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Bust Out Your Tin Foil Hats: Stranger Things Has The US Dept. of Energy Either Scared…Or Totally Messing With Us


We knew it was coming. Once Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things started poking the bear by having the US Department of Energy as their Big Bad (you know, along with the Demogorgon), the DoE was bound to poke back. Although in this case, it wouldn’t have happened had someone not started sniffing around for documents about the Upside-Down.

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Lachlan Markay, a writer with the Washington Free Beacon, made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DoE’s Public Affairs office asking for any documents referencing Stranger Things.

At first, this request prompted Paul Lester in the DoE Department of Public Affairs to write a blog post back in August about how we should all move along and there’s nothing to see here, insisting that Stranger Things‘ portrayal of the DoE was “a little less than accurate,” that “Hawkins National Laboratory doesn’t exist,” and that the DoE “doesn’t explore parallel universes” or “mess with monsters.” (He also shouted out their female scientists, which was pretty cool)

Yet once the DoE dealt with Markay’s request and sent him the documents, they seem to contradict some of what’s in the blog post. And whoo boy did they send him documents! Lots:

You can read all 163 pages of documents HERE. A lot of the documents are emails where DoE employees are talking about the show like “fans” who are “curious about the show” and “thought it sounded good,” but YOU CAN’T FOOL US, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Markay sorted through all this and got to the real nitty-gritty.

As reported by Gizmodo, it seems that things like human experiments and searching for parallel universes are totally within the real-life DoE’s purview. For example, check out this now suspiciously deleted tweet:


I’m sorry, what does that say? “It’s not true that ‘the Energy Department doesn’t explore parallel universes’?” “High Energy Physics program?” WHAAAAAT? And why was this the only tweet Markay deleted??

*adjusts tin foil hat*

Even more disturbing is the talk of human experiments past (and possibly present?):

I love that that there’s a bunch of redacted stuff followed by the sentence, “So yeah, we actually do make weapons.” NOT SUSPICIOUS OR TROUBLING AT ALL, YOU GUYS! However, I’m glad that there seem to be people working at the DoE that at least have consciences enough to acknowledge when human experiments are “eyebrow-raising.” However, the fact that he says that he’s “not sure when these [experiments] ended,” is understandably concerning.

And then there was this response to Markay from the DoE on Twitter:

What kind of thinly-veiled-threat shenanigans are these?! Should Markay be going into hiding? IS HE GONNA END UP LIKE BARB?! Save your #JusticeForBarb hashtags, DoE. We see right through you.

(image via Netflix)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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