Scientists have finally discovered why residents in a remote Kazakhstan village known as Sleepy Hollow are mysteriously falling asleep for days at a time. They claim radon gas from nearby Soviet-era uranium mines seeped up to the surface and poisoned the residents of Kalachi. Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which occurs naturally through the decay of uranium and breathing it is thought to cause lung cancer. Local government officials are considering plans to move the entire village because they feel it is impossible to eradicate radon gas from the area. Although radiation levels in the mines themselves are not thought to be dangerous, they have left a deadly legacy for the villagers above. Professor Leonid Rikhvanov from the Department of Geo-ecology and Geo-chemistry concluded the local mines were to blame after ruling out a virus or bacteria as the cause. He said: 'The mines left open spaces underground which were slowly filled with water that has risen upwards, driving pockets of gas inside them to the surface. 'The gas has a toxic effect that pushes a person into a dream like state, and the person then falls asleep.' Professor Rikhavanov and Tomsk Polytechnic University have carried out thousands of experiments on the area for over four years. They failed to find radon because conventional methods of measuring radiation do not detect it in the air. He added: 'We eliminated viral and bacterial infections but also obtained test results that ruled out the possibility of radiation sickness too. 'We also failed to find any evidence that toxic chemicals were buried in the area as many locals claimed.' Initially, medics who examined the dozing villagers found they were suffering from excessive fluid in the brain but could not work out why. Doctor Egor Korovin, who examined the victims, said: 'In medical terms they are suffering from encephalopathy, a disorder of the brain but the cause is unclear. 'Scans have shown that many of the sufferers have excessive accumulation of fluid in their brains.' Last summer, 60 people were taken to hospital suffering from the condition which leaves people feeling dizzy, unable to stand, fatigued and with memory problems. Children affected by the mystery illness could barely stand up by themselves and spend days at a time in bed. Scientists recently stepped up their investigation after locals complained the situation was getting worse. via Daily Mail Online.