he world is full of strange stories that even to this day have no explanation, but the historical records do prove the account of them happening. Most people probably know the famous story named “The Sleeping Beauty”. This classic fairytale represents the story of a princess that was cursed by an evil spirit to fall into a deep sleep for 100 years until a prince would wake her up with a kiss. Although the story has been adapted many times over the years, some of it has actually been influenced by Karolina Olsson.
Karolina was born in 1862 in Sweden and lived a normal life along with her four other brothers, living on a remote island in Sweden named Okno. A childhood of laughter, with no health issues or sleep deprivation. In 1876, 14-year-old Karolina suffered a head injury after tripping over and falling on ice while on her way home from school.
On the day the accident took place, Karolina went to bed to go to sleep and since that day February 22, 1876, the little girl did not wake up for the next 32 years (11,730 days) at the age of 46. The Olsson family was poor and lived on a remote island that did not even have a doctor. Taking a trip off the island was expensive, as Karolina’s father was only a fisherman catching enough to make ends meet. Despite all this, the community of the remote island they were living in was supportive and gathered the funds to bring a doctor to the island.
This is where doctors got very confused and still are to this day by this case. Usually, a person would be put into a coma state right after the impact of an accident, that is why doctors do not believe it was a coma, but something different. The doctor that came to the island spent many days examining the girl to better understand what happened.
It was as if the girl was dead, but still alive and this was believed by one surprising fact. Karolina’s hair and fingernails didn’t seem to be growing at all. Furthermore, she wasn’t losing weight despite the fact her diet consisted of just two glasses of milk, daily. Her parents spent many months and even the first few years of this so-called coma for her daughter to wake up.
After six years, in 1882, they decided to transfer Karolina to the city of Oskarshamn after the doctor’s recommendation for therapy treatment with electroshock, as a final attempt of the medical community to revive her. Those medics believed that she was somehow dead, but her body was in a state of homeostasis as her hair was not growing.
Karolina was released from the hospital a month later and her parents brought her home when her condition showed no signs of recovery. The physician said that there was nothing more they could do for her and that all the family could do was wait and hope for a miracle. She left the hospital with a note that the diagnosis she suffered from. The note said that Karolina suffered from some kind of paralysis connected to dementia (dementia paralytica).
It is strange as although her body was in this state, her mind was still there as she could react to what was happening around her. This was noticed by her parents when many years later one of her brothers died. Although she was still asleep, Karolina was crying. There are psychiatric cases of people just staying in bed all day speaking only a few words and eating very little, but in this case, Karolina was medically proven to be in a deep state of sleep or coma.
What proves her condition is the fact that when she woke up at the age of 46, she did not even look half of her age. It seems that during her time of sleep, her body did not age, just like her hair or nails did not grow. The news of Karolina’s awakening was welcomed with excitement and many were interested to learn her side of the story. Reporters and doctors as well as many others that were just curious visited the family cottage at Oknö.
Karolina stated that she was not able to remember anything from the 32 years of sleep. It was simply waking in the blink of an eye as she went to sleep for one night, the only difference was that she slept 11,730 nights. Karolina lived for another 40 long years where she had no health complications. She passed on April 5, 1950. Even to this day, doctors do not understand this mysterious case.