Insane Scientific Experiments That Really Happened

Published in Entertainment at April 18th, 2017 at 8:52 AM

During the early stages of hummanity, disease was what caused the majority of deaths and the reason why life expectancy was so low. Its with the emergence of how incredibly effective modern medicine is that we can now know we are on the verge of cancer cures, nano bots that patrol blood streams and carry out face transplants to name but a few. But science hasn't always had a moral side to its evolution, some have been outright cruel and disastrous. This video looks at some of the most insane works from scientific minds that have happened over the past few decades

Dermatology on Prisoners

Albert Kligman was a dermatologist who used experiments on prisoners to find a way around a lack of clinical test subjects. It was 1951 when he went to Holmesburg Prison to treat an outbreak of athletes foot when he realised he'd hit the honey pot, hundreds of men ranging in age who would take part in trials for minor cash rewards. For 20 years he ran experiments there involving perfume, deodorant, shampoo and other things, these included toxins, mind altering drugs and radioactive isotopes too. Kilgman was adamant he had done nothing wrong until his work ended in 1974.

Finding A Cure For Stuttering

Dr Wendell Johnson carried out his experiments in an orphanage in Iowa, determined to provide a cure for stuttering. Using 22 orphans, some of which never had a stutter to begin with, he mixed them into groups with some non-stutterers and some that did. His nasty plan was to see if he could cause some children to lose their impediment and for some to start to stutter. The process involved positive reinforcement to one a group and negativity towards the speech of the other group, criticising them constantly. By the end of the experiment those children without stutters had become afflicted with them and those who started with them and were exposed to negativity got worse. The effects were never reversed.

Radioactive Tablets to Pregnant Women

A nutritional study for pregnant women sounds like a good thing, giving them pills to help with anaemia, they administered them to over 800 pregnant women. The catch was the iron tablets were actually radioactive. The research wanted to see how much iron a pregnancy woman could absorb, exposing the women to over 30 times the normal radiation levels. There was also a darker side to the experiment, they wanted to test the radiation level outcome on the children in life. Following up on the children found 3 died from cancer related illnesses and Vanderbilt was sued for $10m in 1998.

Marshall Island Bomb Test Subjects

In 1954, Castle Bravo, a hydrogen bomb was detonated as a secret test. What wasn't taken into account was the 15 megaton blast radius making it the highest radioactive contamination ever. Resident of nearby Marshall Islands were exposed due to high winds carrying the toxins their way. Mass evacuation happened and studies began on the victims. Those closest had skin lesions appear almost immediately as well as going bald. As the years passed miscarriages and stillbirths became a common thing for the people affected. Those children born often had developmental problems and thyroid cancer was rife in that group. The resident of Marshall Islands remain convinced they were used as guinea pigs for these tests.

Shocking Children

Dr Bender worked in Bellevue hospital for over 2 decades from 1930, often experimenting for cures on schizophrenic children. The method to cure was electro convulsive therapy, which detailed shocking one group of children everyday for 20 consecutive days. The ages ranged from 3 to 12. This continued kind of therapy led to drastic behaviour changes, often becoming violent or mostly becoming zombie like and barely able to function.

Drugging Your Own

Chemical warfare was a horrible fact of WW2, and when it ended the US government wanted to evaluate the reactions from this. The army sent 7000 soldiers to a medical research program. As a front, the soldiers were told they were testing out new military clothing and weapons. In reality the men were exposed to caffeine or LSD and even to nerve gas. As the experiments grew the scientists became hungry for more brutal and extreme side effects, currently the only ones on show were dizziness or slight depressive states. They wanted to create a weapon to incapacitate humans but not kill them at the same time. The program ended with no follow up planned, but many of the soldiers report on several diseases and psychological trauma; the army is silent on the matter.

Forced To Change Gender

Having twins born healthy is every parents dream, as complications can obviously arrive. When a doctor was giving one of her boys a circumcision he messed up his genitalia so bad it had to be removed completely. Sexual identity expery Dr John Money seized on the opportunity to carry out underhand tactics for his own benefit by recommending the boy be raised as a girl and have surgery to correct this. He wanted to use the child for his own experiments. The boy was raised as Brenda and never fit into the female stereotype despite being pushed to. The concerns were raised by the parents but he continued to push them forward with his experiments. When the truth of the matter was discovered, Brenda switched back to male and called himself David. He even got married some time later but his traumatic childhood was a cloud over his life and soon his depression led to the breakdown of the marriage. His brother later died tragically in 2002 and David commited suicide 2 years later, unable to cope with the loss. Dr John Money was never prosecuted and continued to teach until his death in 2006.

Home Grown Bio Warfare

In September 1950 the cay of San Francisco was subject to the worst biological attack the US has ever been under. A huge cloud of Serratia was sprayed into the air and allowed to creep into the city. The reason no counter attack was launched is because it was no enemy attacking, it was the American military. The experiment was to understand if a port city could come under threat from a foreign biological attack. It makes sense to test but to use Serratia, a human pathogen, was extremely dangerous and unforgivable. There traces of the microbe found many miles inland in small red colonies proving it susceptible to attacks of this nature. Not long after the experiment 11 people were admitted to hospital with strange symptoms, with pneumonia having a sudden increase and 1 patient even dying from complication of the test. Afterwards it was emerged the test was pointless and had threatened over 100,000 lives to a deadly bacteria.

Starved For Science

After WW2, the USA had a food shortage and, in order to understand how to cope in this situation, the US military was to study the effects of a severe calorie deficient diet. The participants were males who refused to go the front line of the war for whatever reasons and for 2 months they were brought up to the ideal weight for the experiment. Their calorie intake was then shortened to that of what civilians now had available. It was mainly low protein but high carb food, bread cabbage and beans. They were also asked to walk over 30km a week, all the while going past food stores and restaurants. Many dropped out quite quickly. After some time 25% of their body weight was lost and they experienced severe depression and anaemia; 1 participant was removed for believing cannibalism was the only way to go to in such a situation.

Syphilis Infection

Syphilis treatment in the 1930s of mercury ointment was found to be toxic and so an alternative was needed. The US health service decided against finding a cure right away and instead withheld treatment from African Americans who were infected with the disease. This lasted for an incredible 40 years, given either a placebo or told they had a completely different disease altogether. There 400 studied during that time and only 74 were alive come the end of these experiments. There were also more reported cases of the disease being contracted by participants family member, including 20 children. Once penicillin was found to be a cure for the disease, the American researchers weren't done with their research, paying prostitutes in Guatemala to infect men who visited. Some were given the cure and others had it withheld from them, 80 people died over the course. The research was so bad, President Obama publicly apologised to people of Guatemala.