[WARNING] This list contains descriptions and images of human experimentation which may cause offense to some readers. Human experimentation and research ethics evolved over time. On occasion, the subjects of human experimentation have been prisoners, slaves, or even family members.
This is a list of the 10 most evil and unethical experiments carried out on humans.
Wounds inflicted on the subjects were infected with bacteria such as Streptococcus, gas gangrene, and tetanus. Circulation of blood was interrupted by tying off blood vessels at both ends of the wound to create a condition similar to that of a battlefield wound. Infection was aggravated by forcing wood shavings and ground glass into the wounds.
The idea was simple: to see how ordinary men, chosen to be the most healthy and ‘normal’ would respond to a radical change to their normal roles in life. Half were to become prison guards, the other half their prisoners. In this experiment there were no half-measures, for it to be effective it had to closely approximate the real experience of prisoners and guards. These participants were in for the ride of their lives.
‘Prisoners’ were ‘arrested’ by a police car with sirens wailing while they were out going about their everyday business. Then they were fingerprinted, blindfolded and put in a cell, then stripped naked, searched, deloused, heads shaved, given a uniform, a number and had a chain placed around one foot.
The other participants were made into guards who wore uniforms and were given clubs. A prison was mocked up in the basement of a Stanford University building.
And so the experiment began.
Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited “genuine” sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early.
Prisoners coped with their feelings of frustration and powerlessness in a variety of ways. At first, some prisoners rebelled or fought with the guards. Four prisoners reacted by breaking down emotionally as a way to escape the situation. One prisoner developed a psychosomatic rash over his entire body when he learned that his parole request had been turned down. Others tried to cope by being good prisoners, doing everything the guards wanted them to do.
By the end of the study, the prisoners were disintegrated, both as a group and as individuals. There was no longer any group unity; just a bunch of isolated individuals hanging on, much like prisoners of war or hospitalized mental patients. The guards had won total control of the prison, and they commanded the blind obedience
There is a slideshow on the homepage
The “teacher” was given a 45-volt electric shock from the electro-shock generator as a sample of the shock that the “learner” would supposedly receive during the experiment. The teacher was then given a list of word pairs which he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing for each wrong answer.
This is the newspaper ad that recruited subjects for Stanley Milgram’s obedience to authority experiments. As you can see, subjects were told they were being recruited to aid research on memory and learning. In reality, Milgram was studying how far down the path of evil average people would go, simply because someone in a lab coat told them to.
The “teachers” believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.
Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.
If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:
- 1. Please continue.2. The experiment requires that you continue.
3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
4. You have no other choice, you must go on.
If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession
THIS, however, is absolutely sickening!
A Hoax Most Cruel – October 9, 2005
A man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.
“He gave me a description of the girl, and Louise was the one who fit it to the T,” assistant manager Donna Jean Summers said.
Identifying himself as a police officer, the caller issued an ultimatum: Ogborn could be searched at the store or be arrested, taken to jail and searched there.
Summers handed Nix the phone and left the office. The caller told Nix he was a detective. For the next two hours, Nix later told police, “He told me what to do.”
And Nix did as instructed.
He pulled the apron away from Ogborn, leaving her nude again, and described her to the caller. He ordered her to dance with her arms above her head, to see, the caller said, if anything “would shake out.” He made her do jumping jacks, deep knee bends, stand on a swivel chair, then a desk. He made her sit on his lap and kiss him; the caller said that would allow Nix to smell anything that might be on her breath.
When Ogborn refused to obey the caller’s instructions, Nix slapped her on the buttocks, until they were red – just as the caller told him to do.
Court records also show that over time, the demands in the hoax calls grew more perverse.
At a McDonald’s in Hinesville, Ga., in February 2003, a 55-year-old janitor was told to put his finger in the vagina of a 19-year-old cashier, supposedly to look for contraband, according to court records. In Joplin, Mo., according to a police report, a caller in May 2004 persuaded a 16-year-old girl who was managing a Sonic restaurant to strip-search and perform oral sex on a 21-year-old male cook — and then got the cook to strip-search the manager.
Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants. Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop. Nix told her he would hit her if she didn’t sodomize him, so she did.
Across the United States, at least 13 people who executed strip-searches ordered by the caller were charged with crimes, and seven were convicted.
Reports of over 70 such occurrences in 30 U.S. states finally led to the arrest and charging of David R. Stewart, a 37-year-old Florida corrections officer. On October 31, 2006, Stewart was acquitted of all charges stemming from that arrest, including impersonating a police officer, soliciting sodomy and soliciting sexual abuse.
The Banality of Evil is a phrase coined in 1963 by Hannah Arendt in her work Eichmann in Jerusalem. It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.