Russia's cold, desolate atmosphere is the perfect setting for a lot of creepy phenomena and Russian urban legends. Whether it's a deep hole in the Siberian ice that leads directly to Hell or a horrific bird creature that is seemingly a harbinger of death, Russian ghost stories are some of the scariest around. And it's not just urban legends: there are real, provable scary stories from Russia. Like the radio station that's been broadcasting a series of buzzes, interrupted by secret codes, for over 40 years. Forty. Years.
This list highlights some of the creepiest urban legends and ghost stories to ever come out of Russia, so take a look and vote up the ones you find creepiest or most disturbing!
The Russian Sleep Experiment
Although this has been debunked, it's still one of the creepiest ghost stories to ever come out of Russia. It's known as The Russian Sleep Experiment. According to the story, researchers in the 1940s took five prison inmates and locked them in an airtight chamber with a special gas to keep them awake. They wanted to see the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation and promised the subjects their freedom if they could go 30 days without sleep. The results were disastrous and horrific.
On the fifth day, paranoia started to set in and they stopped talking to one another. On the ninth day, a few of them started screaming relentlessly while the others tore apart the books they were given, smeared them with feces, and blocked off the one-way mirrors so they couldn't be watched anymore. Then the screaming stopped and three days went by without a sound from inside the chamber. The researchers addressed them via the intercom and said they were coming in and to lie flat on the floor. Then one of the voices answered, "We no longer want to be freed."
After fifteen days, the researchers finally opened up the chamber, and the sight inside was horrific. One of the subjects was dead and torn to shreds, with chunks of him stuffed into the floor drains. The other four subjects had mutilated themselves to the brink of death and were terrified at the thought of actually going to sleep and begged to stay in the chamber. They were forcibly removed, and when surgeons tried to repair the damage, they resisted so strongly that they couldn't be sedated. They laughed manically as they were sewn back together, fully awake and aware of what was going on.
Eventually, after demanding to return to the chamber, the head researcher told his team to let them back in. But one member of the team resisted, shot the head researcher, and then shot one of the two remaining subjects. Before killing the last one, he asked a single question: "What are you?"
The subject responded, "Have you forgotten so easily? We are you. We are the madness that lurks within you all, begging to be free at every moment in your deepest animal mind. We are what you hide from in your beds every night. We are what you sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven where we cannot tread."
The researcher, having gotten his answer, shot the last remaining subject in the heart.
It's a creepy tale right out of a science fiction show. A Russian radio station, nicknamed The Buzzer, has been broadcasting and letting out a buzz about every other second since the 1970s. Every few months, the buzzing is suddenly interrupted, with a voice saying "U-V-B-7-6" followed by a series of numbers and code words. Then the buzzing starts up again. No one has figured out what it means, but a number of theorists suggest that it's a secret military communication method, or that it may even be a countermeasure for nuclear war.
The Black Bird of Chernobyl
A lot of people know about the horrific Chernobyl disaster, but most are unaware of the creepy circumstances some people were facing before it all happened. According to some of the survivors, shortly before the huge nuclear plant meltdown, they all started experiencing weird phenomena including nightmares, threatening phone calls, and encounters with a huge winged beast that came to be known as the Black Bird of Chernobyl. General accounts reported that it looked like a large, creature-like man with huge wings and red eyes. Some even reported seeing it over one of the reactors as it went through the meltdown.
People are quick to relate this apparent harbinger of death to the legendary Mothman of West Virginia, which started showing up right before the Silver Bridge collapsed. The way people describe these two beings are so similar that one is left to wonder if there really are creatures out there that show up when something bad is going to happen. So if you see a large scary birdman on the way to work, maybe it would be better to just turn around and go home.
The urban legend revolving The Collector in Russia actually has real-world roots. In 2011, a man was arrested in Russia after his shocking secret was discovered. He liked to dig up corpses and dress the remains in women's clothing to display all around his home. In total, he dug up 29 corpses. This absolutely sickening event helped spur the legend of The Collector, a mysterious figure who kidnaps people, kills them, and puts their mummified remains on display. The Collector is known all over the world, but with such a creepy true story coming from Russia, the legend looms largest there.
The Well to Hell
According to legend, a Russian scientific team was drilling in Siberia when they came across something no one could explain. While drilling a large hole, the machine started to go wild. The scientists felt a surge of extreme heat radiate from the hole, and if they listened carefully, they could hear faint noises coming from within. When they tested the heat at the bottom of their hole, it came back about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They lowered their microphones down into their well and heard a sound they would never forget: the sound of human voices crying out in agony. It was the most bloodcurdling screams any of them had ever heard, and the group quickly realized they had discovered a Well to Hell.
The Underground Soviet Shelters
One of the most fascinating urban legends in Russia is that there are secret underground shelters and tunnels built by Stalin and the government during WWII. Stories of just how crazy and big these underground lairs were grew over time, to the point that people speculate there are vast underground airports and tank tunnels below the city of Moscow. How much of it is real and how much is just fabricated nonsense? Well, there are underground bunkers left over from the Cold War and the vast secretive tunnel network may have more plausibility than most people believe, especially when you take into account the fact that the Moscow subway has lots of blocked gates and stairways that supposedly go nowhere.
The Black Volga
During the 1960s and '70s, a legend started circulating about a mysterious black Volga. As the nation lived in fear of the Cold War, rumors started to grow about a fancy limousine that would abduct children right off the street. No one could ever see a driver, and theories ranged from the car being driven by crazed nuns to being inhabited by Lucifer himself.
The urban legend got so out of control that the car was eventually reported to have horns instead of side mirrors and anyone claiming the Volga wasn't involved in a child's disappearance would be dead in 24 hours. Those types of vehicles were some of the most expensive during that time period and were often used by high-ranking members of the Communist party and other officials. Take that as you will.
The Curse of the Ivan Vassili
Nobody on board the ship knew exactly how the Ivan Vassili became haunted, but everybody could sense that they were carrying SOMETHING they shouldn't have. It started off small, with crew members growing uneasy - feeling like something was watching them, but things soon grew more hectic. One night, all the crewmembers suddenly went berserk and started attacking one another, not knowing why they felt the urge to do this. It ended when one of the crewmen flung himself overboard and committed suicide.
A few days later, it happened again, and another crewmember jumped overboard. Once the ship docked, most of the crew abandoned ship and a new crew was hired to handle the cargo. While out on the seas, the same thing happened, and four people died on the journey, including the captain, who flung himself overboard.
After this went on for quite awhile, people who knew the ship realized the only way to deal with it was to burn the ship down. The sailors gathered in tugboats and cheered as they watched the ship go up in flames.