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The television show Lost includes a number of mysterious elements that have been ascribed to science fiction or supernatural phenomena, usually concerning coincidences, synchronicity, déjà vu, temporal and spatial anomalies, paradoxes, and other puzzling phenomena. The creators of the series refer to these as part of the mythology of the series.

The Island

As the main setting of the series, the Island boasts a number of unusual properties. First and foremost is its location, which shifts constantly and cannot be reached by ordinary means. The Island cannot be seen from a distance, and is surrounded by some sort of barrier in which the normal flow of time does not apply. The Island also seems to possess a "will" of some sort, apparently speaking to various characters. Electromagnetic phenomena are common on the Island, and it seems to bestow unusual healing properties to its residents.

Personification

The Island appears to be sentient in some capacity. Locke asserts that the Island can "talk" to him and others. The Island has also shown the ability to affect the lives of people both living on it or away from it. It is able to prevent both Michael Dawson and Jack Shephard from killing themselves once they each make it off the Island. The Island's ability to prevent Michael from committing suicide was highlighted by Tom, who did not seem surprised and even goaded Michael about how the Island "would not let him" leave. It also prevents Claire from signing adoption papers before the crash. Locke also accuses the Island of killing Boone, in what he calls a "[sacrifice] the Island demanded."

The Island also calls people to it. Once he leaves the Island, Hurley believes he is being called back. It directly called Locke to it multiple times during his childhood.

Structures

The Black Rock

Located deep inside the jungle is the Black Rock, a sail ship from the mid-1800s. In "The Constant", it is explained that the Black Rock set sail from Portsmouthmarker, Englandmarker; March 22, 1845 on a trading mission to the Kingdom of Siammarker, when she was tragically lost at sea. The only known artifact of this journey is the journal of the ship's First Mate, which was discovered among the artifacts of pirates on Île Sainte-Mariemarker, Madagascarmarker seven years later. The contents of this journal have never been made public nor known to anyone outside the family of the seller Tovard Hanso. This journal is later bought at auction by Charles Widmore.

In "Exodus", John Locke mentions that this ship must have been en route to a mining colony, probably set-off from the Eastern Coast of Africa, Mozambiquemarker. The ship contains dynamite, mining equipment and several chained skeletons. Dr. Leslie Arzt (Daniel Roebuck) mentions that a Tsunami could have swept it a couple of miles inland as seen later in the episode. The Swan's blast door map has a revision marking "Known Final Resting Place of Magnus Hanso / Black Rock" as seen in "Live Together, Die Alone".

The Cabin

Jacob, ruler of the Others, is said to reside in a mysterious cabin which is able to vanish and reappear at different places on the Island. It was built by the Dharma Initiative mathematician Horace Goodspeed as a sort of retreat for himself. Goodspeed was carrying its blueprints in his pocket when he was killed in the Dharma purge. It is surrounded by a black, ash-like powder, similar to what Benjamin Linus was covered in after summoning the monster, using an ancient tunnel under his home in the Barracks. For reasons unknown, Christian Shephard and his daughter Claire Littleton were staying in the cabin instead of Jacob in the episode "Cabin Fever". In "The Incident", Ilana had Jacob's cabin burned to the ground after finding out that "someone else" had been using it. The black ash ring had also been disrupted prior to this encounter.

The Ruins

There are ruins on the Island, most with hieroglyphs on them. In "Live Together, Die Alone", while at sea, Sayid, Jin, and Sun sight the remnants of a massive statue standing upon a rock in the surf. All that is left is a large, four-toed marble foot broken off at the ankle. Sayid remarks that he does not know which is more disquieting: the fact that the rest of the statue is missing, or that the foot has only four toes. It has been compared to the Colossus of Rhodesmarker. The full statue, viewed from the back, appears from a distance in the fifth season episode "LaFleur". It is not made clear how far back in the Island's past the group has traveled to, and another flash quickly brings them forward before they can get a good look at the statue. The statue seen from behind has lion-like ears, a crown on the head, long hair, an ankh in each hand, and ancient Egyptian dress. The statue's head looks like a cross between a crocodile, a lion and a hippopotamus. The statue is named Taweret, the Egyptian god of pregnancy and life.

At the base of the statue is a secret chamber, that Jacob resides in. All four elements of earth, water, fire, and air are represented in this chamber. "The fire pit in the middle of the room consisted of flames raising from black sand with a ring of water surrounding all of it." The room also housed a weaving loom in which Jacob is shown creating a tapestry. In addition; painted on the ceiling was "an ancient Egypian astronomical chart which refers to the stars and planets, time, and the goddess Taweret."

Further ruins are revealed in "The Brig" when the Others tie Locke's father to the broken base of a large, stone column. Toward the end of the third season, Ben tells Richard to continue leading the rest of the Others to the Temple, and in "Meet Kevin Johnson" sends Alex, Karl, and Rousseau to the same location. His map marks it with a Dharma Initiative symbol, but the Temple has also been mentioned as something the Monster is in place to protect. In addition, in "The Shape of Things to Come", after Alex is killed, Ben summons the Monster in a secret chamber hidden in his closet whose stone door contains hieroglyphics. In "There's No Place Like Home Pt 3", when Ben enters the Orchid Station, behind the official Dharma built station, is what appears to be some sort of ancient stone tombstones with unknown hieroglyphs on his way to the final room, where an ancient-built wheel rests that is used to move the island. In the fifth season episode, "This Place is Death" shows a better view of what appears to be the Temple that Ben will one day order Richard to lead his people to, which is directly guarded by the Monster. In "Whatever Happened, Happened", Richard Alpert is seen taking a young Benjamin Linus into the temple itself as a means of healing a fatal gunshot wound. Alpert notes beforehand that Ben will emerge a fundamentally different person. It is revealed in "Dead is Dead" that the structure the viewers see is merely a wall concealing the temple and the actual temple itself is a mile away on the other side of the wall.

There is also a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the surface of the Island. The lair of the Monster lies in these tunnels, beneath the site of the Temple wall, and another chamber was used by the Others to isolate a hydrogen bomb with a breach in its casing, which lies beneath the Dharma Initiative barracks. Some of these tunnels are marked on the blast door map in the Swan Station.

Health-related properties

The Island has extraordinary healing properties. The Island can heal normally untreatable conditions, such as spinal damage (Locke), cancer (Rose), and infertility (Jin). Injuries, even lethal ones, heal much faster than they normally would, though by no means are people incapable of dying. Disease is also possible, though rare. For an unknown reason, women who conceive children on the Island die of an auto-immune condition during the second trimester of pregnancy, but can otherwise give birth as long as conception occurred off the island.

Healing

Some castaways express the belief that they have been miraculously healed since the crash. Prior to his arrival, Locke was paralyzed, but regains the use of his legs immediately after the crash. Richard Alpert says in "The Brig" that Locke's spine healing itself is not a normal event, even by the Island's standards. It is a sign of Locke being somehow "special". The effects of this specialness can extend to other people. After his spinal surgery, Ben is paralyzed for over a week, but regains the feeling in his legs immediately after coming into contact with Locke. He is able to walk (with the aid of a cane) only days afterward.

The Others appear to operate on the assumption that cancer is impossible on the Island ("One of Us"). Ben Linus appears deeply shocked when told he has a tumor on his spine, and Juliet notes the coincidence that Jack, a spinal surgeon, arrived on the island two days after Ben's condition was diagnosed. Similarly, Rose had been dying of cancer before crashing on the island. After the crash, she feels as if the cancer has "left her body" and, in "S.O.S.", credits her cure to the island. Jack contracts appendicitis while on the Island, which Rose observes is suspicious given that they expect their imminent rescue and the fact that she strongly believes that it is impossible to get sick on the Island.

Locke also makes a miraculously fast recovery in the episode "Through the Looking Glass", after being shot and left for dead by Ben in the episode "The Man Behind the Curtain". Locke also comments that he would have died from being shot, had the kidney Ben was aiming for not been removed earlier in his life. In the episode "Lockdown", his legs are crushed by the Swan station's blast doors. Rose teases Locke later when he is depressed about possibly being immobile, saying that he will recover sooner then he should. In "Because You Left", Locke gets shot in the leg by Ethan when he is flashed to the past. After Locke gets flashed to the present day, Richard briefly treats his wound and tells him "the island will do the rest."

Other characters like Mikhail Bakunin and Naomi also recover from injuries very fast. Mikhail states that "things work differently" on the Island when this is noted.

In "The Variable", Daniel Faraday is shown to have suffered severe mental damage as a result of his experiments in temporal displacement, impairing his long-term memory. Charles Widmore promises Faraday that he will be healed if he goes on the freighter mission he was recruiting him for. Upon his arrival on the island, however, Daniel is cured of these problems, although he did suffer a minor relapse after the death of Charlotte.

Pregnancy

According to Juliet and Ben, any human female who conceives on the island dies before the baby is born. Specifically, the pregnancy goes well until about midway through the second trimester, where complications arise. The mother's body rejects the fetus as a viral infection, resulting in both the mother and child's death. Juliet states that in her research, no one made it to their third trimester. Other species of placental mammals like the wild boars do not die during pregnancy. Women who went through their second trimester off the island are able to give birth without incident (Rousseau, Claire). The Others have enlisted the help of Juliet, a fertility researcher, to help find out why this happens, but she never finds an answer. Several women among the Others volunteer to get pregnant for Juliet's research, all with uniformly fatal results. As of the fifth season, this problem is shown to only affect women that are members of the Others/Hostiles.

The Island also affects fertility in males. Jin was sterile before coming to the Island, but impregnates his wife Sun while there. In the episode "D.O.C.", Juliet reveals that men on the island have five times the normal sperm count, explaining why Jin was able to impregnate Sun.

The conditions which causes this phenomenon did not always exist. In the fifth season premiere episode, Dr. Pierre Chang is at the Dharma Initiative Barracks facility in 1977. His wife is with him and his new born son Miles, is also featured. In "This Place is Death", Charlotte Lewis also confirms she was born on the island to Dharma Initiative members. "LaFleur" features Juliet successfully delivering a child of one of the Dharma Initiative members that conceived her child on the island. The enhanced commentary for the episode mentions that women of the Dharma Initiative were taken off-island to give birth under an obstetrician's care, but not until they were well into their third trimester of pregnancy. It was mentioned that the event that caused this particular phenomenon had not yet occurred, demonstrating that the problem must have begun sometime after 1977.

The Sickness

Contrary to the lack of disease on the Island, Rousseau claims to have killed her team because they had caught a mysterious disease, which necessitated their executions. She claims in "Solitary" that the Others are the carriers of disease. Rousseau is not definitive on whether it is a physical or mental disease. As of the end of the fifth season, none of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, Juliet, Desmond, nor the members of the Kahana freighter crew still on the Island have shown any symptoms of any disease or infection, even after being in direct contact with the Others.

"This Place is Death" shows that Rousseau's crew was actually "infected" after entering an ancient temple to rescue a member of her team from the Monster. The three crew members that Rousseau executes show no physical symptoms of anything being wrong with them, but seem to have been given knowledge of the purpose of the Monster through some unknown means. Danielle, acting under madness induced internally or by the island, executes three of her crew members, believing that they were no longer "themselves".

When Locke is being held captive by Desmond, Desmond asks Locke if any of his people are sick or dying. When Desmond first came to the Island, Kelvin Inman also asked Desmond about his physical health and implied that he was out long enough to have been exposed. A mysterious vaccine is provided by Dharma food drops. It is taken regularly by Kelvin and Desmond in the Swan Station, and administered to Claire's unborn child by Ethan after her kidnapping. During this encounter, Ethan confides in Claire that the Others don't have enough vaccine, implying either they or their recent abductees required it as well.

In the fourth season episode "The Constant", it is revealed that Minkowski and a freighter crew member named Brandon tried to sneak off the boat in the Zodiac to get a closer look at the Island. According to Minkowski, as they approached "something happened" to Brandon that caused them to turn back. Brandon died as a result of this attempt to approach the Island, and Minkowski suffered from temporal displacement and, lacking a constant in the past and the present, died soon after.

One crew member, Regina, speaks with Faraday over a radio regarding a rocket payload experiment. At the time, she sounds normal. By the time Sayid and Desmond have reached the freighter, however, Regina is suffering from some sort of psychosis. She is pretending to be reading a book, even though it is held upside down and she generally appears as "mentally out of it". Later, Regina commits suicide by wrapping herself in heavy chains and jumping into the ocean. No move is made by the crew to dissuade her, with Captain Gault claiming that "she is too far gone." How Regina, having never gotten close to the Island as Minkowski and Brandon had, became ill is never revealed. In "Cabin Fever", Captain Gault informs Martin Keamy that he may be suffering from some sort of dementia connected with the Island. In the Season 5 Clip Episode "A Journey In Time", Lost creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse both confirmed that Rousseau had "gone mad".

Other physical properties

Location

The Island is constantly moving, and thus cannot be found by any standard means of navigating. Without knowing where the Island will be, which is the aim of the Dharma Lamp Post Station, or following a signal being transmitted from the Island, the only way to reach it is by accident. In addition, leaving the Island is equally difficult, as a barrier surrounds it which prevents objects from entering or leaving unless headed on a specific bearing, which changes with the movement of the Island.

In addition to its regular movement, the Island can be forcibly moved by means of an ancient stone wheel beneath the Dharma station known as the Orchid. Once the wheel is turned, the Island and everything within its barrier are teleported to a new location. The one who turned the wheel is transported to the Tunisian Desert, which is approximately the antipode to the island's location . Ben alleges that the one to perform this procedure cannot return to the Island, though he is, later, able to do so. When Ben moves the Island in this manner, it causes certain people within the area of effect to begin randomly jumping through time. This includes the remaining Flight 815 survivors, the leftover freighter crew, and Juliet, but not the Others. This is apparently the result of Locke allowing Ben to move the Island, instead of doing it himself as instructed by Christian. The wheel is shown to have "slipped off its axis" (as Christian describes it), and once reset by Locke the time jumps cease.

Electromagnetism

An unusual form of naturally occurring electromagnetism is present on the island. While physical objects seem to be affected by the time passage, electromagnetism, such as radio waves are not affected. People are able to communicate directly to the outside world without a time lapse. The Dharma station named the Swan was built to study the unique form of electromagnetism found there. Radzinski was very vocal in manipulating electromagnetism "in ways we have never dreamed before". At the end of "Live Together, Die Alone", when Desmond has used the fail-safe device in the Swan Station to destroy it, a monitoring station in the Antarctic detects the electromagnetic event and reports it to their boss, Penelope Widmore.

Time travel

The Island is surrounded by an invisible electromagnetic barrier in which the normal rules of time do not apply. Daniel Faraday comments that light does not scatter properly on the Island. In "The Economist", a missile fired from a freighter outside the barrier to the Island, carrying a timer in its payload, is shown to take roughly 31 minutes longer to arrive at its designated target area. In the same episode, the helicopter carrying Lapidus, Sayid, and Desmond leaves the Island late in the afternoon. Even though the flight only takes about 30 minutes, it arrives at the freighter the next morning. Doc Ray's body washes ashore in "The Shape of Things to Come", yet when the freighter is contacted via radio for an explanation, he is alive and well from their perspective. Two episodes later, in "Cabin Fever", the doctor is murdered and thrown overboard.

The barrier poses a threat to those entering or leaving it, particularly if they have been exposed to a high amount of electromagnetism. Doing so under these circumstances can lead to one's consciousness traveling through time (called Temporal Displacement on the show) eventually resulting in death unless a "constant" can be found between the present and the destination time period.

After Benjamin Linus turned the frozen wheel beneath the Orchid station, he found himself in the Tunisian Desert 10 months later. The result of the wheel being turned was that the survivors remaining on the Island randomly traveled through time until Locke put the wheel back on its axis, as he too flashed to the exit in the desert. When the survivors were left behind there was a blinding purple flash. After Locke fixed the wheel, there was one last flash, this time with a bright white flash. In all these instances, the travelers appear to experienced severe head pain.

Plot devices

The Monster

The Island is home to a mysterious entity, consisting of a black mass accompanied by mechanical-like sounds and electrical activity within, dubbed the "Smoke Monster" or just the "Monster" by the survivors. The monster has been described by Lost producer Damon Lindelof as "one of the biggest secrets" of the mythology. The producers have often hinted that the black cloud of smoke is not a monster in the traditional sense, nor is it a cloud of nanobots (as some fans have speculated). It has been repeatedly described as a "security system" for the Island, specifically the ruins of the temple on the Island. It emerges from vents in the ground to attack people, though it does not always attack those it encounters. The Monster is capable of lifting a grown man with virtually no difficulty, and in one instance tosses a man nearly fifty feet into the air. In another it wraps a tendril of smoke around a man's arm, severing it.

In January 2007, producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse asked fans on Yahoo! Answers what they thought the monster was. They later picked their "favorite answer... not that it's the right answer [sic]." The response they chose suggested that the monster was "originally a highly advanced security system designed to separate participants of the DHARMA experiments" and frighten them with smoke and loud noises to prevent them from wandering outside of their hatches. However, the electromagnetic force of the island...mutated it - in the same sense that Desmond experienced time travel and can now see the future after [his] exposure - and made it malevolent and able to physically [interact with things]." The respondent also theorized that the monster could be "turned off" if the survivors found a control room for it. The producers restated that the answer could be "somewhat right, totally right - or completely off-base", but they thought it was "very cool and intriguing."

The Swan Station's blast door map makes several references to a "Cerberus" activity and also notes that this "Cerberus" prevents passage between certain stations, indicating the security system aspect of it may have gone down as early as 1984. Notations on the Blast Door map seem to confirm the "Cerberus" patrolling regions of the island in which the Monster has been seen as well, suggesting that perhaps the two are one and the same. This is confirmed in a G4tv presentation of Lost in 2.0 (where Lost creators have pop-up windows within the episode, giving away or explaining away major plot devices, mysteries, and such), during the second season episode "Lockdown". According to KSL TV, "Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Jin, said in an interview that the origin and nature of the malevolent dark cloud will be disclosed and viewers will even get a glimpse of its lair. Turns out the monster is as 'old as the island' that's been home to the Oceanic jet-crash survivors and their foes."

The Monster is introduced early on in the show. On the night after the crash, the survivors hear a loud, unidentifiable sound coming from the jungle and witness trees being shaken and torn down in the distance. The next morning, while discussing the sound the Monster made, Rose commented that, "I keep thinking, there was something familiar about it." The producers had difficulty finding the right sound for the monster to make, and eventually settled on the receipt printer from a New York Citymarker taxi, which is why Rose, from The Bronxmarker, New York, finds it familiar. Jack, Kate, and Charlie saw the power of the Monster up close when it ripped the pilot from the cockpit of the plane they crashed in and left the mangled body in a tree, all without being seen on-screen. In "Walkabout", Locke also had a direct encounter with the Monster but was spared. When Michael later asked Locke if he had seen it, Locke lied and claimed that he had not. Locke later told Jack, "I looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw was beautiful."

In "Exodus, Part 1", Danielle referred to the monster as a "security system" the purpose of which is to protect the Island. In part 2 of the episode, Locke's second encounter provided the first on-screen glimpse of the Monster. In "The 23rd Psalm" Charlie and Eko had a confrontation similar to Locke's. As Eko stared down the Monster, the black smoke briefly flashed images of Eko's past. John Locke relates his own experience to Eko, to which Eko replies, "That is not what I saw." In "The Cost of Living", the monster killed Eko by slamming him repeatedly against nearby trees and the ground.

In another unseen appearance, the mechanical sounds of the monster can be heard at some point during episodes "Exposé" and "Special". The May 26, 2006 official Lost podcast claimed that viewers have seen the Monster after "The 23rd Psalm" without realizing they were looking at it. In the March 21, 2008 official Lost podcast, Damon Lindelof said that manifestations of the Monster included Yemi, the Medusa Spider that bit Nikki, and some of Walt's appearances while he was not with the survivors, although they were in more of a joking manner so they may have not been serious.

In the episode "Left Behind", the Monster appeared twice. It is unseen by the audience in the first encounter, when it released a series of bright flashes near Juliet, although Kate, who was standing right next to her, seemed unaffected. The Monster appears on-screen during the second encounter, where it is revealed that it cannot penetrate the Others' sonic wave fence. Juliet tells Kate that the Others don't know what the Monster is, but they know it doesn't like their fence.

When Locke holds Ben at gunpoint in "Confirmed Dead" and asks about the Monster, Ben claims ignorance. In the episode "The Shape of Things to Come", however, it becomes apparent that Ben knows more about the Monster than he has let on. After becoming enraged over the death of Alex, Ben disappears into a hidden room, which has an ancient stone door covered with hieroglyphs, only to emerge several minutes later covered in a dark ash like substance, telling the others they need to be as far away from the attacking mercenaries as possible. The Monster then suddenly arrives and proceeds to attack the mercenaries. It slithers on the ground causing the Barracks to rumble and consumes Keamy's team, extending a hand-like tendril to draw back a man running from it. In the next episode, it's revealed that most of the mercenaries survived, albeit badly shaken. When questioned about an injured man, Keamy responds that he was, "thrown fifty feet into the air by a black pillar of smoke."

The Monster appears as a drawing in "Cabin Fever". In a flashback, Richard Alpert comes to visit a five-year-old Locke in the early 1960s. Alpert becomes fascinated by a picture of the Monster which Locke drew, asking Locke about it. Locke gives no answer. In the picture, the Monster appears to be swirling around an unidentified person.

"This Place is Death" showcased Danielle's crew in 1988, joined by a time-jumping Jin, being attacked by the Monster near an ancient Temple. One of Danielle's crew members is dragged into the ruins. Jin demands that Danielle, being pregnant at the time, remain outside, while the rest of their crew go inside to save the missing crewman. What exactly happened inside the Temple is unknown, but when Jin jumps into the future, he observes an encounter between Danielle and her lover, Robert. During the exchange, Danielle accuses Robert of 'being changed' by the Monster inside the Temple. He denies this, but then attempts to kill her when she lowers her guard, leading her to kill him when he discovers that his weapon had its firing pin removed.

Following the crash landing of Flight 316 on the Hydra Island in "Namaste", Sun and Lapidus take an outrigger to the Dharma barracks on the main island, where they hear the Monster and see it move some trees. The Whispers are heard after this, followed by Christian Shepherd appearing from one of the buildings to inform Sun of her husband's whereabouts.

In "Dead is Dead", Ben and Locke travel to the smoke monster's lair so that Ben may be judged by it. The lair lies in a series of underground tunnels beneath the temple. It emerges from a stone grate on the floor. Above the grate is a series of pictographs depicting a strange, lightning bolt-shaped monster approaching what appears to be Anubis. The monster confronts Ben, showing him images of his life with Alex up to her death, followed by a manifestation of Alex warning Ben not to harm John Locke under threat of death. Alex orders Ben to follow Locke's every word, to which he complies. This suggests it has a connection to or has been fooled by Jacob's rival, who had assumed Locke's form as a means of killing Jacob.

The Numbers

The numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 appear throughout the series, both in sequence and individually. The numbers add up to 108, another common number in the series. According to the DHARMA Orientation video in the Lost Experience, the Numbers represent the factors of the Valenzetti Equation, which claims to accurately predict when humanity will be extinguished. The numbers are continually prevalent throughout the series, particularly in the Dharma Swan Station, where they constitute a code that must be entered into the Swan station's terminal. The writers originally introduced the numbers solely to engineer a meeting between Hurley and Rousseau, not because they had a plan for them, but due to viewer feedback, they were implemented into a greater part of the story.

They were broadcast from the Island's radio transmitter, and it was this message that drew Rousseau's expedition there. Although Rousseau changed the message after the deaths of the rest of her team, the transmission is heard by others off the Island, eventually making their way to Hurley through a fellow patient in the asylum he was in, Leonard Sims. Sims and a fellow sailor in the U.S. Navy, Sam Toomey, heard them while stationed listening post monitoring longwave transmissions over the Pacific, 16 years before the start of the events in the series. Hurley uses the numbers to win a lottery before the crash, which brings those around him nothing but misfortune. Sam Toomey experienced similar misfortune to others, and eventually killed himself. Because of this, Hurley believes the numbers are cursed.

Character timelines

The Dharma Initiative

From the 1970s to the 1990s, a group known as the Dharma Initiative operated through numerous stations scattered across the Island, studying its unique properties. They came into conflict with the Others, known to them as the Hostiles, as a result. They formed a tentative truce with them with strict territorial boundaries set for each side.

The Dharma Initiative began to decline around the 1980s, and was virtually destroyed in 1992 when Benjamin Linus orchestrated a massacre of the group. Its facilities were left behind, some of which the Others claimed as their own. As a result of time travel, some of the survivors of Flight 815 become directly involved with the Dharma Initiative, joining the program in the late 1970s during the height of its power.

The Others

The Others are a group of inhabitants that have been on the island for an unknown number of years. It is known that their occupation precedes both the Dharma Initative and the U.S. Army's exploration of the island; as well as the survivors of Flight 815. It is still yet to be revealed how long they have been on the island ;however, earliest flashbacks show they have been on the island since at least the 1950s, and both Jacob and his rival existing on the Island for time preceding even that. The Others used to reside in the barracks first built by the Dharma Initiative to house their employees, after the Purge, but have left the Barracks during season 3 and have not returned.

Crossovers

Prior to their arrival on the Island, both major and minor characters have crossed paths, often unknowingly, sometimes affecting each other's lives. These crossovers are revealed through characters' flashbacks, and are typically obvious only to viewers. Some intersections are quite noticeable, with different characters conversing with each other, but most often the characters are oblivious to these crossovers, which take the form of other characters' appearances on televisions or as glimpses in the background. The crossovers become more frequent in the final episodes of the first season, as all the characters approach each other before arriving at the airport, and finally boarding the airplane.

Examples include Sawyer's conversation with Jack's father in a bar before boarding the plane, as well as Locke's father being the man who conned Sawyer's parents. Hurley's accountant buys him the box company that Locke had worked for. Hurley can be seen on a television in one of Jin's flashbacks. Jack is asked to choose between performing operations on his future wife (whom he hadn't met yet) or Shannon's father (and Boone's stepfather).

Jacob, the mysterious leader of the Others, has visited the survivors in different periods of time, indicating that he may have some connections to the crossovers.

The show's producers have always said that there was a reason characters appeared in each other's flashbacks. Damon Lindelof has stated that these are not "Easter eggs", but rather a larger part of the mythology of the series.

Sensory phenomena

The Whispers

At various times, whispering voices are heard by the characters, with no visible source of origin. Rousseau claims that these voices are of the Others, though it later becomes evident that this is not necessarily the case. Many of the whispers are incomprehensible when heard on television. In more recent episodes, the whispering has been heard prior to the sudden appearance or disappearance of a member of the Others, as seen in "The Other Woman" when Harper approaches Juliet in this manner. Whispers are also heard when Hurley finds Jacob's cabin in fourth season. They are heard again in the fifth season episode "Namaste", between an appearance by the Monster and an appearance by Christian. While taking Danielle Rousseau's child, Alex, Ben states that if she wishes for the child to live, whenever she hears "whispers" she should run the other way.

Visions

Boone, as he appears in Locke's hallucination.
On the Island, numerous characters experience auditory and visual hallucinations, including apparent visions and messages from deceased family members. Both Jack and Eko receive visitations from dead relatives whose bodies are present on the Island but have mysteriously disappeared. Similarly, Locke converses with the deceased Boone during a vision quest in "Further Instructions". He received a similar vision from the apparently-deceased Boone, directing him to the site of a crashed airplane, while Boone was still alive. In the episode "The Man Behind the Curtain", Ben sees his deceased mother on the Island twice as a child, and this eventually leads him to join the Others. In a Missing Pieces episode, Jack's father Christian is shown interacting with Vincent and directing the dog to "wake Jack".

An image of Walt appears to Shannon on a number of occasions during the second season, and is later seen by Sayid, just prior to Shannon's death. Walt also appears to Locke, convincing him to get up after being shot because he has work to do.

Hurley experiences visions of Dave, an imaginary friend whom he had seen before while in a mental institution. Dave goads Hurley into briefly believing that the Island itself is his hallucination, and that he can only reawaken to his real life (in the mental institution) by leaping from a cliff. This might have been due to Hurley's mental state rather than because of the Island however, and he is talked out of it by Libby.

In the episode "What Kate Did", Kate receives two visitations from her past: the seemingly channel message from her deceased father, whom she had at first thought to be her stepfather, spoken by Sawyer while in delirium; and later, an appearance of a black horse which she believes is the same one that enabled her escape from custody. The horse was seen by Sawyer as well, and both he and Kate touched it and concluded that it was real. Similarly, Sayid sees a cat that looks like one belonging to a woman whom Sayid had tortured prior to the crash.

In "Dead is Dead", Ben Linus (along with Locke and Sun) travels to the Temple, and enters into an ancient underground lair of the Smoke Monster (the same one that dragged one of Rousseau's crewmembers and her crew entered into in "This Place is Death"). Once alone in the lower level, Ben encounters the Smoke Monster, which produces a "vision" of sorts, where Ben is forced to watch his many altercations with Alex from the time she was a young girl, to her teenage years, including the part where Keamy executes her in "The Shape of Things to Come". The Smoke Monster seems to judge favorably of Ben and recedes back into a stone grating, when a manifestation of Alex appears to Ben, warning him from going through with anything against John Locke, and to follow Locke unquestioningly.

These visions seem to be capable of taking place off-island. Hurley is plagued by numerous visions of deceased characters, in particular his deceased friend Charlie, who tells Hurley, "They need you." These visions convince Hurley to resubmit himself to his old mental institution. In the fourth season finale, Sayid finds Hurley playing chess by himself, and Hurley eventually reveals he was playing with Mr. Eko. In "The Lie", a vision of Ana Lucia directs Hurley on how to escape from the police, tells him where he needs to go, and conveys a greeting from Libby before vanishing, an indication that deceased characters somehow communicate with each other. Jacob would later tell Hurley that he is not crazy, and that his ability to interact with the deceased is "a blessing". Jack also sees and hears his deceased father sitting in a lobby chair at the hospital where he works in "Something Nice Back Home".

References

  1. Benson, Jim. The 'Lost' Generation: Networks Go Eerie, Broadcasting & Cable, May 16, 2005.
  2. The Foot with Four Toes at AndFound
  3. Beyond the hatch Lost: The Official Magazine Issue 24 (September/October 2009): pps 25 - 27.
  4. Lost TV, "It's Not About the Dinosaur: the Official Damon Lindelof Interview, 18 August 2004
  5. LAURI NEFF, " `Lost' star says Smoke Monster secrets to emerge," ksl.com (February 10th, 2009).
  6. Cuse, Carlton, Lindelof, Damon and Burk, Bryan, "The 23rd Psalm". Lost: The Complete Second Season – The Extended Experience, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Audio commentary, disc 3. Released on September 5, 2006.
  7. The Official LOST audio podcast: March 21st, 2008, at ABC.com
  8. "Enter 77." Lost, ABC. March 7, 2007. Episode 11, season 3.


Further reading



  • Alan N. Shapiro, "TV’s ‘Lost’: The Crash Out of Globalization and Into the World," AVINUS-Magazin, Europäisches Online-Magazin für Media, Kultur und Politik, March 2007. http://magazin.avinus.de/2008/03/03/alan-n-shapiro-tvs-lost-the-crash-out-of-globalization-and-into-the-world-020307/



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