Two weeks ago, we posted a story on Randy Gardner, the official Guinness record holder for the number of consecutive hours without sleep. The young man attempted the feat as part of a science experiment.
Since writing that article, Simmons Mattress Gallery has received a number of emails about other famous insomniacs.
One story that stood out from the others was the story of Peter Tripp. Tripp was a disc jockey, who in 1959, stayed awake for 201 hours as part of a promotional stunt for a New York radio station. The stunt took place in a glass booth in Times Square.
Unlike Gardner, Tripp used pharmaceutical stimulants to stay awake. Doctors, who should have known better, supplied these.
By the fifth day of the stunt, witnesses claim Tripp took on a crazed look. He began to hallucinate, claiming to see kittens and mice scurrying around the makeshift studio. He also became spooked when a man in a trench coat visited. Tripp believed the man to be an undertaker and ran out into the street in fear. He was dragged back to his turntables.
The stunt was successful in raising money for the March of Dimes, a charity whose mission is to promote the health of young infants. Tripp’s health, however, declined after the stunt. Years later, he would complain of recurring headaches and emotional instability.
We think a car wash would have been a much healthier fundraiser.