A warm wind blew in summer 2014 when Viktor Kazachenko was riding his motorcycle across the plains in Northern Kazakhstan. He breathed a lungful of air when the bright sun seeped through his skin. Trickles of sweat dropped on his forehead. But despite the scorching temperature, he felt his eyelids get heavier. He blinked his eyes several times in an attempt to stay on his senses, but something strange was lulling him to sleep. In a matter of seconds, he couldn’t open his eyes anymore, and everything went black.
Not the Only One
Viktor groggily opened his eyes and stared at the white ceiling before he realized that he wasn’t at home. Even though his head was still spinning, Viktor sat upon his bed. He then scanned the room, and it dawned on him that he was in the hospital. A nurse walked in and he immediately raised questions. It turned out he was asleep for four days, and he had no recollection of what happened to him. But the nurse told him that he wasn’t the only patient in the hospital that experienced the same phenomena
A village called Kalachi in Kazakhstan faced a mystery where the residents suddenly fell asleep for days. And just like Viktor, they woke up disoriented and had no memories of what happened to them. Another compelling case was in 2012 when a woman experienced the sleepy hollow for three consecutive times.
Taisiya, 46 years old, and a resident of Kalachi was in the middle of work when she noticed her focus diminish. It never happened to her before, so she went straight to her home in panic. When she reached her house, the feeling of drowsiness was already too heavy that she collapsed on the floor. Luckily, her neighbors rushed to help and drove her to the hospital. But in the car, another person felt the same surge of light-headedness and fell asleep right next to Taisiya.
The second time it happened to Taisiya was in March 2014 when she was at home preparing to attend a concert. When she felt her room spinning again, she sat down on the couch. Then the sleepiness took a toll on her body that she woke up five days after in the hospital. However, it was followed the next year 2015 when Taisiya was walking casually within the streets of Kalachi. The drowsiness once again weighed on her. But this time it was different…
Taisiya continued her pace and interacted with other people as if she was sleepwalking. And even stranger when she woke up three days after, Taisiya couldn’t remember everything she just did. Unfortunately, in span of three years, it wasn’t just Taisiya or Viktor who experienced falling asleep for days. There were more than hundreds of residents ranging from children to adults that were rushed to the hospital because of the same mysterious condition.
If there were people who experienced it multiple times like Taisiya, there were still other fortunate residents who never got affected by the sleepy hollow. But what did the residents feel when they experienced the phenomenon in their village?
First, their mind went foggy that they couldn’t think straight. Then it felt like the gravity had turned against them as their limbs became too heavy to move. And lastly, within a couple of minutes, their eyelids started to shut until they wallowed in darkness.
The people who they had conversations with, claimed that the affected ones seemed like they were listening. And they would eventually notice that these people had their eyes closed and suddenly were not moving at all. However, things got more strange after they woke up from the days of sleeping.
Every single one had no recollection of what happened to them before they blacked out. But apart from no memories, they would have insomnia. And there were also other people that when you talked to them after they woke up, they would respond in incoherent words and made sluggish movements. As if they were still dazed, they would fall back to sleep again. But it turned out it wasn’t just humans who got affected inside their village.
A report was made that the sleepy hollow affected a cat named Marquis. Surprisingly, it had a different effect on the animal. The owner said that cat meows nonstop then became aggressive to people, walls, furniture, or anything that she bumped into. When the night came, the cat gradually fell asleep, but she was snoring so loud that the owner thought it was a person. This occurrence made the whole village greatly alarmed and the authorities knew they had to take action.
Because of the growing mass hysteria, the authorities offered all the residents to relocate to neighboring regions. There were more than 55 families who took the offer right away. And there were still a hundred more that were in the process of moving. But not everyone left their village…
The people who weren’t affected by the mysterious condition opposed to leave their homes. Because they believe that it was just a hoax created by the mass hysteria and neither were dangerous. So it was time for the scientists and doctors to step in.
From a Drink?
The experts did extensive research about the outbreak that only occurred in Kalachi village. They first suspected that the people were drinking a specific type of drink that caused them intolerance. But this theory was soon confirmed wrong when the kids got affected too. Yet they had another hypothesis…
They studied the condition called “encephalopathy,” which is a brain malfunction that caused the same memory loss and sudden fainting. Unfortunately, the experts couldn’t find any basis to prove this theory. But they were determined to unravel the village mystery.
Doctors and scientists conducted 7,000 lab tests that included water, soil, air, patient’s blood, hair, and nails. They also double-checked the underground gas supply for radiation and radon gas. Even the signals from the local phone towers. And they made sure that they wouldn’t miss the heavy metals, bacteria, and viruses from the water supply of the village. But all their efforts went downhill.
Still No Answers
There were no shreds of evidence found from all they investigated, and they still couldn’t figure out what the primary cause was. At this point, the story of the village had already reached the rest of the world. Curiosities from people evolved that many proposed their theories. Until one day, a person emerged, claiming that he might know the possible answer.
Viktor Kyukov was the former director of the closed uranium mine that was 2 miles away from the village. He stated, “The most plausible explanation for these sleep attacks was Carbon Monoxide.” Viktor then explained that the particular gas might be leaking through the ground of the uranium mine. And when he showed a coherent timeline, everyone’s faces lit up, including the doctors and scientists.
The uranium mine was located in a mountain near Kalachi village. When it was closed in 1990, it stopped pumping water out from the ground. So for more than 20 years, the water gradually flooded the 2,100 feet deep mine. Since it was abandoned, wood columns inside the tunnel soaked in pools that it oxidized—that is the start of the problem.
Atmospheres were formed inside and evaporated to the surface of the mine. This phenomenon caused the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon levels to rise and make oxygen levels drop. Since there was no oxygen from the area anymore, it was easy for the carbon monoxide to seep through the rocks. But the gas’ effect was much worse for the people.
If a person inhaled the carbon monoxide gas, it would enter the bloodstream right away. This mishap causes the person to lose consciousness and instantly blackout. The doctors and scientists made extensive research about Viktor’s statement, and turned out it was the answer they’ve been looking for—he was proven correct.