Looking in the mirror was the biggest shock - Karolina had been asleep for 32 years.
A Deep and Long Sleep
When the toothache got worse her father, a fisherman, and mother thought it was due to witchcraft. It was 1876, superstition was high and the village of Okno was quite isolated. Knowing there was nothing they could do that evening, Karolina was told to go to bed and see what took place the following day.
Karolina went to sleep age 14, and when she did wake up she was 45/46 – she had slept for 32 years and the year was now 1908.
Life Passes By
Pins were inserted into her fingertips for a response – nothing. Later, in 1892, she was put in a hospital for a month where more attempts at waking her took place. Even electricity was used, passing a current through her body – nothing.
She was returned back home and as she slept life passed her by. Her mother passed away in 1905, and later two of her brothers. What is mysterious is that after these deaths Karolina was said to have broken into fits of crying, yet she was asleep.
After the death of her mother, the family took on a housekeeper to look after the families home and Karolina. Everyday, Karolina was fed two glasses of sweetened milk by having it spooned into her mouth, luckily her swallowing reflex was intact or she will have likely wasted away.
Several times she was seen to sleep walk or crawl. Her father had also witnessed her in a kneeling, praying position next to her bed saying a few mumbled words before returning to her bed.
And beautiful she was. When word got around that this 'sleeping beauty' had awakened, people travelled from far and wide to visit. She was a instant celebrity and rather than being shy she seemed to have enjoyed the attention.
However not all was good and well. Many thought Karolina was a fraud and that the 32 years of sleep had been staged, helped along by the family. No-one believed she could have been kept alive on just milk and sugar. Many believed it was possibly for her protection, her mother having strongly believed her daughter had been bewitched all the way back in 1876.
Karolina lived out a quite happy life afterwards and passed away in April 1950.
It is still not entirely known why she had slept for so long and as such still regarded as a medical marvel.