THERE’S something really strange happening in a Kazakhstan town, residents keep falling asleep, sometimes for up to six days at a time.
Since Spring of 2013, one in 10 of the 600 villagers of Kalachi are falling asleep in broad daylight and no one seems to know why. They’ve called it a sleep epidemic with symptoms including hallucinations, dizziness, weakness and memory loss.
Lying 445km from Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Kalachi was once a top secret town due to its proximity to a uranium mine. A documentary recently released by RT says many reports now blame this disused mine, that closed in the 1980s, for the epidemic with reports suggesting water from the mine may be seeping into local rivers.
Locals have also developed their own conspiracy theories including alien viruses and government experimentation. But the case has puzzled authorities as residents of Krasnogorsk, a town lying closer to the mine, have reported no cases of sleeping sickness.
A report in the Siberian Times says scientists have conducted more than 7000 experiments on soil, water, air, patients’ blood, hair, nails have been unable to determine the cause of the affliction.
Labelled Sleepy Valley and Sleepy Hollow, people are falling asleep in the most unexpected of places — at work, at school and in the street. Nothing can be done to wake them up with many having no recollection of the instance.
One resident told the Siberian Times of her experience.
“I was milking cows, as usual, early in the morning, and fell asleep. I remember nothing at all, only that when I came round I was in a hospital ward, and the nurses smiled and me, and said: ‘Welcome back sleeping princess, you’ve finally woken up’.”
“What else do I remember? Nothing. I slept for two days and two nights.
“The women in my ward said that I tried to wake up several times, saying urgently needed to milk my cows.”
The epidemic seems to happen in waves with unexplained sleep reported around New Year 2014, May 2014 and most recently in October 2014.
A special commission was created from specialists from several Kazakh ministries to investigate the situation in Kalachi however the cause continues to remain a mystery.