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Stranger Things Wiki
This article is about the fictional/in-universe Project MKUltra; information pertaining to the real-world Project MKUltra should be kept to a minimum.

Project MKUltra was a covert operation designed and conducted by the CIA that went on from 1953 to 1973, with the goal of developing mind-control techniques which could be used against enemies during the Cold War. The test subjects, many of which were unwitting, suffered extensive use of psychedelic drugs, physical and mental abuse, sleep deprivation and malnourishment, among many other experiments. The experiments lead to several deaths.


One of the institutions to undertake the project was Hawkins National Laboratory in Hawkins, Indiana, under the administration of Dr. Martin Brenner. Experiments at the laboratory began in 1953.[3]

One participant was Terry Ives, a young girl in college who was pregnant at the time of the experiments. Terry's extensive use of psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, led to her daughter Jane being born with special mental abilities, like telepathy and telekinesis. After the birth, Jane was taken from her mother and the birth was covered up, with no official evidence of her existence. Terry sued Dr. Brenner and the researchers, but the lawsuit was dismissed due to lack of evidence, and Terry eventually ended up in a catatonic state requiring the care of her sister.[4][5]

Jane was renamed "011" and used as a test subject in Dr. Brenner's continued experiments at the laboratory. They trained her abilities, making her destroy objects, and eventually trying to make her kill a cat with her mind.[4] Finally, they placed her in a sensory deprivation tank, which allowed her to telepathically spy on a Russian agent. Unexpectedly, she somehow encountered the monster.[6] Curious about the nature of the monster, Dr. Brenner made her connect with it a second time, which resulted in a gate opening from its dimension, allowing the monster to enter their own dimension.[5] In the ensuing chaos, Eleven escaped from the laboratory. Those involved in the experiments had to make efforts to capture Eleven and at the same time cover up the monster's existence.


  • Project MKUltra was an actual operation funded by the United States and is intertwined in the fictional storyline of Stranger Things.
  • The Duffer Brothers proposed various titles for Stranger Things, including "INDIGO", which "was gonna be" the name of the MKUltra program at Hawkins Lab.[7]
    • The "Indigo" title is not seen or heard in the actual show, but it did crop up in the novel Suspicious Minds.[1]

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