Many times, reviewing history can reveal the more dangerous side of humanity. It can also show our unexplained cruelty, as these disturbing human experiments will demonstrate:
- Experiments on Newborns
In the 1960s, researchers at the University of California used newborns as the subjects of their tests to find out more about blood pressure. The 113 newborns experimented on ranged in age from one hour to three days old. The tests conducted included: inserting a catheter through the umbilical cord and into the newborn’s aorta, after which their feet were immersed in ice water to observe their aortic pressure; as well as strapping the babies to circumcision boards and turning them upside down, before monitoring their blood pressure.
- Experiments on San Quentin Prisoners
Between the years of 1913 and 1951, San Quentin’s chief surgeon, Dr. Leo Stanley, conducted a range of absurd and cruel experiments on the prisoners that focused on human sterilisation. In one of his experiments, Stanley replaced living prisoners’ testicles with those from dead inmates, goats or boars.
- Guatemalan Syphilis Experiments
The United States government joined the Guatemalan president Juan Jose Arevalo and Guatemalan health ministries, to conduct experiments that tracked the untreated natural progression of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Between the years of 1946 and 1948, doctors intentionally affected prostitutes, soldiers, prisoners and mental health patients with the diseases. Most of the victims were denied treatment and the experiment resulted in at least 30 deaths. In 2010, the United States issued a formal apology to the Guatemalan citizens for their role in the experiments.
- Milgram Experiment
After WWII, and the inhumane actions of the Nazis, Dr. Stanley Milgram was trying to determine if these soldiers had just been following orders. He believed that put in the same position, most people would have behaved in the same manner. He placed an actor in a room, and those to be tested in another at the same time. Both parties could hear the other person but not see them.. The subject was given a list of questions to ask the actor, and each wrong answer was to be punished by pressing a button that they were told would shock the actor. As the number of wrong answers increased, the voltage would follow suit. Despite hearing the actor’s escalating screams, most of the inquisitors were willing to continue administering the punishment after they were told they would face no consequences. This included those who had already expressed a desire to stop.
- Japanese Unit 731
Unit 731 was a biological and chemical warfare facility developed by the imperial Japanese army, and used between the years of 1937 and 1945. The people experimented on were Chinese or Russian, and included those of every age, gender and physical condition. Many of the scientists involved in these experiments rose to prominent political, business and medical careers in the country. Their experiments including amputating limbs of conscious individuals to study blood loss, germ warfare attacks, weapons testing and the removal of organs, including taking out peoples’ stomachs and attaching their oesophagus to the intestines.