Netflix’s original retro-themed sci-fi series Stranger Things has become a full-on cultural phenomenon. The show’s child-aged characters were a popular choice of Halloween costume this year and fans have taken to the Internet with fan fiction, speculations, and meticulous citations of the show’s numerous references to 1980’s horror and sci-fi films, secret CIA experiments, and urban legends. To make the show even more intriguing, a series of leaked emails from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) that the show’s references to top-secret backroom government experiments might be closer to reality than previously thought.

It seems the DOE actually has been looking a lot deeper into the stranger side of things than was thought.

The emails surfaced after Paul Lester, a digital content creator for the DOE, published a blog post discussing how close Stranger Things to depicting actual DOE experiments and technologies. Lester, perhaps at the behest of his superiors, claimed the show’s portrayal of DOE research was nowhere close to reality:

And while I really enjoyed “Stranger Things” as a mashup of Goonies and X-Files with some amazing 80s music mixed in, the show’s portrayal of the Energy Department was a little less than accurate.

Lester detailed several bullet points in the post including claims that the DOE doesn’t “mess with monsters” or “explore parallel universes.” However, Washington Free Beacon journalist Lachlan Markay used a Freedom of Information Act request to access DOE internal communications - heavily redacted, naturally - that show Lester might have been less than truthful, or at least less than fully informed. According to Markay’s Free Beacon article on the DOE documents, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz states in one of the emails that the DOE does in fact research parallel universes:

It's not true that 'the Energy Department doesn't explore parallel universe. We support theoretical physicists/cosmologists through the Office of Science High Energy Physics program, some of whom almost certainly are doing a fair amount of research on parallel universes.

One of the heavily redacted DOE emails.

In another leaked email, DOE speechwriter John Larue tells the DOE blog author Paul Lester that the DOE and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) have been up to some seriously spooky stuff over the years:

Also, human experiments: there is some really eyebrow-raising stuff in the history of the atomic energy commission, in which yes, the AEC did do human experiments, or participated with the military (example: soldiers were in trenches near some nuclear tests). Not sure when these ended.

No word on transdimensional monsters yet, though. However, these emails are similar to the recently-leaked WikiLeaks emails that show high-ranking government figures seemingly talking around the fact that they know a lot more about some of the mysteries of the universe than they let on.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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