While it might be awesome to find out the FBI really does have an X-Files division, or the White House has a super-awesome crisis command center in its basement like the one on Designated Survivor. Or even the United Nations has a military branch specifically designed to help an alien in Doctor Who, none of us would likely be happy if we found out our tax dollars were going to such ventures, right?
Which is why that although it would be cool if the U.S. Department of Energy were actually looking to explore parallel universes like they do in Netflix’s Stranger Things, we know how to separate science-fiction from reality.
Yet despite the protests from one energy department employee saying what you see on Stranger Things is just from a writer’s imagination — it appears this government agency does almost exactly what Stranger Things claims. No really.
Lachlan Markay, a reporter with the Washington Free Beacon, asked the energy department to turn over any documents they had related to both Stranger Things and any exploration of alternate universes. Markay, according to Vanity Fair, was not convinced by a blog post from energy department digital content specialist Paul Lester that the agency had better things to do.
“There are several scenes in the show where Hawkins Laboratory researchers don full body suits and protective gear to walk through a peculiar portal, which transports them to an alternate dimension known as ‘The Upside Down.’ While the energy department doesn’t chart parallel universes, it does help power the exploration of new worlds. We’re talking outer space, not the bizarro cosmos in Stranger Things.“
But someone has kept Lester out of the loop. Markay’s search through public records found not only has the energy department studied parallel universes, but they even have created weapons for them.
John LaRue, who works at some unidentified position with the energy department, emailed Lester the day after the blog post ran in August, telling him he was wrong about the energy department’s work. What exactly he said, we don’t know. For some strange (or, we guess, stranger) reason, several parts of the email have been redacted.
For instance, we have no idea what LaRue’s first reaction is, because it’s been redacted. He then says someone named “Francie” can give better information than he, but whatever he said after that also was blacked out. And then he shared something “for the hairsplitters,” which apparently is not something the energy department is willing to let get publicized.
LaRue’s thoughts on human experiments were left alone, however.
“There is some really eyebrow-raising stuff in the history of the atomic energy commission, in which yes, the AEC did do human experiments, or participated with the military. Not sure when these ended, and to this day, we provide healthcare to people in various Pacific Islands affected by nuclear tests.”
The experiments, LaRue said, included soldiers who were in trenches near nuclear tests (back when the United States still tested such weapons openly).
A group email a few days later started by another employee, Christopher Davis, talked a little about the blog post before he was rebuffed by colleagues, complaining he was spoiling Stranger Things for them.
Davis tried to smooth things over.
“Sorry for potential spoilers, but I watched this series over the weekend, and we have to have a conversation about the sinister (yet awesome) portrayal of DOE.”
The energy department is not without its sense of humor. When Markay tweeted the fact he received a bunch of documents from the government agency regarding Stranger Things, the energy department’s press department tweeted back that “no matter what you write, it won’t bring Barb back.”
— DOE Press Staff (@EnergyPressSec) October 6, 2016
Hmmm … probably not. But if anyone knows what happened to Barb, it might be the people over at the Department of Energy.
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