A Girl Who Slept for 9 Years: We were in the village of Turville, England in 1871. On one street, there’s a particular house that’s no different from the others, but many people stay around it and wait for something.
The house’s doors open and several adults come out, looking surprised. They confirm that all the rumors are true. The woman goes out on the porch and invites a few more people to come in, and you’re among them. You enter the room and see an 11-year-old girl sleeping on the bed. Despite the loud conversations in the room, the girl doesn’t wake up. Her mother says she’s been asleep for six months. You leave the room, and the next few people come in to see the sleeping girl with their own eyes.
This is a story about the longest sleep in history. The record belongs to a girl named Ellen Sadler, who slept for nine years. Ellen was born in the English village of Turville in the second half of the 19th century, in a large family. She was the 12th child. Her parents weren’t wealthy and worked hard to make ends meet.
They taught their children to help them from an early age, and Ellen was no exception. When she turned 11, she left home to work as a nanny in a nearby town. While away from her family and surrounded by strangers, Ellen began to feel unwell. She had a headache, felt discomfort, and was always drowsy. These symptoms became so severe that the girl couldn’t work properly.
She returned home, and her parents sent her to the hospital. The doctors couldn’t diagnose her, so they spent 18 weeks trying to cure her. However, still unwell, Ellen was discharged from the hospital.
After returning home, she experienced severe headaches and drowsiness. Ellen Sadler felt worse and worse. And then, one day, she quietly lay down in her bed and fell asleep. Ellen woke up only after nine years. Her mother had been taking care of her all this time, feeding her milk and tea. The sleeping girl was losing weight and strength.
Soon, the whole village found out about Ellen. People started coming to her house to see this unusual phenomenon. They looked at her, tried to wake her up, and told their friends about her. The news about the sleeping girl spread throughout the country. Ellen had become a spectacle, and people from all over England came to see her. They called the house where the Ellen family lived “Sleepy Cottage.”
Doctors and reporters came to see her, and one journalist from the Daily Telegraph described how weak and soft her body was. Her feet were icy cold, and her lips were blue. The child’s breathing was barely discernible, and it seemed that life was slowly leaving her body.
The girl’s family took donations for her care, so many people thought it was all a performance. For some reason, her mother didn’t allow the doctor to stay with Ellen for a long time. Some said that her mother gave her sleeping pills every day to keep her asleep. Someone even claimed to have seen a conscious girl sitting by the window. Additionally, Ellen’s mother rejected the doctors’ offer to conduct a medical examination in a London hospital, so we’re unlikely to find out the whole truth about her since there was no official diagnosis from doctors.
It’s possible that the girl fell into a coma or suffered from another disease that was unknown to science in the 19th century. It could have been a chronic sleep disorder in which a person experiences uncontrollable bouts of drowsiness. You can walk down the street and want to sleep so much that you fall to the ground. Ellen grew up in a large family and got used to hard work early. Perhaps, severe fatigue and lack of sleep provoked narcolepsy.
In any case, this story had a happy ending. One day Ellen Sadler woke up. She didn’t remember what had happened and was very surprised when her family told her about the nine-year-long dream. The girl’s growth slowed down a little, and her eyesight worsened, but her health wasn’t bad. Ellen got married and had six children. In 1911, at the age of about 50, she passed away.