Harry Harlow, a comparative psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied maternal bonding in rats and monkeys in the 1970s, that is, until his wife died.
Upon her death, his colleagues noted his demeanor changed completely as his depression from his wife’s death grew. He also shifted from studying maternal bonding in rats and monkeys to studying the effects of extreme isolation on rat and monkey babies who had just bonded with their mother, taking them and placing them in total isolation for up to a year.
Harlow himself called these isolation chambers the pit of despair and the effects he observed as a result of his cruel tests will turn your stomach. I’ll just say, the guy also invented a device he called the “rape rack.” The scientific community allowed his tests to go on for decades knowing full well what was going on.
Remember, kids, science is here to help.
As disgusting as it is odd, this wiki entry refers to the phenomenon of several rats becoming stuck together, their tales intertwined and mixed with “blood, dirt, ice, horse-hair, or feces—or simply knotted.” This apparently happens more often than not when the rats are younger, perhaps because they’ve been born into filthy conditions. The rats then grow while bound together in this way into a disgusting writing mess as seen above.
This horrible sight has given life to dozens of legends and the phenomenon which apparently happens more in Germany than anywhere else in the world was long believed to be an ill omen portending the arrival of the plague which, frankly, is 100% understandable.