October 19, 2018
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Six Stephen King fan theories, from the plausible to the totally nuts

Courtesy of Anchor Books, Gallery Books
Courtesy of Anchor Books, Gallery Books
Book covers for Stephen King's "The Shining" and "Doctor Sleep."

Stephen King fans tend to love a wacky theory as much as they love the actual stories of their beloved author. Even if we all know that the theories are probably not true, it’s fun to think about the ways in which King’s various stories are so deeply connected — and how they’re even linked to the works of other authors or filmmakers.

Here are six of the most fun Stephen King fan theories we’ve found, from the entirely plausible to the truly ridiculous.

Jack Torrance wrote ‘Apt Pupil’

Our first theory was first put forth on Reddit about two years ago. In “The Shining,” the main character, writer Jack Torrance, has created a character named Denker. In “Apt Pupil,” King’s 1982 novella first published in “Different Seasons,” one of the two main characters is also named Denker — an ex-Nazi in hiding, with the real name of Karl Dussander, who embarks on a violent, manipulative “mentorship” with an impressionable, eventually sociopathic student, Todd. One of the pretexts for Jack moving to Colorado is his firing from a teaching job for beating up a student. That guilt, and Jack’s myriad other problems, are partially channeled into the character of Denker — an old man who teaches despicable things to a young man, warping him forever. It’s theorized that “Apt Pupil” is a novella Jack was writing during “The Shining.”

True? Very possibly!

The demon in ‘Children of the Corn’ is Randall Flagg

In “The Children of the Corn,” the children of Gatlin, Nebraska, have murdered all the adults in town, and sacrifice themselves once they turn 18 to appease He Who Walks Behind The Rows, the demon that lives in the corn. It’s a leading fan theory that He Who Walks is none other than everybody’s favorite immortal bad guy, Randall Flagg, the main antagonist in “The Stand,” who also appears, under different guises, in “The Dark Tower” series. The reasoning? Mainly, that Flagg has a special affinity for corn in “The Stand,” and clearly corn is a big deal for the demon in “Children of the Corn,” and well, no one would put it past the Walkin’ Dude to convince a bunch of kids to murder adults, just for the fun of it.

True? Also very possibly!

Carrie’s mother predicted the events of ‘The Stand’

It’s clear that Carrie White of “Carrie” has some serious telekinetic abilities. It’s theorized by a number of fans that those abilities are just another manifestation of “the Shining,” the precognitive ability held by Danny Torrance from “The Shining” and Abra Stone from “Doctor Sleep” — though in Stone’s case, she can also make things move with her mind. Anyway, it’s also theorized that the Shining is hereditary, and that people like Margaret White, Carrie’s mother, and Jack Torrance both had it. In Margaret’s case, she thought she was talking to God. In Jack’s case, he just went insane. In “Carrie,” both mother and daughter have visions of a “black man,” a Satanic figure trying to start the apocalypse. Guess who that sounds like? A certain Man in Black, aka Randall Flagg, who less than 10 years after the events of “Carrie” will succeed in wiping out most of humanity.

True? Maybe, but probably not.

‘Stranger Things’ exists in the Stephen King universe

Netflix | TNS
Netflix | TNS
Sean Astin and Winona Ryder in “Stranger Things.”

Now we get into the stuff that’s almost certainly not true. First, our personal favorite: the idea that wildly popular Netflix series “Stranger Things” exists in the Stephen King universe. We laid out the case for this ridiculous idea last fall, in the midst of King/”Stranger Things” hysteria. The biggest support for this theory comes from the fact that Joyce Byers’ brave, wonderful boyfriend Bob was from Maine, apparently. And that the Demogorgons and the shadow monster exist in Todash Space, which is a version of the Upside Down.

True? Not at all!

Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ is a prequel to ‘Carrie’

This is a stupid theory, but here it is anyway. “Matilda,” Roald Dahl’s charming book about a little girl with telekinetic abilities overcoming adversity, is actually a prequel to “Carrie.” Still reading? OK, so after the events of “Matilda,” the title character and Miss Honey decide to start a new life in Maine. They change their names and move to the town of Chamberlain, where things devolve into a PTSD nightmare, with Miss Honey/Margaret turning into a religious whackjob, and Matilda/Carrie becoming shy and terrified of her abilities. You know the rest of the story. “Matilda” came out in 1988. “Carrie” came out in 1974. This isn’t even fun to think about. It’s just dark and sad.

True? We hope not.

‘Maximum Overdrive’ is the horrifying prequel to ‘Cars’

We kind of like the idea that “Maximum Overdrive,” King’s famous turkey of a movie, is a prequel to Pixar’s “Cars” movies. This theory comes to us once again from Reddit, and posits that in “Maximum Overdrive,” cars and other inanimate objects come to life, and one by one begin destroying humanity — and that the alien ship that supposedly caused it wasn’t actually destroyed by the Soviets. Flash forward thousands of years, and those sentient cars are now living in a utopian future, with no knowledge of humanity or what created them. “Cars,” ladies and gentlemen.

True? We wish!

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