‘Stranger Things’: The Weird Science Behind Upside Down

Arguably one of the most well-known series franchise currently up on Netflix, ‘Stranger Things’ is a science fiction and horror fiction show about five children in the fictional rural town of Indiana, where… strange things are starting to happen.

Well-loved and received, the show features an alternate reality and mirror dimension called ‘The Upside Down,’ an inhospitable place filled with monsters, along with the show’s titular enemy, the Demogorgon.

Surprisingly however, there are a few science rules in this place that mirror our own reality.

Upside down science

"We know that, probably accidentally, an experiment opened a portal to a parallel reality," said Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College . “One possibility is that the creatures came from a wormhole in space from another point in the galaxy. If we relax the idea of a 'parallel universe' and think more in terms of alternative life forms, then, yes, strange complex life like this one could be viable somewhere else in the galaxy.”

In fact, you don’t have to look for another galaxy to see something as weird as the ones from the show. You only have to look at the bottom of our deep oceans, where the pressure is intense and creatures have evolved to using other senses except sight. This can be compared to some of the eyeless monsters from the show, possibly explained by the dimension’s lack of light.

There’s also the slime that covers everything, which can be compared to the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum that has the ability to exist as individual cells in the soil.

Another cool science-inspired element of the show are the demodogs, which make sure the Upside Down’s disease doesn’t spread into our own world. Per scientists, this is similar to some ant species, who are willing to die protecting their queen.

Another fascinating piece of science is the show’s season 2 enemy, which is a mind-controlling monster called the Mindflayer. In the show, the Mindflayer takes control of Will by using his eyes and ears, and then eventually his entire body.

A lab on the Carnegie Mellon University campus was able to do something similar. In it, neuroscientist Eric Yttri managed to use neuroscience as some sort of “mind control,” recording how brain neurons function and recording them after. The information is then relayed out to a robotic arm, prompting it to do the action.

"But if we attach those electrodes to someone else's arm, you can control it," Yttri said.

mind control Lidia Stanton tells us a simple but effective technique for influencing others. Pixabay, Public Domain