Sexual Deviants and Attitudes Towards Prostitution in the Early Modern Period

Hello everyone! I know I’ve missed a couple of weeks but as I had the flu I needed some serious time to recover and take it easy. But here I am back again and ready to bring you a new blog post! This week we’re going to be covering prostitution and attitudes towards prostitution during the early modern period. I was thinking about doing prostitution during the twenty-first century as it’s such a hot topic at the moment with legalisation in certain places, but for now I’ll leave that one for another week.

So, prostitution is most commonly referred to as the ‘world’s oldest profession’. And it’s really not hard to see why. While the legal status of prostitution varies greatly from country to country; going from unregulated to a regulated profession, (think the red light district). It is estimated that there are around 42 million prostitutes worldwide. What I’m most interested in is where did this all begin?And when was it at its most popular? Why was is widely accepted in some areas whereas in other areas it was viewed with insurmountable prejudice. What cemented this views, and why? While I’m sure I won’t be able to answer all of these questions, I’ll certainly give it a go!

Prior to the 15th century attitudes were fairly tolerant of prostitutes or sex workers. However, by 1494 attitudes began to change. Many historians have argued that this was a result of the outbreak of syphilis which occurred in Naples in the same year. It ended up affecting most of Europe and is said to have originated from the Columbian exchange as well as speculation being shrouded in the prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases which could have occurred during the early 16th century. By the time the 16th century was underway prostitution became a profession which was associated with the plague and disease. Many different contagions also emerged which caused many of the brothels to be outlawed by secular authority. Not only did this mean a significant drop in wages for these women but it also meant that prostitutes were being portrayed as something they weren’t. Nearly everyone was affected by the plague, and in this case it could certainly be argued that prostitutes acted as a scapegoat during the time of the great plague.

While prostitutes were considered to be an integral part of the community, ultimately there was a double standard where a man’s sexual promiscuity was accepted whereas a woman’s was looked down upon. For example, sexual promiscuity outside a marriage for men and women was condemned by the church. But a man’s sexual promiscuity was considered less harmful than a woman’s and a man was far less likely to be punished. There have been many theories as to why a man’s sexual deviance was viewed as less harmful. The most obvious explanation would be the idea of gender roles that was so drilled into the minds of everyone in society. As a man grew up he would go through various different stages in his life, these would include: boyhood, adolescence, and manhood. During adolescence the man would be encouraged to experiment sexually with prostitutes, a ‘get it out of your system’ kind of approach. Men’s sexual activity began at an early age long before masturbation and often involved pre-marital sex with prostitutes or servants. Interestingly, respected men kept mistresses and appeared in public with them as well as often recognising their bastard children. If this theory stood firmly with all the males in society, then ultimately prostitutes, mistresses, sex workers or whores were needed within society so that things would run the way they were meant to. In comparing this life cycle with a woman’s, things are somewhat different. A woman during her life will go through, girlhood, adolescence, womanhood, and motherhood. Nowhere in each of these stages is a woman encouraged to experiment sexually. She is to marry, settle down and have children, even with the knowledge that her husband is visiting the local brothel every week. Conduct books were published to treat women who committed adultery and were treated as a crime which was considered far worse than theft. Women whose husbands cheated on them were advised not to complain but to attempt to reform their husbands by setting an example of virtue. This idea is incredibly clever, because no matter what the woman does, she is stuck. Women who took part in sexual misbehaviour were constantly insulted whereas nothing was said about male fornication unless it involved sodomy (and even then it was intellectualised, especially in erotica!), brothel keeping or a bastard child and even if this did occur accusations soon petered out with time.

Ultimately, prostitution was condemned by religious figures. However, many saw it as a necessary evil that helped to satisfy men’s lust while keeping the women clean and pure.

Sorry this is a bit mismatched, the disadvantages of being away from the keyboard for a few weeks! I would love to know your thoughts on this and whether you think prostitution should be legalised! 


The Ku Klux Klan

Hello everyone! This week I’m going to be delving into the history and details of the KKK as I thought it was a nice cheery topic for an average Wednesday evening. Of course I’m joking. The KKK and its ideologies have always fascinated me and when I did my research for this post I was actually quite surprised at how wide and varied its history actually is. Hope you enjoy!

The KKK was founded in 1866 and extended into almost every southern state by 1870, demonstrating how its ideals had become so popularised. The organisation of the KKK coincided with the beginning of the second phase of past civil war reconstruction. As a result the organisation became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the republican party’s reconstruction era policies which were aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Ultimately, its primary goal was to re-establish white supremacy. They attempted to achieve this by advocating extremist reactionary positions such as white nationalism, anti-immigration as well as Nordicism, anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism. They used terrorism, physical assault and murder against groups or any individual who they were opposed to. Their main target were those who were set free after the American civil war; the African Americans. Members of the Klan killed black people by hanging without trial, otherwise known as lynching. This meant that they were able to take the law into their own hands as often as they pleased; rope law. This continued so frequently that the police were not always able to protect the victims and even took part in the killings, a huge conflict of interest. Those who were responsible very rarely were brought before the court and Klan members often knew friends in the courts as a result of the ever growing organisation, and would not find them guilty. During this time it was very difficult for the government to change the attitudes of the white people in the south in case it lost votes.

Their goal was to purify American society, because of this KKK organisations fall under the label right wing extremists. During the civil rights movement in the 1960s the activity of the KKK saw an increase which included the bombing of black schools, churches as well as violence against black and white activists in the south. They often used public violence against black people and left their bodies behind on the roads. When black political leaders were killed they endeavoured to take the heads of families along with the leaders of churches and community groups because of their high role in society. The violence they inflicted during this time was to suppress black voting and campaign seasons were a highly dangerous time for everyone who was involved. More than 2,000 people were killed, wounded and injured in Louisiana within a few weeks prior to the presidential election of November 1888.

In order to gain anonymity as well as sparking feelings of fear and intimidation the members of the organisation wore masks and robes. This was because many operated in small towns and rural areas where everyone was familiar with one another. While their goal was to be completely anonymous, it has been noted that they were sometimes still recognized by their voice and mannerisms. The idea of them wanting to be anonymous has always been a fascinating one, why be anonymous if you’re proud of what you’re taking part in? Which to me, seemed like they clearly were. It could be argued that it was fear on their part but I find this notion quite hard to believe, especially while there were so many members and how large the organisation had become during this time. It would certainly make sense to include anonymity today, but back then is a different story. The burning of the Latin cross for example has become iconic when looking at the history of the KKK, burning it was a dramatic display of symbolism. However, it is important to note that no crosses had been used as a symbol by the first Klan but became a symbol of the Klan’s quasi-Christian message. They even went so far as to include prayers and hymns among others.

In total, there were 3 klans:

1st Klan = 1865-1971

2nd Klan = 1915-1944

3rd Klan = 1946- present

The first Klan aimed to weaken the black political establishment through assassinations and threats of violence and they drove some people out of politics. They also caused friction with the passage of federal laws. Eric Foner argues that they were in fact a success in terms of ‘restoring order, reinvigorating the morale of southern republicans and enabling blacks to exercise their rights as citizens’. However, George Rable argues that the Klan was a political failure and therefore was discarded by the democratic leaders of the south.

The second Klan was founded in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia by William J. Simmons. This was a fraternal organisation with a national and state structure. It grew quickly and by 1921 it had over 100,000 members. By the mid twenties membership was as its strongest with 5 million members.

The third Klan was used by numerous independent local groups who opposed the civil rights movement and desegregation especially in the 1950s and 1960s.

Most historians classify the KKK as part of the post civil war insurgent violence which related not only to the high number of veterans in the population but also to their effort to control the huge change in the social situation by using extrajudicial means to restore white supremacy. The organisations highest membership came in the 1920s where it exceeded 4 million people nationwide.

I was actually meant to centre this post around what we know as the modern day KKK but got so steeped in its history that it’s turned into something else! The modern KKK is not one big organisation but is composed of small independent groups across the United States. In 2017, the southern poverty law centre which monitors extremist groups like the KKK estimated that there were, ‘at least 29 separate, rival Klan groups currently active in the US and they compete with one another for members, dues, news media attention and the title of being the true heir to the Ku Klux Klan’. Generally speaking, it is fair to say that the organisation is on the decline. However, many KKK groups formed alliances with other white supremacist groups like the neo-Nazis. As a result, some groups have become increasingly ‘Nazified’ adopting the look as well as the emblems of white power skinheads.

I hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy post and learnt something new!


P.T. Barnum: a Short History


Hello all! Now I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a very specific reason for the topic of this blog post. Last Wednesday I went to see The Greatest Showman and to say that I enjoyed it would be a huge understatement. If you get the chance seriously go see it. After the film I got to thinking about what the real Barnum was like and if he was anything remotely similar to Hugh Jackman, it’s fair to say I was slightly disappointed. While the film never claimed to be historically accurate or a biopic in any way, I still wanted to get into the crux of who P.T. Barnum was, and if you want to know too, keep reading!

Phineas Taylor Barnum was born in 1810 and was an American showman, politician and businessman. He was most famously known for founding the Barnum and Bailey circus 1871-2017 and was also an author, publisher, philanthropist and politician.

In 1835 Barnum began his career as a showman and purchased and exhibited a blind and almost completely paralyzed slave woman named Joice Heth, who Barnum claimed was 161 years old. While slavery was outlawed in New York at the time, Barnum exploited a loophole that allowed him to lease her for a year for $1000 and borrowed $500 in order to complete the sale. She ended up dying in 1836 and was no more than 80 years old. This is where the demonization of Barnum really takes root. Barnum was said to have worked her for 10-12 hours a day and then went on to host a live autopsy of her body in a New York saloon where spectators paid 50 cents to see her be cut up. I’m not trying to defend his actions but I think what people have to remember is the time he was living in. It was the Victorian era, levels of poverty were incredibly high and it was every man for himself, as the saying goes. I feel like this one instance overshadows every other achievement he made.

In 1842 he displayed the Feejee mermaid in Barnum’s American Museum which had the head of a monkey and the tail of a fish. As a result, many argued that he was a fraud and should not be trusted. However, Barnum argued that they were simply, ‘advertisements to draw attention…to the museum. I don’t believe in duping the public, but I believe in first attracting and then pleasing them’. I think there’s a lot to be learnt from this quote, is this not true in every aspect of life? Look at clickbait for example, it’s exactly the same thing and very many successful people do it! Barnum was actually referred to as the ‘prince of Humbugs’ as he saw nothing wrong in entertainers or vendors using hoaxes or humbugs to promotional material so long as the public was getting good value for money. While this was true, apparently he was contemptuous of those who made money through deception such as spiritualist mediums or illusionists. In some ways, this depicts Barnum as being somewhat hypocritical. The reason I think he argued this was because he believed that even though some of his oddities were either exaggerated or not entirely true, the public were ultimately gaining an authentic experience, whereas with mediums and such, the public aren’t left with all that much. He went so far as to expose ‘the tricks of the trade’ used by mediums to cheat the bereaved by offering $500 to any medium who could prove their power to communicate with the dead.

Possibly Barnum’s most successful ‘oddity’ was General Tom Thumb. When he was recruited by Barnum he was in fact 4 years old but was stated to be 11. He was trained and eventually took on roles such as Hercules and Napoleon, much to the public’s delight. By the age of 5 he was drinking wine, and by the age of 7 he was smoking cigarettes for the public.

In 1865 Barnum’s American Museum caught fire and burned to the ground. Shortly after another museum opened but this was also demolished by a fire in 1868. As a result Barnum retired from the museum business and opened ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Here, he teamed up with Dan Costello and William C. Coup to launch P.T. Barnum’s Grand Travelling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome in 1871. After a successful run, Barnum joined forces with fellow circus managers James A. Bailey and James L. Hutchinson. A year after they introduced Jumbo the elephant who was 11 1/2 foot and weighed 6 1/2 tons from the Royal Zoological Society in London.

Barnum’s life came to an end in 1891 as a result of a stroke. Most critics had forgiven Barnum and was actually praised for good, demonstrating how much more valuable a person becomes once their gone. He was hailed as an icon of American spirit and ingenuity and was considered to be perhaps the most famous American in the world, certainly high praise for a man who was considered to be morally inept. In 1893 a statue was erected in his honour and was placed at seaside park in Bridgeport, as a way to celebrate how Barnum founded the Bridgeport Hospital after he was elected Mayor of Bridgeport in 1875. As well as this, the Tufts University biology building in named in honour of Barnum. Jumbo the elephant also became the mascot of Tufts University in honour of Barnum’s 1889 donation of the elephant’s stuffed hide.

His circus was sold to the Ringling Brothers in 1917. Initially, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circuses ran separately until they merged in 1919 which saw the birth of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus.

Like every major character in history, Barnum had his flaws, and there were many of them. But he inadvertently changed the way the world looked at things, he introduced a new inclusivity that America and the world had never seen before, making him, in my books anyway, one of the greatest showmen in history!


Capital Punishment: Ruth Ellis

Hello all and welcome to this week’s blog post! Today we are going to be delving into capital punishment and the very famous case of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain. Before I begin I hope that I  cause no offence to anyone who has been personally or directly linked with this criminal case, thoughts and opinions are all my own, and please remember that that is all they are.

Ruth Ellis was a British model and nightclub hostess and on the 10th April 1955 she shot David Blakely outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead and was subsequently arrested. Ellis had a troubled life where she continually got involved with the wrong kinds of people. She became a nightclub hostess as a result of her nude modelling work suggesting that she did have prospects for the future but these were soon deterred when she turned to prostitution and later became pregnant. Due to her continually limited funds, she decided to have the baby illegally aborted so that she could return to work as soon as possible. However, she later went on to become the manager of ‘The Little Club’ and as a result was lavished with expensive gifts from multiple admirers, resulting in a fourth pregnancy, again, having another abortion. The father of the child was David Blakely who remained with her while they both continued to see other people. Blakely was a violent character and offered to marry Ellis which she accepted but lost yet another baby when he punched her in the stomach after a violent argument. From this alone, we can see what a troubled individual this culmination of events would have made someone do. Usually, I wouldn’t go so in depth into the background of someone who has committed a crime as it doesn’t always hold the deepest relevance. This case is different in that her life tells us a lot about the motives she had behind what she eventually came to do.

In total, five shots were fired at Blakely. The first shot missed and Ellis began to run after him where she fired at him for the second time, resulting in his subsequent collapse. Afterwards, she stood over him and fired her gun three more times. It has been noted that one bullet was fired less then half an inch from Blakely’s back which meant that powder burns were left on his skin. The last bullet to be shot went into the ground where it ricocheted off the road landing on a civilian, Gladys Kensington’s thumb, clearly unplanned.

What is most interesting about this case is the level of acceptance Ellis had from the moment she was arrested, ‘It’s obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him’. She also told her mother that she did not want a petition to reprieve her from the death sentence. In this sense, it could be argued that she did not want to continue to live her life anymore, and that a death sentence was an easier way out then continuing as she was. Many physicians claimed that she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the terrible life she lead with abortion after abortion and violent lover after violent lover, ‘It is quite clear to me that I was not the person who shot him. When I saw myself with the revolver I knew I was another person’. Further evidence that this case was not given the fair trial it deserves lies in the time that jury took to actually make a decision, a total of twenty minutes. Twenty minutes to decide whether someone lives or someone dies. In this respect, we can be sure that this would not have been enough time to make a fair and complete deliberation without their being some leniency, which I’m sure there was. It is fair to say that psychiatry techniques and methods have advanced since the fifties, and with this in mind, it could have been the difference between guilty/ innocent verdict, or at least one that wasn’t punishable by death. However, doctors during this time confirmed that Ellis did not have a mental illness and was certainly not insane.

I think what this case does best is highlight the clear questions society had around capital punishment. Personally, I’m glad the UK has stopped capital punishment, I’ve never though ‘an eye for an eye’ was the way forward, and more time should be taken to understand the reason these criminals did what they did and work out a way to rehabilitate them and ultimately give them a second chance, whether you think they’re deserving of it or not.  





Later, she was found guilty and was sentenced to death where she was hanged at HM prison Holloway.

What is Scientology?


Hello hello hello! It feels very strange but very good to be back behind the typewriter, figuratively speaking of course, but typewriter’s, yum. I am super sorry it’s taken me so long to brew up another post for you all to read but uni has been crazy busy especially over Christmas, and as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t have the time.

This week I’m going to be covering a highly controversial but incredibly fascinating topic, scientology! So like most, I had heard of Scientology, or the church of scientology but was pretty clueless as to what it actually meant and entailed. If you want a visual introduction on the topic I would highly recommend Louis Theroux’s film documentary on Scientology, very very good! (we love Louis <3)

Scientology was developed in 1954 by the American author L. Ron Hubbard. Before I even go any further he wrote novels. Science fiction novels. I mean I can already hear the alarm bells going off as I’m sure you can too. He also trained as a hypnotist in the 1940s… just wanted to put that out there. Anyway, he developed an idea called Dianetics which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. This however, soon became bankrupt resulting in Hubbard losing his rights to the seminal publication, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health 1952. Because of this, he went on to recharacterise and reimagine the subject as a religion and began to call it Scientology. Hubbard argued the word meant two things. The first was that ‘scio’ translated as to know, or to distinguish. And the word ‘logas’ meant, ‘the word our outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known’. He also said that, ‘scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge’. If like me, you’re still struggling to wrap your head around this bonkers concept then don’t worry, you’re not the only one. As much as I find it very interesting, to me, it doesn’t really make all that much sense. Whenever somebody be it Hubbard or a member tries to explain the definition of Scientology, it seems like it differs ever so slightly every time. Now this could mean that it’s an ever growing and changing ‘religion’. Or the more likely reason, nobody really knows!! I mean seriously, ‘the knowing of knowing’. What is that all about? And I’m definitely not the only one. In France scientology has been classed as a dangerous cult.

So to get into the theory and its ‘teachings’ a little bit more I’m going to look at Dianetics. So these were a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body, symbolising Scientology’s central philosophy. Dianetics primarily uses the process of auditing. So the auditor helps the subject in a conscious recall of specific events that they felt were traumatic in an attempt to ‘free’ these individuals of any potential influence these past events may have had over them in their life. Scientologists argue that by removing these engrams (painful memories) they would reach a state of mind called ‘clearing’, think in the same vein as enlightenment. And by being ‘cleared’ they ultimately had a better chance of self improvement.

Interestingly though, Dianetics is not the same as Scientology in that Scientology is a religion whereas Dianetics is simply a set of principles with the aim of self improvement, and the individual or self being one of the eight dynamics.

If like me you’re interested in the juicy controversy then stick around because here it comes. Before Hubbard was replaced with Miscavige, he outlined plans for setting up a chain of ‘spiritual guidance centres’. Now here’s the crazy part, he planned to charge customers £500 for a 24 hour session of auditing. Even more shocking he was recorded saying, ‘that is real money…charge enough and we’d be swamped’. I’m sorry but if that isn’t proof that this so called religion wasn’t created with the sole intention of being a money making machine while simulataneously exploiting their clients for no other reason then their enjoyment, then I don’t know what is. Further supported by doctors at the time thinking Hubbard was a paranoid schizophrenic. Hubbard later declared that psychiatry was barbaric and corrupt. Great timing there Hubbard.

I think I might do another post on Scientology and its controversial methods. Stay tuned!

Attitudes Towards Women in Early Modern Drinking Ballads

Hello all! I know how much of a mouthful that title is but there really was no other way to word it so bear with me! In this week’s post we are going to be exploring early modern attitudes within drinking ballads! So, if you’re like me and were unaware that there were any ballads that covered the topic of getting hammered then you’re in for a real treat.

I’ll start with the definition of a broadside ballad so that we’re all on the same page. So, a broadside ballad was a ballad that was printed on one single sheet of paper and were sold by ‘hawkers’ who read or sang them aloud in taverns and alehouses. They survive from the 16th century to the 19th century and are defined as a, ‘story in a song’. There are 3 branches which are; the traditional ballad, the broadside ballad and the literary ballad. The traditional ballad, as its name suggests, is passed down from generation to generation. The broadside ballad is either printed, sung, or told. Finally, the literary ballad are poems which are written in imitation of a ballad. Now just so you’re not completely confused already we’re going to be looking at broadside ballads and broadside ballads only!

Broadside ballads were actually circulated through organised parties who controlled licenses or copyrights or mass audiences in crowded marketplaces where ballads were usually performed. Usually, a ballad was inspired by current events happening in the area such as a political episode or even a natural disaster. Interestingly, ballads which described significant events like a royal procession or an execution were composed before the event took place. Presumably to create an excitement or buzz before the big day. They also helped spread news and gossip and usually the facts reflected the general attitudes towards the common vices of trades rather than specific instances which we would find in a modern newspaper.

These ballads were often sung to music that was well known to British audiences. Many of the tunes were reused for different ballads and dancing was often accompanied which was disputed by the Puritans as they believed dancing was immoral, causing quite the controversy.

So, to the ballads. The first one we are going to be looking at is the, ‘Looking glass for drunkards or the good fellows folly’. This ballad demonstrates the typical relationship between man and drink, which held many negative connotations, ‘When with Canary their heads were enflamed, then down they tumble o’re Chairs & o’re stools, yet never felt how their bodies were maimed’. This ballad also illustrates the immorality and irresponsibility towards the family and spending all their money on drink, ‘What will you do when your pockets are drained, and all your coyn in consumed in drink; How shall your family thus be maintained?’. It is safe to say that the purpose of this ballad was to remind people that God is always watching you and that what you do in this life will effect whether you end up in heaven or in hell, ‘drunkards how dare ye boast of your hard drinking? think you there is neither heaven nor hell?’. It could also be argued that the purpose was to demonstrate the dangers of drinking, ‘some at their fellows Glasses were slinging, another a vomiting behind the door’ and, ‘I will take care they shall be lock’t up faster, in a strong Prison, since it is their due’. This ballad tells us a lot about drinking culture. That it heavily relied on pressure from friends, it was a drain on resources and ultimately can end in immoral behaviour.

The next one I have for you is called, ‘Roaring dick of Dover OR The joviall good fellow of Kent, That ne’r is willing to give over, Till all his money be spent. To the tune of Fuddle, roare and swagger’. I wasn’t going to put the full title in but as soon as I saw the word swagger I just had to. So this one focusses more on the relationship with man and woman I would say. Quite reminiscent of the first one we looked at but there are some distinct differences. Prostitution is quite a hot topic with this one which demonstrates that the woman in the second class citizen but at the same time is also ‘needed’ in regards to prostitution. For example, there is a stanza in which the author exclaims that if his wife didn’t do as he wished then he would have no problems beating her, ‘If I had a scolding creature, I should never merry be, Sure I many times should beat her, with her I could not agree’. And then, ‘When I have spent away my money, I will goe and worke for more, And I have a kind sweet hony that sometimes will pay my score’. So here we can clearly see the different relationships of the wife and of the prostitute. It could be argued that the purpose of this ballad was to act as a threat for women to be a good and submissive wife, if they didn’t they would be beaten. It also encourages men and husbands to exercise control through violence, creating a society of, well, brutes. This source tells us a lot about drinking culture. Mainly, that most men either become violent or randy towards women once they’d had a drink, and either way, violent or aroused they would exercise control and power on them regardless.

I hope you enjoyed this rather long post and would love to know your thoughts! Bit of a sad one in regards to women when you think about it, but that’s the early modern period for you! See you next week!


Stranger Things and the History Behind It

Ooooh Stranger Things! I think we all know that Stranger Things is all anyone is talking about right now so I thought that this blog post would come at a really good time! And also because I’ve just finished season 2 and I’m just not over it.

So, how does a TV show have a history? Isn’t Stranger Things fictional? Well, your guess is as good as mine. This post is going to be based on a lot of speculation and ultimately conspiracy theories, cause who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory!

All this speculation came from the writers revealing that Stranger Things was originally meant to be called, ‘Project Montauk’. Project Montauk was a series of secret United States government projects which were conducted at Camp Hero/ Montauk air force station. The purpose of these projects was to develop psychological warfare techniques as well as exotic research which included time travel.

Many have argued that it was closely associated with the Montauk Project which was a series of books by Preston Nichols. They included subject matter including time travel, teleportation, mind control (y’all are imagining El right now, I know it), making contact with alien life and staging faked Apollo moon landings which were framed as developments following the 1943 Philadelphia Experiment. As a result, you can see why these similarities were pointed out. Keeping with the idea of the novels as fact, many individuals have claimed that Nichols believed that he worked on the Montauk Project through recalling repressed memories, which of course has its fair share of unreliability surrounding it, but still! Many argue that he was in fact abducted and forced him to continue, while the majority view his works as complete and utter fiction.

To get into the crux of the project/ experiments we need to know what happened before. At the eastern end of Long Island’s southern point, the government set up radar dishes to help warn people of any incoming Soviet threats from the Atlantic. The dishes soon became obsolete as computer technology progressed and they weren’t as needed. As a result, the site was closed in 1969. However, even though the building that housed the radar device is fenced off from the public, the land surrounding it was donated to New York and was used as a public park. However, when the government donated the land, they still retained the rights to, ‘everything beneath the surface’. I’m sorry but whatever you believe in, you have to admit that that is all kinds of dodgy. They also retained the right to reoccupy the land if it was a matter of national security.

Conspiracists believe that the public who visit the park are in fact threatened by armed government agents urging them not to enter certain parts of the park. Another source claimed that electrical workers rumoured to have seen strange lights and shapes when working on the electric system. The research facility was said to have included particle physics using an experimental particle accelerator, experiments in time travel or bending of space, contacting space aliens, inventing the internet, electromagnetic mind control and building black helicopters.

So, what do we think? Well obviously there are too many coincidences for Stranger Things not to be based on Project Montauk. Whether or not it was factual is another story altogether. Even though there isn’t that much factual evidence I still think it’s super fun to speculate and investigate. I’d love to do a post like this again if ya’ll would be up for it.

And if you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet, then what are you waiting for!