The True Knot are a group of quasi-immortal "vampires" who employ torture to feed on the life force, known to them as "steam," of children who are gifted with the Shining. They are an unknowably old group, and there were at one point so many of them that there were many splinter groups — hence their being the "True" Knot. They are a main antagonist in Doctor Sleep, currently led by Rose the Hat, with Crow Daddy as her second-in-command, and Snakebite Andi as their youngest turn.
They all abandon their rube names for their more unconventional names, possibly to further fit in with "RV people," possibly due to their disgust with rubes. Examples of this are Pea and Pod, who are twins and look alike, and Greedy G, who enjoys gambling and flaunting her victories. It also appears that they change their names slightly to match the standards of the time and place which they travel through. Examples of this are Rose the Hat, formerly known as the Irish Rose, and Tommy the Truck, who was formerly known as Tommy the Wagon. Also Grampa Flick, whose backstory is that he is a war veteran, changes his story of which war he is a veteran of as the years pass.
They own many businesses and campgrounds/rest areas secretly to cover up their meetings, turnings, and feeding. One of these is Bluebell Camp ground outside of Sidewinder, Colorado, where the Overlook Hotel once stood, now the Overlook Lodge is present there. It is mentioned in the book that there were once over two hundred, but by the time the events of the book take place, there are forty-one remaining. Only certain members of the True Knot are able to detect children with the shining, but they are all, on some level, psychic, as they were able to predict 9/11, to the point of knowing something bad would happen months in advance.
The True Knot only consume the steam of children with The Shine, but if an adult with The Shine has a unique ability they find desireable, they will attempt to recruit and "turn" them. According to a conversation with Rose the Hat to Snakebite Andi, they will not consume adults because it would be like eating bad meat from an old cow. According to Rose, if they refuse their memories could be wiped and their power taken away.
If a recruit agrees to be turned the members gather around them in a circle and begin a call & response type of chant lead by Grampa Flick. A container (filled with a child's steam) is opened and the potential recruit is to inhale it and consume it. At this point, the process is painful and survival is not guaranteed. The recruit feels all the pain of the tortured child when they died and their body begins to change (disappear to varying degrees). A member of the true Knot, then gives them more steam if they survive, possibly to give them a taste of an enjoyable experience. The new recruit is now turned.
- Disease (being so old, they have not developed immunity to modern diseases and can contract diseases through steam)
- Regular trauma that can kill a normal human
- Grampa Flick (their oldest member by turning and presenting age) (real name Jonas Flick)
- Rose the Hat (real name Rose O'Hara)
- Crow Daddy (real name Henry Rothman)
- Jimmy Numbers
- Barry the Chink (real name Barry Smith)
- Petty the Chink
- Tommy the Truck
- Heavy Mary
- Walnut (real name Peter Wallis)
- Pea and Pod
- Snakebite Andi (real name Andrea Steiner)
- Silent Sarey (real name Sarah Carter)
- Token Charlie
- Baba the Russian
- Apron Annie (real name Anne Lamont)
- Black-Eyed Sue
- Dirty Phil (real name Phil Caputo)
- Diesel Doug
- Steamhead Steve
- Greedy G (real name Greta Moore)
- Long Paul
- Short Eddie (real name Ed Higgins)
- Big Mo (real name Maureen Higgins)
- Harpman Sam
- Toady Slim
- Bent Dick
- Baba the Red (only mentioned once, possibly just a misprint of Baba the Russian)
- Sweet Terri Pickford
- Fat Fannie
- Hands-Off Hans (died before Doctor Sleep)
- Katie Patches (died before Doctor Sleep)