Because of course there were terrifying experiments. Fort Alexander's ghastly appearance is by far the least threatening thing about it. The place has another, far more widespread name: The Plague Fort. When the late 19th century decided to smack Russia with a sackful of pestilence, the officials took a look at Fort Alexander and decided it would make a mighty fine place for a secret laboratory where their mad scientists could poke at the disease.
All those creepy corridors and cellars became the playground of old school Russian science dudes from an organization called the Institute of Experimental Medicine, and this was their typical Tuesday:
Now you know what a "plagued camel" looks like.
The actual point of the Plague Fort's research was to produce a vaccine, which the scientists secreted from the lymph of various huge animals (such as horses and, interestingly, camels) with all the lack of kindness and comfort Russian medicine could offer. Still, the work was extremely dangerous: People on the island kept catching the disease (entirely by accident, we're sure).
The Plague Fort operated until 1917, when the freshly Sovieted country took one look at that s**t, decided it was too creepy for even them, and promptly shut it down.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance Cracked writer and editor. You can contact him here. Pauli is a contributor to the De-Textbook and also lives under your bed. Follow him on Twitter.
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Related Reading: Looking for more of the creepiest places on earth? Check out Cracked's atlas of terror. If you'd like a list of terrifying places you can visit without leaving your chair, check out the creepiest places online. Oh hey, take some corpses left out in the open for good measure.