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The Man in Black
The Man in Black
Portrayed by
Terry O'Quinn (in the guise of John Locke)
Adetokumboh McCormack (in the guise of Yemi)
Tania Raymonde (in the guise of Alex)
First seen
Last seen
Appeared in
Mentioned in
Episode count
Centric episode(s)

Also known as
The Monster
The Smoke Monster
The Black Smoke
John Locke
Alex Rousseau
Date of birth
Date of death
In Australia...
On the plane...
On the island...
Family members

S1 - S2 - S3 - MP - S4 - S5 - S6


The figure known as The Man in Black (also known as the Monster or the Smoke Monster) is a mysterious inhabitant of the Island that appears to be antagonistic to Jacob. While the first chronological appearance of the entity was as a middle-aged human male, he is most often seen in the form of a cloud of black smoke, for reasons currently unknown. It has also been known to take the form of deceased islanders, and has most recently taken the appearance of John Locke. This man has professed to having the goal of wanting to "go home."

He appears to have lived on the Island for centuries prior to the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. During this time, he has searched for a "loophole" through which to kill Jacob, with whom he appears to have an antagonistic relationship. He finally accomplished this goal by persuading Benjamin Linus to fatally stab Jacob in 2007. Shortly afterward, he revealed to Linus that he was the smoke monster when he killed Bram and three other Ajira Flight 316 passengers who attempted to kill him for his conspired murder of Jacob.

The Man in Black often appeared as a cloud of billowing black smoke to the survivors, and killed the pilot, Seth Norris, shortly after the plane crashed, and would later go on to kill Eko, Mayhew, and several other Island inhabitants, though the reason for these attacks remains unknown. He was referred to by Danielle Rousseau as the Island's "security system." Ben has been shown to be able to summon the monster to destroy threats to the Island, though he is unable to control it. This man is strongly connected to the Temple, suggesting that he has existed since the time of the Island's earliest inhabitants. However, his origin and true nature are unknown.


On the Island


Ancient times

An ancient depiction of the Monster with an Anubis-like figure. ("Dead Is Dead")

Much of the entity's early history, including its origin, is unknown. However, it appears to have some connection with the ancient inhabitants of the Island, who built a chamber for it beneath the Temple. Among the many hieroglyphs in this chamber was an engraving of the entity facing what appears to be the Egyptian god Anubis, indicating that the entity may have been viewed by the builders as a guardian or possibly a deity. Beneath the engraving was a large stone vent giving the entity access to the underground chamber. ("Dead Is Dead")

The ancient inhabitants also devised a method of summoning the entity, which involved draining a small pool in a hidden chamber located beneath the present-day Barracks. The hieroglyphs on the door covering this chamber, which translate as "to summon protection", further suggest that the entity served as some form of guardian. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

19th century

Jacob talks with his nemesis in the 19th century. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Sometime during the 19th century, the entity took the human form of a middle-aged man, and joined Jacob one morning on the Island's beach near the statue of Taweret to watch an approaching ship. After turning down Jacob's polite offer of a meal ("I already ate"), the entity initiated a short conversation with Jacob, claiming that Jacob had brought the ship to the Island. The entity expressed a negative view of humanity, stating that the presence of humans on the Island would only end in fighting, destruction and corruption as it always had, a view which Jacob disputed. The entity then stated his desire to kill Jacob, promising that he would one day find a "loophole" which would allow him to do so. Jacob appeared unperturbed, stating his willingness to wait for the entity to do so. The entity then departed from the beach. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

DHARMA Initiative

The entrance to the entity's summoning chamber ("The Shape of Things to Come")

It is unclear how much the DHARMA Initiative knew of the entity and its origins, although the construction of the sonar fence around the Barracks suggests that they were at least aware of its existence on the Island. In the Barracks video, shown to new recruits arriving on the Island, Pierre Chang explained without elaboration that the fence was built "to protect us from the Island's abundant and diverse wildlife." ("The Man Behind the Curtain")  ("Namaste") While the house of the DHARMA Initiative's Island leader, Horace Goodspeed, was built over the entrance to the summoning chamber of the entity (as well as over a secret entrance to the Tunnels), it is unclear whether the DHARMA Initiative understood the significance of the chamber or its purpose. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

The blast door map, begun by Stuart Radzinsky and Kelvin Inman in the Swan, contained a number of cryptic references to "Cerberus activity" and noted several "Cerberus vents" at various locations around the Island, which likely referred to the entity and its subterranean pathway of tunnels. ("Lockdown")


The Monster looms over Montand. ("This Place Is Death")
On their way to locate the radio tower in 1988, Danielle Rousseau's science expedition, accompanied by a time-shifting Jin, were attacked by the entity in the form of black smoke. It silently killed Nadine, then ripped a tree out of the ground, showing behavior similar to that of its second encounter with Locke in "Exodus, Part 2". The entity then appeared before the team and loomed over Montand before seizing him and dragging him a great distance through the jungle and down into a dark opening beneath the outer wall of the Temple. With Jin's help, the French team tried to hang on to him, but in the ensuing struggle, the Monster severed Montand's arm and the rest of his body was pulled downwards into the depths.
The Monster pulls Montand into the opening beneath the Temple wall. ("This Place Is Death")
Moments later, Montand's voice could be heard calmly calling up, saying that he needed help and claiming the Monster had disappeared. It is assumed that the entity shapeshifted to the form of Montand to lure the science team down into the declivity. Attempting to rescue their comrade, Robert, Lacombe and Brennan disappeared into the opening.

Exactly what subsequently happened beneath the Temple is unknown, but two months later, in early 1989, Jin found the bodies of Lacombe and Brennan near Rousseau's camp on the beach. He then witnessed a confrontation with a hysterical Rousseau holding Robert at gunpoint. Rousseau claimed Robert was not himself, that he and the other members of the team were sick and had been "changed" by the "Monster." Robert claimed it wasn't a monster at all, but a security system guarding the Temple. Convincing Danielle to lower her weapon, Robert attempted to shoot her with his own rifle, but Danielle had previously removed the firing pin. Danielle responded by shooting Robert in the head. ("This Place Is Death")

After the crash of Oceanic Flight 815

Days 1-44 (Season 1)

Seth's body is found in a tree by Jack, Kate and Charlie. ("Pilot, Part 1")

After the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 on the Island, the entity, known to the survivors as the "Monster," began to rampage through the jungle, waking the survivors during their first night on the Island. Loud, machine-like sounds were heard coming from the jungle while trees were seen being knocked over. Rose commented that it sounded familiar to her, despite being from the Bronx, New York. ("Pilot, Part 1")

The next day, attempting to retrieve the transceiver, Jack, Kate and Charlie ventured into the jungle to inspect the cockpit of the crashed plane. The pilot was found alive, but he was abruptly pulled out of the front of the plane by the entity, which was most likely in its black smoke form. The pilot was later found dead, high in a tree, his body appearing bloodied and mauled. The entity then pursued Jack, Kate, and Charlie through the jungle, but disappeared when the rain stopped. During the chase, they hid in the roots of a banyan tree, which appeared to repel the entity. The entity's roars were also heard from the beach. ("Pilot, Part 1")

Locke gazes up at the Monster. ("Walkabout")

Three days later, Locke was in the jungle hunting for boar when he got his first close-up look at the entity. As it approached him from above, Locke stood his ground and faced it. Locke escaped unharmed and had some kind of spiritual awakening as a result. He initially told Michael that he did not see it, but later told Jack, "I've looked into the eye of this Island... and what I saw was beautiful." ("Walkabout") However, Locke would later claim that the entity he saw was not the black smoke but rather a "beautiful bright light," suggesting that he saw a different form of the entity or a completely different entity entirely. ("The Cost of Living")

On day 6, while Jack was chasing an image of his father, the entity's noise could be heard as Christian appeared among the trees. Following Jack's discovery of the caves, Arzt attempted to dissuade Hurley, Sun, Jin, and Michael from moving there. As Arzt told them about seeing Jack chase after his father, they heard the same roar in the jungle, prompting Arzt to change his mind about moving to the caves. ("Arzt & Crafts")

Boone cradles Shannon after she is "attacked" by the Monster in a hallucination. ("Hearts and Minds")

Nearly three weeks after Locke's encounter, the entity appeared to Boone in a hallucination brought on by a drug that Locke applied to his head. In Boone's vision, the entity chased after Boone and his sister, Shannon. When it began chasing them, it appeared to shoot out of the ground and could be seen for a split second. This was the first visual appearance of the entity on Lost. The two escaped its first attack unharmed, but the entity eventually returned to attack them again. This time, it caught Shannon, who was lagging behind Boone, and lifted her off the ground. Boone, already a distance away from Shannon and the entity, was unable to do anything but watch in horror. Boone later found Shannon dead, mutilated, and covered in her own blood. ("Hearts and Minds")

The entity's actions in Boone's dream appeared to be consistent with its behavior outside of the dream, even though Boone had never encountered it. After the fatal attack in the dream, two wounds to Shannon's bloodied body resembled those inflicted to the body of the pilot. The entity's emergence from underground was also consistent with its attack on Locke that happened 20 days after Boone's dream. ("Exodus, Part 2") According to a Season 1 deleted scene, Charlie told a number of survivors about the entity killing the pilot, so Boone may have heard these details from Charlie. Also, after the survivor's encounter with the polar bear, Boone asked, "Do you think that's what killed the pilot?" The fact that he knew the pilot was alive gives credence to the idea that he knew about the attack. ("Pilot, Part 2")

The entity wasn't encountered again for almost three weeks. On their way to the Black Rock, a group comprising Rousseau, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate, and Arzt was chased by the entity in the Dark Territory. They hid behind some large trees where Rousseau declared they were "safe". Jack asked Rousseau what had chased them and she referred to it as a "security system". Jack asked her what it did and she told him, "Its purpose is that of any security system; to protect something." Kate then asked what it protected and Rousseau replied, "The Island." ("Exodus, Part 1")

The Monster disappears after being attacked with dynamite. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Later the same day, while carrying the dynamite from the Black Rock back through the Dark Territory in order to blow open the Hatch, the group was chased again by the entity. This was the first time the entity was actually seen, aside from the glimpse in Boone's dream. It first appeared as a small wisp of smoke witnessed by both Jack and Kate, moving swiftly through the trees a short distance away. This was followed by the usual noises and explosions coming out from the ground and the uprooting trees. ("Exodus, Part 2")

After his past encounter with the entity, Locke was confident he would not be harmed and decided to approach it instead of running away. However, this time the entity did attack him and knocked him to the ground. After looking up in horror, Locke stood and started running frantically. He was then "grabbed" by the entity and dragged across the ground by his left foot. Jack was able to grab Locke by the arms as the Monster attempted to pull Locke into a hole in the ground. The black smoke was visible around Locke's ankle as he was being pulled into the hole. Locke told Jack that everything would be all right and told him to let him go. But Jack refused, ordering Kate to get the dynamite from his backpack and throw it down the hole. When she did so, there was a large explosion and Locke was released. The cloud of smoke was then seen dissipating as it retreated from the group. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Day 50 (Season 2)

Mr. Eko confronts the Monster.

Six days after attacking the group in the Dark Territory, Charlie and Mr. Eko encountered the Monster. Eko first saw the Monster briefly as a quickly passing wisp of black smoke, almost identically to how Jack and Kate first saw it a week prior. Later, while Charlie was in a tree, a variety of noises were heard surrounding Eko, as he turned in circles trying to identify the sound. The familiar noises of the Monster were heard and it appeared, uprooting trees in its wake. Charlie was alarmed at the sight and urged Eko to run, but Eko stood his ground. As the Monster hovered just inches before Eko's face, several images from his past flashed within the cloud, almost like lightning, coincident with clicking noises it made. The Monster then narrowed and shrank itself dramatically as it receded back into the ground. Charlie described it as "a creature made of swirling black smoke". ("The 23rd Psalm")

Days 71–82 (Season 3)

The Monster appears as Yemi in Eko's tent. ("The Cost of Living")

Three weeks passed without an encounter, until the Monster manifested itself as Yemi, Eko's dead brother. It appeared before Mr. Eko several times, and told him that it was time for him to be judged. While Eko made his way to the Beechcraft, Yemi's final resting place, the Monster appeared as slithering wisps of smoke circling Eko from a distance. The Monster followed Eko quietly, as if stalking him. To test Eko, the Monster manifested itself as figures from Eko's past who exclaimed that it was time for him to be judged. When Eko rested at a riverbank, it crept up over his shoulder and seemed about to envelope him when Eko saw its reflection in the water and stood up sharply. The Monster pulled back quickly into the jungle just as Locke burst out of the foliage looking for Eko. ("The Cost of Living")

The Monster grabbing Mr. Eko, moments before killing him. ("The Cost of Living")

Later that day, Eko found the crashed Beechcraft and again encountered the Monster appearing as Yemi, who asked Eko to confess his past sins. Eko proclaimed that he was not sorry for anything he had done, nor did he seek forgiveness from Yemi. The Monster, as Yemi, replied, "You speak to me as if I were your brother", then turned and disappeared into the jungle. Following the figure into the jungle, Eko encountered the Monster as the familiar cloud of black smoke, which had expanded to over 40 feet in height. It seized him with a fist-like like appendage and proceeded to repeatedly slam Eko into trees and the ground, mortally wounding him. The Monster disappeared when its noises and the sound of the attack alerted Locke and the rest of his group, who were nearby in the Pearl. Moments later, Eko died in Locke's arms after whispering his last words. When asked what he said, Locke replied, "He said, we're next." ("The Cost of Living")

Nine days later, after Nikki threw a spider on Paulo, the chattering noises of the Monster were heard as a large group of spiders appeared and bit Nikki. Both Nikki and Paulo were paralyzed and mistaken for dead. They were accidentally buried alive, which ultimately resulted in their deaths. After much speculation, these noises, and the subsequent spiders, were confirmed to have been manifestations of the Monster in the Official Lost Podcast of March 21, 2008. ("Exposé")

The Monster is repelled by DHARMA's sonar fence. ("Left Behind")

The next day, Kate and Juliet were handcuffed together in the jungle. They begin physically fighting each other and just after Kate injured Juliet, they heard the Monster. They stopped fighting and ran, as the Monster began chasing them. Juliet pretended not to know anything about the Monster and the two hid from it in the roots of a banyan tree, as Kate previously did back in Season 1. While they were behind the roots, the Monster looked upon them and emitted a series of intensely bright flashes of light directed towards the two women, then retreated and left them alone. ("Left Behind")

It is unknown if these flashes were similar to what Eko experienced when he encountered the Monster and it seemed to display images from his past amongst its clouds. ("The 23rd Psalm")

The Monster appeared again the next day as three small clouds of smoke, similar to how it first appeared in the Dark Territory in Season 1. The smaller pieces then quickly joined together to form one large cloud and begin chasing Juliet and Kate once again. This time, before running, Juliet unlocked the cuffs, producing the key from her pocket, where she had been hiding it from Kate the whole time. She ran to the other side of the deactivated sonar fence and urged Kate to join her. After Kate reluctantly did so, Juliet activated the fence using an electronic keypad. The Monster tried to follow, but was repelled by the sonar fence, as if it had hit an invisible wall. It then split into three smaller clouds and retreated back into the jungle. The Monster screeched when was repelled. Juliet remarked, "We don't know what it is, but we know that it doesn't like our fences." ("Left Behind")

Day 97 (Season 4)

The Monster is summoned to the Barracks. ("The Shape of Things to Come")
The Monster carries off Mayhew. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

While the Barracks were under siege by Martin Keamy and his team of mercenaries after they killed Ben's daughter Alex, Ben was able to call the Monster through a secret room in his house. The Monster appeared as a single, long, fast-moving cloud that ran parallel to the ground. It proceeded to attack the mercenaries while Ben and Locke's group escaped from his house. While only one of the mercenaries was seriously injured in the Monster's attack, it caused a great deal of confusion and panic amongst its victims, who fired upon it in vain. Keamy grimly described the Monster as "a black pillar of smoke". During the attack, it tore a tree's roots out of the ground, causing the tree to fall in a manner reminiscent of the falling trees in "Pilot, Part 1". The Monster appeared larger than previously seen, forming a black cloud that swirled around all of the mercenaries. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

After the crash of Ajira Flight 316

2007 (Season 5)

The entity appears for the first time in the form of John Locke. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")

Shortly after the emergency landing of Ajira Airways Flight 316, the entity appeared in Locke's form in the water near the survivor's beach camp on Hydra Island. He introduced himself as "John Locke", and when questioned, he appeared to have the memories of the real Locke and told Ilana that he remembered dying. The entity later found Ben in the makeshift hospital set up in the Hydra station and informed Caesar that Ben was the man who had killed him. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"). The entity waited at Ben's bedside until Ben awoke, welcoming him back to "the land of the living". ("Whatever Happened, Happened")

Some time shortly afterward, Sun and Frank heard the Monster's distinctive noises in the bushes as they approached the Barracks from the submarine dock. Frank asked what made the noises, and Sun said it was probably an animal. ("Namaste")

The entity (as Locke) and Ben prepare to enter the Temple. ("Dead Is Dead")

Back on the Hydra Island, Ben found himself truly surprised to find Locke alive. However, to appear innocent, Ben stated that he expected Locke's resurrection upon his return to the Island. Secretly, however, Ben had already begun planning to murder Locke once again, beginning by manipulating the survivors of Ajira Flight 316 and casting suspicion upon Locke. After a confrontation in which Caesar was killed, Ben and the entity both traveled to the main Island in one of the outriggers where they met Sun and Frank. Once there the entity convinced Ben to summon the Monster from the secret room beneath his house. Ben believed he was unsuccessful in summoning the monster, though it actually appeared soon afterward in the form of Locke. During this time, the entity disappeared briefly into the jungle. Upon returning, the entity stated that he knew where the Monster resided and led Ben and Sun to the Temple. Upon entering the complex of tunnels beneath the Temple, Ben accidentally fell through a weak section of floor into a lower chamber. The entity left Ben briefly to get something to help get him back up. However, the entity did not do so, instead, it transformed into the black smoke, and traveled down into the tunnels to confront Ben as "the Monster."

The entity surrounds Ben. ("Dead Is Dead")

After hearing the familiar sounds of the Monster, Ben watched in horror as it emerged through the vent and surrounded him, with Ben's memories of Alex flashing throughout the smoke. Weeping, Ben acknowledged that Alex's death was his fault, and the Monster, seemingly satisfied, retreated. However, it soon returned, transformed into the guise of Alex, and informed Ben that it knew of his plan to kill Locke again. It demanded his firm dedication to follow Locke's leadership, or it would "destroy" him. Shaken, Ben promised to do as he was told, and the entity vanished, returning to the form of Locke and returning to above the hole that Ben had fallen through, having fetched some rope. Ben managed to leave the Temple - telling the entity that the monster had let him live, ignorant of the fact that "Locke," and the monster were the same entity. ("Dead Is Dead")

The Man in Black infiltrates the Others. ("Follow the Leader")

Leaving the Temple, the entity took Ben and Sun to the Others' camp where they met with Richard Alpert. Richard greeted the entity (whom he believed was Locke) with awe, commenting that there was something different about him, which the impostor attributed to his newfound purpose. Leaving Sun behind temporarily, the impostor, Richard and Ben departed on an "errand" into the jungle. Arriving at the fallen Beechcraft, the entity gave Richard instructions in regards to the real time-shifting Locke who staggered, wounded out of the jungle moments later. The entity's instructions were to help remove the bullet from Locke's leg and to tell him that he had to leave the Island and that he would die. This scene was the mirror of Locke's encounter with Richard in "Because You Left". After the time-shifting Locke moved on, the entity demanded to be taken to Jacob, surprising Richard and Ben by inviting all of the Others to come with him. Afterwards, he announced, something will have to be done about the other Ajira passengers. As they set out along the beach, the entity secretly told Ben that he intended to kill Jacob. ("Follow the Leader")

The entity (as Locke) demands that Ben enter the statue with him. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Continuing on their trek to visit Jacob, Ben revealed to the entity his encounter with "Alex" below the temple, still unaware that he was speaking to the "Monster." The entity seemed quite pleased and then revealed to Ben that it was his wish that Ben be the one to kill Jacob. Later, Richard inquired how Locke had come to be alive again which the entity attributed to Jacob and claimed that he wished to thank Jacob personally for the intervention. At a final stop at the long abandoned beach camp, the entity continued his discussion with Ben. Ben revealed that he, in fact, had never met Jacob as leader of the Others. The entity, attempting to turn Ben against Jacob, pointed out that in spite of all of Ben's loyal service to Jacob and the Island, he had contracted cancer, his daughter was killed and he was ultimately banished. The entity then posed the question, "Why wouldn't you want to kill Jacob?" as a final means of convincing him. Continuing onwards, the group finally arrived after dark at the foot of the destroyed statue of Taweret. Despite Richard's objections, the entity insisted on seeing Jacob immediately and that Ben would accompany him inside.

The entity confronts Jacob after two centuries. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Entering through the hidden door in the base of the statue, the entity told Ben that killing Jacob wouldn't be easy, but once accomplished "things would change." The two entered, finding Jacob waiting for them. Jacob immediately recognized the impostor as his old nemesis, realizing that the entity had found its "loophole." The entity stated, "You have no idea what I've gone through to get here." Jacob addressed Ben, telling him that he had a choice: he could do as the impostor asked, or he could leave. An emotional Ben asked why Jacob had been ignoring him all these years. Angered at Jacob's apathy, he lost his temper and brutally stabbed Jacob twice in the chest. Falling to the floor and spitting blood, Jacob told the entity, "They're coming." Looking somewhat startled, the entity kicked Jacob into the fire pit at the center of the room, setting his body ablaze and killing him. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

2007 (Season 6)

The entity begins killing Jacob's bodyguards. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")

Ben, shocked at his actions, stared into the fire as the entity cleaned the knife that had stabbed Jacob. He then ordered Ben to go outside and fetch Richard, though he would not tell Ben why he wanted to see Richard. Ben finally consented, though upon exiting the statue, he discovered that Richard already knew that the Locke inside the statue was an impostor, due to the fact that several survivors of Ajira Flight 316, including Bram and Ilana, had carried the real Locke's body to the statue.

Despite Richard's objections, Bram soon followed Ben into the statue with three other armed men. Bram confronted the impostor, and was shocked when the entity revealed that Jacob was dead. Realizing that Bram and the men were Jacob's "bodyguards," the entity gave them permission to leave. Instead, Bram and his men opened fire on the entity, apparently striking him several times. The entity then disappeared behind a pillar, transforming into the smoke monster and entering through the doorway, throwing Bram and his men around the room and killing them all, though Bram temporarily repelled the entity by surrounding himself with a circle of ash (i.e. the Monster could not grab him while within the circle, so instead hurled something at him, knocking him outside it). Ben, who had been cowering in a corner, watched the monster exit through the same door it had come in through. He turned around to find the entity, returned to Locke's form, standing behind him.
The entity reveals to Ben its goal of going "home." ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")
The entity then apologized that Ben had to see him "like that," confirming to the shocked Ben that the entity was indeed the smoke monster. Furthermore, the entity seems to be invulnerable to conventional weapons in his current form; Bram picks up a bullet fired at the entity and finds it to be bent or damaged, caused by its deflection from the entity upon contact.
The Man in Black declares his disappointment in the Others. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")

As the entity burned the bodies of those whom he had killed, Ben questioned him over his identity. The entity stated that it did not like being called by the pejorative term of "monster." It apparently had access to the deceased John Locke's memories, and stated its contempt for Locke's feebleness. It even had access to Locke's last thought, which was "I don't understand." It did, however, state some admiration for Locke's ability to see how pathetic his former life was, and how he never desired to leave the Island. However, the entity stated that his intent was completely different from Locke's: he wanted to go home.

Locke then exited the statue, approaching Richard and telling him that it was good to see him "out of those chains." Once Richard realized that he was the entity, the entity knocked Richard unconscious. After announcing his disappointment in everyone surrounding him, the entity proceeded to pick up the unconscious Richard and carry him away from the statue. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")

Non-canon appearances

Lost: Via Domus

In the video game, Elliott encountered the Monster several times. Most of the encounters are in the jungle and all occur almost exactly like Jack, Kate, and Charlie's encounter after visiting the cockpit. ("Pilot, Part 1")

The standard encounters happen in the jungle, where the small wisps are first seen, followed by the Monster's signature loud noises. Elliott then runs until he finds banyan tree roots, where he hides until the Monster retreats. On one of these occasions, the Monster attacks Beady Eyes on a tree-fort-like scouting post where he was shooting at Elliott as he ran past in the jungle. ("A New Day")

One of Elliott's encounters is unique, as its the only depiction of the Monster that doesn't occur outside. The Monster attacks Elliott within the caves, but he is saved by Locke before the Monster can get to him. ("Via Domus")

Later in the game, the Monster chases Elliott the distance between the Swan station and the sonar fence. The Monster finally catches up to Elliott, but doesn't harm him. Instead, it hovers in front of Elliott for some time, and then leaves. ("Whatever It Takes") This encounter is almost identically to Eko's encounter with the Monster. ("The 23rd Psalm")

The Monster then leaves and is not seen again in the game. ("Whatever It Takes")

Signs of Life

In the semi-canon Lost novel Signs of Life, Locke, Charlie, Hurley, Jeff, and Michael encountered the Monster while on a boar hunt several weeks after the crash. The group heard the Monster traveling towards them after several hours of unsuccessful hunting and were forced to flee further inland from the Beach Camp.

Locke led the group to a small cliff, which they scaled in the hope of avoiding its oncoming path. Hurley, the last to climb, nearly fell into the Monster's path after sliding several feet down the side of the cliff, moderately scraping the front of his chest and stomach in the process. He managed to regain his grip only moments before the Monster reached the cliff base.

The group discovered a large underground tunnel shortly after reaching the clifftop, where they hid until the Monster moved on. They did not see the Monster during the encounter, although they did speculate briefly as to its origins. ("Signs of Life")

The Lost Experience

In what appeared to have been a "red herring", DJ Dan's podcast on June 14, which was part of The Lost Experience, fielded a call from a scientist worrying about nanotechnology; miniature machines, also known as nanites, that can carry out tasks. The caller suggested that with an electromagnetic field, the machines could work together to form a "storm cloud" that could actually think.

This clearly was a reference to the Monster, but the theory had already been discredited by the producers in the July 31, 2006 podcast, and again in the first DJ Dan Live Broadcast. In this case, it was probably nothing more than an inside-joke.

Lost: The Mobile Game

In the Lost: The Mobile Game for iPods and mobile phones, there is a level where Kate tells you to stop the Monster by taking some dynamite and blowing-up the vent where it is coming out of, in order to save Sawyer.


In the form of the black smoke, the entity has killed several Island inhabitants both directly and indirectly.


Picture Name Attacked in Died in Information
Nadine "This Place Is Death" "This Place Is Death" Attacked by the Monster after venturing into the Dark Territory with the rest of the Science Expedition, her body fell out of a tree after being attacked by the Monster.
Montand "This Place Is Death" Unknown Attacked by the Monster after venturing into the Dark Territory with the rest of the Science Expedition, he was dragged into a hole in the Temple wall by the Monster, losing an arm in the struggle. Although he possibly survived the attack, he presumably died from the injury, as his body was seen when the castaways brought Sayid into the Temple.
Seth Norris "Pilot, Part 1" "Pilot, Part 1" Killed by the Monster in "Pilot, Part 1", after explaining to the Survivors that they were a thousand miles off course, and that he had planned to land in Fiji.
Mr. Eko "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" Killed by the Monster, after its several appearances as Yemi. It seemingly attacked Eko for refusing to confess for his past sins.
Mayhew "The Shape of Things to Come" "Cabin Fever" Attacked by the Monster after Ben summoned it, as a revenge for his "daughter's" killing by Keamy in "The Shape of Things to Come". Died a few days later from severe injuries.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was thrown into the ceiling and floor of the Statue of Taweret.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was slammed against another member of Bram's party.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was slammed against another member of Bram's party.
Bram "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Created an ash circle to protect himself, but the Monster used indirect means (collapsing the ceiling) to push him out of the circle and then hurl him through Jacob's tapestry.


Picture Name Attacked in Died in Information
Nikki Fernandez "Exposé" "Exposé" Paralyzed by a Medusa spider (confirmed by the Producers to be a manifestation of the Monster) after hearing the Monster's sounds when she threw a real Medusa spider onto Paulo. The other survivors found her in her paralyzed state and, assuming she was dead, buried her alive.
Jacob "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" Unable to kill Jacob himself, the Man in Black worked for over a century to find a "loophole," ultimately manipulating Benjamin Linus to stab Jacob to death in the Statue of Taweret.


The Man in Black has used several different forms while interacting with other characters. He appears to be able to use the forms of dead characters, retaining their appearance, voice, and memories, in order to accurately mimick the character. It can apparently change between its human and monster forms at will. This list merely covers individuals who have been confirmed to be the Monster. Several other deceased characters, such as Christian Shephard, have appeared to the characters and interacted with them in suspicious ways, but their connection to the Man in Black is unconfirmed.

Picture Name First seen Last seen Information
The Monster "Pilot, Part 1" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" The most recurring form of the Man in Black is that of a black cloud, described as looking like smoke. Known as "the Monster," it has violently killed several characters and spared others. The Monster can generate images of a character's past within itself and create various biological and mechanical noises.
The Man in Black "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" The Man in Black took the form of an older man wearing black clothing when he spoke to Jacob on the beach outside the Statue of Taweret. It is unknown if this is his main form, or simply another deceased character whom he is impersonating.
Yemi "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" The Man in Black impersonated Yemi in order to manipulate Eko. He first appeared inside Eko's tent, somehow setting it on fire. Eko then ventured into the woods, being stalked by the Monster and other visions. Eventually, Yemi contacted him at the Beechcraft and requested he atone for his sins. When Eko refused, the Man in Black retook his Monster form and killed Eko.
Medusa spider "Exposé" "Exposé" The Man in Black took the form of several Medusa spiders in order to paralyze Nikki Fernandez after she used a spider to paralyze Paulo. Their paralysis misled the survivors into thinking they were dead, and they were buried alive.
Alex Rousseau "Dead Is Dead" "Dead Is Dead" The Man in Black took the form of Alex in the tunnels leading to the Temple when Ben went there to be judged. After being surrounded by the Monster and shown images of his past, Ben was greeted by Alex, who violently demanded that he follow John Locke's every word or she would kill him. Ben agreed, unaware Locke was actually the Man in Black as well.
John Locke "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" "LA X, Parts 1 & 2" The Man in Black has most recently begun impersonating John Locke, whose dead body was returned to the island on Ajira flight 316. The Man in Black used the Locke form to get Ben to kill Jacob. This deception was unaware to any of the characters "Locke" encountered until Ilana showed Locke's corpse to Richard and the Others. The characters are now aware of this impersonation, but only Richard has indicated he knows the true identity of the Man in Black.


The entity has been known by several names to both fans and characters of the show, both as the smoke monster and as the Man in Black.

As the Monster

Referred to simply as "The Monster" or "The Smoke Monster" by the survivors, the Monster appears be known by other names as well. The DHARMA Initiative appears to refer to it as "Cerberus", however, according to Ben, the Others have no name for it at all. The entity's black smoke form is most commonly known to fans as "Smokey."

  • Smocke - a portmanteau of “smoke” and “Locke”
  • The Locke Dressed Monster - a play on "The Loch Ness Monster" coined by blogger Wackychimp.

As the Man in Black

After the entity's first human appearance in "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2", the character was given several nicknames by the fan community, including:

  • "Esau" (??????) the brother of the Biblical Jacob.[1]
  • "Flocke", a portmanteau word of the words "Fake" and "Locke".
  • "Un-Locke", a name coined in reference to the character's similarities to a figure in the novel Perelandra, used subsequently in TV Guide.[2]
  • "Samuel", often used as a reference to the character's initial casting call.
  • "Man in Black" (MIB), name used by in episode synopses and on the Internet Movie Database. This nickname has also been endorsed by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. [3]
  • "DeadWood Guy" (DWG), a name made by Jack from the Jay & Jack podcast. This is a reference to actor Titus Welliver's character Silas Adams on the HBO series Deadwood.
  • "The Nemesis", in relation to the apparant fact that he is Jacob's enemy.



  • The original appearance of the Monster was the first major plot twist of LOST and changed how the viewers and characters perceived the Island. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • The alleged appearance of the smoke monster swooping down and causing the turbine explosion was officially debunked by the producers. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • The entity, in the form of the black smoke, has been seen or heard by all the main characters except Daniel, Desmond, Ana Lucia, Charlotte and Libby. However, only Locke, Jack, Kate, Charlie, Eko, Juliet, Jin, and Ben have had "close encounters" with it.
Locke's drawing of the Monster
  • Richard Alpert took notice of a picture that a five-year-old Locke drew of a man being attacked by a cloud of whirling black smoke. Many fans have speculated that this was meant to be a drawing of the Monster. ("Cabin Fever")
  • When the entity thrashed Eko to death using its arm or tentacle, the path in which it moved Eko's body was in the the shape of a cross. It first picked his body straight up, then sideways to one tree, sideways again to another tree, and up once more before slamming Eko into the ground. ("The Cost of Living")
    • The sign of the cross is performed by touching your forehead (UP), then above your belly (DOWN), and then going from your left shoulder to the right one (LEFT TO RIGHT), thus when Eko was killed by the Entity it did not moved him in a shape of a cross. This is called making the Sign of the Cross (Latin signum crucis).
    • It is unknown if this motion was intentional on part of the Monster or if it has some connection to the fact that Eko was a priest.
  • Cerberus is also the common name for dog-faced water snakes, a genus of water snakes in the Colubridae family.
  • Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have indicated in the February 11, 2009 Lost Podcast that the Cerberus Vent where Montand lost his arm is known internally as "The declivity in the Temple wall".
  • In the Official Lost Podcast/May 26, 2006, the producers said, "There's a good chance that you guys saw the Monster this year Season 2, but just didn't realize you were looking at the Monster." Gregg Nations later stated that the appearance of the Monster was after the episode "The 23rd Psalm" and likely in the second half of the season.
  • As described by Danielle Rousseau, the entity may have some connection to the Sickness. ("This Place Is Death")
  • When the entity appeared in human form, his shirt and Jacob's shirt are contrasted. Jacob wears a light colored shirt, while his nemesis wears a dark shirt. (Dark and Light)
  • In November 2009, executive producer Damon Lindelof stated that, regarding the scene in "Pilot, Part 2" where Locke explains to Walt the premise of backgammon using the concept of light and dark, he and fellow co-creator JJ Abrams had planned for those two sides to eventually be personified by two individuals (in reference to Jacob and the Man in Black). [1]
  • The casting call described the entity's 1800's appearance as "Samuel. Any ethnicity, 40s-60s. A corporate raider looking to take over his next company. Powerful, devious and obtuse. He has a cunning intellect and a strong sense of danger. May lead to recurring. Looking for someone very interesting and very special for this role..."[4]

Cultural references

  • Forbidden Planet is a classic sci-fi film based on Shakespeare's The Tempest and was mentioned by writer David Fury when describing the Monster. Its storyline features many similar themes to Lost: a mysterious location, geographic isolation, immense power sources, ancient civilizations, hidden underground facilities, an invisible monster, a stranded crew of explorers, lost scientific expeditions, and deadly psychic powers.
    • The Tempest is a play written by William Shakespeare, that tells the story of the sorcerer Prospero and his daughter Miranda, who are stranded on a mysterious desert island that has mystical properties. Prospero raises a storm, or tempest, which causes a passing ship containing his enemies to run aground. Using magic, spirits and a man-beast creature named Caliban, he separates and manipulate the survivors of the wreck for his own purposes. The play ends with Prospero restored to his former glory.
  • In Stanisław Lem’s sci-fi novel Invincible, people find monsters in a form of black clouds on a distant planet. The clouds turn out to be swarms of insect-like micro-machines, a new form of life, born through evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines.
  • When the Monster approached Mr. Eko, the sequence resembled the extension of the long column of water from the moon pool in the movie The Abyss. ("The 23rd Psalm")
  • In Dane Cook's "Rough Around the Edges" tour, he references the Monster, calling it a "Smokey Dragon", and wonders why no one ever thinks about it when they go into the woods. (Outside references to Lost)
  • The Outer Limits episode 18 from season 4 was called "Monster" and featured a man named Ford Maddox, who through government experimentation was capable of unconsciously conjuring up a murderous, smoke-like creature using telekinesis.
  • In Dante's Inferno, Cerberus inhabits the Third Circle of Hell, where he torments the gluttonous. Cerberus is described as "black" and as a "great worm".
    • Actually Cerberus is described as in the Greek mythology. The following was taken from The Divine Comedy Inferno - Canto VI: Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth, With his three gullets LIKE A DOG is barking Over the people that are there submerged. Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black, And belly large, and armed with claws his hands; He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them
  • In the anime xxxHolic, the main character Watanuki Kinihiro is plagued by a living black smoke, which follows him around. This black smoke is revealed as "lost spirits", stuck between the living world and the dead. Black Smoke also follows and moves around characters who lie, or who are happy in their own ignorance. Paralleling LOST, some characters see this smoke as a "beautiful thing", while others are fearful and run from it. The smoke also has the ability to grasp on to, and move characters.
  • The British television series Sapphire and Steel (specifically the second "assignment", in the railway station) features an antagonistic, amorphous, shadowy entity known as "The Darkness", the appearance of which is frequently heralded by incoherent whispers. This creature has a particular affinity for the spirits of people killed before their time, and causes them to appear before the living to serve its agenda. Other LOST-like traits displayed by the Darkness include time manipulation, psychokinesis, mind possession, and the creation of apparently solid delusions / hallucinations.
  • Doctor Who: The Face of Evil, from the original BBC series (1976), is set in an alien jungle "haunted" by invisible, roaring, psychic entities that hunt down and kill intruders. They are kept at bay by a security fence of sonic disruptors.
  • Cerberus’ three heads relate to the threefold symbol of the baser forces of life. They represent the past, the present and the time yet to come.[2]
  • In book of Holy Quran it is foretold a kind of punishment in the day of judgment, it is mentioned in the 44th Surah of AlDukhan (The Smoke) verse 10-11:"Then watch thou for the Day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke plainly visible, enveloping the people this will be a penalty grievous".
  • Similarities with the Edimmu in Sumerian Mythology are striking.
  • In William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, one of Lost's major influences, survivors on a deserted island live in constant fear of an entity they dub "The Monster". Unlike on Lost, the "Monster" in Golding's work is a figment of the survivors' imaginations, and fear of this monster is a major driver of the story. Also, interestingly enough, the survivors mistake a corpse hung up on a tree by a parachute for this monster, much in the same way Naomi was caught in a tree upon landing on the Island.
  • ABC's recap of "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2"[5] refers to him as the Man in Black. In Stephen King's The Stand and Dark Tower series, "the Man in Black" is a name used for an antagonist also known as Randall Flagg or Walter o'Dim.
  • The late Country singer Johnny Cash had "The Man in Black" as his nickname.
  • In the game "The Legend of Dragoon", the main character makes numerous references to the Black Monster, a creature who initially appears shrouded in black smoke.


  • Hurley and Paulo both questioned whether the Monster was a dinosaur. (Lost is filmed on many of the same locations used by Jurassic Park.)
  • Hurley also said the Monster could be just a "pissed off giraffe". This is an ongoing inside-joke between the producers and writers, as noted in the Season 1 DVD commentary. ("Numbers")
  • There is considerable discussion about the entity's relation to judgment of the characters, especially with regards to Eko's two encounters. In the Official Lost Podcast transcript/November 06, 2006, the producers said:

Carlton Cuse: Well then, he might be a manifestation that the Island has generated. Perhaps an incarnation of the Monster?

Damon Lindelof: That's interesting. I would assume that that's sort of a theory that people are tossing around. Um… there's several manifestations in that episode. All of them seem to have come from Eko's memory. So, could one assume that when they last faced off, that all those flashes that happened in the Monster cloud, that it was sort of "downloading information" that it might want to use at a future date?

  • David Fury had this to say about the Monster in an interview with Lostpedia:

Metaphorically, the Monster was just the great unknown threat, the imminent danger around the corner that potentially haunts us all… Some thought of it as a monster of the id, much like in Forbidden Planet-- that maybe it appeared differently to everyone who saw it. The most tangible thought, as explained later by Rousseau, was that it functioned as a security system set up by the Island’s creators/early residents... For Locke, clearly, the Monster was the "soul" of the Island that was responsible for his "miracle." (LP Interview:David Fury)

Sound effects

In the form of the black smoke monster, the entity releases several distinct noises.

  • The howling sound is usually in concert pitch A. The frequency of this pitch is 440 hertz. In music, "A-440" is the standard to which musical instruments are tuned.
  • In the voice-over commentary for "The 23rd Psalm" on the Season 2 DVD, producer Bryan Burk confirmed that one of the Monster's sound effects is the receipt printer from a NYC taxi cab. You can hear the sound at this link EDIT: Link doesn't work, hopefully it will be fixed soon..
    • This may be why Rose says that she recognizes the sound, being from the Bronx.
  • This was reaffirmed in the May 21, 2007 Official Lost Podcast, but it was clarified that the mythology of the Monster is unrelated to the cabs and was just a matter of sound effects. This sound effect was heard in the following scenes:

Production notes

  • Some viewers believed that the The Twins (Others) could be amongst the entity's manifestations, but this was officially debunked in an interview with Damon Lindelof. He said they hired the twin stunt men to be guys on the Others' boat, but they were never meant to become important to the storyline. Damon Lindelof said, "We can tell you, sitting here now that twins have nothing to do whatsoever with the mythology of the show." ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • In the production building on the Disney lot where the Lost production has been housed, Cerberus is the name of the safety and fire protection system. The three-headed dog logo can be found all over the grounds.

Producer's favorite fan theory

In February 2007, Damon Lindelof opened a question on Yahoo! Answers about the nature of the Monster. The answer he and Carlton Cuse liked the best was given by user ar233. Out of over 8000 submitted answers, the winner was:

I think the Monster was originally a highly advanced security system designed to separate participants in the experimental DHARMA hatches. I think it was an effect that was designed to frighten people (smoke, noise) if they strayed too far from their experiment location. (A bit Wizard of Oz-like.) However, the electromagnetic force has mutated it—in the same sense as Desmond experienced time travel and can now see the future after exposure—and made it malevolent and able to physically grab things in its force (Eko, the pilot, Locke). So in theory it may be able to be deactivated, if they can find the control room for it (which would be another hatch somewhere yet undetected).

The producers' explanation as to why they picked that answer was:

We were amazed at the imagination and prodigious creativity applied to answering the question, what is the Monster? We have chosen our favorite answer. Not that's it's the right answer. Sorry, but we can't really give away the ultimate secrets of the Monster quite yet. The answer we selected might be somewhat right, totally right, or completely off-base. But we liked it and found it very cool and intriguing. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in. We loved reading your thoughts, and thanks for watching! -Carlton and Damon

They later stated they were impressed by how close some of the responses came.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Man in Black/Theories


  • What is the nature of the entity?
  • How is the entity able to shapeshift?
  • Why does it choose the form of black smoke?
    • What are the noises that the entity produces as the monster?
    • What was the "beautiful" light observed by Locke in their first encounter?
    • How is the entity able to display images and events from an individual's past?
    • What were the bright flashes of light seen by Kate and Juliet?
    • Why is the entity kept at bay by the sonar fence?
    • Why did Locke draw the entity when he was a child?
  • Are all the appearances of deceased people actually the entity taking on their form (including "Jacob" appearing to Hurley)?
  • Are all the smoke monsters so far the same entity? Or are there multiple entities?


  • What is the entity's origin?
  • How long has it been on the Island?
  • What is the nature of its relationship with Jacob?
    • What is their point of contention?
  • Why does it need a loophole in order to kill Jacob?
  • How much did the DHARMA Initiative know about the entity?
    • Why do they refer to it as "Cerberus"?
    • What are the "Cerberus vents" on the blast door map?
    • What is the "Cerberus system"?
  • What is the relationship between the Others and the entity?
  • How many times has the entity shapeshifted to impersonate dead people?
    • Besides Locke and Alex, have other manifestations of dead people -- such as Christian Shephard -- been the entity in disguise?
      • Yemi? Ben's mother?
  • If it is a defense mechanism for the Temple, why do the Others need to prevent it from getting in?
  • The Others seem to know what it is, and seem to know that it is a big threat now that Jacob is dead, so why didn't Ben, as former leader of the Others, have any idea?

Recent events

  • Where did the entity intend to drag Montand, and later Locke?
  • What was he doing while Ben was summoning the Monster in "Dead Is Dead"?
  • Why did he its plans for the other Ajira passengers?
  • What does he have planned for the Others?
  • Why does he want to go home?
    • Where is home?

External links




This article uses material from the "The Man in Black" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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