They began nodding off, sometimes for days at a time, for no apparent reason. Perfectly normal villagers, in small-town Kazakhstan, and no one knew why. In a former uranium mining town, Kalachi Village, several hundred miles from the capitol, it’s been an epidemic, involving dozens. It can strike anyone at anytime. Villagers tell of feeling normal one day, but then stumbling around for a while, then falling asleep, perhaps for days. A local ambulance driver says it looks as though the kids are drunk, when of course they’re not.
But what’s causing the sickness in “Sleepy Hollow,” Kazakhstan? Theories abound, perhap–left over radon or some other contaminating chemical influence? But the cause is hard to isolate, and the reason that some feel normal, while others collapse into Rip Van Winkle’s sleep, remains mysterious.
One local woman offers a serious clue: “It all started after a heavy rain, with a high wind the next day,” she maintains. It’s a medical and scientific mystery of the first order.