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Russian Sleep Experiment

The Claim: In the 1940s, Russian scientists used an “experimental gas-based stimulant” to keep five political prisoners asleep for 15 days. Researchers put subjects inside a hermetically sealed chamber, closely watched their oxygen intake to avoid lethal gas toxicity, and used microphones and one-way glass windows to monitor their behavior.

Things started to go south around day five of the experiment, when subjects ceased having group conversations, opting instead to whisper into their microphones and mirrored observation windows. Their mental lucidity continued to deteriorate — they screamed for hours on end, smeared feces on book pages and, around day 10, fell silent. By the time researchers let them out, one had died and the remaining four had lost interest in freedom. Flesh from the dead subject’s body had clogged the drain. The living subjects were missing chunks of skin and muscle, seemingly from self-mutilation. Rather than eat dried food supplied to them, they consumed their own flesh.

After being removed from the gas chamber and forcibly admitted for surgery, the now-psychotic subjects were desperate to return to the chamber. One died upon falling asleep, and a KGB commander ended up fatally shooting the others.

True? Absolutely not. The story first popped up on the crowd-funding horror fiction website CreepyPasta in 2010. Oh, and the the subjects supposedly continued to live after ripping out their own organs…

Pimp C’s Suspicious Death by Sleep Apnea

The Claim: In 2007, Chad “Pimp C” Butler, whose most famous song detailed his love of sizzurp, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room, in possession of his beloved cough-syrup cocktail. The coroner determined that the 33-year-old rapper had died from joint forces: sizzurp and sleep apnea.

Soon enough, conspiracies emerged about the real cause of Butler’s demise. Namely, that the illuminati had knocked him off. But why? Maybe because he’d outed rappers on the ATL down-low scene, including Russell Simmons and Ne-Yo, or because he’d named rappers involved in the dope game, or because he planned to unionize rappers, threatening the power and success of the record labels.

True? Nah. Sleep apnea combined with high concentrations of sizzurp sure sounds like a recipe for eternal sleep. Furthermore, his accusations were nearly incomprehensible and vague. Would the Illuminati bother eliminating such a minor threat?

The Denver Airport’s Secret Bunker

After a prolonged and expensive construction period, the Denver International Airport (DIA) became the country’s largest airport when it opened in 1985. Since then, a number of rumors have swirled about DIA, including claims of an extensive underground bunker system.

“Allegedly,” reported New York Magazine in 2013, DIA “sits atop a vast underground network of New World Order command bunkers or post-apocalyptic fallout shelters for the global elite; it is a FEMA concentration camp masquerading as a transit hub; it is a Satanic cathedral.”

In a (suspicious) April Fool’s joke, DIA staffers created a spoof website mocking the theory: "Prefer to sleep underground?” the site said. “These same Heavenly accommodations are also available in the sleeping quarters of the bunker, located on levels U16-20. These quarters will be accessible via specially marked hotel elevators using your pin code."

True? I sure hope so, or my monthly $1,000 bunker fees are all for naught.  

Walt Disney’s Cryogenic Obsession

Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, following the collapse of his circulatory system. A rumor quickly spread that Disney had arranged for his body to be preserved cryogenically so he could come back once scientific advancements permitted. His chilled corpse, according to legend, could be hanging out at a number of secretive locales — the top-cited one being a subterranean chamber below the “Pirates of Caribbean” ride at Disneyland, which is just awesome.

True? Well, cryogenics did surge in popularity in the '60s, and Disney certainly had the money for posthumous preservation. But no direct evidence suggests that Disney considered freezing his own body, or even that he was a cryo-believer in the first place. One passage in a 1993 biography mentions cryogenics, but it’s entirely unsourced:

“Disney's growing preoccupation with his own mortality also led him to explore the science of cryogenics, the freezing of an aging or ill person until such time as the human body can be revived and restored to health. Disney often mused to Roy about the notion of perhaps having himself frozen, an idea which received indulgent nods from his brother...”