‘Stranger Things’ 4: Jamie Campbell Bower Carried Around a Bizarre Item in His Pocket to Become Vecna

Henry Creel, also known as 001, Peter Ballard, and Vecna, has a penchant for black widow spiders in Stranger Things Season 4 Vol. I. It’s ironic Jamie Campbell Bower, the actor who brought the Stranger Things villain to life, once feared spiders. It’s even more interesting to learn he carried them around in his pocket while playing Vecna in Stranger Things.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 4 Vol. I.]

Jamie Campbell Bower as Peter in 'Stranger Things' Season 4 wearing white shirt.
Jamie Campbell Bower as Peter in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 | Netflix

Black widow spiders define Vecna’s canon

Before he became the sinewy, spider-like king of the Upside Down, Vecna was once Henry Creel, a troubled boy whose problems brought his family to Hawkins. “All the teachers and doctors said I was broken,” he tells Eleven in Stranger Things Season 4 Volume I

Believing a fresh start would cure Henry’s “sensitive” self, the Creels move to Hawkins, where Henry’s powers grew stronger. After finding a nest of black widow spiders in their new home, Henry discovers a “sense of purpose.” The spiders show Henry everything he detests about life and humankind. As Henry reveals in his monologue: 

Nancy (Natalia Dyer) watches Henry Creel (Raphael Luce) stares at a grandfather clock in 'Stranger Things' 4 Vol. I
Natalia Dyer as Nancy and Raphael Luce as Henry Creel | Netflix

“Most people fear spiders. They detest them. And yet I found them endlessly fascinating. More than that I found a great comfort in them — a kinship. Like me they are solitary creatures and deeply misunderstood. They are gods of our world, the most important of all predators. They immobilize and feed on the weak, bringing balance and order to an unstable ecosystem. 

But the human world was disrupting this harmony. You see, humans are a unique type of pest, multiplying and poisoning our world all while enforcing a structure of their own. A deeply unnatural structure. Where others saw order I saw a straight jacket, a cruel oppressive world dictated by made up rules. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades — each life a faded, lesser copy of the one before. Wake up, eat, work, sleep, reproduce, and die.” 

Jamie Campbell Bower, Stranger Things

001 actor Jamie Campbell Bower carried spiders in his pocket on the set of ‘Stranger Things’

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Bower talked about carrying spiders around in his pocket on the set of Stranger Things 4. While in Atlanta, Bower happened across an oddities shop called The Odd’s End. There, he purchased black widow spiders from a man ironically named Spider. 

Bower’s purchase was inspired by a group meditation technique where attendees held a flower or a rock and were asked to stare at the object for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, one attendee said they loved their rock. Bower used the same technique to become Vecna. 

Vecna from 'Stranger Things' Season 4 close up in his lair.
Vecna from ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 | Netflix

“I ended up buying a vial of black widows and I would stare at them for hours and fall in love with them,” he said. “They had one vial of black widow spiders in the store and I was like, well, f***, man. That makes perfect sense. Of course I’m here. Of course there’s one vial.”

The viall was small enough for Bower to keep it on him “pretty much at all times” while working on Stranger Things. “I had them in my pocket,” Bower said. “When we were filming, I’d slip them on the chair. I’d just be staring at them for hours on end. And like Henry, I had a book and I would draw them.” 

“I still have them,” Bower added. “They’re beautiful.” 

Watch Stranger Things 4 Vol. I on NetflixStranger Things 4 Vol. II debuts on July 1, 2022.

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