In science, experiments determine whether a particular hypothesis is true or false. Through them, the world can gain meaningful insight into a wide range of phenomena. However, a group of scientists throughout history have been known to put morality aside in their quests. They have knowingly performed experiments that resulted in greater harm than good. Here are 14 disturbing experiments that were conducted in the name of science.

1. The Hanging Experiment

As the name implies, this was an experiment that revolved around the hanging of people. Led by a forensic scientist known as Nicolas Minovici, the goal was to figure out what happens when people die through hanging. Nicholas and a few others volunteered for this experiment.

2. Self-Surgery

In movies, actors tend to perform self-surgery to showcase their strength and willpower. In the same spirit, a US-based surgeon called Evan Kane attempted to perform self-surgery as an experiment. He removed his appendix in a 30-minute procedure, but as you may have guessed, something did go wrong. As he was bending forward, his guts came out of his body. Fortunately, he got them back inside and successfully removed the appendix.

3. The Obedience Experiment

Dr Stanley Milgram ran an obedience experiment where he would ask patients to electrocute a paid actor to death. Thankfully, electrocution was not real. He had hired an actor to imitate how one behaves when he is electrocuted and then play dead.

The goal of this experiment was to examine the patients’ reactions. Surprisingly, most patients went ahead and initiated the electrocution. One of the patients even pulled off a manic laugh when the actor “died.”

4. A Living Dog’s Head

With the help of a device called an autoejecter, Dr Sergei Brukhonenko was able to keep a severed dog’s head alive. Surprisingly, the head ate a piece of cheese and would flinch when touched.

5. Mind Controlled Rats

Rats have been victims of many experiments primarily due to their availability and low costs. As such, they were the obvious targets of scientists from the State University of New York who conducted a successful experiment about controlling the rodents’ minds.

Using computers, the scientists would send electric signals to the rats’ brains to give them orders. The most intriguing thing about this experiment is if scientists can control the minds of rats, what’s stopping them from controlling the brains of humans?

6. De-extinction

Scientists have been actively conducting experiments to bring back extinct species. In 2003, they successfully brought back the Pyrenean ibex, a long-extinct animal. Unfortunately, it didn’t live long. Today, scientists are trying to bring back woolly mammoths by conducting experiments using DNA dug up from archeological sites.

7. Head Transplants

While organ transplants have proven to be quite beneficial for human health, scientists are taking things a mile further by advocating for head transplants. Dr Sergio Canavero recently claimed that he had successfully repaired the cut spinal cords of rats. He considered this a massive milestone in performing head transplants.

8. Love Potions

There are ongoing experiments about creating love potions. For a long time, scientists have studied neuropeptide oxytocin, the chemical responsible for social processes in human beings. These experiments about love portions are quite barbaric, especially when considering the ethical implications of forcing someone to love another.

9. Bringing Dogs Back to Life

In 1930, a graduate from the University of California-Berkley, Dr. Robert Cornish, brought two dogs back to life with the help of a seesaw. The dogs that had been killed using nitrogen gas suffocation were placed on a seesaw. As it moved, it promoted blood flow amongst the animals. He also injected them with epinephrine and anti-coagulants; strangely, the dogs came back to life.

Excited by his recent discovery, Dr. Robert wanted to try this experiment on humans. Thomas McMonigle, a death row inmate in California, offered his body for this experiment, but his request was turned down, marking the end of Robert’s experiments.

10. Chicken Hate Ugly People

Dr. Stefano Ghirlanda performed an experiment at Stockholm University to determine if chickens hate ugly people. In the experiment, a photograph was placed in front of a chicken. If it pecked the photo, then the person was categorized as attractive. Dr. Stefano observed that cocks pecked women’s pictures and vice versa for the hens.

11. Yawning Tortoise

Research has proven that yawning is contagious and is a result of human empathy. To dispel this hypothesis, Anna Wilkinson from the University of Lincoln taught her pet tortoise, Moses, how to yawn. She was successful, but this didn’t work on other tortoises.

12. Elephant on LSD

Dr. Louis Jolyon and his colleagues experimented on an Elephant called Tusko in 1962 by giving him 297mg of LSD. Their goal was to find out if an elephant could go mad, a condition known as “musth.” The amount of LSD administered to Tusko was so high, even for an elephant that big. As if the LSD wasn’t enough, Jolyon injected Tusko with a tranquilizer, an anti-psychotic, and excessive Thorazine. Tusko died in an hour.

13. The Stanford Prison Experiment

For years, Philip Zimbardo, an American psychologist and professor, had been curious as to why prisons are so violent. So, to find his answers, he created a mockup experiment at the Stanford University psychology department.

The professor brought together a group of young men with no criminal records. Half of them were to act as guards and the others as prisoners. The guards were asked to exercise their power to the best of their ability. In a few hours, a mutiny had started amongst the prisoners. The environment was so violent that Philip Zimbardo had to call the police to end the experiment.

14. The Monster Study (A Stuttering Experiment)

Dubbed one of the worst experiments in history, Wendell Johnson and Mary Tudor from the University of Iowa once performed a stuttering experiment on 22 orphan children. Mary Tudor took half of them and gave them positive feedback about their speeches, claiming they were fluent and good. As for the other half, she gave them terrible feedback and told them they were stutterers even though all the 22 children could speak normally.

Unfortunately, the majority of the children who got negative feedback started stuttering for the rest of their lives. This study was kept secret for fear of tarnishing Johnson’s reputation. However, the university made a public apology later on.

Categorized in:

Bizarre, Weird,

Last Update: May 18, 2024