Stranger Things: Flower-Headed Monsters

New addition to OGOM doctoral studies,  Daisy Butcher, has just published an interesting article in the Medical Health and Humanities Journal entitled ‘Stranger Things: Maternal Body Horror

The monster in Stranger Things, the demogorgon, who resides in the ‘Upside Down’ that mirrors and shadows the town of Hawkins, Indiana, has a head that opens up like an orchid flower. But this is no ordinary bloom: the demogorgon’s flowering orchid reveals labial lips with teeth as it captures and feeds on children.

This article is timely as it is the season of the foul-smelling and hugely phallic Corpse Lily (seen below).

My own botanical leanings make Daisy’s flower-headed demon fascinating reading and I recommend this article to those interested in hybridity and interdisciplinarity within gothic studies. There is lots of interesting folklore around the Orchid too, which builds on its aphrodisiacal properties and sexual symbolism. In Hungary for example, the yellow roots of the spotted Orchis maculata, are gathered at midsummer and mixed with menstrual blood, to cause symptoms of hopeless love in the desired one (See Margaret Baker, The Folklore of Plants, 1996).  As far as the demogorgon goes it is a long way from Peter Gabriel’s whimsicle flower heads, but strangely reminiscent of them for any early fans of prog rock!

As a research student Daisy has a promising future and is unlike her namesake, that little disregarded flower! Don’t you just love floral names!

 

About Lucy Northenra

Senior Lecturer in Literature, University of Hertfordshire
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2 Responses to Stranger Things: Flower-Headed Monsters

  1. Daisy Butcher says:

    Fascinating about the folklore! Thanks for posting!

  2. Yes, I thought you would like the menstrual blood. That is a handy book on plant lore!

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