Stranger Things Wiki

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


Stranger Things Wiki
Stranger Things Wiki
This article is about the Mind Flayer's victims. For the episode, see The Flayed (episode).

"The Flayed" referred to various men, women and children of Hawkins, as well as swarms of rats and other animals, who became possessed by the Mind Flayer in the summer of 1985.

After a new gate to the Upside Down was secretly opened beneath Starcourt Mall, the Mind Flayer's psychic link to the human world was reestablished, allowing the Flayer to reawaken a piece of itself that lay dormant at Brimborn Steel Works. Through this piece, the Flayer possessed swarms of rats, melting them down and using their bodies to create a proxy form, which the Flayer too possessed. The Flayer repeated the same process on a larger and more complex scale with human beings, possessing Billy Hargrove and others; these possessed humans came to be known as "the Flayed". Eventually, most of the Flayed were summoned to the Steel Works to be melted down and absorbed into the proxy form.


Human Hosts

The human Flayed were created by the Mind Flayer using tentacle-like structures resembling the Vines found throughout the Upside Down, which were used to infect subdued hosts with the Mind Flayer's particles. The first victim was Billy Hargrove, followed by Doris Driscoll and other unconscious victims that were kidnapped and brought by him to the basement of the Steel Works.


The rats of Brimborn and Hawkins’ sewers were very likely infected in a similar way to Will’s infection the year prior. Following a blackout in Hawkins caused by the initiation of the Soviet Key, a fragment of the Mind Flayer coalesced in the basement of the Steel Works, having lain dormant since its removal from Will in 1984. Once this piece of the Mind Flayer was reawakened, it possessed the nearby rats and directed them to consume chemicals, before exploding into piles of viscera that would be used to create a physical body for the Mind Flayer.


The Flayed were part of a hive mind, much like the native life forms of the Upside Down, with the Mind Flayer at its heart. The Flayed were known to display the same intense aversion to heat shared by both the Mind Flayer and everything else connected to its hive mind. When one Flayed was hurt, all the Flayed felt the pain, which was perhaps one of their weaknesses.

When needed, the Mind Flayer could infuse the Flayed with supernatural strength beyond the average human. This change was signaled by the veins under their skin appearing black due to a tar-like substance coursing through their body. An infused Flayed additionally had an invulnerability to damage that would kill or seriously injure the average human, such as being thrown through a wall or intentionally hit by a speeding car.

Becoming a Flayed caused a radical dietary change in both the “diseased” rats and in humans, as the Mind Flayer forcibly overrode normal bodily wants and dietary palates in favor of the desire to consume chemicals, most often poisonous ones. This was first observed with the rats’ consumption of Doris Driscoll‘s fertilizer, and later shown to carry over to humans, as both the infected Driscoll herself and the infected Holloway family were shown to be consuming chemicals (Doris was eating her fertilizer and the Holloways were “guzzling” cleaning products). The members of the Party theorized that the cause of this chemical consumption, a behavior noted to have been absent from Will Byers during his possession by the Mind Flayer, was because of the now-isolated monster’s desire to induce some sort of a chemical reaction inside of its hosts in order to make a new substance. Another theory proposed, this time by the older teens, was that perhaps the reason the Flayed were capable of subsisting on poisonous chemicals was because they were only poisonous if the consumer in question was human. It is also highly likely that caustic reactions associated with this chemical consumption by the Flayed either caused or aided in their violent explosive transformations into the amorphous blobs of biomass which this portion of the Mind Flayer would use to create his new physical form.

The Flayed retained higher brain function, due to being possessed humans, but were not as resistant to the Mind Flayer’s control and influence as Will Byers was in 1984, being almost completely subservient to the Entity, with only an exaggerated version of their previous personality remaining. However, Billy Hargrove, at the very least, was noted to have an “activated” and “deactivated” state, which former host Will was able to feel due to his ability to sense the Mind Flayer’s presence, and to also be able to show a degree of restraint, as he warned Karen Wheeler to stay away from him and attempted to convince his stepsister Max to release him from the sauna and pleaded with her that he was being used, prior to being activated amidst this pleading and attacking her. The Flayed also developed an intense psychological attachment to the location of Brimborn Steel Works, the lair of the Mind Flayer, with Doris Driscoll showing symptoms of distress when separated from it for an extended period of time, and the infected hosts being shown to congregate there when not blending in with their previous normal lives.

List of Flayed


  • It is likely that a total of 30 Hawkins residents (including the aforementioned above minus Will and the rats) were flayed and died as a result of the Mind Flayer's Avatar's death, since it was mentioned by the news in "The Battle of Starcourt" that 30 people died in Starcourt Mall's fire, which was obviously a cover up to the real reason behind the fire and the deaths.
  • Bruce Lowe is only one of the important flayed that weren't showed getting flayed, however it is likely that Tom Holloway flayed him since they both work at The Hawkins Post
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.