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I Don't Know Who My Neighbor Is Anymore

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First, let us be clear that English is not my native language, so probably this may sound sometimes weird to some people, but anyways I felt that I had to tell this to someone and maybe this way some of these studies can go on, regardless of how painful for some of us these were. Second, be aware that these documents you found must be well preserved and can be a threat to your life. Once you found this and read it, then it is too late, you are now under constant danger and must not trust anyone (not even yourself) and be ready to bare whatever pain will come to your way.

I am from a small town that now is part of Hungary, but some decades ago, I was just a scientist assistant working for the Germans (WWII Germans). Nowadays, I am living in Demecser since two years ago, but I have moved from town to town for decades afraid that someday someone will find me and take away all the material I kept with me after the war. Other towns where I lived were Rákóczifalva then Ócsa, Pécsvárad and even in Ercsi.

Now I am almost ninety-year-old and I am very sick. My young neighbour is a popular journalist on the internet and he decided to help me tell this story. As I suggested to him, I prefer that he just publish this letter and not to write the story himself due to the dangers that I think this will put him through.

During World War I one of our biggest enemies was working on a sleep deprivation experiment; it was done in a very fast period of time for the experiment is monitored by force. A group of volunteers, as they claimed, were kept in a chamber and a gas stimulant was injected in the air in a light dosage. Oxygen in the chamber was monitored in order to keep them alive, regardless of the constant inhalation of a normally toxic gas. The filtered documents revealed that the subjects suffered intense brain damage after four or five days, but some subconscious characteristics showed similarities with the differences we were finding in other studies between experimental subjects and control subjects in an impostors detection cognitive program. In our program, a series of questions were developed for a two hours length interview, where we could detect an impostor with almost a hundred percent of accuracy. Our problem was that the questionnaire could detect impostors regarding the war or even in family environments, such as a husband that hides a concubine and he feels as an impostor for his wife.

The enhanced results of the sleep deprivation experiments showed us an opportunity to perfecting the accuracy of our questionnaire. The only difficulty we had was that this two hours long questionnaire was very stressing and subjects often reported signs of depression and sleeping problems during several weeks after the questionnaire was done. That is why we started using war prisoners as subjects, and that is when everything started. Now I have to take pills every day in order to stay focused after what we have found. Please do not spread this letter to the general audience before making the proper peer reviews first.

The experiment was reduced from thirty days of sleep deprivation to only one week in order to avoid further damage to the brain of the subjects. First, we tried different cognitive tests in order to detect any difference in the psychology of the subjects after the first days of the experiment. Every test gave the same expected results regarding levels of awareness of the environment and cognitive capacities but the results regarding memory showed some interesting results. In the beginning, the memory alteration was just as we expected it to be except for some details. When crossing the resulting data from the memory tests and the level of awareness or self-conscious results, some numbers did not match with the usual results. After analysing the results and interviewing some of the subjects, they reported a different perception of their own memories. Some of them said “I feel that only one or two days passed” after actually five or six days have passed.

We thought that that was just due to some perception alteration time, but the consciousness levels tests showed that the problem was that apparently they were much more close connected with their memories than a normal subject with normal periods of sleep. They also reported that they felt their memories much more “strong” than usual, as every single memory they recall was lived just a few hours ago, and that that was too much information. When the subjects were interviewed by the non-scientific personnel (military), they talked normally but they were very excited to talk about the things they were doing during the past days. What was remarkable was that those and a series of other attitudes matched with some of the alert signals in the original impostor detection questionnaire; although we certainly knew that they were not impostors.

The military said they wanted to apply the original questionnaire to the subjects, suspecting that we were using actors, at which we refused but at that time, we were not in a position where we could argue with them. The results were confusing, because in order to apply that test, an experimental group (the war prisoners) had to be tested along with a control group (volunteers that we all knew were not impostors), and at that opportunity we concluded that the experimental and control groups showed no significant differences. That was what we told to the military, but that “non-relevant” differences we detected were differences -we liked it or not- and that was not normal. According to the results, the experimental group was more likely to be impostors than the control group.

After that, we monitored the brain activity in the consciousness areas of the subjects during the experiment and after the days limit concluded. The first night they slept the monitors showed a significant drop in their consciousness levels (more than usual) during the first deep sleep period, almost as that part of the brain was almost dead. Right after, less than a second later, the levels jumped to a high level like an electric shock in the brain. Next day, we applied the questionnaire again to half of the subjects with the same level of margin error as the last time (a very low margin). Nobody passed the test, showing the same results as the previous control groups.

While we were applying the questionnaire to half of the subjects, the other half in a separate chamber were being recorded with hidden microphones. During the first minutes after they have all woke up, they started talking about how comforting that night of sleep was. We thought that that was just normal, but then we noticed some of what they said was: “I couldn’t wait to arrive” or “I thought that he would never die”. We thought that they were talking about the times when they were in the troops, but some of what they said was more revealing: “I am here now” or “I like this body”. A couple of hours later and after discussing what they could mean, we interviewed the other subjects again but they did not report any memory of that kind.

Then we interviewed the second group but non-of-them recalled those phrases. We then played them the recordings. They were all in a closed room listening to the recordings. As the sentences were repeated by the speakers, some of them started to cry, some other started to see the faces of each other and started to shake and finally everyone started to have a seizure, one after the other as a chain reaction. The personnel entered the room to contain them and prevent them from injuring themselves. They were taken to separate rooms to rest during the day. They were extremely exhausted and we put them in ordinary personnel rooms thinking that they could not represent any danger to the laboratories, although there were still guards on the hallways of the building. Next morning every single one of them was dead; they have all committed suicide inside their rooms. Some hanged themselves with sheets tied to the wardrobe bars, others drowned themselves in the bath; others just sliced their wrists with any piece of sharp edge they could find in the room; even by biting their wrists with their teeth.

After that episode, a meeting between the chief scientists took place and they decided to continue with more tests with the remaining first group. For that, all the assistants were discarded, including me. The experiment was extended by some weeks until an imminent attack of our enemies from the east were announced. I went to the labs to retrieve some of my personal effects, but the building was being evacuated. I went to the back of the building and a group of soldiers were burning a big pile of boxes of papers in the middle of the garden. Some scientists were helping burning all the studies. I do not know if it were my imagination, but I’m sure I saw a dark look in their eyes, some of them showed signs of recently crying and some of them had completely red eyes with big circles under them, as they were depriving themselves of sleep too.

One of them saw me and apparently, he recognized me. He walked towards me with his hands crossed over his chest. When he was just a meter from me he opened slightly his coat and showed me a thick folder. He handed it to me very discretely and I hid it under my jacket. Then he said strangely loud: “I’m sorry young man, this is a restricted area! If you are looking for your stuff you have to ask the soldiers on the front” and he looked at me moving his head, as if saying "get out now". I got the message and got out of there as soon as I could. Then I went back home and read the papers on that folder. It was a draft of a report regarding some of the findings. I knew that that was information I shouldn’t have received. I knew that sooner-or-later someone would start looking for me. From that day until now, leaving my family behind, I started to move from one small town to another. I can not remember every town I lived in, but from what I currently remember: Sellye, Tét, Enying, Igal and even in Nagybajom (ironically, its name could be translated to “my problem”).

This is what I learned that afternoon: every time the subjects went to sleep, if their levels of consciousness were monitored with sensitive enough instruments, they could measure what they called the “consciousness continuum”, or the continuity of their consciousness even when they were sleeping. Even in the better sleep conditions, everyone showed an interruption of this continuity. In less than a second later, this almost unnoticeable level of consciousness started again with no external stimulus on that part of the brain, almost as if a new consciousness were supplied by an external source. The subjects deprived from sleep did not show signs of this phenomena.

The subjects that slept normally, as all of us, would never pass the impostor detection questionnaire that we have used (and burned later), because we, using the word “we” as the people that are self-conscious right now, exist only since that last consciousness continuum interruption, that we detected. We can not feel our memories with the strength the experimental subjects felt it, because we are only retrieving memories from the brain we are using right now, we actually never lived them. Tonight when you go to sleep, you, as your current self-consciousness, will die. Tomorrow another consciousness will remember everything and will think that he is you, but you, will be dead. Imagine that someone records all your memories, kills you and then put all your memories in a subject with a blank mind. That person will believe that he is you; but you are still dead. That is what happens to all of us every night. Do not worry about tomorrow.

Some of my colleagues are dead now for they committed suicide. Others are still in treatment for depression. Others tried to stop sleeping as long as they could; some of them suffered enough brain damage to end up in an asylum permanently; others died. I am a slave of my pills and decided to never again contact any friend or family, or any other impostor. If someday they found me, it will not matter to me; the person that filtered this experiments, is not me.

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