The Island/Theories

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Main Article Theories about
The Island
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 Theories may be removed if ... 
  1. Stated as questions or possibilities (avoid question marks, "Maybe", "I think", etc).
  2. More appropriate for another article.
  3. Illogical or previously disproven.
  4. Proven by canon source, and moved to main article.
  5. Speculative and lacking any evidence to support arguments.
  6. Responding to another theory (use discussion page instead).
  • This does not include responses that can stand alone as its own theory.
  • Usage of an indented bullet does not imply the statement is a response.

See the Lostpedia theory policy for more details.

This page contains fan theories about the key factor of Lost, the Island.

From Lostpedia Theory Policy: "A theory is an attempt to explain a certain mystery using logic backed up with logically consistent observations and facts. Without supporting evidence, statements are merely speculation. Speculation is similar to theories except there are no facts or logic to back the theory up." - This is a theory page, not a speculation page. Speculation without supporting evidence can be deleted. To respond to a theory, use the discussion page. Feel free to add supporting evidence to an existing theory.


  • The Island is hidden from radar/satellite/photography by a magnetic field, such as the one that appeared to emanate from the Swan.
  • The Island loses its cloak during movement; when it first arrives at a new location, it is visible for a short period of time.
  • Just as time moves at a different rate from the rest of the world, it is also on a different reference frame in relation to the perception of space. When viewed from the normal world (those not near the Island), it appears much smaller than it does to those on or close to the Island.
  • The Island was in fact very slightly in the future. Remember the doctor whose body was found on the Island before he had died back on the freighter? And remember the DHARMA video inside the Orchid with the rabbit that would disappear momentarily into the future? I say "was" in the future because now that it has been moved it may have shifted in time again.
  • The Island can only be seen when one is within the necessary bearing for entry.

See also: Electromagnetism/Theories

What the Island Is

The Island is Hell

Ultimately, Lost was the story of how the balance of hell was upset when some still-living scientists (The DHARMA Initiative) found a way to travel to Hell to study it and thereby nearly unleashed the Devil himself upon the world, and how a special group of "half-damned" people thwarted the Devil's plans.

Hell Exists Somewhere, Physically

Hell is not a place that exists outside this plane of existence (i.e., an afterlife, another dimension, Nirvana, etc). Imagine hell is a real, physical place with predictable physical natural laws that are simply different from the laws of physics/nature in the "normal" world (this plane of existence).

  • For example, in hell you might heal faster so that you can be tortured more frequently; this was a property of the Island.
  • Babies conceived in hell can’t be born there, because of course, two condemned souls cannot posthumously make a baby together; this was a property of the Island.
  • A person's time in hell is divided between being tortured in the present and reliving the most regrettable parts of your past; this was a property of the Island.
    • The Island also used real time travel to accomplish this, as shown in the cases of people like Desmond, Daniel, Eloise, etc.
    • This is the real point of the flashbacks experienced by the "survivors." They are all actually reliving the most devastating moments in their lives.
    • Desmond is the only one who is aware of his ability to travel through time in his flashbacks ("Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant"). When this awareness is later explained by Desmond's unique resistance to electromagnetic energy, this is because the process uses the physical laws of the Island. Accordingly, there is no reason to think that the other "survivors'" flashbacks were not also experienced by each of them.
    • This is, of course, exactly what you’d expect to happen in hell: having to relive your worst regrets in between sessions of being tortured (as the "survivors" repeatedly were).
    • Because of the interference of the DHARMA Initiative (turning the key to trigger the fail-safe, turning the frozen wheel), the time travel effects of the Island were distorted, causing, first, flash-forwards, and eventually causing the Island itself to move through time.
  • Lindelof & Cuse have stated that they "do exist somewhere in the space time continuum," and the entire thrust of this theory is that hell is a real place somewhere in the space time continuum and that this is precisely what the show Lost is about.

People Can Find a Way to Hell while Still Alive

The DHARMA Initiative consisted of real, living scientists who found a way to travel to hell and back again, (presumably) without necessarily realizing where they were.

  • The DHARMA Initiative included psychologists, parapsychologists, neuroscientists, ex-military, and horticulturists (possibly to study the Island), combined with the drug expertise of Oldham (the DHARMA interrogator who questioned Sayid in "He's Our You") which are all indicative of the trippy, hippy "science" used to reach the Island. (See Octagon Global Recruiting)
    • Drugs may be either helpful or necessary in order to reach a higher consciousness to be able to cross the barrier.
    • Before she first comes to the Island, Juliet is served drugged orange juice by Ethan immediately before waking up on the submarine (Galaga) on her way to the Island. ("One of Us")
  • The army found the Island in the 1950's, the same time the army was doing other strange experiments outside of traditional science, such as experimenting with psychotropic drugs and with psychic powers (Army camp).

The Losties were All Half Good and Half Bad

The "survivors," Richard Alpert, Rousseau, etc. (in other words, non-supernatural beings who did not arrive with the DHARMA Initiative or the Army) were all "half-damned" or people capable of redemption. They were all basically good people who had made a terrible mistake(s) for which they never forgave themselves.

  • Examples:
    • Sayid believed he was doing the right thing in torturing for his country, until meeting Nadia caused him to question his loyalties.
    • Jack thought he was doing the right thing by turning in his father for drinking on the job, but he then felt responsible for his father's death due to alcoholism.
    • Hurley felt responsible for the fatal collapse of a deck he was standing on, even though he intellectually understood that it wasn't his fault.
    • Kate was deeply conflicted about killing her father and being betrayed by her mother, even though she thought at the time that she was doing the right thing by killing her father.
  • This half-good/half-damned quality of all the "Candidates" is what made them able to accomplish what they accomplished, because they were just bad enough to get into hell, but still good enough to come together and sacrifice for the greater good of their community and humanity in general.
  • This would support there being a necessary choice to be on Jacob's side or MiB's side; Jacob represents a way for redemption.

The Island is not Purgatory or Limbo, it is full-out Hell.

Were it not for the interference of the DHARMA Initiative (and Jacob seizing the opportunity by bringing the "survivors"), nobody could ever have left the Island, and the "survivors" would have been stuck there for eternity.

  • This is a western (e.g. Christian) version of eternal damnation/hell, as suggested by the biblical creation-style story of "Across the Sea", which echoes the story of Cain and Abel, among other Judeo-Christian allusions.
  • However, note that just because hell and its rules are governed by an omniscient being, doesn't mean that hell doesn't have predictable physical laws.
    • This is true in the same way that people who believe that God created the world we live in also believe in, say, gravity and germs. Religion and physics are not mutually exclusive.
  • Lindelof & Cuse have stated many times that the Island was not Purgatory, but there do not seem to be any references to them saying that the [Island]] is not Hell.
  • Lindelof & Cuse have stated that "They're not dead" - but this could refer to Benjamin Linus, Juliet, and other people who were alive at the time.

Several characters describe the Island as "Hell"

  • Richard Alpert explicitly tells the "survivors" that they are not on an island, but they are in hell, which he was told by the Man in Black. (See "Ab Aeterno").
  • Michael explains that his soul was trapped on the Island after he died, and this is the source of the whispers the "survivors" hear from time to time.
  • Anthony Cooper tells Sawyer that the Island is hell whilst prisoner in the Black Rock.
  • While some characters refer to the Island as "beautiful" and have positive experiences on the Island, this disruption of hell is the direct result of hell having been interfered with by the DHARMA Initiative, thus causing, for example, Sawyer and Juliet (who was still alive) to have a positive experience while with the still-living scientists.

The Island's electromagnitism is the Man in Black's Prison

The Man in Black breaking the glass at the end of "Ab Aeterno" is symbolic, and we know he (or rather, just evil and hell in general) is the wine, and the cork is the island. But what is the actual glass? The bottle? The bottle may symbolize the electromagnetic properties of the Island. The Man in Black switched off this electromagnetism in the finale by deactivating the Heart.

The Island is an Artefact of an Advanced Ancient Culture that was Destroyed by the Rise of Sea Levels

  • There was an ancient civilization that occupied coastal areas that were flooded in a great deluge as the ice age permafrost melted. They possessed more advanced technology and knowledge than we do, and were much more advanced than the contemporary, Palaeolithic cultures which existed along side them. This knowledge included:
    • Advanced theoretical physics
    • Sophisticated knowledge of medical treatment, human health and how the mind functions
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Nanotechnology
    • The ability to control the climate and weather
    • The ability to reconstruct the past and predict the future
  • The Island is not a geological formation. It is an artefact. It was a kind of museum of life. People could bring their dead there and the technology would capture their memories, their knowledge, their personalities--their soul--and keep it. The dead would live on on the Island and the living could visit them when they wanted to.
    • Similar to the Farplane in Final Fantasy X.

The Island is Linked To The Bermuda Triangle

I recently bought a book called "Mammoth Encyclopedia Of Unsolved Mysteries". I was reading the section about the Bermuda Triangle and came across a few interesting points that seemed to link the Island and the Bermuda Triangle mystery together. First off the book talks about certain air pockets around the world that have different pressures to the rest of the atmosphere might be the reason behind the crashes (the book also mentions that there is one of these pockets near Guam!! Coincidence?). This to me sounded a lot like the pockets around the world that Eloise was talking about. Another interesting point is the number of planes and ships that have gone missing with no trace, they all seemed to be off course and lost, couldn't communicate with anyone and no wreckage of any were ever found. This could be an explanation to the Black Rock and other ships and/or planes that have crashed on the Island. In the book there was also a mention of "Philadelphia Experiment" which is rumoured to have been a government experiment that went wrong and resulted in the Bermuda triangle mystery. This experiment was supposed to have taken place in 1943, the informant tells the author that a bright green light surrounded a ship and the ship disappeared, only to be found 300 miles away with half the crew dead or gone insane! The final paragraph talks about the magnetic lines across the earth have been known to somehow cancel each other out at certain places and caused magnetic anomalies and also caused birds to lose their sense of direction for a bit.

The Island is the "I-land" that is America

  • On one level, the Island is the setting for a job/everyman-like morality play that pits Progressivism/Jacob against Conservatism/MiB. John Locke represents the philosophical underpinnings of the US Constitution being co-opted by anti-democratic, hierarchical, classist forces; Charles Widmore represents the industrial/economic forces that seek to control the Island as microcosm of the US/World, and the Island as "I-land" or individual. Jacob always reminds characters that they may choose, i.e., exercise freedom, and his tapestry's quotations about happiness echo Jefferson's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and the Eye of Horus image is isomorphic with respect to the "all-seeing eye" on the US dollar bill. Like philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the MiB believes that people are innately evil, that we cannot "get off the wheel," to use the Buddhist expression. The problem of fertility on the Island, represented by the destruction of the Taweret statue, points to the abortion issue in contemporary politics, and so forth.
  • So what do the other people represent? What does Tunisia represent? The Kwons? Korea? Iraq? Sayid, etc....

The Island is whatever you want it to be

  • The Island, simply put, is whatever you want it to be. It is a place where people can come to start their lives anew (Tabula Rasa) despite whatever sins they've committed in the past. The past cannot be changed (as Daniel Faraday and Miles example) and it is only the future that matters. The Island's healing properties promote fast recovery (various examples including Ben Linus) and promote new life (Ji Yeon's (Jin and Sun's daughter) conception). Other rewards include increased longevity (Richard Alpert) and possibly the reincarnation (John Locke, others) and resurrection (John Locke?, Sayid?). The Island can do anything requested - it simply requires a sacrifice as proof that those seeking to be free are ready, willing and devoted to their new path in the world.

The Island, however, is neither good nor bad - it is directly influenced by those that occupy it. This makes it an incredibly powerful and chaotic weapon in the hands of the wrong person(s).

When the first people arrived on the Island, they failed to maintain a successful society. The same events kept occurring: people would arrive on the Island and live in relative harmony until their differences (white vs. black) caused their society to collapse. The first successful attempt at creating a proper system of checks and balances came with the creation of the rules. One side cannot trump (kill) the other (the Others). Jacob and his nemesis, the MiB, maintain the rules though the MiB wants out of whatever 'contract' he's caught in.

The Island does not need a leader though it seems a society cannot exist on the Island without one so the rules/white vs. black call for someone to replace the current leader. The numbers represent the search for the new leader and their outcome doesn't mean the end of the world, but the end of the Island/a search for the new protector. The MiB has been trying to change the numbers (Valenzetti's equation) to end the selection of a new leader for reasons unknown. It is possibly He has been trying to show the Island is a chaotic environment and that humanity is doomed no matter what is done in attempts to protect it.

  • Further, the ultimate fate of the Island reside in his inhabitant. If they decide collectively that its does not exist, then it doesn't. That's what the MiB is trying to do, make sure the Island never existed. But as long as there is people who want the Island to exist, then it exist. Jacob want to make sure it continue to exist. Everyone that know this power is in a battle against each other over the ultimate fate of the Island.

The Island is a tie in to the Stargate Franchise

For those of you who have seen Stargate Sg-1 or even the movie know that naqahdah is an exotic material that amplifies energy, explaining the electromagnetism in the hatch. Also, the series relies heavily on Egyptian mythology, which would explain the temple(also could be a landing platform) and other Egyptian buildings. In the series, sarcophagi are used to heal, but leave people changed with prolonged use. The spring could be a modified version of this, also could have been expanded for the entire Island causing the healing properties. Also shielding, cloaking, and time dilation fields are used in the series. If Jacob and MIB are Goa'uld, then they could body swap and, if MIB was partially ascended, then he could change his form to black smoke, like Anubis in the series. Finally 4 8 15 16 23 and 42 are 6 digits, you need 6 symbols + a starting point to activate a stargate. Even though there are only 39 symbols on a gate, if you have a starting point and move around, its possible 42 could merely be the 3rd symbol. Thats a long shot, but still, if MIB needs to get "home" maybe its through a buried stargate. Personally I think this theory is a very long shot, but still, anythings possible.

Also in the episode Lighthouse, Hurley looked at a symbol of a ring on a stand for a long time, which looked strangely similar to a stargate.

The Island is a malfunctioning timeship from the distant future

The Island has some very unique Electromagnetic and even meta-physical qualities. This is a bit of a man-of-science and technological explanation, but could be interwoven among and resolved with a number of other explanations here, particularly those involving mythical floating islands.

  • The Island is from a technologically hyper-advanced future where science is indistinguishable from magic (and where humanity may no longer dominate). It was designed to travel into the past to observe from an unseen vantage the workings of history, and part of the function of its temporal-spatial mechanism conceals it from most forms of detection. Presumably it projects a closed loop of space-time around itself along whose axes would be the only means in or out. Some unexplained malfunction plunged the craft into our distant past and wrecked some vital element, preventing it from returning to its native time and perhaps restricting its movement. Over the course of millennia, interaction with the sea, erosion and accumulation of debris have made it come to resemble the tropical Island we see in the show.
  • The Source is actually a central core of its spatio-temporal drive composed of an exotic material. Several nodes are distributed throughout The Island's infrastructure which distribute its power Island-wide which among other things, enables it to move in space and time. A network of corridors and conduits interconnecting these have fallen into disrepair, but the nodes still exhibit bizarre electro-magnetic and temporal qualities. Several of these correlate directly with DHARMA Initiative stations. Interaction with water and metal in some way control the function of the temporal-spatial displacement, but the original control mechanism was destroyed or damaged eons ago, and replaced with the much cruder frozen wheel.
  • The Protector role was originally some sort of custodian or pilot for the craft, and this person was granted special dominion over the very special nature of the Island, including the ability to name a successor. This person's task is ostensibly to protect and defend the Island from those who would attempt to subvert and control its power.
  • The Monster had been part of a semi-sentient nano-cloud repair mechanism, maintaining the ancient craft's most vital workings but in attempting to repair the broken Man In Black, assumed a soul-less simulacrum of him, emulating him in many details, but also granting him strange electro-mechanical powers.
    • The sickness is a consequence of being "resurrected" by The Monster. This may be an intentional meddling on the part of the The Monster or may have to do with some limitation of the healing ability.

The Island is a Quantum World

  • Everything is real, but behaves in unpredicted and unintuitive way.
  • The source is a quantum phenomenon, which make time and space to behave in a strange way. The quantum phenomena here means, that each point in time and space is not a definite point, so you can't be sure about anything around the source and everything can become something else.
  • When the Source activity raises, the world is behaving in a very fuzzy way, and people can suddenly find themselves in many places and times.
  • moving through time
  • teleportation of Ben to desert
  • teleportation of Jack outside the cave
  • teleportation of Jacob's brother's body
  • These are all properties of the source, which is just as much the water as it is the light, but they are all closely tied to the physical manipulation of the water.
  • MIB said that he was going to attach his wooden wheel to a system that they were building that was channelling the water and the light (Across the Sea).
  • Ben's plug in his Smokey-summoning-chamber underneath his house (The Shape of Things to Come), as well as the water system, the plug and the entire set-up down in the Source shared the same ancient architectural style. All of this is most likely build by humans at some point in history before the era of Jacob and MIB, channelling and taming some of the powers of the source (The End).
  • The Source (sources) need energy to work, but too much energy (nuclear explosion), made a huge impact on world, creating almost separated worlds
  • The Monster is a quantum anomaly, where each particle of MIB's body is so fuzzy it can behave in any way.
  • Any effect created by source has to be sustained by a Source, so without it anything could cease to exist, or at least MIB, Island and maybe the side world, so Jack had to plug it back in.
  • The people in a side world, have all they memories of their whole life in "original" world, or rather to say, the side world is not connected by time with the the 'original' one.
  • The Source can be used in a more predictable way, and Jacob learned that from his mother, so he could watch people around world, travel anywhere using the wheel, but a more subtle manipulation could have been done (like disallowing for MIB and Jacob to kill each other, or getting Losties together on one plane).
  • that is based on the conversation of Hurley with Ben, where he pointed, that he may do the job in a different way, but of course what might he know
  • the last scene may point to a fact, that people connected to the source, may somehow change their world as they wish ("They created this place...")
  • When Desmond failed to push the switch for the first time, he might have created the new world or rather allowing two options at the same time, which two options are there, that's a complete other story:
  • planed crashed in the ocean vs plane crashed on the island?
  • Quantum physics was quite important throughout the story
  • Daniel was physicist and had some correct theories about the Lost world
  • Dharma Initiative were conducting some very elaborate experiments with sources,
  • Physics were used to localize the Island by Eloise organization
  • Anyway this theory considers all strange happenings on the Island, yet assuming that everything is "real" in some way or another
  • The Multiverse theory states that at any given time, there are hundreds, if not thousands of possible quantum worlds that are almost identical to ours. These worlds can often be thought of as overlapping (see Michael Crichton's novel Timeline for an explanation of this), allowing for the "bleed through" effect of the two worlds.

The Island (and The Show Itself) are Metaphors

Breaking the 4th Wall

  • The Island is not a physical entity, it is a metaphysical escape for those who are not ready "to let go" or to "cross over." The most interesting of this, is that the Island concept does not only apply to the characters in the series, but for all people who are "thinking" about the series. Since we continue reading and discussing about it, WE ARE STILL ON THE ISLAND. We are still looking for "answers."
  • The Island is a metaphysical metaphor for the viewer and his/her relationship to the show. Life of the characters before the crash represents the life of a viewer before the airing of the television show, LOST. The afterlife/FS represents the point of view of the viewer after the show. The funeral represents the moment a viewer of show realizes the "truth," which is not known at the moment.
  • At the end of the show, it is not Jack's homecoming in the church. Jack is in the pew facing the departed: you. You're dead. You are part of the narrative. You are part of the cast; you are part of the production. You are the one being encouraged to move on. You are the one they have been waiting for.
  • Damon Lindelof summed up the drama this way: “The show is, at it's heart and soul, a character study. We were fascinated as storytellers by what makes people the way they are.”
  • In a series as precisely written, edited and created as this, it seems clear that Jack's direct look into the camera in the penultimate episode was purposeful and intentional.
  • If you consider this as a possible explanation, and you start to think a little more about to it, you can discover that some of the stereotypes viewers can be represented by some of the characters:
    • Michael: it is the viewer who "abandoned" the Island. He simply said, "this is crap" and did not try to find something good on it. This character does not appear in the "end" of the series, sharing with everyone else. So it represents the people who didn't see the full show until the very end.
    • Ben: it is the viewer who understands, or thinks he understands what the island is. But, who is still "not ready" to "let it go", in other words, "still have things to do". The viewer who wants to stay and research a little bit more about the show.
    • Jack: represents those who want a clear answer. Those who want to “come back” with a rational explanation of the events on the Island. In the end, they probably understand and enjoy what happened on the Island. Jack is the ideal observer of the show. That's the reason why the first episode opens with a close-up of Jack's eye and the finale ends with a visual effect opposite to how the show began, with the closing of Jack's eye and a pan over the wreckage.
      • The pan over the wreckage was not part of the story, just an ABC goof up.
    • Sawyer: the viewers who at some point in the series had their heart "broken", either because the favorite character died, "Juliet," "Charlie", ..., or something happened and they fought with the Island, and finally could never got over it. But nevertheless, they reached the end of the series with the "broken heart."
    • Hurley: The people who enjoy to the fullest. The "crazy" or "geeks" who "saw things", those who "followed" the leader and, at the end, those who are going to stay on the island forever.
    • Kate: The viewers that were undecided about liking or disliking the show but stuck until the end, and only as they part forever, they were capable of uttering "I love you." Then they move on with their lives but treasure the memories forever.
    • Sun: The viewers who started out pretending they didn't understand the show but really do since they started to watch the show to escape from a troubling aspect of their lives.
    • Jin: The viewers who never fully understood the show but tried and took them 3 years to do so.
    • Bernard/Rose: The viewers who watched, then got a bit bored, and only watched it at their obsessed friend's house every once in a while, but didn't care enough to be a part of the drama.
    • Libby/[Boone]/Shannon: The viewers who for one reason or another were unable to watch the series in its entirety, but were still fans and watched it occasionally and liked it well enough to tune in for finale.
    • Nikki/Paulo: The viewers who, upon hearing great things about the series and expecting to find a gem, tuned in to one episode only to become paralyzed with confusion and never return.

All of the Characters are "Lost"

Jacob brought these people to the Island because they were all broken, flawed, weak. The word that is left unspoken, but is just hanging there is: LOST. They were all Lost. As much as they were lost in life, they were all lost in death too. Their time on the Island brought them together, and together they were mutually able to do what they could not do individually: They were able to find each other.

The Island, the Source, Smoke Monster, the visions, etc... These were all just part of the journey, and the specific answers to these problem were ALL entirely irrelevant. None of these problems could have been solved without the whole group. Indeed it was the journey, not the solutions, that enabled Jack to perform the final fix and save the Island/world. Jack knew what the price would be for doing what he did... and it was OK. At that instant he was no longer: Lost. As the plane flew off with its passengers, as Jack watched it fly away, as Hurley and Ben spoke, all of them were no longer: Lost. They had all found (and fulfilled) their purpose in life.

But as these people were Lost in life, they were also Lost in death. The FST, the afterlife, seemed idyllic... a better world. But look closely. They were all still Lost. Kate was still a criminal, Sawyer incomplete in love, Jack struggling with father/son issues, Charlie trapped in the glamor of popularity, Sun and Jin evading her father, Sayid missing Nadia, Desmond missing something he couldn't put his finger on, Claire caught up in giving away her baby....

Each of them was still LOST.

But what Jacob set in motion in the real world carried through to this one. Christian Shepard said it well "This is a place that you all made together so that you could find one another." Find one another. The meaning of the title of the show became apparent only when Jack spoke to Christian at the end.

THIS was the entire purpose of the show. We watched the show six years thinking we would discover something about the island, the mysteries. But it was all about their connections to each other. We HAD to see those connections form and grow. We had to come along for the ride. This was why the 'awakenings' that each experience were so intense and beautiful. They were Lost souls, but through their experiences in life, they Found each other in death and could move on. How beautiful.

Live Together, Die Alone

The phrase 'Live Together, Die Alone' spoken by characters (namely Jack) on many occasions, perfectly sums up the purpose of the show/island. These people were all ‘LOST’ and alone before being brought to the island. Had they died before coming to the island, they would have all died alone and in their afterlife (FST) would not have been able to move on to the next place (heaven) or would have moved on by themselves, without everyone else. The island brought them all together so they could ‘live together’, make connections, fall in love, make friends etc and that is why they were able to die and move on together. Jack says, ‘If we don’t learn to live together, we’re going to die alone’ and that is exactly what happens. They learn to live together, and as a result are all able to ‘move on’ to the afterlife together.

  • Just food for thought: The role of "protector" of the Island could be sort of like the ferryman across the River Styx from Egyptian mythology (also in several other ancient religions, namely Greek). Perhaps [part of?] the role of the Island is to help Lost souls find connections so that they will be able to move on when their time comes. Des thought the Source would send him into the FST--maybe because the role of the Island IS to send people to their in-between place, when they normally wouldn't be able to do it on their own.

The Island is a keystone of electromagnetic energy

At various other points in the show other places are referenced that have special properties of their own. The first is the place where Rose is taken to be healed in Australia, and a second is the lampost station in LA which allows people to locate the other island. These "special" locations are linked along leylines, energy conduits across the earth, the most central of which is the Island. The electromagnetic energy (or the exotic energy that the Dharma Initiative seek) from the island flows along the leylines to these other places. The purpose of this energy is to keep the world stable, e.g. the energy stabilises the atmosphere or prevent natural disasters from occuring. This is the purpose of the Island, it is a fountain of life in the sense that it sends this energy to various other places.

Time and Spatial Distortion

  • The island never actually moves in the physical sense of moving, it is a fixed location on earth. It must be remembered that Farady worked out that there is a specific bearing that must be used to get to and from the island. The electromagnetism produced by the island places a distortion field around it that has only one safe route through, the bearing. This electromagnetic barrier prevents things from entering or leaving the island. Thus, Desmond's boat constantly returns to the island because he never strikes open the passage and similarly it is hard to find without going through the passage. The Island appears to move because the entrance of this passage is temporal-spatial distortion so that the tunnel's other end does moves. The Lampost identifies where the tunnel entrance is and as revealed in the epilogue sends those co-ordinates to the supply drones which then fly down the tunnel.
  • Moving the Island involves forcibly controlling the tunnel's exit. What the passengers on the helicopter experienced at the end of season 4 was not the Island moving but the tunnel. As they were already out of the tunnel and heading back they were not able to stay with the island. Looking down the tunnel they could see the Island still until it moved, at which point they could see it. Time travel is a result of the wheel getting stuck, as the tunnel's entrance is moved irratically around it distorts the electromagnetic fields of the Island causing time travel on the Island. Only by fixing the wheel, and switching off the device, is the field able to restore itself.

Special People and Side effects

  • People with supposed psychic effects are "in-tune" with the Island. The Island produces electromagnetic energy which has a sort of frequency, the energy produced by people's brains can match that frequency to a greater or lesser degree. Thus Hurley and Walt's brains run at a very close frequency to the Island's resulting in their abilities. Miles is close to the frequency too but not as close as Hurley. This is not just true of the Island, the healer in Australia shares a similar magnetic frequency with his location allowing him to "tap" into the energy. At a lower level, varous people's desire to return to the Island results in their being close to this frequency. They experience anxiety and distress off the Island because the world around them is at the wrong frequency. They, therefore, desire to get back to the Island where the frequencies are better in sync.
  • Candidates have the strongest frequency and are never truly chosen by Jacob. Rather, the lighthouse helps him identify people with the right frequency. This is best explained through Kate, Kate still has the right frequency to be a candidate but Jacob crosses her of the list as a potential successor because of Aaron. Kate and Sawyer both experience the horse in the jungle due to their brain frequencies being close to the Island's. In fact, all candidates experience some sort of dream or vision at some point showing how close their frequency is. Jacob identifying candidates as people who have nothing to get back to is a result of their brain frequencies not matching their environment causing them to subconsciously damage relationships and prevents them from making lasting bonds.
  • When travelling out of the tunnel Desmond experiences certain side effects, as do various other people on the frieghter. In Desmond and the radio operator's case this results in them leaving the tunnel and briefly entering into the electromagnetic barrier that surrounds the island. The energy of the barrier disrupts their brain's own energy patterns causing their time travel experiences. The rest of the frieghter experience their cabin fever as a result of sitting in the tunnel for too long. Though the tunnel is safe for someone to pass through, there is still some electromagnetic energy in it which can cause side effects due to long-term exposure.

If the MiB had succeeded

  • The Island has no special purpose other than to produce this energy along the leylines. Any grander philosophical or metaphysical understanding is a result of people trying to make sense of what the Island does. Simply put, the Island's sole purpose is to act as the keystone to these leylines holding them all together. If the Island were to break, these leylines would fall apart leading to other consequences. The electromagnetic energy produced by the Island goes haywire.
  • The MiB whose brain is at a very close frequency to that of the Island knows that he cannot leave unless the Island is destroyed. So long as the frequency exists he know he cannot effectively leave without it pulling him back. This is also how Jacob, with a similar frequency, is able to leave for very brief periods of time but must always return. To destroy the Island he must break the heart to disrupt the energy. However as he cannot find it he must rely on others to find pockets of energy from the heart.
  • Some of these attempts included:The wheel which only moved the Island's entrance. The constant time shifting would only have an effect on those people on the Island itself. The Swan station, which came closer to actually breaking the Island during the incident but the nucleur device prevented this. A second nucleur device was installed as a fail-safe against the constantly rising energy, so that if used it would completely seal off the outlet. The Cork at the heart of the Island, however, was the best device for doing this. The Cork comes of an ancient people predating the Dharma Initiative's attempts to tap into the the energy. Accidently tapping into the energy they built the cork to stop it overflowing. Mother is either one of the people who built the cork of descended from them.

Dead Things

  • Whispers are caused by the electromagnetic fields of dead people. The energy of their minds lingers on after death causing certain people to experience whispers. The energy produces a sort of pattern that continues to broadcast. Sayid, when he fixes the radio in Season 2 happens upon a signal that has bounced off the atmosphere. An echo from a radio thousands of miles away, whispers work in a similar fashion. The Island's own frquency manifests these "echoes" as sound playing out thoughts of the dead people. It should be noted that whispers tend to occur in the presence of candidates suggesting that their own electromagnetism is reacting to cause the whispers too. In hightened states of emotion people can further tap into the echoes causing a particular person to even appear and form coherent thoughts of their own. A good case of this is right before Michael dies, himself a candidate according to the cave wall, sees Libby when he wakes up after commiting suicide and when he thinks about setting off the bomb. Hurley, who has the closest frequency to the Island, is able to manifest whispers out of such heightened states. Kate's horse and Sayid's cat are weakened versions of this.
  • The Man in Black is himself an echo. Due to the circumstance of his death, though, he is a particularly powerful one. His true form, that of the black smoke, is a literal manifestation of his own mind's energy. The energy that was given off was so abundant, possibly because he died right at the heart of the Island where the energy is at its strongest, made his echo take on physical properties. Whenever the black smoke judges someone, most notably Mr. Eko, it is tapping into the electromagnetic energy given off by their brains to read their thoughts and memories. His ability to take on the forms of dead people results in being able to mimic the frequencies and energy patterns of their echoes. His death at the source of the energy also provides his immortality, when the cork is pulled out the energy is disrupted and so is he in turn. He can no longer tap into that energy so he becomes trapped in the echo he is mimicking.

The Island is a physical manifestation of power itself

  • Mother tells Jacob and MiB that "Every man has a little bit of [the light] in him... and he wants more. This could mean that the Heart of the Island is physical power. Water and Light are both essential to all life, as is the island. This is why it must be protected not just from MiB, but anyone who stumbles upon the island (It's been made clear that it can be found without Jacob's intervening). When Desmond pulled the cork, the red smoke was bad power, so to speak; somewhat like in Green Lantern where Fear and Courage can both be physically manifested. This would also explain the link between electromagnetism and unusual temporal properties. Lastly, this is relevant to the final 4 candidates (or all of them for that matter) needing the island as much as it needed them. They had lost power in their life, lost control, lost everything. They needed a sense of power to become whole again and find purpose. Locke had a direct understanding of this, but sometimes confused it with coincidences or abused to get what he wanted.

The Island has a Non-Linear Cyclical Time Line

In 'The End', the Island's source, once healed, teleports Jack above ground and back in time to just before the Oceanic plane is to crash (or fly, in the case of the alternate timeline) over the Island's location. This teleportation creates a third reality or timeline - i.e., there are two Jacks, one on the plane above and one dying on the island. Jack lays down to die in peace, looking up at the sky to see the plane safely fly over in the new reality/timeline, which can operate separately to Hugo and Jack's original reality due to the bubble-like nature of the Island. Thus, at the end of the series, the Island's fate is not to be destroyed, or to be blown up by the nuke and at the bottom of the ocean, but to live on. The first alternate timeline, which brings all the characters together via a bizarre reality/afterlife, is inherently 'wrong' because the Island and its source (crucial to life, death, rebirth etc., and which must be protected at all costs) are destroyed and no longer imparting a positive influence on the world. In conclusion, the Island is safe in the hands of Hugo and his successors, but because time resets back to the original incident and the plane is overhead, Hugo, Jack and all the others on the plane above belong to a new, third reality, where they live out normal lives. In this new reality there is no necessity for the characters to 'find each other' and anything is possible - the world moves on. Nevertheless, they are all inevitably reunited in the timeless "afterlife" reality where they all will eventually realize and remember the Island and how special it was that they were there. In any case, the world is saved, and all the main characters are redeemed, leaving others still on the path to redemption, or still unready to transcend and move on, still LOST.

- In response to the plane theory here: it's possible the plane Jack saw as he was dying was actually the Ajira Airways plane flying away from the island with Kate, Miles, Sawyer, Claire, Lapidus, etc. onboard.

The End of a Repeating Cycle

What we've seen is the end of a repeating cycle. Thanks to the rules we've seen about time travel and "what has to happen", we witnessed the end of a cycle that has repeated itself many times. The last time the cycle began, Desmond not only brought the plane down when he failed to push the button, he also fused another version of the sideways universe together with our original one. This explains why Jack woke up in the bamboo forest the first time and why Locke suddenly found himself with the ability to walk. His ability was brought over from the sideways universe.

Perhaps the reason the cycle was happening was because something needed to happen. In this case, Jack needed to finally "let go" which is something that didn't happen during the last cycle. If Jack had failed to wake up and let go, he would, yet again, found himself waking up in the middle of the bamboo forest having to go through it all again. This is possible since we have witnessed the universe move people around time in what appears as a struggle to correct the time stream. A good example of this is when characters were transported off of the Ajira flight, directly onto the Island to 1977.

  • LA (space) X could indicate this is the tenth time around the cycle.

Desmond became the wild card during this last cycle. He had the ability to be "outside" of normal time and so his ability allowed Faraday, yet another wildcard due to his experiments, to change things so that Jughead would ultimately be detonated. This caused a change big enough to allow the possibility of Jack defeating the Man in Black and thus getting him to finally "let go."

The Island and Psychic Projector

Okay, here's my attempt at a powerful, all-encompassing theory for the show. In the flash-sideways purgatory world, at the end of the show, Christian Shephard tells Jack that he and his friends "made" this place. Obviously he didn't mean that they had physically constructed a replica of Los Angeles. He meant that they had somehow created it with their minds/souls, that they had psychically projected this alternate reality into being so that they could meet each other again and "move on". If this is the case, there are two interesting possibilities: either every human being is capable of psychically generating an afterlife, or the characters are somehow special. If the characters have something in common that makes them all special, it's probably the Island, which makes it seem that the Island's miraculous power has something to do with naturally and supernaturally rendering real the junk people have in their consciousnesses. If every person has this psychic ability to some degree, we could read this as a "source spark" and the Island as the hub of psychic energy, in accordance with what Mother said about the light being in every person.

If the Island really is some kind of psychic projecting mechanism, I don't think its effects are at all localized, restricted to the Island itself. The show depicts supernatural occurences even off the Island, for instance in the case of Walt, who seems to have stronger psychic capabilities than others. So here's my theory on the chronology of the Island:

Ancient Sumerians or proto-Egyptians or whoever they were use this fundamental power to generate a physical core to represent this world-reforming psychic power (go to the Heart of the Island theory page and read what that one guys says about ancient mythology and stuff).

Mother, or perhaps her predecessors, find the Source, and because of her/their fundamental mistrust of other humans, she/they psychically constructed an Island that's damn near impossible to find where the Source can exist independent of men and their dangerous thoughts. However, she tires of protecting it, and her desire for a successor brings the Romans. She artfully creates an adversarial dualism between Jacob and his brother that will allow her to die, but ensure that they jointly protect the Island and improve the world somewhat (Jacob's goodness will psychically imprint across human nature, while the Man in Black's misanthropy will lead him to kill most people that come to the Island). However, what ends up occurring is that the rivalry between the brothers, and their issues with Mother, ends up imprinting across human history, creating an us vs. them mentality in human culture, an "every man for himself" state of war. This is particularly evident in the main characters of the show. The Jack/Locke conflict mirrors Jacob and MIB's feelings about the Island, and the love triangle between Kate, Sawyer, and Jack is creepy in its similarities to Jacob, MIB, and Mother.

Jacob, aware that MIB wants to kill him, begins to create a roster of possible replacements, coded by number. He begins to focus on the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42, and these numbers imprint themselves in the rest of the universe, particularly in the Valenzetti Equation. The Dharma Initiative, somehow discerning how the Island functions, sends a group of scientists and peace-loving free thinkers there to run experiments and attempt to psychically project a world without fear of warfare or the threat of human extinction (consider the psych tests Dharma inductees had to take). MIB, however, manipulates them into interpreting the Island's power as a kind of electromagnetism, one of the fundamental forces that they, as scientists, have come to believe in. (Notice that magnetism itself is a physical reflection of the duality between Jacob and the Man in Black.) In turning their efforts to using this to create viable time travel, they psychically project into existence a time loop that allows the Man in Black to place Locke in the past, so that he can speak with Richard and create the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of his future Messiah-hood, which MIB eventually uses to trick Ben into killing Jacob. (The "rules", by the way, would be the psychic imprint that Mother left on Jacob and MIB, perhaps in her attempt to change the world and protect the Island.)

I suspect that MIB also used the time travel to somehow send most of the Candidates into the past, so he wouldn't have to deal with them in the present. This failed, of course, when their tampering with the Source energy at the Swan Station led to another time jump, which is ultimately MIB's own fault, since he was the one who conned Dharma into focusing on projecting time travel.

In the end, Jacob's inherited beliefs about the nature of the Source imprinted on the ancient physical manifestation of the Source, and the removal of the cork actually turned off the Island's psychic magic, leaving MIB in the form of Locke so he could be killed. Jack, then, of course, turned it back on, having inherited beliefs similar to Jacob's.

I think the psychically projected "Sideways" world as seeded in 1977 when they attempted to bomb the Swan Site. Most of the main characters were there, all concentrating on a reality where Oceanic 815 landed safely. Perhaps their proximity to the Source aided them. In any case, they succeeded in generated this purgatory, as Juliet, on the verge of death, was able to attest: "It worked."

The Incident was probably also one of the significant moments in which the castaways, together, were able to alter the psychic template of the Island, and hence of all reality, from "every man for himself" to "live together, die alone."

The end.


  • Desmond's sailboat being pulled offcourse could be due to strong tides or unusual currents carrying the boat back to the Island.
  • Global tides are caused by the gravitational pull from the moon. If there is an enchanced magnetic field surrounding the Island, it could be blocking the Moon's gravitational pull from pulling the water. The abnormaly high tide that swept out the plane may have been caused by the reintroduction of normal gravitation to the region due to a temporary disruption that may have been associated with a system failure.
    • However, the Island would have to be immune to the restrictions put out by normal space-time for this theory to really come into place.
    • The somewhat unpredictable tides may signal that the magnetic field is unstable.
    • Water is diamagnetic. The field strength of magnetism required to move it would be huge.

Method of Movement (The Frozen Wheel)

The cavern beneath The Orchid features a pillar emblazoned with hieroglyphs or pictograms of some fashion, either coincidentally or intentionally similar to those on Ben's secret door. This clearly, as discussed in articles referring to Ben's secret door, indicates or at least presupposes an earlier culture on the Island, possibly an ancient culture.

The wheel, however, features iron or lead cladding (metallic in any fashion) far more akin to 18th or 19th century technology.

Either way, the Orchid orientation video cites "negatively-charged exotic matter." Given the similar relationship in terms of sight and sound between the failsafe event when Desmond turns the key in the Swan and the movement event when Ben turns the Frozen Wheel, one might assume this exotic matter is some kind of electromagnetically-active ore. (Placing metal in the Vault in the Orchid might have adverse reactions when energized, much like a microwave. The explosion in the Vault bore a resemblance to stereotypical events in a metal-microwave interaction.) If so, the turning of the wheel may be turning or otherwise manipulating a piece - possible a large lode - of this ore, which may be responsible for the time-space reaction that "moves" the Island.

Given that Desmond's "time jump" experiences were due to a similar event (in terms of sight and sound), the idea that significant physical (metaphysical?) reactions due to the manipulation and/or charge (discharge?) of exotic matter is responsible for time-space shifts seems plausible. Furthermore, the ancient culture that left the hieroglyphs (or a contemporary culture that used them) may have understood this cause-effect relationship, at least on a rudimentary level.

Sequential moves and events of the Island

NOTE: "Where" should be thought of as "Where/when."

NOTE: This rework changes locations to "moves and events" and puts "Swan Implosion" into the event category.

The Black Rock Move

This is where the Island popped in after moving from its previous, unidentified location and stranded the ship. Details to be determined.

The Drug Plane Move

This is where the Island appeared and caused the Beechcraft to crash. This location must be within 1200 air miles (a Beechcraft's range) of the airstrip in Nigeria from which the aircraft departed. Details to be determined.

  • The Island's appearance may not have been the cause of the beachcraft crashing, it may have been there already. The plane may have been in trouble and needed to land, whilst the Island was in the vicinity. The plane tried to land on the Island but found nowhere to land, hence crashed.

Flight 815 Move

This is where the Island appeared following the system failure and caused Oceanic 815 to break apart on Wednesday, September 22, 2004. We did not see a purple sky, because that effect occurs at the beginning of the move (in this case, the drug plane location). Details to be determined.

Swan Implosion Event

This is the Event when Desmond turned the fail-safe key on Saturday, November 27, 2004. The sky turned purple, the loud noise was heard and everything was washed out by a bright light. This was earlier proposed as a move but, when asked at Comic Con 2008 if the Island had moved, TPTB responded, "No. But something happened."

It is known that Desmond's action caused the "7418880 Electromagnetic Anomaly Detected" event, allowing Penny and her father to locate the Island, she to undertake her rescue mission, he to dispatch the Kahana.

On November 27, 2004, a listening station reported to Penelope Widmore that they had "found it." The data at the listening station included the integer 7418880, which is the product of the six numbers. On December 24, 2004, Desmond was able to telephone Penelope after determining that she was his constant. Penelope, in turn, was able to trace Desmond's call to the location of the Kahana, just off the Island. On December 30, 2004, the Island disappeared, the Kahana exploded, and the raft with the Six was left floating in the open ocean. Early on December 31, 2004, the raft was sighted by the crew of the Searcher; Penelope Widmore was aboard.

Hurley asked Desmond in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2" why they were sailing 3000 miles to "another island." Sayid refers to Membata in his answer. It was necessary to launch the raft at a point between the two far enough away from Sumba to avoid being seen by persons on other vessels and close enough to Sumba to ensure the the Six arrive safely. The Searcher may have trailed the raft part of the way as a watchdog.

The air distance from the proposed Swan Implosion location of the Island (seconds omitted) at 4 degrees, 8 minutes North and 162 degrees, 3 minutes East and The Island of Sumba at 9 degrees, forty minutes South and 120 degrees East is 3031 miles.

The conclusion is that until December 30, 2004 the Island was located at at 4 degrees, 8 minutes North and 162 degrees, 3 minutes East.

After Ben's Move

This is where the Island will be between Thursday, December 30, 2004 and Monday, 24 October 2005 at the start of season five. However, there is no reason to think that viewers will know where "here" is. Details to be determined.

The Lie location
The Island's location in The Lie
The yellow circle is the Island
Red lines are International Date Line and Equator
Green rectangles are Guam and Hawaii
Blue dotted line is 316's intended path
JamesyWamesyAdded by JamesyWamesy
Island Location
The Island's location in 316
The yellow circle is the Island
Red lines are International Date Line and Equator
Green rectangles are Guam and Hawaii
Blue dotted line is 316's intended path
JamesyWamesyAdded by JamesyWamesy

The Oceanic Six's Return

We see two maps in the Lamp Post showing the rough location of the Island at the time the Oceanic Six need to fly over it in January 2008. However, the two maps are not exactly identical, the second one showing the Island being about 1000 miles further east than the first.

The bodies

Rousseau and Karl were killed at the end of "Meet Kevin Johnson". Their bodies were discovered by Miles, Sawyer and Claire during "Something Nice Back Home". They appeared to have been buried in graves so shallow that their faces and other portions of their bodies were exposed with virtually no effort. An outstanding question is the identity of persons who buried the two bodies. Three groups of people would seem to be candidates:

  • The Mercenaries stood to gain temporarily by hiding the evidence of their actions, but, in the long term, they probably did not care who knew what they had done. Burying "enemy" bodies in the Mercenaries current tactical situation also would have been unduly time consuming. Burying them incompletely makes the efforts completely worthless. The fastest way to dispose of a body in terrain like a jungle would be to carry it several yards off the trail and drop it in dense brush. The Mercenaries probably did not bury Rousseau and Karl.
  • The Survivors, in the past, from either Locke's or Jack's faction, have shown respect to the dead - and good field sanitation - by burying the remains of their party. However, there is no evidence that any of the Survivors were in the area between the time of the ambush and the time of the discovery. The Survivors, who probably would have done a better job, probably did not bury the two bodies.
  • The Others, including the possible separate faction seen moving through the jungle, have demonstrated respect for the dead, but have not used burial on land. There is no evidence that any of the Others were in that vicinity of the discovery. The Others, who also would have done a better job, probably did not bury the remains. It should also be noted that the Others may not practice inhumation; when Colleen died, her remains were pushed out to sea.

There were no marks from shovels at the site on the trail. There was no excess dirt. There was nothing to indicate that holes had been dug. There had been no burials; the Island was absorbing the bodies. Had Miles, Sawyer and Claire come along much later, there would have been no evidence at all. Sawyer and Claire would have been unable to see anything; Miles might have sensed something.

One can only wonder how all this equates to the disappearance of Christian Shephard's remains and his reappearance as an apparently living person.

The Island, the Others and the gene pool

A lack of genetic diversity (inbreeding) leads to abnormal births. Because the Others are a small group (actual size unknown), they had reached a point at which they required an influx of new genes. The Island has the capacity to heal (e.g.: John Locke's inability to walk); it also has the capacity to harm (e.g: Ben Linus' spinal tumor). The Island normally depends on the leader of the inhabitants to manage the population but, when it detected a lack of genetic diversity, began making it impossible for women of its inhabitants to survive pregnancy. The Island could have simply caused miscarriages, but it chose a more severe warning.

Ben, as leader, attempted to fix the problem, but he was on the wrong track. The Island needed more people from outside. It would have accepted the people from DHARMA if they had wanted to become true residents and provide fresh DNA to the pool. However, the DHARMA people did not want to become true residents of the Island; they were visitors, only there to conduct what Ben referred to as silly experiments. Faced with the bounty of food on the Island, they imported their own.

In response to the pregnancy death crisis, Ben tried to solve the wrong problem. He imported Juliet Burke to try to discover why the existing women of the Island could not survive pregnancy. Juliet did not see the problem either; she continued to search for the solution within the population. All Juliet's original work was with couples of the Others.

Of the pregnancies Juliet did not have to oversee:

  • Claire's pregnancy was brought to a successful completion because both she and Thomas are from off-Island.
  • Sun's pregnancy, even if she had remained on the Island, would have been successful because both she and Jin are from off-Island. Juliet just did not understand that.
  • Alexandra's pregnancy by Karl, had it occurred, probably would have been successful because, although born on the Island, Alexandra's genes are immigrant. Karl's origin is unknown. At worst case Alexandra and Karl would have had a "half-Island" child. Neither Ben, whose concern was parental, nor Juliet, whose concern would have been professional, understood the problem.
    • The mothers only died if they spent their first two trimesters on the Island (possibly due to the strange, electromagnetic difference on the island), so Claire's pregnancy was not affected because she was so far into her pregnancy, Sun's pregnancy was not affected because she left the island before she had passed her second trimester and Alex being pregnant is out of the question because she is dead.
    • Also, as has been stated on numerous occasions, very few children have been born on the Island. The vast majority of inhabitants were brought there, thereby negating any negative gene pool effects the island could be trying to correct.
      • This is possible but, because Ben refused to let anyone leave the Island, we can not tell.

Miscellaneous theories

Rousseau's Map
Rousseau's maps
CTSAdded by CTS
  • In many cultures, volcanoes were/are thought to be gateways to Hell. Volcanoes Mount Solfatara in Italy and Mount Hekla in Iceland were considered two of the main gateways to the underworld.
  • The sulphuric smell of the shower water in The Swan is caused by either a still active volcano on the Island or hot springs.
  • On the elevation found among Rousseau's Maps and Notes there's a scale of length ending in 60K_ (something). If it is in kilometers (which is likely, since Rousseau is European), then the Island is nearly 60 km (36 miles) along the side portrayed.
  • Alvar Hanso chose this island for his foundation knowing that his grandfather's ship, the Black Rock, had crashed there. The blast door map shows the Black Rock as the resting place of Magnus Hanso.
  • The Island prevents its inhabitants' dying from natural causes. They can only die from trauma like Boone, Shannon, Ana Lucia, Libby, Roger, Yemi, Bea, Ethan, Edward Mars etc. This explains why Rose is not dying. Whatever Jack thought about Ben's life being in danger, Ben was only fearful of disability.
  • All the fruit on the Island, due in part to the strong electromagnetism at the location, or with the Incident, is hallucinogenic, causing those living on the Island to have mysterious dreams, visions and even flashbacks.
  • The Island is a giant box as in the paradox of Schrödinger's cat, where multiple inconsistent realities can coexist in a closed system until observation from the outside. DHARMA used this property to allow them to try multiple options simultaneously to address the Valenzetti Equation. Contact was only to be made with the outside world from a result that was successful, thus making a successful reality the only reality.
  • In Daniel Faraday's notebook there is a diagram of spacetime, with one of the axis with a label "imaginary space". The other axis is labelled "real time". The space-time vector shown on the map suggests that time dilates with progression into imaginary space, meaning people experience time-distorting effects travelling to or from the Island, because it exists in imaginary space. Perhaps in this case imaginary space is like imaginary numbers, i.e. it is stuff that exists in spacial dimensions at right angles to normal space, which is why it can't been seen from outside, because in the normal spacial dimensions it doesn't exist. Or perhaps the writers have gone for a more literal meaning of "imaginary", and the Island really only exists in the minds of those that live there.

Healing Properties

  • The Island has the ability to turn on and off its healing powers. In "Deus Ex Machina" it took Locke's ability to walk for a short while so that only Boone would climb to the plane. After the plane fell and Boone was killed, Locke's ability to walk returned.
    • The fail-safe incident may have put an end to these powers. Which means that Locke may eventually revert to a state of paraplegia, and Rose may die of cancer.
  • On the Island, people are not only healed physically, but also psychologically, which is relevant for a few of the Losties. Charlie manages to get the self-control to overcome his heroin addition ("The Moth"). On the Island, Hugo was generally fine without heavy medication until his relationship with Libby was about to begin and the temporary stress of his personal insecurities caused a momentary relapse. A short while after he leaves ("I was happy too for a while" he tells Jack in "Something Nice Back Home"), Hugo starts hallucinating a best friend again, this time, Charlie as opposed to Dave and ends up back in Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. Likewise, on the Island, Jack is kept busy with one crisis after another, as Sarah and he himself mentions several times, Jack is most comfortable when there is a problem to fix ("Man of Science, Man of Faith"). This is why Ben knows that Jack will one day wish to return to the Island (King of the Castle). After he gets back to the outside world, Jack's issues reemerge. He and Kate become a couple after leaving the Island (Something Nice Back Home), she now a single mother, and Jack steps in to be the dad. But Jack's grief about his father's death returns; he thinks he sees Christian in St. Sebastian Hospital ("Something Nice Back Home"), where they used to work together ("All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues"). In response, Jack starts taking medication (which he later abuses "Through the Looking Glass"), and restarts the binge drinking he began before flight 815 in the bar where he met Ana Lucia ("Pilot, Part 1"). In the end, he recreates the issues from his last relationship. Jack accuses Kate of being unfaithful to him (Something Nice Back Home), just like he accused Sarah of cheating on him with Christian ("A Tale of Two Cities"). Later it is implied that he has been repeatedly calling Kate against her wishes ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1") like he stalked Sarah in a previous episode. He continues his downhill slide, becoming suicidal ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1"). But ultimately, the Island may take him back after all - preventing him from killing himself by presenting a fiery car crash and another chance to fix something, just like it did for Michael ("Meet Kevin Johnson").

See also: Healing properties/Theories

Theories about the function of The Island

  • The Island gives you what you want in one way or another. Locke had his paralysis cured because he wanted to walk, Jin wanted a child so he was able to father one, Hurley wanted food so the Island dropped more, and Charlie wanted drugs so he found a plane full of them.
  • The people who came to the Island were looking for a place where they could be away from their problems, (whether they knew that or not) because of that, the Island was created.
  • The Island forces those upon it to confront themselves, their sins, and perhaps their pasts in general. Once they have come to terms with these things, they are removed from it. Boone comes to terms with his feelings about Shannon and dies (a sacrifice to the Island, according to Locke); Shannon comes to terms with her feelings of uselessness, and dies; Ana Lucia comes to terms with her guilt over Jason and is killed; Michael realizes how much he cares about his son while Walt realizes how much he cares about his father, and both escape the Island; Eko states defiantly that he does not repent for his past evils, and is killed (by the Monster, incidentally). Kate, in 'settling down' with Sawyer, has marked herself for death; this can be extended to several other characters.
  • The Island can suppress memories. It suppressed Desmond's memory for years, when he met the time travelling Daniel Faraday. It suppressed Charlie's memory after the Swan implosion (possible because Charlie met someone from the future or past, as a result of the Swan implosion). It suppressed young Ben's memory, via the Temple.


  • The sunlight doesn't scatter normally because some kind of time distortion happens when light travels to the Island. On the season 3 DVD Extras, while talking about the "Lost time" anagram in Mittelos Bioscience, the writers stated that "the notion of how time relates to the Others and their travels back and forth to the Island is something the show will be exploring very soon".
  • This confirms the Snowglobe Theory:
    • It is possible through the use of very powerful magnetic fields to 'bend light' around an object rendering it invisible. This would explain why the Island cannot be seen by people outside of the Island. The magnetism would mess with their compasses, leading them around it.
  • The sunlight "falls" straight down, exactly like the rain.
  • Daniel notices that "light scatters different here"... this is due to the "Faraday Effect", in which a magnetic field will rotate a polarized light source. The strong magnetic field in the Island has this effect on the light. This could explain why the Island is "invisible" to outsiders... light scattered through the earth's atmosphere is (partially) polarized... if the light being reflected by the Island is rotated by the magnetic field, then its possible that the Island is difficult to view until you are within the range of the magnetic field. This is also why the sky turned "purple" during the discharge event (due to light scattering effects). Also, a strong magnetic field can rotate radio waves as well. This effect is how the Looking Glass station "jammed" radio signals off the Island.
    • Polarisation of light is all about the restriction of the oscillation of a photon to a particular plane perpendicular to its direction of motion - this has nothing to do with scattering. Also, the photon is the force carrying particle for the electromagnetic force so scattering this way is highly unlikely. Photons ARE radio waves. So many, many things wrong with this theory....
    • The Faraday Effect doesn't work if there is only a magnetic field. It also needs to be in a dielectric medium so it doesn't apply in this situation. Even so, sunlight is unpolarised anyway so the Faraday Effect would make no difference on sunlight. Also, changing the polarisation of light won't effect how it's scattered off non-polarising materials.
    • Faraday Rotation occurs in the interstellar medium and is an important tool for astronomy in measuring magnetic fields. Radio waves passing through the Earth's ionosphere are subject to Faraday rotation. An alternate form of the equation exists without a dielectric solid or liquid. Sunlight is partially polarized due to the scattering from the earth's atmosphere (also why the sky is blue). This is why polarized sunglasses and camera lenses cut out glare (although most is from reflected surfaces). It is suspected that insects use the polarization of sunlight when it hits at certain angles of the atmosphere for navigation.
  • Light scatters differently on the Island because the Island is actually made of mirror-matter - that is, all of the molecules are of the opposite "handedness" on the Island.


  • Because the Island is "lost in time" the actual physical location of the Island is not a straight path from point A to point B but rather a curved or changing path. (This also explains Daniel's warning for piloting the helicopter.) This is why the Island is nearly impossible to find. This would also explain the directions Ben gave Michael in "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1" of a bearing of 325.
  • The time dilation is a result of some sort of Relativist Effect (Einstein's Special Relativity). The time difference (approx. 165 minutes compared to 196 minutes) would be the result of one frame traveling approximately 362,204,004 miles/hour, which is a little more than half the speed of light.
  • The argument about the timing discrepancy in the "radio" versus the "payload" could be argued that the sat phones, if the conversations are based on satellite and not wave broadcasts, send their signals UP, whereas the payload was delivered on a lateral trajectory.
    • Also, Penny's arctic watch station could be relying on satellite obtained information.
  • Daniel's experiment proves that the speed of light leaves and enters the Island at the same velocity (no latency for radio communication) however physical matter entering the Island (proven by the experiment) is delayed. This makes absolutely no sense in the physical world as there should be no discrimination in maximum velocity between light and matter per Special Relativity. The writers cannot completely disregard the laws of the observable universe, there must be another trickery for what we've been shown regarding time and space or they just don't care.
  • Daniel's experiment is nonsense. If there was a time difference between the outside world and the Island (or a difference in the rate time passes), it would have affected Daniel's watch as much as the rocket's clock. So why not just call Regina and ask her what the time is on the freighter, and compare that with his own watch? It can't be explained by the time dilation in Special Relativity, because that states moving clocks run slow - so less time should have elapsed on the rocket's clock (it should have been behind Daniel's clock). It could be explained by General Relativity (time passes slower within an intense gravitational field). But does the Island have intense gravity? And again, why not just phone Regina and compare her time with yours? My suggestion is that Daniel wanted precise measurements of what happens to objects entering/leaving the Island, to make sure the helicopter doesn't get back to the freighter before it left.
    • I don't know, could the electromagnetic anomaly on the island appear to be intense gravity? It could be that the only way for time to pass as it should is to approach the island on the proper bearing. If the rocket did not follow that bearing it may have experienced a time shift. That would explain why Daniel couldn't just pick up the phone and compare watches with Regina.
    • Your forgetting, the rocket was fired toward a homing beacon, but did not come in on the same bearing Daniel did. So the variance between the clocks could still exist.

Spatial distortion

Daniel's experiment may show that the "distortion" around the Island is one of space, rather than time. In other words, there is a lot more ocean around the Island than there would appear. Instead of the freighter being 40km offshore, it may in fact be much further. If we estimate the speed of the test missile at 2.5 km/hr (Regina was counting off 5 km every other second), than it may be that the missile traveled not 40 km, but 4690 km. (2.5 * 60 * 31 + 40). This would make it almost impossible for a boat or plane to get to the Island. Of course, there may be one spot that is not distorted as such -- the bearing that Daniel tells Frank to take no matter what. This may also be the bearing that Michael and Walt take as well, assuming Ben was telling the truth (which he probably wasn't.)

  • Daniel is worried that the time-space distortion around the Island is not UNIFORM. That is why he warns Frank to take the exact same bearing back. He is worried that the effect is highly sensitive to initial conditions -- a slight variation could lead to a large difference in space and/or time. This is why the rocket clock does not correspond to his watch, even though both came from the freighter -- they did not follow the exact same path.
  • The Island exists in a "snowglobe". There is one point in the "snow globe" which will deliver objects back to the rest of the world, and through which objects can travel to the Island. Let's say that portal is big enough for the black rock to pass through, but not much bigger, thus in the course of history only a few planes, ships, balloons, ect, from the real world have passed through it by chance, or fate, if your into that. You can look at this as a spacial relation, because a huge island and its surrounding water are squeezed into a much smaller area. However, this is not the cause for the 31 min difference. They surely would have realized that when they flew the 40 km on a helicopter.
  • The timers indicate that the journey to the Island from the boat which should take less than a minute actually takes between 31 and 196 minutes from the point of view of the traveler. If human beings perceived this amount of time passing, surely one of them would have commented on it. Therefore it is likely that the perceived amount of time taken to make the journey is less than the actual amount.
  • There is wormhole between the Island and the rest of the world which bridges a vast distance in three dimensional space. Time is somehow distorted inside the wormhole so although the stopwatch records a traveling duration of 2 hours and 45 minutes, to an observer traveling through the wormhole it appears to take less than a minute. Due to the effect of time dilation, an observer on the Island will see the same journey taking 3 hours and 16 minutes. The wormhole connects the same point in two parallel universes.

Time Distortion and "Superpowers"

  • Time distortion seems to be essential to understanding Miles and Desmond's special powers. When Miles talks to the dead he is actually distorting time and talking to them when they were still alive. Similarly, when Desmond sees the future he, like the Island, is distorting time.
  • If the helicopter burned up more fuel due to some sort of time distortion on the Island, this why Rose hasn't died from her Cancer. Also if the helicopter took longer to get to the Island, as did the beacon, then how does Penny speak to Charlie while in the looking glass, at the same time (without any time distortion), how does the plane crash at the same time as the pearls records state the time of the system failure? Also this time distortion might explain why it took so long for people to start looking for the Losties. Also the hostiles don't age so maybe the time distortion affects them more.

Changing Fate

  • The ability of the Island, and some people, to distort time is related to what seems to be the overall theme of Lost -- the attempt (probably futile) to change fate. The DHARMA Initiative was trying to change fate by altering The Valenzetti Equation using the powers of the Island, but they failed. All of the Oceanic 6 return to their fate when they leave the Island. Hurley returns to the insane asylum. Jack returns to his trajectory of becoming an alcoholic doctor, like his father. Kate returns to being a prisoner, so to speak, of some man to whom she must return. And Sayid returns to being a killer and torturer for others.

The Island Jupiter

  • This would be a reason for the need of someone to push the button every 108 minutes to keep island time aligned with rest of the world time.

Which would lead to think that the incident that was referred to in the Swan Orientation Film could be the reason for the time being altered on the Island.

  • Realizing that changing the results of the Valenzetti equation was impossible, DHARMA scientists simply tried to postpone the end of the world by altering the flow of time.
  • This would also explain why Desmond is apparently able to see the future: when turning the failsafe key he might have been at the same moment in two distinct time flows, the Island one, and the outside world's one.
  • This would also be consistent with theories seeing losties able to go back in time and "fix" their lives (including Desmond possibly traveling back in time and trying to fix his own past in Flashes before your eyes and getting warned by Ms. Hawking that this was impossible) since the final goal of the main Character in Rahxephon is to "tune the world", that is "create a new one where events of the story never took place" (either by traveling back in time or destroying and recreating the world; the exact meaning is never revealed)

World Line Theory in Minkowski Spacetime

We live in a four-dimensional world, with each individual occupying a specific time and space. For example, right now you are sitting right here reading your computer screen. In an hour you might be out in the yard. In two hours from now, you might be out grocery shopping. You can plot these points in a timeline from A to B to C. You’ll note that your own timeline remains constant and is measured in hours.

Conveniently on Earth, time runs at approximately the same speed so that all of our timelines are fixed. Right now you are at your computer while your friend Steve is watching the game at his house. An hour from now you are in the yard while Steve is washing his car. And two hours from now you bump into Steve at the grocery store. You can chat about your days and say how funny it is that Steve was watching the game while you were at the computer. This would be called “simultaneity” and would be fairly accurate since both timelines are fixed, even if your places in space are not.

But what if your places in time were not fixed either? For example, what if Steve went out to wash his car 45 minutes from now instead of an hour from now, but you still meet up two hours from now. However – and this is the crucial part – it still seems like an hour from now to Steve that he washes his car. His timeline of ABC is still measured in hours, just like yours, but when you compare the two timelines side-by-side, the points do not necessarily match up. This is called relativity of simultaneity.

Now imagine a longer time line with points A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. You can get some pretty funky things happening, as shown in the graph below.


From Steve’s perspective, point B on your timeline takes longer than an hour to reach, point C less than an hour from that point, and so on.

In this example, we see that both Point A and Point H align. It is not too difficult now to envision that you might actually meet up with Steve at Point G in your timeline, but somewhere between Point G and Point H in his.

One way that you would be able to measure this time difference is through the use of clocks. If you checked the time when you met at the grocery store at Point G in your timeline, your watch would say 7:00pm, whereas Steve’s watch may say 7:31pm.

Another assumption that we are working under is that distance between two points in space is constant. That is, your house is the same distance from Steve’s house at all points along the timeline, and both houses are the same distance from the grocery store at all times. However if relative distance is constantly changing as well, we move into some very mind-blowing territory – especially if you take into consideration that it still seems like the exact same distance to each person traveling it.

All of this would seem quite odd, unless you were familiar with world lines within a Minkowski spacetime. Both your timeline and that of Steve’s in this example can be considered a world line, a fairly linear line through an ever-moving time and space. This very phenomenon may be happening to us right now, but again because we are all on Earth, our world lines are the same. Time and space remain relatively (which in this case means exactly) constant.

Under this theory, I propose that in the LOST universe, the Island is somehow on a different world line. Therefore, time and space are moving along a very different trajectory.

This would explain what is happening during Daniel Faraday’s experiment. Daniel talks to Regina, setting up Point A in both their timelines. Both assume that they are still physically separated by 40 km, and that their timelines are moving at the same rate.

However since time and space are constantly moving relative to each other, this is not the case. In Regina’s timeline, the payload reaches the beacon in about 10 seconds. We know that this is not the case along Daniel’s timeline (though we don’t know exactly how much time has passed).

The explanation is that the rocket must travel between these two world lines from Point A in world line 1 to Point B in world line 2 through both time and space. During the rocket’s trip, both time and distance diverge between the freighter and the beacon. The timelines are also moving at different relative speeds. So not only does the rocket arrive at a different relative time, but also at a different point along the timeline. That explains why it takes the rocket longer to reach the beacon than it should, and why the two clocks are different.

It is important to note here too that the distance from the perspective of the rocket is still 40km, which is why it couldn’t run out of fuel (and why Daniel is not worried about the helicopter running out of fuel when he realizes what is happening). Again, distance is relative between two world lines, but needs to be constant in terms of an object traveling between two points.

A good visual representation of this phenomenon is found under the description of the Lorentz transformations in Wikipedia here: (scroll down to the moving image on the right side).

Now although the two world lines are acting independently of each other, they may be moving roughly parallel. It is even possible that they are not acting independently at all, but that there is an algorithm that can exactly predict the coordinates of time, space and distance in one world line based on coordinates of the other world line. That is why Daniel tells Frank it is important to keep the same bearing, since following a different bearing might put him in a different time or place. As we see from the rocket, this would likely only be a matter of minutes or hours since the two world lines are so close to each other. But the possibility exists that following a different bearing could place him in a wildly different spacetime.

So where’s the literary proof in this theory? If we assume that the producers are trying to tell us something based on names, then the name Minkowski automatically points to Minkowski spacetime, a theory in physics used to explain Einstein’s theory of special relativity. This uses Lorentz transformations to predict that time is relative (called time dilation). From this we get the concept of world lines, which plots time and space along a linear line in Minkowski spacetime. But, due to special relativity, two world lines may have much different paths. Therefore, we can never assume that a point on one world line is the same as a point on another world line the (Relativity_of_simultaneity).

A similar idea describing the different passages of time (and obviously place) is also put forward in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series – and now we have a character named Charlotte Staples Lewis.

Interestingly, Lorentz transformations are also used in electromagnetic theory, which is described using Maxwell’s equations (note the introduction of the Maxwell Group in the most recent ARG). In turn, this is connected to the work of Michael Faraday.

Finally, the producers have basically stated that time does not work the same way on the Island, so obviously there is something going on. This theory explains Daniel’s experiment and holds true to everything we know so far.

  • This is the best-supported, most logical explanation I have read on Lostpedia so far - especially taking into account the producers intentional referencing of specific scientists/theorists/authors as characters in the series. Awesome!

Possible cultural references

The Island borrows properties from some of these fictional, hypothetical, and real locations:

(Please note that proposed locations without a stated reason may be deleted).

Location Reasoning
Alcatraz The Hydra island is directly compared to Alcatraz in "Every Man for Himself".
Atlantis Atlantis is a legendary island where hides the true knowledge of man's beginnings and of all civilizations. It's also where a new society full of knowledge and humanism raises.
Avalon Avalon relates to the many religious aspects of the show.
Brigadoon Brigadoon relates to the temporal aspects of the island and possible consequences of leaving the island
The Castle of Otranto In this book, many events happen, that are similar to events that happen on Lost. The book deals with the Supernatural, as many characters see apparitions, visions and even Giant Stone limbs. The characters are horrified when they see them, although the apparitions themselves appear to have some motive, perhaps even a positive, moral one. The Supernatural is also in a way the main protagonist with the human characters either being guided or becoming a victim of it. In Lost, the Island is the main character and the losties and Others are affected in the same way as the characters in this book.
"Danger Island" Intended as a live-action version of the animated Hanna-Barbera series Jonny Quest, Danger Island centered around the adventures of a trio of explorers in an unnamed tropical island group. Prof. Irwin Hayden, an archaeologist; Lincoln "Link" Simmons, the professor's youthful assistant; and Leslie, the professor's daughter, who serves as both a love interest for Link and the series' token damsel-in-distress.

Several years earlier, the professor's brother (also an archaeologist) disappeared in the same island chain while searching for the mythical lost city of Tubania. They are joined on their quest by Morgan, a shipwrecked merchant mariner, and his teenage sidekick Chongo, who speaks only in a series of monkey-like chatters and birdcalls. Pursued by both a group of bumbling, but heavily armed modern-day pirates lead by the murderous Captain Mu-Tan, as well as cannibalistic natives known as the Skeleton Men. The show spawned the popular catchphrase "Uh-oh, Chongo!" among children of that time.

Delos The references to Apollo who is the god of healing, relate the Island to Delos. The Island seems to have the power of healing. Apollo was born on the Island of Delos which at the time floated freely in the ocean and was difficult to reach because of swirling tides surrounding it.
Demiplane of Dread Group of closed universes called domains of which The Island may be one. Each is controled by a Dark Lord who can not leave his/her domain. Non Dark Lords may leave their domain but not the group of domains
Eternity 'The End of Eternity' is a book by Isaac Asimov. It is about a place called Eternity that has been created 'out of time' so that its inhabitants (the Eternals) can guide the future history of mankind; Eternity and the Island function similarly
Fantasy Island The Island is actually what is left over 20 years later from the show Fantasy Island (1978 - 1984) on ABC. The Others are there in a selfish attempt to steal the Island's power. This is a simple explanation for all of the strange occurrences on Lost.
Galt's Gulch In Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart is flying a small private plane over the secret location of Galt's Gulch, when an electromagnetic field causes her to crash there.
Hawaiki Hawaiki is a mythological land (most often located in the Pacific Ocean) to which some Polynesian cultures trace their origins.
Land of Oz
Main article: The Wizard of Oz
Laputa Laputa is a fictional flying island or rock with an adamantine base, that can be maneuvered by its inhabitants in any direction using magnetic levitation. The place is from the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
Lemuria A lost continent in the Pacific, similar to Atlantis. It would seem to be the most plausible of the lost continents, given its location. See article: Lemuria
Mu A theoretical lost continent in the Pacific which sunk into the sea.
Myst The Island has many puzzles that are slowly revealed in the show, just as in the Myst series of games. The different DHARMA Initiative stations and other features are reminiscent of the subdivisions of worlds, realms, or islands found in these games.
The Mysterious Island
Main article: The Mysterious Island
Neverland The Island where Peter Pan and his Lost Boys live. A place where kids never grow old. Explains the mysterious "life extension project" of the DHARMA Initiative. In Walt Disney's Peter Pan, there's a scene where a line of Indians are carrying off the captured Lost Boys. The last Indian in the line drags a teddy bear behind him on a rope, similar to the scene in "...And Found". Also, Neverland had a smaller island off from the main island where Tigerlily was held captive, similar to Hydra Island.
Nikumaroro (Gardner Island) Possible crash site of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan whose remains were reported discovered there in the 1941 (Adam and Eve). The SS Norwich City, ran aground here much like Rousseau did. Site of final act of British colonial expansion and the establishment of an ‘ideal’ island community, later abandoned. The Polynesian goddess Nei Manganibuka can be encountering walking in the jungle.
Pala Island An island utopian society founded on elements of western science and eastern mysticism. See article: Pala Ferry
R'lyeh This lost city/island of H. P. Lovecraft is located in the South Pacific, has a monster (Cthulhu), and a cult reminiscent of the Others. Also, in the story The Call of Cthulhu, a boat disappears off of Australia, and the one survivor claims that six of his companions were killed on an island.
Rupes Nigra Rupes Nigra (Black Rock) is a phantom island that has magnetic fields.
Shambhala Also spelled Shambala, this mystical kingdom of Buddhist Tibetan tradition is said to be hidden somewhere in the Himalayas. However some western occult interpretations describe it as a 'Sacred Island' similar to Lemuria or Atlantis. Shambala can also mean "the DHARMA chakra, located in the heart of all beings. It is the symbol for mind, completing the trinity of body, speech, and mind." See A Definition of Shambala.
St. Brendan's Island Also known as the eighth Canary island. A phantom island in the East Atlantic chain of the Canaries, it was frequently sighted during the early modern and shipping age from both land and sea, described as a large, hazy, tropical island. Few accounts exist of anyone setting foot on the Island, but the few that do describe it as heavily forested and formerly settled. The sightings peaked in the 16th and 17th century and dropped off sharply afterwards. In Lost, The Island was 'moved' around that time to a different location, possibly to the location in the Pacific where Oceanic crashed. Because something seems to be hiding the Island, its natural or artificial shielding may have worn off or flickered on occasion, allowing the land to be seen in the Canaries. The Black Rock ship, headed back to Europe, discovered the Island and was transported with it to the next location.
The Village (The Prisoner) The Lost island and plot sometimes resembles that of the 1960's British TV show. Much like the Prisoner, Lost has a group of people imprisoned in an unknown location and they don't really know who is running the show. Location is never pinned down: various series epiosodes indicate its presence near the coast of Morocco, or in Lithuania -- 30 miles from the Polish border, or within driving distance of London.
The Island of Time Some occurences make reference to Lost: Prince wakes up on the beach of the Island after being attacked in the middle of the ocean (Oceanic Flight 815). He then finds portals that can travel through time (Time on the Island). Prince is also being attacked by a beast, Dahaka (The Monster).


What was the Island attached to? It is probably best to think of an oceanic island as a mountain on the floor of the sea with its peak sticking up out of the water. If that is true in the case of the Island, when it moved, a huge volume of water would have had to fill the void left by what ever portion of the landmass that was below the waterline. The disturbance of the sea shown in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2" was minimal.

If only a slice of the top of the Island's mountain representing the dry land moved, then the portion underwater would have been visible from the helicopter carrying the Oceanic six plus. The was no display or comment about a subsurface landmass. The conclusion is that the Island was floating, but secured in place. An unanswered question is how deep the Island penetrated below mean sea level, considering Ben's answer to Locke that the elevator in the Orchid went "very deep."


  • Since US troops were coming and going from the island in the 50's ("Jughead"), either the US gov't knows about the Island's properties and how to come/go from the island, or the island gains that property after they left the bomb on the island.
    • Or "...knows about the Island's properties and wants to know how to come/go from the island..,"
  • A select number of Inhabitants of the Island are able to travel away from the Island and return. Examples are:
    • Ben (Never seen off-Island before turning the wheel, but those passports and cash had to be for something.)
    • Richard (Seen several times in regard to John Locke, once in regard to recruiting Juliet and once on another trip in which he was able to video Juliet's sister and nephew.)
    • Ethan (Accompanied Richard on the recruiting trip.)
    • Tom (Seen in New York "managing" Michael's return to the Island.)
    • Bonnie and Greta (Allegedly in Canada while actually in the Looking Glass; no one thought it was illogical that they should be able to travel outside.)
    • Juliet (Allegedly travelled to the Island in the Galaga, but was told to report to an airport to begin her journey.)
  • The method of travel is less obvious than one might originally think. It is not the Galaga. Tom, at a minimum, travelled to New York after the Galaga had been destroyed.
  • When travelling an Inhabitant wore protective clothing, such as a black shirt (consistency unknown) and took a sedative, if possible, because the journey is arduous (sickening?). He or she was then teleported from some point on the Island to some point in the United States (or possibly other country).
    • Ben donned a black shirt and a parka. He took no medicine and ended up purging himself in North Africa; he got a time shift as a "bonus," because he stood very close to that energy source.
    • Richard was wearing a black shirt after having returned from the trip where he videoed Rachel.
    • Ethan was not shown immediately after his return to the Island; the trip was in the flashback era.
    • Tom's round trip was not portrayed.
    • Juliet never saw her method of transportation; the only thing she knows for certain is that she woke up in the Galaga.
    • Bonnie and Greta never travelled.
    • There is a nurse, Rosie, stationed at the Looking Glass. Her exact duties are unknown.


  • In "Exposé", Arzt says that he has found many undiscovered species, when talking about the Medusa spider. This coincides with other theories that the isolated island has undergone a completely different evolutionary pattern.


  • [Desmond] In "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1", Desmond says "I was sailing for two and half weeks, bearing due West and making 9 knots. I should have been in Fiji in less than a week."
  • [Rousseau] In "Solitary", Rousseau says "Our vessel was 3 days out of Tahiti when our instruments malfunctioned."
  • [Pilot] In "Pilot, Part 1", the pilot says "6 hours in. Our radio went out, no one could see us. We turned back to land in Fiji, by the time we hit turbulence we were 1000 miles off course. They're looking for us in the wrong place."
  • [Cindy] In "The Other 48 Days", Cindy says "Before the crash, the pilot said we'd lost communication; we were turning back. We were flying for two hours in the wrong direction. They don't know where to look."
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