Spoiler Alert - everything is a spoiler

In Stranger Things, gates to the Upside-Down open up all over the place:

  • There's the "primary" gate at the DoE facility
  • There's a gate in Joyce's shed which Will disappears into
  • There's at least one gate in Joyce's house
  • There's at least one in Mirkwood that Nancy (and Jonathan) go through

Is the Demogorgon opening these gates or are they natural phenomena?

  • 2
    Related question from movies & TV Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:21
  • 3
    And presumably one in/by the pool where the forgotten one disappeared into.
    – kaine
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 20:31

5 Answers 5



According to the Duffer brothers:

We don’t want to reveal much, other than to say it is an interdimensional being that has more in common with the shark from Jaws than Pennywise from It. When the monster enters our dimension, it’s like a shark breaching the water. Very much like a shark, it drags its prey back into its home, where it feeds. Each time it enters our world, it leaves a small tear, or wound. That’s what Joyce found in her wall in episode 4, and Nancy found in the tree in episode 5. These tears are almost like portholes into the Upside Down. But they don’t last very long. Like wounds, they eventually heal and seal up.

So every single portal but one is in fact made by the Demogorgon slipping between dimensions. That one, of course, is the first, permanent tear, which Eleven admits to making.

ELEVEN: The gate…I opened it. I’m the monster.

Presumably her involvement is why it is a proper gate, rather than a mere temporary tear.

Interestingly, the hole that Joyce found in her wall is described in a similar manner to the tears created by the Demogorgon: “That’s what Joyce found in her wall in episode 4.” However, the Demogorgon quite clearly had not passed through that hole recently. Then again, it wasn’t quite a proper hole, but more of a barrier. Perhaps the Demogorgon was thinning the barrier between realities in preparation for crossing? Or perhaps Will was somehow…

  • 1
    This is the best answer. It not only answers (with citation) but also explains in a way that is easily understandable.
    – Coomie
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 8:11
  • @Coomie - Thanks! Now if the Duffer brothers would only tell us why Will can hear whats going on the the real world, but Joyce and Hopper can’t.... Season 2, I suppose.
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 8:12
  • @Coomie - There’s also the portal that seems to open between Will and Joyce at some point, without the Demogorgon going through.... But I have my own suspicions about Will, in any case.
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 8:15

The beast is the one opening and closing the gates as I see it.


  • In the woods the deer is bleeding, beast smells it and comes for the deer. Nancy goes through the portal and shortly after returns to our world and the gate closes right in that instant.

  • Will fell off his bike and maybe cut himself. that's could by why the beast follows him.

Joyces house

In Joyces house Nancy and Wills big brother are both cut so the beast opens up a portal as it can smell their blood.

  • 1
    Does the Demogorgon actually open a portal in Joyce's house? It certainly appears and then disappears under its own control, but unlike the time in the woods there is no visible portal left behind that can be used by others.
    – Jack
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:35
  • @Jack we dont know. the camera doesn't show and it is pretty dark in almost every shot from the house and the shed. + you can argue that in mirkwood the beast wasn't aware that somebody followed it through and It didn't bother to close the portal as it closed after some time had passed. In the house it was 100% aware that somebody was there every time and therefore choose to close the portal so it couldn't be followed.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 8:58
  • my supposition is that the gate are only left behind when the demogorgon brings something back to the upside down, but theres not really any evidence either way about how it actually works.
    – Jack
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 0:29

It seems most likely that the Demorgorgon is opening and closing the gates.

Firstly, we need to distinguish between the portals closing, and sealing. The portal seems to seal after people have been through them, however the portal still appears and can be re-opened if you push your way through them like Nancy does in Mirkwood and the scientist does in one of the flashbacks.


In Mirkwood, the Demorgorgon seems to follow Will after he falls off his bike and hunt for the deer when it can smell it's blood. We can only assume that it is opening portals to hunt and that they seal, and close over time.

The Byers' House

In the Byers' house, the Demorgorgon opens portals in the walls and ceiling when it hunts for Joyce, and later for Jonathan and Nancy. It opens these every time, often appearing in different locations.

The "Primary" Gate

There is no clear answer given for the creation of the primary gate, but the Demorgorgon appears to open it after Eleven finds it (we get this information from Eleven's flashbacks)



It definitely opens gates. This actually becomes a part of the plot by the last episode. The Demogorgon is a carrion eater of sorts and that's borne out by its appearances. Here's a rundown of gates it opens

  1. The "main" gate that never closes. In the basement of Hawkins Energy Lab, this is the first gate it opens, apparently in response to Eleven reaching out to it with her telepathy. It opens the gate and chases one of the lab men
  2. In the elevator shaft in the opening moments of Episode 1. The man being chased runs into the elevator and, as the doors close, the gorgon grabs him from above. It's an implicit opening as it could not have gotten there any other way
  3. When Will Byers falls off his bike in Mirkwood, he gets injured and the Demogorgon comes and chases him
  4. In the Byers house it starts to come through the wall after Will
  5. It appears in the shed behind Will, where it takes him to the Upside-Down
  6. After Will "calls" his mother on the phone the second time, Joyce sees it start to come through the wall
  7. Barb injures herself and sits by the pool. The Demogorgon appears and takes her to the Upside-Down
  8. Joyce makes contact with Will and another near-portal opens (this is the only one I know of not opened by the Demogorgon directly, it may be due to the attempted opening in #6)
  9. Nancy is in Mirkwood and finds an injured deer. The Demogorgon drags it to the Upside-Down and she finds the portal and follows it in. She escapes.
  10. Nancy and Jonathan, realizing that blood summons the Demogorgon, booby trap the Byers house and deliberately cut themselves. The Demogorgon arrives and they attack it.
  11. After seemingly trapping and immolating it, the Demogorgon presumably opens another portal and vanishes
  12. Eleven kills the agents threatening her friends at the school. This causes large pools of blood which summons the injured Demogorgon.

Unanswered by all this? #8 and the oddity of

Will Byers "hiccup" at the end of season 1, where he coughs up the slug and appears in the Upside-Down for a monment. Has Will's time there allowed him to open portals of his own?


I believe the answer to be "yes" as well, but I believe that the creature learned how to do it by interacting with Eleven during their first brief encounter. Somehow the energy of Eleven's consciousness crosses over while in the sensory deprivation tank, and then touches the creature, and the next thing you know the creature establishes the primary portal. Perhaps it has an intuitive sense of the normal world but didn't know how to access it until Eleven showed it a path.

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