Video: Back to Sleepy Hollow, Kazakhstan

A mystery ‘sleeping illness‘ has been plaguing residents of a village in Kazakhstan

At least one out of every 10 villagers in Kalachi, northern Kazakhstan, have been inexplicably falling sleep in broad daylight and in some cases unable to wake up for several days.

Victims of the narcoleptic episodes do not know when it will strike. They could be driving a car, at work or at school. When they wake they often suffer frightening hallucinations and memory loss.

The official name for the illness is “encephalopathy of unknown etiology” — or, in layman’s terms, a brain disorder that nobody can explain.

In a new documentary, an RT documentary crew pay a second visit to the Kazakhstan village in a new attempt to find an explanation for the anomaly.

Russia Today report:

Over half of the village’s 600 inhabitants have left because of the sickness. Those who remain universally told our crew they were not going anywhere from the land where they were born.

What is perhaps even more baffling than the disease itself is that no explanation of its nature has been found during the whole two years that it’s been active.

One thing that the sleep has been blamed on is radiation. There is an old uranium mine near Kalachi, abandoned in the 1980s. While filming the first documentary about the ‘Sleepy Hollow’, RT’s crew discovered radiation levels 17 times higher than the norm in the mine.

However, in the village itself, radiation – as well as about a dozen other readings and sample analyses – appear to be completely normal. Soil, water, food, air: nothing betrayed any evidence of causing the disease.

Our crew took the trouble to send a water sample to a Moscow laboratory for a double check – which revealed no abnormalities either.

One hypothesis is voiced in the second documentary, and is linked to the abandoned uranium mine. A former miner, who had spent several decades working there, thinks the disease is caused by radon gas, released into the village by groundwater flowing through the mine.

“It has no oxygen in it. Oxygen is what nurtures our blood, and first of all, our brain. People just pass out,” the former miner told RT’s crew.