The Russian Sleep Experiment

Christian Tucker, Writer

The Russian Sleep Experiment is a short Internet horror story and an urban legend. The anonymously written story was published on a site in 2015 and has received much praise from its realistic themes and aesthetic.

The story starts in Russia in the 1940’s during World War II, where five test subjects are involved in a military-grade experiment. The subjects were said to be political prisoners who were against the communist movement. They were then placed into a large gas chamber where an unknown chemical was constantly administered. They had planned to keep the prisoners awake for 30 days, and in return promised them freedom. (Keep in mind the longest anyone has ever stayed awake is 11 days.)

The subjects reacted normally the first few days, and try to talk to the researchers in those days. However, they soon begin to have darker subject matters in their conversation. Nine days in, one subject begins screaming and crying uncontrollably, and the others have no reaction. After a second person cries, the subjects defecate the windows to prevent scientists from seeing and become silent for many days.

After 15 days, the scientists get to see inside. Upon looking, they see severe injuries sustained by the subjects, including torn flesh and exposed muscles. They violently refuse to leave the chamber and demand more release of the stimulant. After being removed, they express extreme strength, resistance to drugs and survival of lethal injuries. It is also discovered that if they fall asleep, they die.

They are brought back to the chamber, but one of the researchers shoots and kills one of the remaining two, along with another researcher. When he asks who the subject is, the subject responds, “I am an inherent evil inside the human mind that is kept in check by the act of sleeping.” The researcher then shoots him, and the story ends.

This story has been one of the most popular and well-known stories from sites, enough to now have a movie and book in development. I strongly recommend that you check out the lore yourself, as well as find out more about when the movie and book are released, as I plan to do.