The Russian government, during the late 1940s, chose five men who they considered enemies of the state to participate in an experiment that involved sleep deprivation. An experimental gas, in small doses, was supposed to eliminate the need for sleep in humans, and the Russians were going to test it out on these men.
The subjects were kept in a sealed environment so that the researchers wouldn’t be exposed to the gas, and the prisoners only had microphones to communicate with. They were provided with books, a toilet and running water, enough food to last each of them a full month, and a cot with no bedding. For the first three days, everything went well, with the prisoners given the false promise that if they cooperated and didn’t sleep for 30 days, they would be freed. As all of their actions and dialogue were monitored, researchers noticed the prisoners opening up about past traumas. After four days, the conversations got even darker.
By the fifth day, the prisoners started exhibiting paranoia, as well as complaining about the past circumstances and decisions that brought them here. Instead of conversing with each other, they began to whisper into their microphones. Apparently, they thought that they could win the trust of the experimenters by betraying and turning in their fellow prisoners.
By the tenth day, the screaming started. For three hours straight, a prisoner ran back and forth across the length of the room, screaming loudly. After his voice began to weaken, he only produced squeaks, which doctors attributed to the tearing of his vocal cords. Oddly, the other prisoners did not even appear to respond to the screaming. Soon, the experimenters were concerned that they weren’t hearing anything from inside the chamber. By the fourteenth day, they did something unplanned: they used an intercom to try to get some sort of response from the prisoners. They explained that if they cooperated, the prisoners would be freed. “We no longer want to be freed” said a calm voice.
On the fifteenth day, the experimenters turned off the gas, and the prisoners begged for the gas to be turned back on! Soldiers arrived to remove the men – but only found four alive! Pieces of the dead man’s flesh were found clogging the drain. The survivors had self-inflicted wounds. Violence ensued, and one of the other prisoners was killed by another prisoner. The soldiers opened fire, and only one prisoner survived.
A researcher shot the last prisoner – the prisoner’s final words were “So… close… to… freedom.” Take a look at this video