Town struck down by mystery sleeping sickness for four years.

A mysterious illness is sweeping over Kalachi, in northern Kazakhstan.
Residents have reported bizarre side effects such as falling into long sleeping comas for days on ends, violence hallucinations and loss of bladder control.


It’s dubbed ‘village of the damned’ as no clear cause has been discovered to be behind the sleeping sickness. Conspiracy theories claim the villagers are being slowly poisoned to encourage them to leave as rumours of gold beneath the land have surfaced.

 Kazakhstan Political Map 2000

Roughly four years ago the first reports of the illness emerged and the Daily Mail special report claims 25% of the residents of Kalachi – roughly 160 people- have been struck with it. The village is located 250 miles from the Russian border.


Symptoms include headaches and suddenly falling into deep sleeps which can last for days. Reports of those waking from these sleep comas say men wake with a high sexual appetite.


One woman claims ‘one poor man wet himself as he went to hospital. So the paramedics removed his pants and there he was, not properly conscious but in a state of sexual excitement’.

 Sleepy Town 2

Residents have also shown bizarre behaviour and examples of well-mannered people suddenly bursting into cursing fits and hallucinating have been reported. It describes one person who began to act like rooster whilst another woke up shouting Nazi slogans.


Two girls, Elena Zhavoronkova and Lyudmila Samusenkyo describe abnormal behaviour they displayed in hospital in which they hit a Doctor.


‘We were laughing and giggling and felt like we were schoolgirls. One of the surgeons prized open the doors with a chisel, and we both jumped on him and started hitting him in the face. It felt like great fun.’


It is not surprising that villagers are leaving Kalachi. The Daily Mail claims this is a familiar tale for the region with locals from Krasnogorsk, a neighbouring town, also fleeing but they are not suffering from the unsolved illness.


The report says that officially, the most likely explanation behind the enigma is that leakages of radioactive gas radon from former uranium mines based four miles away are to blame.


An assistant from the village store descried the feel in the town, ‘people are dead scared of what’s going, and the pressure of staying here is hardly bearable.


Kazakh children asleep in their Kigizuy tent made of felt

Kazakh children asleep in their Kigizuy tent made of felt

‘Some of us wonder if this sleeping disease and the alleged gold mine can be related’ he said.


Tests have been underway in the past year attempting to clarify the causes of these illnesses and scientists from the National Nuclear Researching centre of Kazakhstan are taking samples of soil, water and gas as well as separately monitoring radiation.


‘There is a lot of rumours about us among the locals – some say we are after gold, others that we found extra pure water, while in fact our tasks are basic – to keep drilling and taking samples,’ said a scientists who declined to be named.

In 2014, it was reported that almost a fifth of the population had been affected with a “sleep syndrome.” In January 2015, reports said that over half of the village’s population planned to move elsewhere.

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