Unlike the other entries on this list, Bier first experimented with his new anesthetizing technique on a surgery patient instead of himself. The man was suffering from adverse reactions to the general anesthesia, so Bier gave him what may have been the coolest experimental option in the history of medicine, offering to just inject 15 milligrams of coke directly into the man's spinal cord.
It worked, too. The patient felt no pain during or after the surgery, which encouraged Bier to do further testing using intrathecal injections. With the help of his colleague, Dr. Hildebrandt (who was weirdly also named August), Bier tried to inject himself to really understand the effects of the drug.
Kids, you can use that excuse the next time you get caught trying to "understand" a controlled substance.
Now, just stabbing a needle into your spine isn't easy work; usually the needle is separate from the syringe for the initial piercing, then the syringe is added once the needle is in place. In the case of Bier, the syringe didn't fit the needle, which meant that, for a significant amount of time, he sat there with spinal fluid squirting out of his back while Hildebrandt tried to jury-rig the syringe. By the time the two gave up, Bier didn't have enough coke or spinal fluid left in his system to completely numb him properly for testing.
"The good news is you can't feel pain. The bad news is I've paralyzed you from the waist down."
Now, an ordinary scientist would have waited until the drug had completely worn off before trying to proceed with the experiment. But not Bier. Hildebrandt volunteered immediately to take his place, and a moderately coked-up Bier consented. Hildebrandt's legs went numb after the injections, and the two celebrated their victory by testing his threshold of pain. First, Bier tickled and poked him. Then the experiment took a considerably darker, more violent turn as Bier ripped the pubic hair off his lab partner and burned his leg with a cigar.