Hit Netflix Show “Stranger Things” was nearly Named “Montauk”


Nora Toscano, Reporter

Odds are you’ve either binge-watched Stranger Things or heard people gossiping obsessively about it.  The show is set in Hawkins, a fictional town in Indiana in the 1980’s, and revolves around a group of friends dealing with supernatural occurrences and human subject research.  Of course, this sci-fi show seems to be as far from reality, but it was actually based off of a real lab and the conspiracy theories about it involving experimenting on humans.  And the best part? This lab is only a two-hour drive from Wantagh.


Camp Hero is a military base in Montauk, New York, that was used in World War II and the Cold War as a coastal defensive site that helped to protect New York City.  Now it’s a state park with a beautiful overlook of the Long Island Sound where visitors can hike, picnic, bike, and enjoy the views. Of course, the views include chain-link fences, a radar tower, old military barracks, and what looks like an evil laboratory much like the one in Stranger Things.  Most theories about Camp Hero, which involve mind-control, time travel, and human lab experiments come from The Montauk Project: Experiments In Time, a book written by Preston Nichols in 1982, during the same time period which the hit Netflix show takes place.  Nichols claimed that he worked at Camp Hero during and after World War II on secret experiments, one of which was called the “Montauk Chair” and was used to amplify psychic powers.  According to him, the first test subject was able to able to see through other people’s eyes by holding onto something of theirs, much like Eleven in Stranger Things.  Another thing he mentions in his book is that other boys were brought in and experimented on.  After this book was released, some Long Island men came forward with alleged regained memories of being abducted from their homes as children by Camp Hero scientists frequently for experiments.

To any sane person, Nichol’s stories seem psychotic.  But there was another bit of mystery at Camp Hero in 2008, when a mutated monster washed up on its shores.  Nicknamed the “Montauk Monster,” this creature seemed to be an oddly-shaped mammal. Scientists at Stony Brook University’s Living Marine Resources Institute deemed it a diseased dog or coyote that had “been in the sea for a while.”  If you look up a picture, the creature looks a lot like Stranger Things’ demodogs.  

These stories may seem preposterous, but the fact that the place such a famous TV show is based off of is right near us is interesting.  Stranger Things was actually originally going to be called “Montauk,” but producers decided against it because another TV show, The Affair, was already set there.  So if you ever visit Montauk, visit Camp Hero.  You might be able to make some connections to attributes of your favorite show.