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The Sleeping Beauty of Oknö

by Pantera 10 months ago in Mystery

The Woman that Slept for 32 Years

If I had a heart I could love you

If I had a voice I would sing

After the night when I wake up

I'll see what tomorrow brings

If I had a voice I would sing


The classic fairy tale "The Sleeping Beauty" originates in the 14th century. It is a story of a princess cursed by an evil spirit to sleep for one hundred years until the moment a young prince puts an end to the curse and wakes her up.

Usually, fairy tales have little to do with reality, but quite often some events resemble those of fiction.

But what if this story was partially derived from real-life events?

Can someone sleep for an extended period and wake up having aged just slightly, and is it possible for a person to enter a state of hibernation or suspended animation, only to wake up decades later and having normal functioning of consciousness and cognitive?

One of the biggest real-life unexplained mysteries is the story of Karolina Ollson also known as "The Sleeping Beauty of Oknö".

The Sleeping Beauty of Oknö ("Soverskan på Oknö")

Karolina Ollson became famous as "The Sleeper of Oknö". In 1876, 14-year-old Karolina suffered a head injury after tripping over and fell on ice while on her way home.

Map Of Sweden, Location of Oknö

The details of this accident are not given with certainty, however, it is recorded she was injured albeit not heavily. It could be she slipped and hit her jawbone since she complained about a toothache.

Her family consisted of Karolina, her parents, and four more brothers. The family was located on a remote island of Sweden called Oknö, situated in the southern part of Sweden.

The 32 Years Sleep

Four days after Karolina's accident she complained about a headache and went to sleep.

It was February, 22th, 1876 when Karolina went to bed, only to wake up 32 years or 11,730 days later at the age of 46.

The Olsson family was a poor one and living on an isolated island without a doctor present. Karolina's father, a fisherman couldn't afford to pay a doctor. The family initially sought help from the small community of Oknö.

Ollson's Family Cottage - Source Alchetron

Being poor and not able to afford a doctor, the community paid for a doctor to visit the poor girl. The doctor after finishing the examination concluded she was in a state of coma and more examination was required. He kept visiting and examining Karolina for a year more and during this time he tried convincing the medical community to help and find a cure.

More doctors visited the Olsson family and examined Karolina. One surprising fact was that the girl's hair and fingernails didn't seem to be growing during all this time.

Moreover, she wasn't losing weight despite the fact her diet consisted of just two glasses of milk, daily.

Hospitalization - Diagnosis

In the sixth year of Karolina's sleep, in 1882, her parents transferred her to the city of Oskarshamn after the doctor's recommendation for therapy treatment with electroshock to revive her.

A month later and after no improvement to her condition her parents took Karolina back home. The doctor pointed there was nothing they could do for her, and the family would just need to wait and pray for a miracle to happen.

No other doctor was appointed to Karolina again, and the diagnosis was that she suffered from some kind of paralysis connected to dementia (dementia paralytica).

The Awakening

Karolina after waking up - Image from Web Archive

Years later one of her brothers died and she was noticed to be crying, but there were again no signs of exiting her deep sleep. Her mother also died in 1904 and a maid was appointed for the full-time care of Karolina.

On April 14, 1908, the maid entered Karolina's room and found her on the floor crying.

Karolina Ollson had finally awoken from her 32 years long sleep.

A Possible Explanation

I went through great lengths to find an answer, an explanation to what might have actually happened.

Karolina Ollson

There is a real possibility Karolina was waking up between her sleep but it is impossible to know for certain. Her mother was attending her most of the time, and some suggest that there was possible collusion between the two to hide the fact that she was waking up.

There are psychiatric cases of people just staying on the bed all day and saying only a few words, eating very little, but in this case, Karolina was proven to be in a deep state of sleep, or coma.

Her brothers stated she never said a word during her sleep and only her father overheard her a couple of times standing up on her bed and praying to Jesus. But that could have been during a dream inside her sleep-state.

Doctors were visiting the family quite often and they must have performed a neurological examination. She was admitted to a hospital in a nearby city, where doctors didn't manage to wake her up, no matter trying electroshock therapy.

She didn't have any recollection of these 32 years and after waking up.

There is a part that is illogical and has to do with the fact that her whole daily nourishment was just two glasses of milk with sugar and water.

This was also a reason that many were skeptical about the whole ordeal of the Olsson family, and a psychiatrist later suggested that Karolina might have been at times closing her eyes and not responding of her own volition, probably suffering from a rare psychiatric condition.

There were many derogatory remarks for her and her family. However, the fact that she wasn't responding to the basic neurological tests proves that this story wasn't just a case of a person unwilling to talk, stand up, or even open her eyes. It wasn't a case of fraud either, as often it has been accused. There was definitely a medical case, an incident, and a condition that this woman suffered from.

Possibly for the first few years and until she was treated to the hospital, Karolina didn't wake up at all, but this may have changed later.

Maybe the electroshock treatment changed something since, after that, no more doctors visited again and the family was told to wait and hope.

Karolina was certainly taken care of by her mother most of the time and possibly she was waking up, or entering a state between dream and reality where she could say some words and eat food, but not completely wake up and reach wakeful consciousness.

A Happy Ending

When she woke up she didn't look like a middle aged woman but a lot younger, possibly between 25 and 30. This is another confusing fact that adds to the mystery.

The news of Karolina waking up was massive and many were interested to learn her side of the story. Reporters and doctors as well as many others that were just curious went to visit the family cottage.

She couldn't give any information at all though. She didn't remember anything from these 32 years.

It seems that the Karolina Olsson case was one of a kind since no other person was ever recorded being in such a state for so long.


Karolina started anew after waking up and died on April 5th, 1950 at the age of 88. After that incident, she lived for another 40 years. She was always kind and open to everybody in her community.

She lived the rest of her life at Oknö and became famous as the "The Sleeping Beauty of Oknö."

The woman that slept for 32 years.

***Originally posted on: Read.Cash***


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