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The Void is a visual representation of Eleven's mind[1] while using extrasensory perception to locate other entities in different locations to her own.

Description

The Void appears as a vast endless expanse of nothingness. The floor is covered in a thin layer of water. It is completely empty, except for Eleven herself or whatever or whoever she is trying to locate.

Originally, Eleven could only enter the Void while sensorily deprived, specifically when she was submerged in a sensory deprivation tank. By 1984, Eleven's powers had grown to the point where she could enter the Void without subjecting herself to total sensory deprivation. Simply blindfolding herself and listening to the white noise of a television was sufficient to induce the state.[2] Eventually, even this wasn't needed, her powers having grown strong enough were she just had to close her eyes and concentrate.[3] In this space, she can psychically locate people and observe their actions. Distance doesn't appear to be an issue, as she found the Russian spy a continent away. She also found the Demogorgon, which was in a different dimension. It seems Eleven can choose to simply observe, or make her presence known by making contact, usually by "touching" with her psychic avatar. The people and objects she interacts with are not physically in the space, but are mental projections of their physical selves.

History

1983

In 1983, an experiment was held at the Hawkins National Laboratory. The experiment was to test subject Eleven's abilities in remote viewing. Tasked with finding a Russian spy, she was lowered into a sensory deprivation tank. She then entered a deep psychic state, allowing her to enter a mental void. With ease, she located the spy and was able to broadcast what he said over the lab's speakers. However, her focus shifted to a growling sound that came from some sort of creature. Frightened, Eleven fled and the experiment was aborted.

On November 6, Dr. Brenner held another experiment. Intrigued by the creature, he urged Eleven to make contact, saying it was reaching out to her. When she found the Demogorgon, it appeared to be hunched over and feeding on a large egg. Cautiously, she approached and made contact. This caused a rift to another dimension to open and subsequently unleashed the Monster upon Hawkins.

Eleven before she enters Castle Byers.

On November 12, at the Byers house, Eleven failed to located Barbara and Will using her powers. Eleven suggested that she could find Barbara and Will in “the bath". The group then came up with a plan to build a makeshift deprivation tank, setting it up at the Middle School. Eleven entered the void, and first located Barb. Unfortunately, Eleven only found her corpse. The gruesome sight made Eleven panic and scream. After being comforted by Joyce, Eleven continued to search for Will. She found him hiding from the Demogorgon in Castle Byers. Relaying Joyce's message, she told Will to hold on and that his mother would be coming for him. However, she suddenly lost contact and Will vanished.

1984

Eleven sees Hopper and Mike in danger through the Void

Eleven primarily used the Void to visit Mike during their year of separation and attempted to contact him almost every night, though unsuccessful. On at least one occasion, Halloween night, Mike sensed the presence of Eleven, but dismissed these feelings. She was, nevertheless, able to communicate with her mother, Terry Ives, whose mind was otherwise destroyed, rendering her semi-consicous. After prompting from Terry, Eleven entered the Void to track and locate her "sister", Kali, in Chicago. Kali in turn used her to locate former employees of Hawkins lab to target them for assassination. Again, this was carried out through the Void.

Eleven learned of the dire situation in Hawkins via another attempt to check on Mike and Hopper through the Void, prompting her to return to rescue her friends.

1985

The Void was still used to locate other characters and examine their behavior. One such notable circumstance occurred when Eleven and Max played spin the bottle at their sleepover. The goal of the game was to determine who El would spy on. After landing on Billy, Eleven went into the Void where she saw Billy kidnapping the missing lifeguard, Heather. Possessed by the Mind Flayer, Billy was able to sense Eleven's presence and was even able to see her. This shocked Eleven, and caused her to believe there was something terribly wrong. 

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of the Void.

The Void bears resemblance to another void-like place in the 2013 film Under the Skin, where the main character, played by Scarlett Johansson, lures unsuspecting men. The Duffers have confirmed the film as being the direct inspiration for the Void.[1]

When creating the Void, the Duffers decided to use practical effects. The effect was achieved with a thin layer of water on the ground, and having the surrounding area covered with black curtains. The Duffers explained they decided to go with this simple approach to avoid the story becoming too overblown with detail, while also using the budget limitations to be more creative without the use of CGI:

"The Void was a great way to portray an abstract and sort of bizarre idea, but what we were trying to do with the show was go back to the idea that simple can be better. Even in our title sequence — as opposed to trying to one-up these huge shows or big movies with elaborate sequences, it was always about going back to the simplicity of something you couldn’t do before you had big CG effects."[1]

In Beyond Stranger Things, Bill Nye described the Void as a point were multiverses intersect (e.g. the Upside Down and the regular world).[4] However, the Duffers' previous statements that the Void portrays the inside of Eleven's mind contradict this.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The same Void concept was used in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

References

Locations The Upside DownCreel HouseThe GateHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryLover's LakePublic LibraryPortalsHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel SystemTrailer 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.
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