The Montauk Project: what is the conspiracy theory that inspired Stranger Things, is it real - and history

Stranger Things is obviosuly a fantastical work of fiction that deals with the supernatural. Or is it?

What if we told you that elements of the show were actually inspired by ‘real life’ conspiracy theories?

We’re talking about the Montauk Project, a sinister US research operation that reads very much like the popular Netflix series.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is The Montauk Project conspiracy theory?

According to the Montauk Project conspiracy theory, a number of US government projects were carried out at Camp Hero or Montauk Air Force Station in Montauk, New York, with the aim of developing psychological warfare strategies and researching exotic technologies, such as time travel.

Is The Montauk Project conspiracy theory real?

Since the early 1980s, rumours regarding the Montauk Project have been circulating.

The extremely dubious testimony of Preston Nichols - who claimed to have unearthed suppressed memories of his own involvement and also alleges he was periodically kidnapped and forced to keep taking part - appears to be the source of the Montauk Project allegations.

Nichols was born on Long Island, New York, on in 1946, and claims to hold degrees in parapsychology, psychology and electrical engineering. He is the author of the Montauk Project series, a collection of books on the subject.

It’s likely that most of the main Stranger Things players will be reprising their roles once again for the final season (Photo: Netflix)

These books actually gave rise to the propogation of the conspiracy theory, and focus on US government and military experiments in areas like time travel, teleportation, mind control, extraterrestrial contact, and staging the ‘fake’ Apollo Moon landings.

Nichols has promoted speculation around the contents of the books; for instance, he stated in the first chapter, "Whether you read this as science fiction or non-fiction you are in for an amazing story," and labelled much of the content as "soft facts."

As such, the work has been classified as fiction because Nichols and, to a lesser extent, a man by the name of Stewart Swerdlow, who has repeatedly been found to contradict his own narrative, invented the entire account.

How did the Montauk Project inspire Stranger Things?

The Montauk Project served as the basis for Stranger Things, and ‘Montauk’ was even once used as the project's working title.

In April 2018, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer rejected a plagiarism complaint against the show as "completely meritless".

The two were sued by director Charlie Kessler, who claimed they stole concepts for the popular Netflix series from his 2012 short film Montauk, and feature film script, The Montauk Project.

The director claimed to have pitched the project to the Duffer brothers at a gathering held in 2014 during the Tribeca Film Festival

According to the lawsuit, “the script, ideas, story and film” were discussed with the brothers and then used in Stranger Things.

The Duffer Brothers have remained tight-lipped regarding the show's potential connection to the ‘real’ Montauk Project (or any other potential government experiment).

They have only mentioned how "very painful" it was to drop the original Montauk moniker.

How much of the Montauk Project is in Stranger Things?

The connection between the show and the conspiracy is made even more obvious if you learn what its experiments supposedly involved.

In his books, Nichols describes his time working at Camp Hero on the covert experiments, particularly in the 1970s when he claimed to have contributed to the creation of a piece of furniture known as the "Montauk Chair," which employed electromagnetics to magnify psychic abilities.

Additionally, Nichols describes the use of young boys for research purposes, some of which were were even sent through a portal into the void of spacetime.

These abductees are referred to as the "Montauk Boys" in Nichols' book, and ever since Nichols began talking about their recovered memories, other Long Island men have “learned” that Camp Hero scientists frequently kidnapped them from their homes in order to "break" them psychologically, so that they could implant subconscious commands.

Nichols asserts that after several years of testing with the Montauk Chair, they were able to dependably travel to several eras and locations - even to Mars.

At one point, however, Nichols' bosses ordered him to switch on the Montauk Chair and leave it running until 12 August 1983.

By turning on another time machine, the Montauk Project supposedly succeeded in creating a time wormhole to 1943 with electricity at both ends.