25 Incredibly Disturbing Science Experiments In History

Posted by , Updated on April 20, 2017

Creepy science experiments come in all shapes and sizes. Some psychological experiments are creepy because they tell us something disturbing about ourselves. However, other experiments are creepy because they’re just wrong. Quite often human experiments have been excessively brutal and violent. So be warned, the word “creepy” may be an understatement for some of the experiments on this list. Nonetheless, these are the 25 Incredibly Disturbing Science Experiments In History.


Mengele’s Twin Studies

concentration campSource: bbc.com

Dr. Mengele is the definition evil scientist. A Nazi researcher, he had a thing for twins. Why? Because he could perform all sorts of crazy experiments on one while using the other as a control.



watchSource: wired.com

In 2010, social psychologist Daryl Bem published a study in which he claimed to show that people’s choices were affected by events in the future. He followed the classic priming approach where a subject is “conditioned” to choose a certain response. The interesting part? He included his “primers,” or conditioning factors, after the participants had made their choice. According to his study, the participants’ choices were affected by the primers that followed them.

Note: as crazy as these result are, there is still controversy surrounding the methods.


Lost in The Mall

brainSource: psychologistworld.com

In the 90’s, psychologists Elizabeth Loftus, James Coan, and Jacqueline Pickrell successfully implanted fake memories into the minds of participants by talking about the fake memories in between true memories. Their memories of choice were being lost in the mall and meeting Bugs Bunny at Disneyland. Although having fake memories implanted is somewhat creepy, this research has sent massive waves through the psychology community. It casts serious doubt on human memory and eyewitness testimony. In fact, other research has shown that our memories are notoriously unreliable. And to really creep you out…the majority of what you remember is wrong to some extent. Furthermore, every time you access a memory, it becomes even more corrupted.


Nazi Freezing Experiments

concentration campSource: bbc.com

Yet again, the word “creepy” doesn’t do justice to the situation. A lot of what we know about conditions like hypothermia is actually because of highly unethical Nazi medical experiments. The Nazi researchers dunked prisoners in freezing water for various lengths of time. They also left them outside in the freezing cold and tried re-warming them (many times in very inhumane ways).


David Reimer

male femaleSource: slate.com

Born in Canada, David and his twin were recommended for circumcisions due to urinary problems. Although his brother, Brian, had a successful operation, David’s was botched. After consulting with doctors, the parents decided to raise David as a girl since his genitalia were so damaged. He received hormone injections and therapy sessions. Until the age of 14, David thought he was a girl named Brenda. The crazy part here is that the psychologist responsible for this advice, John Money, only wanted to use David as an experiment to prove that gender is due to nurture and not nature (he never told the parents his true intentions). David never quite felt like a girl, and at 14, his parents told him the truth. He immediately went back to being male. He took the name “David,” received injections of testosterone, a mastectomy, and a phalloplasty. Unfortunately, the ordeal ruined David and his family. His relationship with his parents was strained, his brother was depressed, and David eventually committed suicide.

SEE ALSO: 25 of History's Deadliest Dictators »

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