A sleep epidemic swept over Kalachi for about three years. The causes remained unknown for a long time even though quite a few scientists worked tirelessly to come up with possible reasons for this condition. They determined early on that it was not caused by a virus, but some of those who suffered from the condition were said to have had a stroke. The children were diagnosed with diffuse brain oedema or brain swelling. That explained why one boy described terrible headaches that felt like he was being hit over the head with an ax.
What was happening was that suddenly, without any visible cause, people of various ages seemed to unexpectedly lose awareness of their surroundings. This would happen while they were going about their regular daily activities. They would go into a daze, faint, and then fall into a deep sleep that lasted for several days, even an entire week. Small kids acted as if they were drunk— staggering and seeing double. Some even had hallucinations.
The first person to fall asleep in Kalachi was a woman in her fifties who was seated at her desk when it first happened. Since then, it happened to her at least 7 more times.
According to residents, at least 100 persons suffered from this strange sleep and some got it more than once. Yet for a long time there were no official statistics because authorities kept saying it was not a big deal.
Many of the locals tried to come up with their own explanations. Some said it had to do with ghosts or evil spirits. But a few residents said that it had to be the result of toxic waste that was buried in the village many decades before. There were even reports of these gasses seeping out of the ground.
Kalachi used to be a mining village for many years, but when uranium was no longer needed, the mines were shut down in 1980. This was after the fall of the Soviet Union. That meant that a lot of people lost their jobs. This is one of the reasons why the town now looks abandoned and forsaken and most of its residents live in poverty among the ruins of tall buildings that bear witness to the town’s former glory.
It’s completely possible that the mines are to blame for the strange sleeping disease, but as one former miner explained; while the mines were active nobody ever fell asleep.
What could be causing this strange situation? What needs to happen as soon as they find out?