I couldn't find a common consensus or Word of God (director or writer interview) that explains why Eleven from Stranger Things get nosebleeds. She gets nosebleeds quite frequently when she uses her powers. Some articles have said it is due to overexertion, but she gets them sometimes when she is just trying to see people from far away (thus no lifting heavy weights). Other articles say it is because her brain isn't made for the telekinesis, and still others say that it is because of her powers source coming from Vecna. Why conclusively does Eleven get nosebleeds when she uses her powers? I would specifically like a definitive or authoritative source, preferably the director or writer.

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    In real world, the nasal passages have a lot of blood flow very near the surface and little to protect the vessels; nosebleeds are a common symptom of anything that irritates these passages, but can also be brought on by excessive blood pressure, the beginnings of scurvy, or various nasal or nasopharyngeal infections.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 17:54
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    Based on valorum and ziess ikons info, it would seem that nosebleeds in general are caused by excessive effor or blood pressure. But it still doesn't explain how Eleven would feel tired and have a nosebleed after trying to locate someone through the psychic stuff...
    – user158976
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 18:05
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    @Divani isn't enough that Eleven has powers and can see and do things that other people can't? Why ask for the further miracle that she can use her powers witout even minor side effets.? Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 19:23
  • Authors are right to make her powers rather mysterious. Bleeding is an obvious side effect - a price for using them. We're not supposed to know exactly what was more or less difficult and why and when and in relation to what situation.
    – Mithoron
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


I can't find an interview where anyone associated with the show specifically calls out why her nose bleeds. However, two relevant pieces of information:

  • As @valorum shared from TVTropes, nosebleed is a common indicator of psychic effort in TV and movies. An early use of the trope was 1984's Firestarter, "in which it's used in place of the original book's far-less-visible 'tiny cerebral hemorrhages'."
  • Firestarter was one of the influences cited by the creators for the character Eleven, as seen in the image associated with her character on page 17 of the show's original story bible from when the project was titled 'Montauk.'

From these details, I think it's safe to say that her nose bleeds because it is a common trope from sci fi movies of the 80s that Stranger Things uses for its inspiration, as well as being a specific allusion to 1984's 'Firestarter.'

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The association with the Charlie character from Firestarter is quite indicative; I would pull that to the top of your answer and focus on that; if you can find a picture of Charlie with a nosebleed, that would cement this. The bit about it being a trope, while true, isn't as strong as the acknowledgement of the inspiration for the character.
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 19:05
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    I thought "Scanners" (1981) was the definitive work for psychic nosebleeds. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 20:30

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