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sensory deprivation tank, or isolation tank, is a lightless, soundless tank filled with saltwater in which individuals can float. One such tank was present in the underground subsystem of Hawkins National Laboratory. A test subject with psychic abilities labeled Eleven was lowered into this tank for at least two secret government experiments. When Eleven entered the tank, her usual sensory experience was inhibited, allowing her to access her powers of psychic projection.



Becky Ives, the sister of Terry and aunt of Eleven, told Joyce Byers and Chief Hopper that as part of her involvement with MKUltra and Hawkins Lab, Terry would be stripped naked and be placed in a sensory deprivation tank while on psychedelic drugs.


Eleven was ordered to spy on a Russian agent while in this state. This was a success, but in addition she unwittingly came across a monster from another dimension. Though Eleven panicked and the experiment was aborted, Dr. Martin Brenner made her return to the tank to make contact with the Monster. In the very moment contact was established, a tear in reality between the two dimensions was created, allowing the Monster to enter their dimension. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Eleven managed to exit the tank and escape the laboratory.

About a week later, Joyce, Hopper, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Jonathan and Nancy made a makeshift sensory deprivation tank for Eleven to use, in attempt to communicate with Will and Barb in the Upside Down. This 'tank' consisted of a paddling pool filled with de-icing salt from the Hawkins Middle School reserve.


The previous year, Eleven's powers had been removed in the battle against the Mind Flayer's proxy body. To resurface them, Dr. Sam Owens and Dr. Brenner had developed a new sensory deprivation tank in a facility in the middle of the Nevada desert. With the help of sensory deprivation and CCTV footage, Eleven was able to re-experience her life in Hawkins Lab. After fully reliving the massacre of September 8, 1979, Eleven's powers were returned stronger than ever, so that she could fight a new threat in Hawkins.

Later, after the Nina Project was attacked by the United States Military under Lt. Col. Jack Sullivan and Brenner was killed, Eleven and her friends Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Jonathan Byers and Argyle were devising a plan to head to Hawkins to help their friends there. However, Eleven understood that she wouldn't need to go to Hawkins; with the help of a sensory deprivation tank, she could piggyback off of Max Mayfield's mind and help her fight. Argyle brought the group to a Surfer Boy Pizza restaurant in Nevada. There, they created a makeshift sensory deprivation tank in a pizza dough freezer, filling it with water and dumping bags of salt into it. Through this, Eleven piggybacked off Max's mind and fought Vecna, One.


  • When placed inside the Hawkins Lab and Nina Project sensory deprivation tanks, Eleven's scalp is fitted with an electrode cap. These caps affix electrodes to the scalp, allowing for measurement of bio-electrical activity within the brain.
  • In Stranger Things: SIX, a test subject named Six, who has precognitive powers, is put into a sensory deprivation tank for her abilities to be greatly enhanced, just like Eleven.