Man who recorded sleeptalking for a year swears it's no hoax

In a year of talking in his sleep, filmmaker Adam Rosenberg rambles, babbles and possibly speaks Russian. Some YouTube viewers don't believe he's for real.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
3 min read

Filmmaker Adam Rosenberg lives and sleeps in Boulder, Colorado. And when he sleeps, he talks. Rambles, really.

He might say, "Just add look dust! Da looky as cause, cause you act like a booger!" Or, "No, you should put the drumsticks in your mouth."

Sometimes what he says might make sense, if there were some kind of context. ("That means, 'yeah, baby!'")

Sometimes it's complete gibberish. ("Right on the, right on the sub line. Right on the love line.") Sometimes he seems to speak with a Russian accent. Or Swedish. Or some kind of accent, anyway. ("Eeee Gustav Gustav Excuse Deasdavitch.")

Some of what he says is R-rated, or might be, if it were a little more intelligible.

Rosenberg knows this because after being repeatedly told he talked in his sleep, he wanted to hear what he said. So after fooling around with a phone app that tracked his sleep and recorded audio, he set up a high-quality recording setup. After a year of recording his sleeptalking, he edited it together into a video he dubbed "The Somniloquist," a Latin word for "sleeptalker."

If you read the YouTube comments (never a good idea), you'll see that many people are flat-out calling the video a fake and Rosenberg a hoaxer. He swears the audio is real footage of his sleeptalking, with two intentional exceptions.

"I understand how people might think the video is fake, simply because if that were my intention, it would be easy to do," Rosenberg told CNET. "The intro and outro video are staged recreations, and I think that leads people to believe that the rest of the video is staged as well."

The quality is what you'd expect from a guy who makes films for a living. "I used a Zoom H4n recorder mounted 1.5 feet (0.45 meters) above my head to record the audio, and the sound was mixed to enhance the quality as you would with any video," he said.

The results of the recording were a revelation. "I was definitely surprised with what I heard. There were a lot of different voices and accents," Rosenberg said. "There was also a lot of flatulence."

Commenters have also inquired as to whether Rosenberg is speaking Russian or Swedish at different parts of the audio recording, but he doesn't speak those languages. "I think the phrases that sound like other languages were me attempting to emulate those languages, but nothing more," he says.

Rosenberg doesn't feel he needs sleep therapy or any treatment, as the talking doesn't affect his rest. He's moved on from audiotaping himself, and is currently working on three short comedy films about psychics, which he calls "Psychic Pstories." "We're launching an IndieGoGo campaign in the next couple days," he says.

And he's found that the cure for sleeptalking might be to not sleep alone. "I probably do still sleeptalk, but I am no longer recording them so I can't be sure," he says. "One thing I've noticed is I talk less when someone else is sleeping with me."

But again, he wants it known he's no fake. "To clarify, all the audio of me talking is 100% real except for the two quotes at the beginning of the video, which are reenactments of things I actually said," he said. "Even the fart is real."