, 2014
First published: September 4, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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