This contains spoilers, enter at your own risk.
The Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, originally had a different title for the show. Originally the show was to be called "Montauk" and quite possibly would have been set in Montauk, NY instead of Indiana. Why is this important? Well it could possibly explain what the hell is going on with the show. You see a vast conspiracy surrounds a government facility in Montauk called Camp Hero. What supposedly happened there is quite similar to what happens in the show. So lets go through the list of similarities.
5. The Facility — Hawkins Institute / Camp Hero
In the show we are introduced to the Hawkins Institute. A mysterious place that the denizens of Hawkins, Indiana have no real clue on what goes on there. In the real world, there was a place in Montauk,NY that was called Camp Hero. Many conspiracies surround this facility. The main theory, is that our own government was abducting runaway kids and experimenting on them. Other theories are that they were working with alien technology and actually harbored aliens to allow them to do experiments.
4. The Abducted Children — The Eleven / The Montauk Boys
In the conspiracy theory about the Montauk Project it is said that between 1,000 and 10,000 teens were abducted for research into time travel, remote viewing and many other weird experiments. In the above trailer for the movie, "The Montauk Chronicles", you meet some of these people who claimed they were one of The Montauk Boys. They make grand claims on what they did at Camp Hero but the creepy thing is they almost seem believable. Whether it is true, it is up to you to decide but its obviously inspired the Duffer brothers to create "Stranger Things".
3. The Experiments — El's Remote Viewing / The Chair
In Stranger Things we see Eleven dunked in an isolation tank in order to try and spy on the Soviets. The crazy thing about this is the United States was very interested in studying this phenomenon. In 1978, the United States invested in a secret project called Stargate. Its main purpose was to try and figure out if remote viewing was a possibility. The program lasted until 1995.
The Stargate Project was the code name for a secret U.S. Army unit established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic intelligence applications. The Project, and its precursors and sister projects, went by various code names — GONDOLA WISH, GRILL FLAME, CENTER LANE, SUN STREAK, SCANATE — until 1991 when they were consolidated and rechristened as "Stargate Project".
Regarding the theory of the Montauk Project, it was believed that a chair was used connected to a giant radar dish. It was believed to help amplify the powers of the psychic mind in order to pretty much view anything you wanted around the world. The large radar dish is still at Camp Hero. Here is a sketch of the supposed Montauk Chair:
2. The Monster — Demigorgon / Montauk Monster
Just as we are introduced to the strange flower headed monster in Stranger Things, the Montauk project had its very own monster. And there are still reports to this day of a monster that roams Montauk, NY. In the Montauk conspiracy theory, it is said that a monster was created from pure thought. While one boy was hooked up to the chair, he manifested something dark from his mind. The believe is that the chair amplified the powers of the mind and that you could do more than remote view, you could create monsters.
In July of 2008, a creature washed up on the shores of Montauk,NY only fueling the conspiracy even more. While the creature is most likely not a monster, it has fueled the idea of monsters and aliens that have haunted the facility for years. Is this just a regular animal or is it a monster that has leaked out. We may never know. Many claim that the features of this animal don't line up to any species we know. Others claim its just a raccoon.
1. The Hole — Upside Down World Entrance / Hole In The Universe
And now for one more comparison between The Montauk Project and Stranger Things. In the show, El was able to create an entrance to what they call the Upside Down. In the conspiracy detailed by Preston Nichols, it is said that a hole in the universe was created in 1983 and we find the Stranger Things too is set in November of 1983. Did El create a hole in the universe. Is it possible that the monster is a creation of her mind or are we dealing with alien creatures.
It is fascinating to know that the Duffer brothers have a fleshed out a once crazy conspiracy theory in to such an interesting show. Obviously these theories are most likely just that, but it is always interesting to know where these ideas come from. The creepy thing is, its possible experiments did happen on unwilling participants. We know that the MK ULTRA program actually existed and even President Bill Clinton publicly apologized for what the government did to unwitting victims. Keep your tin foil hats on and hope that season 2 of Stranger Things answers our many questions.