Stranger Things Wiki

Major spoilers will be present! Please read at your own discretion.


Stranger Things Wiki
Stranger Things Wiki
4 icon3.png Spoiler Warning!

This article or section reveals details from the fourth season.
Read at your own discretion...

This article is about the inter-dimensional doorways. For the episode, see The Gate (episode). For other uses, see The Gate (disambiguation).

Gates[1] are wounds or ruptures in space-time and the fabric of reality itself that connect the regular world with the Upside Down. They act as bridges between dimensions, allowing anyone to go back and forth from one plane of existence to another instantaneously. Eleven, Vecna, and the Demogorgon all possessed the ability to create gates. Furthermore, gates can be considered extensions of the Upside Down itself, consisting of the same tendrils, vines and webbing present throughout the dimension.

The first known gate was created after Eleven overpowered One in a psychic duel on September 8, 1979; somehow, a temporary gate opened in the wall of Hawkins Lab's Rainbow Room, pulling One into the Upside Down. A non-temporary, ever expanding 'mothergate' would later open after a lab experiment-gone-wrong involving Eleven in November 1983; Eleven would use her powers to seal this gate the following year.

The Soviet Union caught wind of the Upside Down's discovery and sought to learn about its secrets; in 1985, this culminated in a new gate being opened using a bespoke machine, located in a secret base located under Hawkins's Starcourt Mall. The machine was ultimately deactivated by Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper after breaking into the base.

In March 1986, One resurfaced as the being known as Vecna, and began tormenting and killing various Hawkins residents using his 'curse' power. With every murder, a new gate would open near the site of the victim's death. Vecna took the life of Chrissy Cunningham, Fred Benson, Patrick McKinney and Max Mayfield, and despite Max's subsequent revival, her temporary 'death' opened a fourth and final gate at the Creel House; the four gates then rapidly expanded and converged at the Hawkins town square, triggering an earthquake in the process.


A gate is an opening between the human world and the Upside Down. They have a thin filament that had to be broken to be passed through, and can be surrounded by vines. Any gate disrupts the local electromagnetic field, causing compasses to point toward it instead of the Earth's magnetic north.

The Mothergate

Main article: Mothergate

The Mothergate was opened at Hawkins National Laboratory. Unlike the other gates, this gate didn't heal and close - in fact, it only grew in size, slowly spreading and unfurling in the lab. By 1984, the Mothergate had expanded to an enormous size, reaching far below Hawkins Lab. The Mind Flayer used the Mothergate as a means to spread the Upside Down's toxic biological growth, with the end goal of eventually taking over the Earth. The Mothergate was closed by Eleven in 1984, temporarily stopping the Mind Flayer's plan.

Temporary gates

The temporary gate formed by the Demogorgon in the side of a tree.

The Demogorgon was able to create gates that it used to travel between dimensions. These gates were temporary, essentially being dimensional "wounds" that would eventually "heal."[2] How the Demogorgon came to possess, and used, this ability is unclear. Considering that it would take a massive amount of energy for a dimensional rift to open, it can be assumed that the Demogorgon somehow possessed the amount of energy required to do so. Whenever the Demogorgon created a gate, lights would flicker, and occasionally other electronics would be affected. This indicates that some energy was involved in the creation of these gates. It's also possible that this was due to the fabric of reality in Hawkins being unstable from the Gate remaining open, which would require less energy to open smaller gates.

During creation, the surface of wherever the gate was located would bulge, distort, and occasionally even crumble before tearing in a manner similar to that of flesh. The inside of the gate would often be surrounded by oozing, toxic biological matter. Some gates eventually formed a visceral-like membrane over their entrance shortly before closing, occasionally resembling biological webbing of some sort. The amount of time it took for a gate to close seemed to vary, as it took quite some time for the gate in Joyce's wall to heal, while the gate that Nancy entered disappeared mere moments after she was pulled out of it. After closing, the surface of where the gate was located would appear normal with no traces of its existence remaining.

Eleven was also able to create temporary gates. At the age of eight, she made a gate that transported Henry Creel to the Upside Down.

Soviet-operated gates

Main article: The Keys

Gates in the Soviet Union

section to be added

The Gate under Starcourt

section to be added

The 'curse' gates

Main article: Curse gates

section to be added



After fighting back against Henry Creel, Eleven telekinetically shoved him against a wall, screaming as she somehow created a gate behind him. Henry was flung through the gate into the Upside Down, and Eleven watched as vines emerged from the gate, sealing it shut.


On November 6, 1983, an experiment was held at Hawkins National Laboratory, where test subject Eleven, who had repressed the memories of her encounter with Henry, was tasked with contacting an interdimensional creature. She succeeded, however the moment she touched the creature a rift to another dimension opened, unleashing the Demogorgon upon Hawkins. This rift was the Mothergate.

After an attempt to speak with her son failed, Joyce noticed the lights flickering in an odd pattern. Following the lights, she entered Will's room where his radio inexplicably turned on by itself. She then witnessed what appeared to be a hand trying to break through the wall, causing it to bulge and distort. The following day, Karen brought Holly along to the Byers house. As Karen and Joyce were having a conversation, Holly was attracted by the blinking lights. She followed them into Will's room where the wall again began to distort. Before the creature could break through, Joyce found her and insisted that they leave.

Joyce speaking to Will via the remnants of a gate.

Determined to contact Will, Joyce used Christmas lights and paint to create a makeshift ouija board on her wall. When she asked what she should do, Will told her to “R-U-N”. Immediately after Will answered, the lights began to flicker frantically. Turning around, she witnessed the Demogorgon tear through the wall. Joyce fled the house before the creature could pursue her. Later, when Hopper and Powell searched the house, there was no sign of the creature or the gate. The next day, as Joyce tried to get Will to talk to her using his radio, she heard tapping coming from the other side of the wall. Peeling back the wallpaper, she saw Will through the remnants of the gate the creature had created the night before. As the Monster approached the gate began to close. Joyce then attempted to use an ax to get to Will, but she was too late.

When Jonathan and Nancy went searching for the Demogorgon on Mirkwood, they came across a wounded deer. As they were about to perform a mercy kill on it, it was suddenly pulled away by an unseen force. Following the trail of blood, Nancy discovered an open gate in the base of a tree. Entering the gate, she found herself in another dimension where she witnessed the creature feeding on the deer. When the Demogorgon was alerted to her presence, she ran away, screaming for Jonathan's help. Following the sound of her voice, Jonathan found the gate and quickly pulled her out to safety. The gate closed immediately after.

Determined to kill the Demogorgon, Nancy and Jonathan rigged the Byers house with traps, as well as used their own blood to lure out the creature. As they were bandaging their wounded hands, Steve arrived hoping to apologize. Suddenly, the lights began to flicker, signaling that the Demogorgon was approaching. It then emerged from a gate that it had created in the ceiling, falling to the floor. When the teens ran to Will's room waiting for the trap to activate, the Demogorgon seemingly disappeared only to reappear a short time later behind Jonathan, pinning him down. During the confrontation, the teens managed to trap the Demogorgon in the bear trap and set it on fire. As it was burning, it managed to escape back to the Upside Down.

Joyce and Jim Hopper used the Mothergate to enter to Upside Down to save Will, which proved successful.

The Demogorgon emerging from a gate in the school's wall.

As agents stormed the school, Eleven used her powers to crush their brains. Attracted by the blood, the Demogorgon burst through a gate it had created in the wall. It then pursued the agents, attacking Brenner in the process.

In the process of destroying the Demogorgon, Eleven was transported to the Upside Down. After stumbling through the school's hallways, she eventually found the gate the Demogorgon had created when it had entered the school. After using her abilities to make the gate large enough, she crawled through it, escaping the alternate dimension.


On June 28, 1984, the events of 1983 caught wind in Russia and the Soviets decided to open a Gate themselves. The Soviet Union carried out their own experiments in inter-dimensional travel by inventing a Key that would create enough energy in opening a gate. However, all of the Keys the Soviets built turned out wrong as the Gate would briefly open before closing and causing major energy outbursts. According to Dr. Alexei, he and the other Soviet scientists realized the Key was only one half of the equation, the location of the Key itself being the other important component as the Keys were unable to work properly in Russia. However, they theorized that a Key could function as intended in Hawkins, as even though the American Gate there had been closed, the fabric of space-time there was still healing, and therefore vulnerable to the Key Ray.

Meanwhile, the Mothergate continued to grow, reaching a gargantuan size. An entity known as the Mind flayer began using the Mothergate to infiltrate Hawkins, forming a series of tunnels as a way to spread the Upside Down's biological growth. The Mothergate was permanently closed by Eleven, successfully, though temporarily, stopping the Mind Flayer's plan.

1984 - 1985

After the closure of the Mothergate, the Soviet Union came to America and carried out a plan, purchasing properties all around East Hawkins that were near transformers, using them to siphon off energy from the town’s power grid. The mayor of Hawkins, Larry Kline was bribed by the Russians and built Starcourt Mall as a front for the Russians to create a new Key.


On June 28, 1985, the Russians manage to finish building the Key and thus successfully opened another gate, creating a power outage throughout Hawkins. Though the gate was slowly opening, the Russians continued their work on it.

However, because of the gate's small opening, the Mind Flayer re-established his telepathic link to a fragment of himself that possessed Will until being burnt out of him before the closing of the original Gate, which had left the fragment in a dormant state. The Mind Flayer then possessed swarms of rats and had them consume chemicals, in order to destroy them and create himself a body with their biomass so he can act in the real world. The Mind Flayer, realizing he'll need more and bigger hosts, then possessed Billy Hargrove as his main host. Billy, under the Mind Flayer's control, captured his co-worker Heather Holloway and allowed her to be possessed. The Mind Flayer then possessed Heather's parents Tom and Janet Holloway, Doris Driscoll, Bruce Lowe, and more Hawkins residents over the next couple of days. After Tom and Bruce were killed in all altercation in which the Mind Flayer sent them to kill Nancy and Jonathan, their corpses melted and formed a monster. This monster was killed by Eleven, and its biomass then moved down into the sewers where it added to the Mind Flayer's proxy.

The Flayed (with the exception of Billy) were melted down on July 4th in order to expand the Mind Flayer's physical proxy's size. Billy was still made to be used at the Mind Flayer's whim, until he somehow managed to resist the monster, and give his life to save Eleven and his step-sister Max. The Mind Flayer's proxy body was killed when Joyce and Hopper successfully destroyed the Key, shutting down the gate under Starcourt Mall and once again severing the link to the Upside Down.


On March 21, 1986, Vecna causes Chrissy Cunningham to have a vision. Once Vecna catches Chrissy in the dreamscape, he murders her. While being murdered, she levitates in Eddie's trailer and once Vecna's claw makes contact with Chrissy's face, she is thrown into the ceiling and as she is dying, there is a crack forming on the ceiling. A few days later, the crack seems to have spread across the top of the trailer.

Sometime later, Jason Carver and his friends find Eddie Munson on Lover's Lake. Jason and Patrick McKinney follow Eddie into the water, where Patrick begins to hear the clock. He is pulled underwater and after sometime he pops up and levitates over the water, where he is murdered by Vecna. The crack is not visibly seen until a day or two later, when Steve Harrington makes contact and is pulled through the gate, dubbed "Watergate" by Dustin Henderson due to it being underwater. Nancy, along with Robin Buckley and Eddie Munson, follows Steve through Watergate into the Upside Down, and eventually head to the gate that was created in Eddie's trailer. Dustin, as well as Max Mayfield and Erica and Lucas Sinclair, head to the gate in the real world and break through the barrier blocking its entry. Robin and Eddie are able to make it back through, but Nancy is possessed by Vecna before she and Steve can.

After Vecna showed her his past, Nancy was also shown a vision of which the gates would expand through Hawkins, as a warning for Eleven and her friends. He later sent her back to her body, where she told all the information she had received. After several discussions, the team later decides to return to the Upside Down, this time with weapons and protection. Dustin, Robin, Eddie, Nancy and Steve returned to Eddie's van while Max, Lucas and Erica returned to the Creel House.

Their plan was later discovered by Jason Carver, who tracked Lucas into the Creel House, where they put out a fight. Lucas was able to gain the upper hand and knock Jason out, but Vecna was already in the process of killing Max. He was later stopped by El, giving Steve, Robin and Nancy enough time to attack his physical body.

Despite this, Max was gravely injured, with her left leg and right hand broken, and both of her eyes bleeding. She temporarily died in Lucas's arms, where a fourth and final gate opened near them and immediately expanded into the centre of Hawkins. Jason later had his body tied up by the vines and was mutilated by the gate's opening.


  1. Portals are referred to as "gates" in Stranger Things: The Game, and in most of the show.
  2. "Stranger Things episode 6: How the Duffer Brothers created the monster"Entertainment Weekly. July 20, 2016.

Locations The Upside DownCreel HouseCurse gatesGatesHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryLover's LakePublic LibraryHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel SystemMothergateTrailer Park
Entities D'ArtagnanDemobat (species)The DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVecnaVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Robin BuckleyJoyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldEddie MunsonBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe KeysVecna's curseVecna's Mind Lair
Articles may contain spoilers.