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- Persephone redirects here. For the Via Domus episode, see Hotel Persephone
Rachel Blake is the protagonist in the storyline of the Lost alternate reality game The Lost Experience. She is a 25 year old woman investigating The Hanso Foundation, effectively leading players through the game as the main driver of the plot.
From a tender age, it became clear that Rachel Blake was a gifted young woman, and it was little surprise that she managed to secure a prestigious job working for the Widmore Corporation when barely out of her teen years. However, after her mother's death, Rachel wondered how a single parent could have afforded her daughter's first-class education, and began to look at her finances. She discovered that her education had been paid for by a mysterious trust fund, the money for which had been donated by the Hanso Foundation, a Danish based scientific research company. Intrigued by this, Blake quit her job (receiving a healthy severance pay) and began to investigate the corporation, consequently realizing that they were involved in corruption of the worst kind. With new resolve, Rachel decided to continue her investigation of the company by travelling to their headquarters in Copenhagen, at the same time exposing them for what they truly are to the world.
Under the guise of the hacker "Persephone", Rachel sabotaged the Hanso Foundation website through flash hacks, exposing truths about their dealings. She then moved on to publish blogs and videos on her investigations, culminating in her publishing a video which would "tear the Foundation apart".
In her final video, it was confirmed that Rachel is the daughter of Alvar Hanso, explaining why his company financed her education. It was also revealed in the aftermath of the Experience that Rachel's mother once worked for the Hanso Foundation .
A recap was posted on Rachel's blog late in the Experience.
Arriving in Copenhagen, under the pretense of traveling, Rachel began to further her Hanso investigations. After making a number of hacks on the Hanso Foundation website about her discoveries into the disappearance of Alvar Hanso and other Foundation executives, she began to publish her blogs and video clips about her findings. During this time, Rachel learned that Hanso executive Thomas Mittelwerk was researching islands for some purpose, as well as a specially designed ship. To gain this information, Rachel had to take a number of risks, including directly confronting Mittelwerk himself, and narrowly escaping a run-in with one of Mittelwerk’s cronies.
Her research took her to Iceland, where Mittelwerk had headed following a fire at the Hanso funded “Vik Institute”. Here, Rachel learned about the Valenzetti Equation, which was being secretly analyzed in the institute by mathematicians and savants. Rachel came to the conclusion that Enzo Valenzetti, the creator of the equation, could have faked his own death in a plane accident, and may be alive and well in hiding. On a tip-off from one of her contacts, “GidgetGirl”, Rachel moved on to Italy, finding once again the presence of Hanso executives. Along with seeing a strange boat called the “Helgus Antonius” loading Hanso Foundation cargo at a nearby harbor, Rachel received a mysterious phone call from “GidgetGirl”, instructing Miss Blake to go to Paris, France immediately.
When she arrived in Paris, Rachel went to the meeting place, but GidgetGirl never appeared. Rachel later learned that GidgetGirl was actually Darla Taft, the mistress of Hanso executive Hugh McIntyre, and that both had died in a suspicious car accident. Whilst still reeling from this development, Rachel was attacked in her hotel room, with gunfire shooting from outside. She was rescued by an unlikely ally, the subordinate of Thomas Mittelwerk known as Malik who Rachel had previously encountered in Copenhagen. Taking her to safety, he tells her of a flat in St Germain de Pres that was owned by Hugh and Darla, and gives her a key. When she got there, Rachel found a video of Darla’s last words, telling her about a package. Inside this, Rachel found folders on the “SPIDER PROTOCOL”, as well as discovering designs for the “Helgus Antonius” ship which outlined a hospital boat with “quarantined” wards. Finally, Rachel found a fake ID and a plane ticket to Sri Lanka, and she hastily booked her flight.
In an appearance that blurred the fourth wall of the series, she appeared at the LOST panel at 2006 Comic Con in San Diego and slammed writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for allowing The Hanso Foundation "to prove themselves as this great philanthropic organization" by buying their way into the show's plot with advertising dollars. Near the end of her irate speech, she instructs all who want the truth to go to www.hansoexposed.com. This panel was later also rebroadcast as part of the Official Lost Podcast on July 31, 2006.
HansoExposed.com then became the latest part of the adventure, with individual fragments of a video of Rachel's time in Sri Lanka locked, needing clues that are themselves hidden all over the Internet. Rachel's justification for this is that the video is so explosive it "will tear The Hanso Foundation apart...". The video (dubbed the Sri Lanka Video) showed Alvar Hanso, discussing the Valenzetti Equation and the numbers. Mittelwerk could then be seen lecturing Hanso Foundation workers, whilst Rachel secretly filmed in the background. It seems that the Hanso Foundation is desperately trying to solve Valenzetti's equation, but all they end with after running it is six numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42). Mittelwerk himself says that they have been plagued by these numbers, and so radical action must be taken. He tells his team about villages in Sri Lanka, where they have seemingly introduced a genetically targeted retro-virus. For some reason, they are attempting to achieve a 30% mortality rate in the victims, and require the bodies of the dead for examination. In the final moments of the video, Rachel is spotted by Mittelwerk and attempts to escape. Although we did not know how at first, Rachel managed to escape Sri Lanka and most likely returned to the United States, as she appeared at Comic Con.
Next, Rachel set up whereisalvar.com, where those who find Apollo bars can upload their pictures. This is done to show the Hanso Foundation "the army that's united to oppose their crimes". Rachel has promised that when enough of her followers have uploaded their faces, she will reveal further instructions. She ends her message on the site with "you won't want to miss what I have to show you".
After the completion of the Sri Lanka Video, Rachel contacted Malik through the blogs of Speaker, Lost Ninja and Other Girl, in response to his encrypted message during the August 11 DJ Dan Podcast. She explained to Malik how de Zylva, a mutual friend, had rescued her from Mittelwerk's clutches when she was attacked after filming her video. He helped her escape to India, though never came when Rachel waited for him. It is presumed the Hanso Foundation found him first. Malik and Rachel then set up a meeting in New York. However, she quickly left the country after her location was compromised.
When whereisalvar.com showed 100% of bars being found, Rachel issued a message stating that we will learn "the whole truth. About them. About me." She then called for all to tune into the DJ Dan podcast...so we can once and for all "shut it all down!" Appearing on the podcast, Rachel commented how she had been on the run, traveling through eight countries in twelve days trying to escape the Foundation.
In her final video on abc.com, it was confirmed by Alvar Hanso himself that he is her father. He explained about Rachel's interest in the group after she realised that they had funded her tuition, and how she eventually discovered what they were involved in, and decided to stand against them.
Rachel in disguise
See also: Persephone hacks
Initially, "Persephone" was the identity Rachel Blake took on while hacking the Hanso Foundation phone line and website. During her days as "Persephone", Rachel could be heard on the Hanso Foundation Phone Line with a rallying call to all who heard it. She told the listener not to "believe their lies" and things like "...where is Alvar Hanso? What have they done with him? Who is in charge?" and that we should investigate further to uncover the truth about what is going on with the Foundation. Giving over the password to access the hidden parts of the website, she effectively started the Lost Experience ARG for all players. She then began to leave clues to the game at her thehansofoundation.org subdomain Persephone.thehansofoundation.org, which would point players in the direction of new hacks, videos, or comments.
Much later, the in-game reveal of the Rachel Blake character and website came on June 19 as part of the source code in thehansofoundation.org. Her website http://www.rachelblake.com was revealed featuring blogs about her holiday travels (see cover blogs). However, a secret section of the site could be accessed by entering the password evident agenda in the "extra info" box (this password was discovered through Persephone's site). This takes visitors to Rachel's hidden blog concerning her efforts to expose The Hanso Foundation.
There was much debate over whether Rachel Blake was in fact the same woman as Persephone, with different authorities saying different things, such as The Lost Ninja saying they were the same, but Speaker putting out the devil's advocate that it might not be. New evidence was revealed on June 22nd on the letyourcompassguideyou.com directory site to support the theory, however, where a hidden text transcript of an internet conservation was found in the trash section (see OpenersHep Conversation). User OpenersHep refers to herself as 'Rachel B', and it was noted that OpenersHep is an anagram of Persephone, giving weight to the 'same identity' theory.
Finally, in her third Iceland post, Rachel confirmed that she was in fact Persephone, after weeks of speculation and discussion. She explained that as she had been hacking a Danish website thehansofoundation.org, she could not have revealed her true identity whilst she was residing in Copenhagen.
Rachel Blake videos
To view Rachel's videos, go to individual post pages (see above), where they are embedded.
Also see the following pages:
List of videos available on YouTube/The Lost Experience
Rachel Blake's Comic-Con video
Sri Lanka Video
- Rachel Blake's Comic-Con video
Persephone in Greek mythology
Prosperine: A Dante Gabriel Rosetti painting of the classical Persephone appeared in a DJ Dan podcast.
In classical myth, Persephone (She who destroys the light) was abducted by Pluto to become the queen of the Underworld. Her story has great emotional power: an innocent maiden; a mother's grief at the abduction and the return of her daughter. It is also cited frequently as a paradigm of myths that explain natural processes, with the descent and return of the goddess bringing about the change of seasons.
As she was gathering flowers with her playmates in a meadow, the earth opened and Pluto, god of the dead, appeared and carried her off to be his queen in the world below. ... Torch in hand, her sorrowing mother sought her through the wide world, and finding her not she forbade the earth to put forth its increase. So all that year not a blade of corn grew on the earth, and men would have died of hunger if Zeus had not persuaded Pluto to let Persephone go. But before he let her go Pluto made her eat the seed of a pomegranate, and thus she could not stay away from him for ever. So it was arranged that she should spend two-thirds (according to later authors, one-half) of every year with her mother and the heavenly gods, and should pass the rest of the year with Pluto beneath the earth. ... As wife of Pluto, she sent specters, ruled the ghosts, and carried into effect the curses of men.
But the Greeks knew another face of Persephone as well. She was also the terrible Queen of the dead, whose name was not safe to speak aloud, who was named simply "The Maiden". Her central myth, for all of its emotional familiarity, was also the back-story of the secret initiatory mystery rites of regeneration at Eleusis, which promised immortality to their awe-struck participants—an immortality in her world beneath the soil, feasting with the heroes beneath her dread gaze.
Persephone, as Queen of Hades, only showed mercy once, because the music of Orpheus was so hauntingly sad. She allowed Orpheus to bring his wife Eurydice back to the land of the living as long as she walked behind him and he never tried to look at her face until they reached the surface. Orpheus agreed but failed, looking back at the very end to make sure his wife was following, and lost Eurydice forever.
Inspired by James Frazer, Jane Ellen Harrison and modern mythologists, some scholars have labeled Persephone a life-death-rebirth deity.
- In Rachel's first video there is a can of Sprite visible next to her laptop.
- Rachel drives a Jeep Compass (as seen in her second video).
- This character was originally planned to be called Amy Jenson, who was apparently described in briefing as an attractive and intelligent young woman in search of missing pieces of her past trying to find her missing parent (father). The briefing also apparently mentioned that the actress to play this woman would need to be available for personal appearances from July to September.
- Real life actress Jamie Silberhartz also appeared in a short film called "Sissy Frenchfry", one which was mocked by DJ Dan on one of his live broadcasts.
- Entertainment Weekly Interview by Jeff Jensen
- It was later revealed by Javier Grillo-Marxuach that Rachel's mother "was an employee of the foundation - the circumstance of her death are shrouded in secrecy, however." This explains the hidden text on the Hanso Foundation website which stated "she was an employee of the Foundation." There was confusion as it was thought to be in relation to Rachel herself, though she had worked for Widmore, not Hanso .