What is the Mind Flayer in Stranger Things? A monstrologist explains

Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix /

Who is The Mind Flayer in Stranger Things?

For Stranger Things Week’s Upside Down Appreciation Day, Netflix Life’s resident monstrologist Sabrina Reed is going to share some fun facts about The Mind Flayer from Stranger Things. 

Welcome, cadets. Please take your seats. Now that you’ve been given level five security clearance, we can finally discuss the entity controlling the Demogorgons and Demodogs.

As you know, those beasts are from the realm referred to as the Upside Down. It’s a cute name for a horrifying place. I’m sure you’re aware that these Demogorgons operate as a hive but the being that controls them is unlike any monster you’ve ever heard of. It’s what we’ve been referring to as the Mind Flayer, a creature of unknown origins.


Those of you who are fans of Dungeons & Dragons have most certainly caught onto the fact that the children who named these creatures cribbed them from their favorite pastime. I find it amusing, though some of my colleagues don’t. The Mind flayer, however, is better than the shadow monster, so we should all be counting our blessings on the naming front.

In the same way that a Demogorgon in reality isn’t a prince of demons that looks like a two-headed baboon with tentacle arms, our Mind Flayer doesn’t share a likeness to its RPG namesake. As with the Demogorgons, we lack photographic evidence of this creature, so the artist renditions we’ve provided will have to suffice.

Before you ask, yes, they are drawn to scale. In its domain, the Mind Flayer is as tall as a skyscraper. We know this because of the testimony of Will Byers, the young boy who was possessed by this creature a couple of years ago.

Stranger Things
Stranger Things – Credit: Netflix /


According to Will, this entity seeks to dominate the Earth and merge this dimension with its own. Despite my preference of referring to the Mind Flayer as an “it,” Byers insists that the creature is a he, therefore, we believe it to be masculine in nature.

It’s not a being that can be reasoned with or persuaded. Though it doesn’t bare a resemblance to its namesake, we believe their personality traits to be similar. The Mind Flayer is a megalomaniac and a narcissist. I’m purposefully being irreverent because I refuse to grant a daddy longlegs-looking creature the dignity of being taken seriously.

World domination is for mustachioed villains from children’s cartoons. However, don’t mistake my irreverence for indifference. The Mind Flayer is a threat to our world and, therefore, I intend to do what is necessary to eradicate it from existence. Most importantly, it’s my job to ensure there are no bleeding hearts among our ranks.

This creature is not misunderstood. It is evil and cruel and cares for no one and nothing but itself. You can’t turn it into a gentle giant. Our prejudice against it doesn’t stem from its appearance but rather its behavior. Any creature that murders without regard, absumes the autonomy of other beings, and attempts to overtake an entire dimension cannot be saved.


We have no intention of studying the Mind Flayer beyond how to effectively negate its influence on our world and kill it. We know that it’s intelligent, capable of being hurt, feeling fear, and that it holds a deep loathing for our species and a bio-engineered child named Jane “Eleven” Hopper.

As previously stated, the Mind Flayer controls the Demogorgons. These bestial plant adjacent creatures are man-eating and are taller than the average human. The children refer to stage five of this creature’s life cycle as “Demodogs,” so when thinking of the Demogorgons use that analogy. They’re the entity’s dogs bred with its hedonistic violence in mind.

The Mind Flayer’s reach includes near sentient vines or tendrils that can and do cross the inter-dimensional void between our worlds. They constrict without provocation and are unrelenting unless brutally attacked or burned.

Finally, the Mind Flayer has the ability to “flay” inhabitants of our world. This is achieved through an infection caused by limb-like amorphous appendages attached to the bodies of the flayer’s victims. Those who fall prey to this form of possession will be enthralled to the beast, incapable of breaking free on their own, and poised to do its bidding.

Sadly, the likelihood of recovering from such possession is disturbingly low. To date, the only person to survive is Byers. Presumably, this is due the creature’s ignorance of our world and the resilience of humanity. It didn’t factor in resistance or fight, it has since not made the same mistake and has evolved to using multiple human bodies and animals to create proxies for itself within this world.

We also assume it has grown past Hawkins, Indiana. There is chatter that the Russians are up to something. Our contacts believe they’ve gotten hold of a Demogorgon, but we have yet to confirm this information. Right now, it’s simply speculation, but if there’s a Demogorgon in the eastern hemisphere then those fools have allowed the Mind Flayer a foothold on the other side of the planet.

Do know that this agency holds the position that this beast is biding its time. The gate may be closed here, but as long as one of the Mind Flayer’s dogs exists in this realm, it will never truly be gone. This is why I disagree with the prevailing idea that we should keep these beings for longer than is necessary.

Anyway, I digress. For more information on the Mind Flayer refer to the Stranger Things Wiki. It’s an aggregated database of what’s been collected about this creature and its minions. Until next class, have a safe and productive day, cadets.

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