To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

The building which inspired Hawkins lab in Stranger Things is believed to have a dark history
Featured Image Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo/Wikimedia Commons

The building which inspired Hawkins lab in Stranger Things is believed to have a dark history

Plenty of strange experiments went on at Hawkins lab, but what happened in real life?

Hawkins' lab and all of the dark and mysterious things that took place inside it might have been made up for the entertainment of Stranger Things fans, but the building itself is actually inspired by a very real place.

The entire plot of the Netflix show would never have happened if it weren't for the experiments being conducted on Eleven and the other children who live inside the lab in Hawkins, but after seeing the strange tests and challenges the youngsters went through, it's good to know that none of it is real.

However, that's not to say all of the show is entirely fictional either. This is where you find out demogorgons are real.

Alright, maybe not, but Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) has previously revealed some real-life inspirations for the Hawkins lab, telling Wired: "It’s based on a place in Montauk, New York called Camp Hero. There was, like, rumours of secret government spies doing human experiments to fight in the Cold War. It’s based on that one government lab."

Camp Hero is a former military base which now forms part of the heavily-wooded Camp Hero State Park.

These days it's more commonly used for cycling, walking and horseback riding, but in the past it’s rumoured to have been home to some much less wholesome activities, including kidnapping, mind control and time travel.

The rumours and conspiracy theories surrounding the lab earned the happenings there the moniker of the ‘Montauk Project’.

After hearing the bizarre stories, filmmaker Christopher Garetano made a film about Camp Hero titled Montauk Chronicles, and told the story of several men who were allegedly forced to be part of secret experiments that occurred in Montauk in the 1970s.

"Alfred Bielek, Stewart Swerdlow, and Preston Nichols all tell tales of experiments that were conducted on nearly one hundred thousand people over the course of about ten years," Garentano's website explains.

There are a lot of stories about the radar tower at Camp Hero.
Gavin Zeigler / Alamy Stock Photo

"Kidnappings, murder, torture, time travel, mind control, and extra terrestrial contact are all said to have occurred at Camp Hero."

Swerdlow claimed that, in 1970, when he was 13, he was abducted for the Montauk Project after those in charge 'decided that people with certain genetics, people with certain backgrounds were conducive to the more advanced experiments'.

One theory that emerged claimed officials at the site used a Cold War-era SAGE radar tower in an attempt to alter people’s thoughts and control their moods.

Garentano, who grew up in the area, spoke about the history of the tower in an episode of the History Channel’s Dark Files, explaining: "Every 12 seconds the radar tower would rotate and there would be animals freaking out and people getting headaches and bad dreams. And you know people’s electronic equipment would go haywire."

Lots of experiments take place in the Stranger Things lab.

As well as the activity taking place above ground, more sordid happenings are believed to have taken place in a series of underground tunnels and bunkers – not entirely unlike the maze found beneath the rotting pumpkin patch in Stranger Things.

While making his film, Garentano called in experts with electronic measuring devices and found an ‘anomaly’ in their readings which suggested a ‘reinforced concrete bunker’ buried 20 feet underground.

Exactly what went on at the site remains a mystery to this day, but the Duffer Brothers have definitely done a good job in spinning a story out of the rumours that emerged about the Montauk Project.

In 1984, the land surrounding Camp Hero was donated to the National Park Service, though the buildings used by the military still stand in the state park today.

Topics: Stranger Things, Conspiracy Theories, Film and TV