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Several true stories serve as the inspiration for Stranger Things, including the Satanic Panic. The Duffer Brothers leaned into the 1980s craze as inspiration for Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) in Stranger Things Season 4. Learn more about the teenager Eddie Munson is based on, plus the other true stories that inspired the Netflix series.

Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) leads a game of D&D in 'Stranger Things 4'
Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson | Netflix

Joseph Quinn plays Hellfire Club leader Eddie Munson

Eddie Munson is a new character in Stranger Things 4 and already a fan favorite. As Hawkins High School’s D&D club leader, known as the Hellfire Club, Eddie is a social outcast. On top of that, Eddie plays guitar for his band Corroded Coffin, adding to his bad-boy image. 

Behind his bad-boy exterior, Eddie is a nice guy at heart. Before she dies at the hands of Vecna, Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) and Eddie have a heart-to-heart about being misunderstood. Despite Eddie’s kind-hearted nature, his outward appearance makes it easy for Jason Carver (Mason Dye) to blame him for Chrissy’s death. 

Eddie Munson in ‘Stranger Things 4’ is based on the West Memphis Three

In the 1980s and 1990s, much of society believed Satanic cults were a real and present threat in America. “Godless teenagers” and their “deviant music and media” were at the root of this panic (Vox). 

Satanic Panic brings to mind allegations against daycare centers in the ’80s — the public thought there was Satanic ritual abuse going on. Later, in the ’90s, the case of the West Memphis Three came about. Three teenagers were wrongfully convicted of homicide because of their alternative lifestyles.


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As revealed during Netflix’s Geeked Week, Eddie Munson is based on one of the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols. In a tweet, Netflix reveals how the documentary series Paradise Lost and writer and artist Damien Echols are the basis for Eddie Munson.

Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were tried for murdering 8-year-old boys Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers in 1993. Due to the nature of the boys’ bodies, the prosecution asserted Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin killed them as part of a Satanic ritual.

Echols was sentenced to death, but new DNA produced in 2010 allowed him to enter an Alford plea. He was released in 2011. Echols maintains his innocence and is still fighting to clear his name (via Fox 13 Memphis).

Several true stories inspired the story in ‘Stranger Things’

Of course, the majority of Stranger Things is pure fantasy. However, stories like the West Memphis Three and other historical events serve as inspiration for the Netflix series. For instance, Camp Hero on Montauk, Long Island, inspired the Duffer Brothers’ fictional Hawkins Lab. 

“It was going to take place on Montauk, Long Island [and is] … based off a real place called Camp Hero,” Gaten Matarazzo said on Inside of You. “It was this government facility, it was supposedly a radio tower type thing, for communications, radio communications for the military. And there were rumors that there were a lot of weird shady experiments going on.” 

MKUltra, a project created by the American government in 1953 that used LSD to test the effects of mind control, heavily inspired Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) storyline. Hopper (David Harbour) mentions the experiment by name in season 1. In Stranger Things 4, Hopper also talks about Agent Orange, the herbicide mixture used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.

Watch Stranger Things 4 on Netflix