One of the things that primarily set human beings apart from other species is its tendency to experiment and explore. Most of what we have around is a result of somebody’s invention due to their exploratory mind. Without doubt it has been useful for humanity because of the advent of the experiment’s result. In the midst of all these explorations, there are a handful of outliers who take experimentation to a whole new level, raising a lot of eyebrows.
Below is a list of 10 such weirdest science experiments which are well documented:
10. Tickling Your Funny Bone
Most common experience that is noticed when someone is tickled is laughter. Clarence Leuba, an American psychologist, wanted to understand if laughter is a natural response to tickling or if it was something that is learnt from the person who tickles you. He decided to unravel this by experimenting on his new-born son and later on, on his daughter. He was able to conclude that laughing while being tickled was an innate response.
9. The Prison Experiment
Curiosity sometimes leads to crazy experiments and one such experiment was conducted by American psychologist Dr Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University to understand why prisons had such a violent environment. An experiment was designed wherein young men with no criminal records were assigned to play as prisoners and guards. Conditions worsened instantly with the prisoners revolting and the guards relying on creative measures to bring order and discipline. Feeling that the situation was going out of control and because of Zimbardo’s paranoia about the prisoners plotting ways to kill him, the experiment was fortunately called off.
Werner Forssmann is a German physician credited with developing a procedure that would facilitate cardiac catheterization. He performed the procedure by putting himself under local anesthesia and inserting a catheter into a vein of his arm all by his own. He only had the operating-room nurse to his assistance and managed to capture an X-ray as proof. Forsmann was aware that his life was at stake and during the experiment he could pierce a vain and kill himself. With absolutely no regard to his life, Forssmann carried out the procedure to prove a point. He later on won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his contributions to cardiac catheterization.
7. How Much Does the Soul Weigh
The soul is a topic of interest in the world of spirituality and it is usually assumed to exit the body on one’s death. Dr Duncan Macdougall, an American Physician, was interested in finding out the weight of the soul and also determining whether the exit of the soul is attended by display of nature that can be perceived by the material senses. He managed to do so by placing the body of a dying patient on a specially designed, high sensitive scale and then noting down the change in weight. He was able to arrive at 21 grams as the weight of the soul after multiple trials.
6. Controlling the Mind
Dr Jose Delgado, a neurophysiologist, was famous for the research and the experiments that were being conducted in the area of mind control. He is credited with the invention of a stimoceiver: a radio which could be used for stimulating emotions and controlling behavior when implanted in the brain. In 1963, Dr Jose entered a bull ring and managed to control a raging bull that had a stimoceiver implanted in its brain. The experiment was widely acclaimed as a success and Jose rose to fame. As public fear of mind-control technology increased, Delgado returned to less controversial research.
5. Resurrection With a See Saw
Robert Cornish, a Californian Physician, is famous for his attempts to resurrect human and animal cadavers after death. Cornish’s method involved strapping the cadavers to a see saw, injecting adrenaline and heparin to thin the blood, and teetering to restore blood circulation. His attempts were unsuccessful on humans, and throughout the span of this experiment, he managed to revive only 2 dogs, but they were ‘reborn’ blind and senseless. Before wrapping up his experiment, he wanted to make one final attempt to revive a human who was a criminal who would be executed in a gas chamber. Fortunately, the request was turned down by the state of California.
4. Hanging for Science
Romanian forensic scientist and criminologist, Nicolae Minovici, is famous for the series of hanging experiments that he had conducted on himself to understand the physiological effects in the human body when hung. He began the experiments in solitude, and later brought in his assistants. In his first effort involving assistants, he could last only a few seconds before having to signal to be let down. With multiple attempts, he managed to endure the noose for ~25 seconds. His final experiment was about hanging from the ceiling by a hangman’s knot. Due to the constriction intensity, he couldn’t last more than 4 seconds and decided to abandon his study in this field.
3. Project MKUltra
It is the code name given to the series of illegal tests that were conducted by the CIA in collaboration with the US Army biological warfare lab between 1953 and 1973 to determine the drugs and procedures that could be leveraged during interrogation. It involved administration of psychotropic drugs, hypnosis, isolation of sensory stimuli, and abuse of various degrees. The project attempted to perfect a truth serum to be used on spies in captive and manipulate world leaders without their awareness.
2. 370 Days in Bed
Participation in this experiment is a dream come true for a couch potato until they have read all the rules surrounding this activity. It was an experiment conducted by Cosmonaut Boris Morukov with assistance from NASA to determine whether it was possible to colonize space by understanding the effects of weightlessness on the human body for a prolonged period. Participants were asked to conduct their daily life being bed ridden. Specific instructions were given to not sit up or make themselves comfortable. Naturally, this immobile state of the participants leads to deterioration of the body and loss of function of internal organs. Towards the end of the experiment, participants had to be put in a centrifuge to mimic the pressure of landing back to earth, and had to be provided two months of therapy to learn walking again.
1. Elephant on LSD
Human beings from time immemorial have been consuming psychotropic drugs for experimenting the limits of their consciousness. In the year 1962, three scientists at the University of Oklahoma decided to study the effects of LSD on elephants. For this experiment, 297 mg of LSD was injected into a bull elephant that went by the name Tusko. The intent of the experiment was to understand whether LSD would be able to induce musth (condition characterized by aggressive behavior and a surge in levels of reproductive hormones). Few minutes into the injection, the elephant collapsed and suffered obstructive breathing which eventually led to death. Despite efforts to save the elephant with an antidote, the high dose of LSD won the war.