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Top 10 Scariest Government Experiments

by Rachel Jones
fact checked by Rachel Jones

What does the term “government experiments” immediately remind you of? Many would think about weird conspiracy theories, comic book super soldiers, and even eerie mutated animals.

But nothing is farther from the truth. Of course, when you exit the fascinating world of horror flicks and comics, you’ll soon discover-to your amazement- that governments don’t have a budget to fund such fictitious programs. Rarely do these “mad scientists”- or “atomic supermen”- receive the money they earnestly request to carry out such experiments. Nevertheless, some witty scientists have convinced high-ranking state officials to sponsor some crazy projects that end up confounding everyone.

Let’s dive into the list of the top ten scariest government experiments.

10 Acoustic Kitty, The Spy Cat

In the 1960s, during the Cold War (pitting the US against its rival, the USSR), espionage was the name of the game. Think of this rather interesting happening- the US Central Intelligence Unit (CIA) squandered a whopping $10 million in attempts to train “a spy cat!”

In this eerie project, the CIA surgically implanted listening gadgets, a tail-based antenna, and a battery. The agency intended to win these spy wars by all means. Yet, more drama would follow the costly espionage war. In the CIA’s efforts to outfit the cat, named Acoustic Kitty, the unthinkable happened; the poor animal slid under a speeding taxicab and was crushed!

Was this accidental? Was it a deliberate sacrificial act to close a controversial, monstrous program? We’ll probably never know. Interestingly, the government did not tell Americans about Acoustic Kitty until 2001, when the Clinton administration finally released the secret classified documents.

Don’t you agree this was a crazy government program?

9 Pioneer Head Transplants

You’ll likely know about the horrific science fiction movies that feature living disembodied heads. Still, many governments have funded such creepy programs by medics who want to achieve a chilling first in the real world. In 1954, doctors finally performed a pioneer human organ transplant, the first being a kidney transplant. Experts then suggested the possibility of a future head transplant!

True enough, in 1908, US surgeon Charles Guthrie successfully transplanted a dog’s head onto another dog’s neck, all funded by the government. Later on, in 1951, Vladimir Demikhov, a Soviet surgeon, attempted to perform a canine upper body transplant.

In response to Demikhov’s work, in the mid-1960s, the US government funded the renowned neurosurgeon Robert J. White’s project. Dr. White sought to experiment by transplanting dog and monkey brains into other animal’s necks and abdomens. Finally, in 1970, Dr. White successfully transplanted a living rhesus monkey’s head onto another monkey’s headless body.

8 Japanese Biological Warfare Tests

Death Factory. Japan’s secret Unit 731 – where biological warfare was conceived | RT Documentary

Have you heard about Unit 731, the Imperial Japanese Army special unit? The squad committed shocking atrocities disguised cleverly as “scientific experiments.” In 1984, the Japanese government finally admitted that state-funded researchers had conducted cruel experiments on humans. The state believed that these experiments would help the Japanese prepare for possible germ warfare.

The dreaded Unit 731 was first established in 1938 to develop biological weapons. The unit received support from Japanese medical schools and universities. They supplied the unit with research staff and doctors who carried out questionable experiments.

In this project, Unit 731 employed civilians and Chinese prisoners as guinea pigs to develop lethal diseases. The researchers injected wartime prisoners with anthrax, the plague, cholera, and other pathogens. Most horrifying, some of these experiments featured vivisection without anesthesia.

The researchers even used pressure chambers to test how much a human being can take before bursting! Disgustingly, the post-war US administration offered safe passage to the perpetrators of these terrible atrocities to access information on their findings.

7 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment – Syphilis Explained

The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment involved a study of untreated syphilis among the Negro male population. In the name of receiving free treatment, this study turned into an infamous tragedy, attracting widespread condemnation. Initially, 600 men enrolled for this project. The scientists in charge carried out the study from 1932 to 1972. 399 of these men had latent syphilis. 201 men provided the experimental control. 

Doctors from the US Public Health Service monitored the project. Instead of giving the then recommended penicillin treatment, the doctors administered placebos, including mineral supplements and aspirin, to the test subjects. The doctors sought to understand the effect and spread of syphilis on humans.

Tragically, 28 men died of syphilis as a direct result of these unethical procedures. 100 more perished of syphilis-related complications while 40 spouses contracted the disease. Consequently, 19 women who gave birth passed on syphilis to their newborn children.

In 1997, US President Bill Clinton apologized to the survivors and their families due to the tragic government experiment. The President admitted that the government action was “profoundly and morally wrong.”

6 Two-Headed Dogs Experiment

Vladimir Demikhov is recognized as the first medic to successfully perform a coronary artery bypass surgery on a warm-blooded creature. Despite being a successful surgeon in coronary and organ transplant surgery, the medic performed some embarrassing experiments, thrusting him into disrepute. The infamous two-headed dogs’ experiment is one notorious example of his downfall.

In the two-headed dogs’ project, Dr. Demikhov stitched a puppy’s head, shoulders, and front legs onto a German shepherd’s neck. Since both dogs could move around independently after the surgery, the project appeared successful. However, they soon died due to tissue rejection. Demikhov repeated his experiment 20 times, but the longest these creatures lived was one month.

Many considered this a cruel experiment, and I bet you do too!

5 Human Testicle Transplants

Worst Prison Experiments Conducted on Humans

In a most disturbing experiment, Dr. Leo Stanley, a physician at California’s San Quentin Prison, transplanted some executed criminal’s testicles onto living inmates. The doctor believed that these criminal males had a common characteristic: they all had low testosterone levels. He believed that raising testosterone levels would reduce crime rates.

In his theory, Dr. Stanley turned over 600 inmates into his test subjects. Then came the most horrifying action- the doctor injected his victims with liquefied animal testicles when he could not get enough human testicles!

To prove his success, Dr. Stanley later cited a Caucasian inmate who claimed to feel energetic after undergoing a testicle transplant from an executed convict of an African American background.

4 The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment Official Trailer #1 (2015) Ezra Miller Thriller Movie HD

In 1971, researchers from Stanford University experimented with investigating why prisoners and guards always seemed to be at loggerheads. The researchers assigned 24 students the roles of prisoners and guards, putting them into a prison-like environment.

However, in just six days, this bizarre study abruptly came to an end. They initially planned to experiment for two weeks, but that did not happen. The researchers found it impossible to maintain and control the order in the experimental cells.

Interestingly, prisoners who became guards were instructed to shun violence. Shockingly, a third of the guards became abusive. The surprising thing is that the abused prisoners passively accepted cruel treatment, leading two of them to emotional trauma.

3 The Zombie Dog Experiment

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

Shockingly, two Russian scientists Dr. Boris Levinskovsky and Sergei Brukhoneko, once released controversial videos featuring dog heads kept alive through an artificial blood circulation system. The released videos were known as Experiments in the Revival of Organisms. In the controversial video, the scientists used the autojektor, a piece of special heart-lung equipment, to display dog heads blinking their eyes, licking their mouths, and wiggling ears in response to sound.

In 2005, American Scientists repeated the same experiment by flushing the dog’s blood and replacing it with sugar-filled saline and oxygen. The unthinkable happened; the dogs came back from the dead three hours later, after undergoing an electric shock and a blood transfusion.

2The CIA MKUltra Project

MK Ultra: The CIA’s Mind Control Fiasco | Answers With Joe

Pundits consider the MKUltra among the CIA’s most notable projects. The CIA intended to develop a mind-control technique to be unleashed against enemies during war. The agency carried out the project from 1950 to 1970. The primary goal was to put America in the lead of mind-control technology. However, in time, the project degenerated into an illegal drug-testing regime targeting thousands of citizens.

The CIA used drugs and chemicals, like LSD, to inflict psychological torture. The agency even tried to manipulate the victim’s mental states by altering brain functions. In a curious move, the authorities ordered the destruction of all project-related documentation. Despite this, in 2001, more than 20,000 pages of the program’s documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

1Regenerating Dead Human Cells

Extracellular matrix | Structure of a cell | Biology | Khan Academy

This might sound more like science fiction, but can you imagine a scientists’ gallant attempt to grow human brains in mice? The surprising truth is that it happened.

A group of scientists discovered that they could dry pig-bladder tissue into an extracellular matrix powder. In turn, this powder could help regrow human fingers. Interestingly, the researchers also found that pig-bladder lining cells commonly contain a unique protein that boosts tissue growth. This is strikingly similar to the way lizards regrow their tails. In contrast, the typical mammal grows scar tissue to heal injuries; this prevents future cell growth.

More recently, a few scientists achieved the impossible; they succeeded in injecting a human embryo’s stem cells into the brains of an unborn fetal mouse. After birth, the human brain cells continued developing together with the mouse brain cells. Astoundingly, this proved human stem cells can grow into such cells while “encased” in another living creature.

Doctors have used similar treatments to develop new fingertips, reattach severed fingers, and regenerate an Iraqi war veteran’s destroyed muscles. Ultimately, many scholars believe this knowledge could boost human brain disorder research and improve researchers’ testing experimental medications.

+Bonus Experiment: Spider Genes in Goats

In another development, a team of scientists succeeded in inserting the genes of spider silk into goats. Once they did this, the goats’ milk contained a protein that forms silk. In turn, this likely makes it possible to harvest massive quantities of silk from the goats’ milk. Experts consider spider silk to be five times stronger than ordinary steel! Overall, medics believe this discovery will help them design artificial limbs and bullet-proof vests.


These horrifying tales prove that humans will do anything to further their ambitions. One crucial detail is that the researchers accomplished all these listed atrocities with official government support and funding.

fact checked by Rachel Jones