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Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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Main Article Theories about
The Island
Main Discussion
 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 whos 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 in to 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 inhabited by an ancient culture.

  • The Island certainly references many other cultures and times (e.g. the hieroglyphs, the mythological names of the DHARMA stations, the DHARMA bear skeleton being dug up in Tunisia, the greeting 'Namaste' - but these references all seem to be affiliated with DHARMA. Just because they reference other cultures doesn't mean they have had contact with them, much less are them.
    • The Frozen Wheel had Glyphs, reference here: [Glyphs]
    • The statue was explained in so far as several hints were shown that the Island must have been host to an ancient civilization.
  • The island has been in the past, the garden of Eden, Atlantis, Shangri-La, Cortez’s fountain of youth etc. it can be moved around the world. The island has no set location because it can move and has moved many times over the years. the vortexes could explain how Yemi's plane, got there, how the black rock got there, how the polar bear ended up in Tunisia and many more anomalies on and off the island. The four toed statue foot could actually be one of the ancient wonders of the world...the colossus of Rhodes. As for the position of the island during this current time line i believe it is/was in the south pacific.
  • The "ancient culture" is actually from the future where humans have evolved - the four toed statue is representation of the human race evolving. So everything we think is ancient is actually from a time when the island jumped to the future and then jumped back to the time it's at now.
  • Based on The Adventures of Tintin comic-strip album, Flight 714, published in 1968, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is Vol 714 pour Sydney ("Flight 714 to Sydney"). The story seems to have been influenced by the "ancient astronauts" literature popular at the time, in addition to the mythology of a hidden ancient city in the South Pacific.
  • The island is a time machine created by Dharma as the next stage of their time travelling experiemnts.
  • The Island is the origin of all mythologies and religions, it is not just Egyptian, Atlantean or Christian, it is where they all started, it is the point of the world where everything grew from, and for some reason was lost
  • The Island is a site of crossed mythologies and is hidden to protect their secrets and ancient knowledge. The Contention of Set and Horus is a good fit for the struggle between Smokey and Jacob. Set in Egyptian mythology is also known as Seth. Lost has a way of intertwining Egyptian and Christian stories, so I looked up the biblical Seth. He is the sone of Adam and a replacement to Adam for the killing of Abel and in Jewish stories was given the secrets of Kabbalah. Also:

"...his descendants invented the wisdom of the heavenly bodies, and built the "pillars of the sons of Seth", two pillars inscribed with many scientific discoveries and inventions, notably in astronomy. They were built by Seth's descendants based on Adam's prediction that the world would be destroyed at one time by fire and another time by global flood, in order to protect the discoveries and be remembered after the destruction." The Egyptian mythos fits with the story of the shipwrecked sailor theory below as well, which is too similar to the show to be ignored. Considering all the indications of the Valenzetti equation and mankind's impending doom, the inscribed pillars present underneath the island, the protection of the island, the biblical names and the ties between faith and science in this show, the writers and producers are crossing another couple of wires with Set and Seth also.

The promised land

  • The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites. The promise is firstly made to Abraham and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob, Abraham's grandson. The promised land was given to their descendants and was described in terms of the territory from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates river.
  • The Promised Land is also referred to in the Koran: "And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd."


  • The island is inbetween the living world and the world of the dead
  • Everyone on the plane died when it crashed
  • The island is a test to see whether or not they go to heaven
  • This would explain all the crazy things that have happened
  • The smoke monster might be the the thing that judges who is worthy enough to go to heaven


  • Some similarities with the Island of Atlantis, a super-advanced culture described by Plato [and no other primary sources] which was said to have sunk in the Mediterranean over the course of a day and night after a disastrous invasion attempt of Greece.
  • The fact that the Island can be moved may explain the Atlantis link - Atlantis didn't sink, it was moved. The final shot of the Island disappearing even made a ripple in the water that made it look like it had sunk.
    • The onlookers who witnessed this thousands of years ago would have claimed Atlantis had sank, but actually it was moved.
    • This would explain the four toed statue, the ancient pillar, and the "temple".
    • In the season 4 finale the island almost appears to be "swallowed by the sea", just like Atlantis.

The Island is the Garden of Eden.

  • The Island is the Garden of Eden described in the Book of Genesis in the Bible. This would explain why The Island has the ability to change locations, God had previously banned Adam and Eve from the Garden in Genesis. This also explains the wheel.
  • It can also account for the fact that everyone who had a previous illness, not caused while on The Island is now cured of said illness. Locke is a good example of this.
  • This also explains how the Others are immortal. They have lived on The Island and have been unable to die because of God's intervention on the Island.
  • This also explains the mysterious powers that The Island often shows. It can be attributed to the power described in the Bible as The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
  • The black smoke can also be explained as a protector of the Island or as the serpent who tempts Eve in Genesis.
  • For the fact that the Garden of Eden has been present in the world since time began, this would account for all of the ancient structures and hieroglyphs from different time periods and cultures.
    • If the island was the Garden of Eden, it is unlikely that so many bad things would happen there.
      • Another possibility is that bad things *have* to happen in the Garden of Eden - man is imperfect and not meant to be divine. Temptation and sin are inevitable and necessary aspects of the human condition.
  • The Garden of Eden might theory seems attractive when one considers that the name Christian Shepard could not be any more allegorical. And he acts as an angel to Locke - he guides him and helps him but ultimately Locke must act of his own free will.
  • The Island is the abandoned Garden of Eden. Jacob stands for the forgiving God who wants to give mankind another chance (as he did with small Katie). He respects mankind and appreciates it's technical advance. Nemesis is the opposing force. He mistrusts mankind (... it will all end in sins...). He is sure he can seduce men, as he always did (to Adam and Eve as a Serpant). Only people who can resist him are worth coming to Eden, in this way Nemesis is a Security System (a black smoke serpant). That's why the Smoke-Monster killed Eko (he didn't confess his murders at all) and why it killed the Boat-Mercaneries brutally (we could imagine what their job was in Africa). This "Game" between Jacob and his Nemesis will last till mankind proofs to be truely good. As Nemesis is tired of this eternal game (in his eyes), he plans to end it, by getting his opponent, Jacob, killed by the hands of one of the Jacob's own people. How ironic - and the ultimate proof, that mankind is bad and will always be.

The Island is Duat, the Egyptian Underworld.

  • TPTB have interpreted the hieroglyphics at the end of the Swan timer as "underworld".
  • The statue is of an Egyptian god.
  • In Duat, the dead are judged by 42 judges. [1]
  • Duat is said to be a place "whose south, north, west and east is unknown by the gods or akhs", which seems an apt description of the Island. In "Dave", Benry tells Locke "God doesn't know how long we've been here, John. He can't see this island any better than the rest of the world can."
  • After the soul arrives in the underworld, it (specifically the heart) is tested (a common theme on the show) against the principles of Ma'at. If the person's heart is impure, it is fed to Ammit. Though the God Anubis or Osiris, depending on the Egyptian age in question, may have been the mythical judge, it is possible that in the Lost mythos, The Smoke Monster is fulfilling both roles.
  • Those returned to life (Christian Shepard and John Locke) had both been embalmed, and before entering Duat you must first be mummified.
  • After death, in order to reach Duat, you were expected to travel on a long journey. The Funerary boats placed in the tombs were designed to mimic the boats used by the gods to travel across the sky, and speed you to your destination.
  • In order to progress from Duat to Aaru, or the Egyptian paradise (described in mythology as a series of islands), there were 15 gates or challenges to pass through.
  • Considering that Plato's account of Atlantis was ascribed as being descended from an account that Solon acquired from an Egyptian priest, there is no reason that both the Atlantis theories and the Duat theories might be intended to both be true.
  • The Island is Duat or Aaru, but since the ancient Egyptian religion fell out of practice, it was abandoned, necessitating the arrival of the Others as caretakers for the former Egyptian afterlife.

The Island is the Egyptian Place of Creation

  • The creator god of Egypt is Ra-Atum. He created the world by raising up a "mound" out of the "waters." The island could be the mound which was raised, and the donkey wheel is the exit into which the created beings, or humans, entered the world. This is supported by the many egyptian glyphs and references on the Island.
  • The Egyptians also believed in a cyclical view of time, which is similar to a time-loop theory.
  • Ra-Atum also has the same initials and Richard Alpert.

The Island is the mysterious island in the Ancient Egyptian Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor

  • The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, from the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt [2] has a high degree of similarities with respect to the mysterious island and its guardian. The island in the story is specifically the Land of Punt [3], a quasi-mythological place that ancient Egyptians believed was the sacred source of their race. In the story, the island guardian calls himself a "prince of Punt".
  • The sailor washed up on this mysterious island where "there was nothing that was not there".
  • While making a burnt offering to the gods he hears thunder and feels the earth shake and sees a giant serpent approach him.
  • The guardian of the Island, the snake, tells the sailor that when he leaves he will not see the island again as it will become water.


  • The island is the underworld or Hades (indicated by the Swan hieroglyphs) and exists in conjunction with but separate from the world of the living. The Oceanic survivors were those souls on the plane that had unfinished business in the world of the living. After the events of season 5 the barrier between these worlds has been breached, heaven/hell only knows what will follow.

The Island is Shangri-La

  • The reveal of the temple solidifies the theory that the island is Shangri-La or an equivalent mythical land. Shangri-La is a fictional place first described in James Hilton's 1933 novel Lost Horizon and depicted onscreen in Frank Capra's film of the same name. It is described as a mystical, harmonious land hidden from the outside world. Those living in Shangri-La are blessed with extreme long life or immortality. Lost Horizon tells of the survivors of a plane crash who stumble upon the mystical land. Only later do they learn that the keepers of the city brought them to Shangri-La on purpose. Fearing an impending war and looking for a successor, the high Lama of Shangri-La brings a man named Conway to the island to take his place as the leader.
  • Other survivors of the plane crash in Lost Horizon find themselves miraculously healed of ailments. Many at first want to flee the mysterious city, but eventually come around and want to stay. Conway himself waivers and eventually leaves, losing his memory of Shangri-La upon returning to the normal world. But eventually, he recalls his time in the mythical land and decides he must return.
  • It seems very plausible that Abrams and Lindelof would look to Lost Horizon for inspiration when they first received the assignment to write the Lost pilot. If Jeffrey Lieber's original pitch was lacking the supernatural edge that seems to appeal to Abrams and Lindelof, maybe they looked to a classic story of plane crash survivors and considered making Lost a loose, modern adaptation of Lost Horizon.
  • Shangri-La is loosely based around Tibetan scripture, Buddhist philosophy, and the general exoticism of the Orient -- all concepts and themes that have been heavily dealt with in the series through the Dharma Initiative and other elements of the story.
  • The inspiration for Shangri-La is a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition known as Shambhala, which was referenced in Season 3, with the Three Dog Night song 'Shambala' and the accompanying cue in Michael Giacchino's soundtrack.
  • Seeing the temple for the first time, the healing waters (which likely have granted people like Richard unbelievably long life), and even seeing the temple guardian (whose cliched Oriental appearance matches the look of the residents of Shangri-La in Capra's film) seem to all coincide with a reveal sometime in this season that the island is Shangri-La -- or Lost's version of that mythical land.
  • More likely, The Island is meant to be a composite of many Shangri-La like environments in mythology, including the Garden of Eden, and others. It seems dubious that it's meant to represent any single mythology's paradise, and more likely that it very possibly inspired the stories of many different cultures' paradises throughout history.
    • Which would make sense with the Island's ability to move. It could have bounced around providing a mythological paradise for several different civilizations throughout time.
    • It is very likely that the Island is meant to be the inspiration behind many religious traditions in the world of LOST (and perhaps, the deities of these religions themselves?). That explains the constant allusions to different traditions (Judeo-Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Ancient Egypt, Greek mythology, etc.) -- the Island is a crossroads and origin point for human mythology.
    • Island as origin of various mythologies/Shangri La/Shambhala is supported by specific origin theory of frozen wheel found here, linking kings of Shambhala, the Dharma Wheel, and Mediterranean Sun Chariot myth: [4]
  • I think the Island is more likely to be Atlantis - I think this may have been previously suggested. The fact that it also sinks, seems to add substance to this. Atlantis (the Island) may well have been in the Mediteranean around the time of the Egyptians which explains all the Egyptian stuff that is around and was a holy island of sorts. The island moved and this was interperated as "sinking" in ancient mythology. Although the Island may have been Atlantis at one stage, I am still holding out that it is in fact one end of a time travelling wormhole or a time travelling ship itself (powered by exotic matter), and turned on (although in a faulty manner now) by the wheel and that Jacob and MIB were the original time travellers or crew of the ship and are from the future. Jacob was the leader and MIB was the "security guard" hence hios shapeshiting ability and smokey alter-ego. but the 2 disagree on what to do about being stuck in their past and have long ago fallen out. From a human perspective, a timetraveller from the future with various abilities may well have seemed to be a God-like person. Just a thought

The Island is the Egyptian island of Chemmis.

  • In certain Egyptian myths, Chemmis was the floating island where Isis hid the infant Horus.
  • The island was said to move wherever the wind blew and was sometimes on the Nile and sometimes on the sea.


  • The island and its natural inhabitants and mythologies are of Ancient Hawaiian descent.

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 rumored 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 a geographical Yin-Yang

  • The Natives have a truce with the Dharma Initiative about not crossing a line. The line is the rough separation between the two halves of the island that each exist both in opposition and harmony - science and faith. In each half there exists a small area of energy that is associated with the other half - the Orchid (with the frozen wheel and its power representing faith) in the Science area which was populated by Dharma, and the Swan (with its electromagnetic/time-travel related power representing science) in the Faith half. This mirrors the themes of the show, as well as its narrative devices; the Scientific plot involving Desmond, Faraday, and how the Time Travel affects the overall story, and the more 'Mysterious' plot about Richard, Locke, Jacob, the smoke monster and the nature of the island and how these affect the overall story. The intersection and overlap of these Scientific and Mysterious story elements, and their cyclical nature, will conform to the well-established concepts of Dharma and the Yin-Yang.

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.


  • The Island was created to be a political and religious Utopia for The Others, while the DHARMA Initiative tried to create a scientific Utopia among other things, which led to hostility between them and the Others.
  • Another civilization live on the Island before The Hostiles, possibly aliens.
  • There have been several civilizations/groups before the Hostiles, evidenced by Jacob's conversation with his nemesis. Apparently, Jacob draws people to the Island for some purpose and his nemesis doesn't like this -- he seems to believe outsiders can only be harmful to the Island. Each group ends up fighting each other and eventually wipes themselves out.
    • One of the groups of people, however and whenever they got there, was from ancient Egypt. These may or may not be the first.
    • The Hostiles are members and descendants of the Black Rock -- the last group of people Jacob has pulled to the Island before the Oceanic 815'ers.
    • The Dharma Initiative may or may not have been brought to the Island by Jacob. It would explain how they found the Island in the first place and possibly why the Hostiles didn't just wipe them out when they first arrived.
    • The survivors of Oceanic 815 and Ajira 316 are the latest groups of people Jacob purposely had drawn to the Island.



Nuclear Testing

The Island is located in the Pacific Ocean; that is the only area outside the United States where the U. S. conducted nuclear tests in the 1950s.

Pilot's Testimony

"Six 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 a thousand miles off course. They're looking for us in the wrong place."


Using geo-location

  • In Confirmed Dead, when Kate hands the phone to Daniel we can see a pretty clear shot of the phone's screen (although upside down). If the orientation of the globe on the interface is any indication of the phone's current location (or a guess at it's location) it seems that the globe is centered in the Indian Ocean somewhere between the African and Indian Coasts. Geo-locating on the Island might not work like it would on the rest of the globe so this may indicate that the phone is confused at it's location.

Using the DHARMA polar bear

  • In Confirmed Dead, Tunisia is at the exact opposite point on the planet from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of New Zealand. Charlotte finding the polar bear skeleton explains how the freighter / Widmore finds the Island.

Using the Numbers

The Numbers can be used to deduce the location of the Island:

Coordinates Reasoning
4.81500, 162.342000
(Google map)
  • Notice an island very close to the coordinates.
  • Is in the South Pacific, very close to the projected flight path of a plane flying from Sydney International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Puts the plane about 900 miles away from the location it presumably lost radio contact. This corresponds with the pilot's statement that the plane was 1,000 miles off course.[pilot]
16.2342S, 158.4000W
(Google map)
  • Matches with the flight path being 1000 miles off course.[pilot]
  • Lies between Fiji and Tahiti, about 1500 miles East of Fiji and about 600 miles West of Tahiti. This is consistent with Rousseau's and Desmond's comments: three days out of Tahiti[rousseau] and one week from Fiji[desmond].
4.815160, 2.342000
(Google map)
  • Close to Nigeria and may explain how the drug smuggler's plane reached the Island.

See also: The Numbers/Theories

Because the Island is a tropical island, it will be found between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, located at approximately 23 degrees north and south of the equator, respectively.

Miscellaneous locations

Eko's "north" message
  • If Desmond is right, the Island is about 350 miles from Tahiti. Desmond believes the Island is a week east of Fiji at 9 knots.[desmond] That's about 1500 nautical miles (2880km, 1740mi) east of Fiji (at 18.06°S / 178.30°E), which would place the Island at about 18.06°S / 154.633°W (or perhaps further west). This is about 350 miles from Tahiti. Danielle Rousseau said they were 3 days out of Tahiti when they wrecked on the Island,[rousseau] which would mean they traveled at about 5 knots, which is plausible.
    • Remember that while approaching the Island, either of them could have lost or gained couple of days, if sailing from the wrong bearing - I wouldn't pay much attention to little inconsistencies between Danielle's and Desmond's versions of sail course.
  • The Island is north of Fiji. This is compatible with the flight path of Oceanic 815, based upon statements of the pilot[pilot] and flight attendant[cindy].
    • If the Island is a kind of snowglobe and there is only one exit/entrance then if the plane entered it at one heading it would constantly go around in a circle. So this would mean that the pilot was telling the truth but just going around in a circle.
  • The Nigerian plane, and the local time of 04:16pm from the log printout suggests that the Island is in the GMT+3 time zone, off the east coast of Africa.
  • An interpretation of Eko's stick suggests the Island is near the south pole. Though the full GEN 13:14 verse states all four cardinal directions, the abbreviated version on the stick reads "LIFT UP YOUR EYES AND LOOK NORTH". The Island is near the South Pole, so all directions are North.
  • When Sayid repairs the satellite phone in "The Brig", a display on screen shows a world map with green signal rings expanding out from a location very near the North American western coastline. Notably, this location is not a great distance from Portland, and is also nearly 1,000 miles from Los Angeles. This is the location of the Island.
  • The Island could very well be on one of the poles. Geographically, the South makes more sense, but if it were the North, it would explain both the Polar Bear and the electromagnetic anomalies (as in, the Island is literally above the exact location of the North Pole. Also, in one of the first season episodes, a shot of Walt's comic book shows an illustration of the top of a large spherical shape that could easily be interpreted as the Earth.
    • How does that fit with the climate on the island? Shouldn't a tropical island be near... The Tropics?
    • Correct. the tropics are between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which lie, curiously, approximately 23 degrees north and south of the equator.

Fan-made maps

Map Explanation
Possible flight paths of Oceanic 815 turning back to Fiji. The red shows the possible location of the Island at 4.815' N and 162.342' W. The yellow line shows a possible original flightpath for the plane. The green lines show possible turnaround routes to Fiji after radio contact was lost.
Possible location of island according to Desmond.[desmond]
Probable location of the Island according to Seth Norris[pilot], Desmond[Desmond] and Rousseau[Rousseau].
Estimated flight path relative to equator and International Date Line, according to the pilot[pilot] and flight attendant[cindy].
Real-world flight path relative to the Equator, the Date Line, and the four potential island locations, assuming the NUMBERS dictated the static location of the island when Flight 815 broke apart. Statements by Capt. Norris, Cindy Chandler, Danielle Rousseau and Desmond Hume support this somewhat. Interpreted literally, and applying the capabilities of both boats and the airplane, the island would have to be 600 miles further south than the highlighted locale in the bottom right quadrant.

The red ring indicates a 500 mile radius, or about one hour of flying time, from the six hour point of the 13 hour flight. The bottom right locale is closest to French Polynesia (1000 miles) and Fiji (1500 miles). The red ring equals about two days of sailing, according to Desmond, and about 1.5 days on Rousseau's science vessel.
The South-Western point IS 3000 miles from the Sunda/Membata drop-off point of the OA-6, supporting the Penny/Searcher voyage. But the SW point is 1800 miles and three hours from the 6 hour 'turn-around' point for OA 815.
Caveat: Using Desmond's testimony is fallacious justification. It only works if he were at a known starting point like Sydney, or Tahiti. His starting point is the island, a decidely unknown starting point. Fiji is only valid in his mind... because he thought he knew where he was.

See also: Flight path of Oceanic 815 and Flight path of Oceanic 815/Theories


  • 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 will 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 islands 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, Parts 2 & 3" 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 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
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

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.
      • This is possible but, because Ben refused to let anyone leave the Island, we can not tell.

Miscellaneous theories

  • 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.
  • Various people involved with the island use phrases like "the island hasn't finished with you" or "you still have work to do". This is a common euphamism for describing someones involvement in any causal-loops resulting from time-travel on the island. For example, Michael couldn't die before he had detonated the Kahana, because this act was a key part of setting up the 815'ers time travel events. Telling Michael that the Island won't let him kill himself is just a more discreet way of saying that there are actions Michael has yet to take that are the trigger for things that have already occured in the past. Since What Happens Happens, it is impossible for Michael to be rendered unable to complete the causal loop.
  • 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.
  • The Island could be understood as being a parallel reality. The Numbers represent the access points that communicate both realities and only Ben knows this. Whereas in the reality of the Island 48 passengers survived the crash, in the real world there were no survivors and are buried in the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
  • 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.
  • The Island is an organic machine created in the future before humankind became extinct according to the dictates of the Valenzetti Equation. It was sent back in time with a group of "Hostiles" to recruit present day people to help undo the coming extinction. The reason time is distorted around it is because it has a different gravitational constant than the earth itself and thus 'bends' time around it.
    • Constants don't change, hence the name.
  • The Island is located in the future. That is why people can order things from the rest of the world and have it delivered immediately, or the doctor from the boat is found on the Island before he's killed on the boat.
  • The 815 passengers become so involved with the island that they finally figure out its mysteries, they then change the act of the plane crash and revert back into time, they fly to Los Angeles and live there lives but still have the memory of their time on the island.

Underground tunnels

The Island is riddled with a system of underground tunnels.

  • This is where the Monster was dragging Locke in "Exodus, Part 2".
  • In "Hearts and Minds" when Boone and Shannon are being chased by the Monster, the Monster can be seen shooting vertically out of the ground, perhaps from an Underground Tunnel.
  • The Others use underground tunnels to travel without leaving tracks.
  • Cindy quickly disappeared into an underground tunnel in "Abandoned".
  • These tunnels are filled with machinery, which produce some of the noises heard when the Monster is moving about.
  • A big complex, like a city, is hidden underground. This can explain the notes about Cerberus in blast door map, and the translation of countdown hieroglyphs. The frozen wheel is a small part of this.
  • This is supported by the DHARMA Cabling Map, which shows many tunnels going underneath the barracks.
Main article: Tunnels

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") like he stalked Sarah in a previous episode. He continues his downhill slide, becoming suicidal ("Through the Looking Glass"). 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 and entire show of Lost are an exercise in possibility, although none of the events actually occur; at the show's finale some character (Jack?) will finally "fix things" by preventing the entire chain of events from occurring in the first place.
    • Or Jack will then flash to his time/space at the beginning of the 1st episode, starting the loop again.
  • In the May 23, 2007 special "Lost: The Answers," producers Cuse and Lindelof commented on the nature of the Magic box metaphor, stating that "the entire island is a magic box." We can thereby conclude that the Island makes some people confront their most painful and repressed memories through the materialization of complex human constructs that to them appear real. Those affected by the unique properties of the Island see characters from their past that they have hurt and need to see again. So when Jack sees his late father appear on the Island he believes that it really is him and not a hallucination. He believes it because he wants to, since his highest wish is to see his father again so that he can have closure. Jack knows that Christian Shepherd can't be on the Island, yet talks to him as if he really is there. The same can be said about Eko in his conversation with his dead brother and about Ben meeting his mother who died giving birth to him. By this rationale, Jacob is a metaphorical demon from Ben's past that haunts him and won't give him any peace until he redeems himself. That is why only he can see him, just like only Hurley could see Dave. Paralleling how Yemi was a materialization of Eko's subconscious guilt and a chance for the older brother to atone for his sins, Jacob is someone from Ben's past that he has to confront - possibly because Jacob is dead and Ben has his life on his conscience.
    • The previous statement could work. It might be possible that Jacob is in fact the previous leader of the others. This is why the others keep him in such reverence and hold him in such high reguard. They even tend to fear him; perhaps this is because Jacob was a more cruel/ruthless leader than Ben turned out to be. Since Jacob is ben's manifestation of the island, there may have been foul play involved in jacob's death. It was never explained why Ben became the leader of the others. It's my guess that Ben murdered/engineered jacob's death. The island manifested itself as jacob to ben as a form of punishment/representation of guilt.
  • The Island is shielded by an electro-magnetic field (or something with very similar properties): Naomi ("Catch-22") said ("The Brig") that she knew a crash was imminent because the helicopter controls "started going crazy." This was brought up in season 2: Desmond realizes that he neglected to push the button at the same time that the plane crashed on the Island. An electro-magnetic type of shield - albeit, above the water's surface - explains why a submarine is required to reach the Island.
    • The building that housed the communication devices, where Ben showed Juliet supposedly-live footage of her sister, controls the shield, allowing communication with satellites at specific times. The shield also allows inter-island radio communication, but block transmissions off the Island.
    • Electronic devices can experience severe transients in their electrical systems if turned on and exposed to a strong enough electro-magnetic field. Devices that were turned off can still work, at least to some degree.
    • This field can only be breached from a certain bearing. Entering the field from any other bearing will tear the entering aircraft apart. This caused the crash of 815. The field also produces a cloaking effect to observers above. The trivia pop-ups from the rebroadcast of "316" suggest these theories.
  • The Earth itself is a living organism, comprising all geological, chemical, and biological features, including the humans that infest its surface. The Island is the active center of the Earth's "brain," with a built-in security system and signature electromagnetic "brain wave" activity.
  • The Island is a prison for some sort of non-corporeal entity. In order to escape its bonds, the entity requires a human host, but not everyone is compatible. Exactly what makes a host compatible is a mystery even to the entity, but it favors a theory that it needs a tabula rasa. Since ancient times, the entity has used a slight psychic influence that it can project over long distances to lure people to the Island, occasionally in large groups. The four-toed statue is an artifact of one group, the Black Rock of another. Adam and Eve and Henry Gale are examples of smaller-scale applications. The DHARMA Initiative were drawn to the Island in like manner but frustrated the entity by not being compatible themselves and not breeding, so either it (A) destroyed most of them itself or (B) set the Others, another group whose origins we simply haven't seen yet, against the DHARMA members. When the Others frustrated it similarly by birthing their (motherless) children behind DHARMA's sonic shield, where its Smoke Monster right hand can't snatch them at the crucial moment, the entity brought in Desmond to complete its loooooong-term plan to bring together all the best candidates for parenting its ideal host from around the world. Ergo, the Losties.
  • 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.
  • It is significant that the Island is located somewhere near the International Date Line as this would mean its time zone would be twelve hours from Greenwich Mean Time, half a day from Universal Time (the time used by scientists as the planet Earth's official time). This could also be significant because the plane crashed on the day of the autumnal equinox, when the Sun is directly over the equator and day and night are of equal length. The autumnal equinox is extremely important in many of the world's ancient and modern spiritual traditions and reflects the black and white, good and evil, and light and dark themes of Lost. In astrology, the autumnal equinox marks the beginning of the sign Libra, a sign whose themes include harmony, relationships, beauty, art, money, and balance.
  • Everything on the Island is marked as a Black or White piece in the style of Backgammon or Chess. Every "Black" or "Yin" action has an opposite "White" or "Yang" reaction on the Island, meaning everything that happens on the Island happens for a reason, so that something else may happen as a consequence of that action at a later point.
  • The Island is some kind of "Garden of Eden." This would explain...
    • The healing properties of the Island, and why there is no cancer
    • Why the Island is "invisible" to the outside world
    • The Hostiles not getting older
      • In the Book of Genesis, it is written that after God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, he sent an angel to guard it. This angel could be the smoke monster or Jacob.
      • Locke makes a reference to Adam and Eve when he discovers the skeletal remains of a man and a woman in the caves in season 1.
      • (Perhaps) the inability to bear children. According to the Genesis accounts, Adam and Eve did not begin to have children until after their expulsion from Eden.
  • Francis Bacon will later reuse the concept in his book "The New Atlantis". In this book, The New Atlantis is supposed to be an island situated in the North Pacific, where ended a bunch of Europeans in order to build a new, ideal society. This ideal society would be based on technology and science in order to lead mankind to Good and Salvation. The idea is therefore to create some kind of new humanist religion based on technology and science. This is very similar to the DHARMA Initiative's project and to Ben's vision (cf. his allegiance to Jacob and his desperate will to find a way to create life on the Island).
    • In a more occult way of thinking, Atlantis is a legendary island which possess the true knowledge of man's beginnings, and is the home of all knowledge and all civilization. The only way to find this Island, according to Francis Bacon, is by The Lost Speech, a kind of language that gives form to the invisible, the unexplainable. The Lost Speech holds the secret of the world and results from an existential quest. But this language has been lost because our own inner darkness obscures it. To know The Lost Speech is to penetrate the inner Heart of Creation, which may be the Atlantis, or the secrets that the Island has to offer. By an existential quest, that their situation on the Island force them to follow, the Lost characters may discover the mysteries of the Island, which contains the knowledge of the man's begginings.
      • This concept is reinforced by the prevalent use of music with lyrics which highlight that the path to happiness is to "forget all your troubles" (Downtown in "A Tale of Two Cities", etc) and to "wash away my troubles" (Shambala in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead"). In this way, the Island functions the same as Bacon's Atlantis and the kingdom of Shambhala, as a eutopian place symbolic of the return to a state of happiness (perhaps the "Heart of Creation" since it is our natural and original state, according to the philosopher John Locke), which can be gained by conquering the self. Thus the Island is more of a "what" than a "where."
    • Taking this argument from the other side, it could be that the writers are suggesting that legends of Atlantis in fact grew out of anecdotes and myths surrounding this island. It's possible that the Island and it's original inhabitants did indeed predate much of modern civilization and were highly advanced. And over time, they opted to withdraw from the world around them, and let their achievements fade into legend.
  • The Island is in fact an entity in itself, with a consciousness and control over itself.
    • Indeed. Jacob and his Nemesis's rivalry is the way in which the island is trying to understand humans. The island's intelligence (which is different to humans') can also alter matter and views time differently.
  • 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 Island is a gateway into a parallel universe. Desmond Hume was stationed at Camp Millar, fictionally placed outside Edinburgh, this camp actually exists in the Arctic Circle, in a town called Svalbard. In Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy the town of Svalbard is a gateway between parallel universes. The gateway was formed as a result of the high levels of geo magnetism in the Island. Charles Widmore wishes to exploit this, Ben and the Others, wish to keep the gateway closed. Due to Desmond Hume's exposure to the high levels of radiation/magnetism when the Hatch exploded he "switches" between universes, which appears to us as Time Travel.
    • Or maybe instead of time travel, this can explain how some of the Others can travel to and from the Island (as Tom stated in "Meet Kevin Johnson"). Perhaps some of the Others have the ability to "cut" between parallel universes like the subtle knife. Using this ability they're able to cut through to a parallel world in which they are no longer on an island, then travel to known locations in that world which correlate to known locations in our world to "cut" back in.
  • If you are dead when you arrive on the Island it is like you are giving your body to the Island. This has happened with Yemi, Christian Shepherd, and will do to Lock if his body is brought back to the Island by the O6.
  • The island is the only place in the universe (assuming the island belongs to the universe) where the universe does NOT course correct. All off island events are a product of fate and destiny, as Hawking told Desmond. On the island, this universal property is absent and decisions can be made which can affect the future (not only the future of the island, but the future of the whole universe itself).
    • Explains DHARMA's interest concerning the Valenzetti equation.
      • Two Items that may contradict this theory: Locke's legs and Christian Shepherd. I'd argue that Locke & CS's reversion to their previous states [that is, ambulatory and/or alive] represent significant course corrections, both for themselves and those around them. Locke was best trained among the group in hunting and tracking, Christian Shepherd apparently has some purpose on the Island as well as evidenced by his resurrection [or reanimation, if you prefer]. That being said, something about that theory still 'clicks'.
  • Countertheory: The Island is the only place on earth where it is POSSIBLE to bypass the course correction effect and therefore change the future. Locke and Christian may have been restored to make it possible for them to alter their respective destinies [along with the rest of the 815 survivors]. However, the process is different for each individual who attempts it as well as potentially hazardous to anyone involved [how many people have Ben and Locke gotten killed pursuing their 'best' destinies?]. Also explains DHARMA's interest- change the Valenzetti equation on the island and you change the destiny of humanity.

Unstable Time

The Island is, exists in, or is somehow enclosed within a pocket of unstable time. The electromagnetic energy from the Swan Station was harnessed to 'anchor' the island in time. Using the turn-table analogy, say the arm begins to wobble. The release of the energy every 108 minutes was to reset the arm of the player. When the Swan is destroted, the anchor is lost, and the wobble continues. When the island moves, the losties are sent skipping, and must find an anchor of their own.

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 begginings and of all civilizations. It's also the 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 Morrocco, 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, Parts 2 & 3" 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."

  • Yes but if the Island disappears and re-appears on another location on the Earth, it cannot occupy the same mass as where it relocates to. Therefore the mass of water where the Island will eventually end up must move also. If this was the case, the water would have to replace the 'void' left by the Island, explaining the relatively minor 'gushing in' you describe.
  • I think that this is irrelevant and the nature of the island moving through time will be explained later in the show


  • Since US troops were coming and going from the island in the 50s ("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.

God seeing the Island

  • God, as "Henry Gale" (Ben) stated in "Dave", can actually not see the Island, due to it´s specialness.
  • God can not see the Island, because God doesn't exist; what "Henry Gale" (Ben) stated in Template:Ep2x18 was just a way of telling he didn't believe in God at all (because if God doesn't exist at all, then he can't see the Island, aswell as e.g. Father Christmas can't see the Island)-
  • God can see the Island, and do exist; "Henry Gale" (Ben) did lie in "Dave" because that would in some way give him some advantages.


  • [Desmond] In "Live Together, Die Alone", 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."

The Island is a gameboard

  • The island is a gameboard, for some game, maybe something like chess. Between 2 parts, one black and one white. They choose they`r players and follows their every action. Maybe this is the war we all are hearing about, when someone takes the king, they win the game. Perhaps Jacob and his nemesis is the queens since they can die and come back, or that they are the players, proving to one and another who`s right(regarding their argument in the season 5 finale. But maybe the mystery is who is on which side? Maybe even the statue is the king, since it was destroyd back in the times, but for order to destroy it, they have to use the survivers from the future.

When Did the Island Sink?

  • Damon and Carlton state that this is something that will be an issue, and there are signs that should point out when it happened. Anyone see any signs? Is there something about New Otherton that should be a clue, as mentioned in the article? -
    • I been thinking and maybe when Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel the island sunk in the alternate timeline instead of moving. If you go back and watch the scene when the island moved, it kinda has the effect of something being pulled underwater fast.
      • But Ben turned the wheel after the Losties crashed; if he turned the wheel at the same time in the alternate timeline, the island would not be sunk when flight 815 flew over it.
    • Well some clues as to when this happened were right in front of us. New Otherton was built, a shark was swimming with a Dharma logo on it, and the sonic fence was built. This means that it was after the Dharma Imitative got to the island. The statue may or may not be complete, which mean it may or may not be before or after young Ben to the island, as we know the statue was destroyed when he got to the island.
      • "New Otherton" is simply the Dharma barracks, which existed at the time of the incident.
        • When were the homes of Otherton built?
          • Range of time of island sinking = after homes were built / prior to Widmore's sailing race in 2001, which allows Desmond to be on the plane. While 1977 seems like the easy answer, it is possible Lostie interference (during the time jumps) somehow assisted in this happening prior to 1977.
            • Widmore and his race may not exist in 2001 in the alternate timeline, which I guess would still make the sinking date long before then anyway.
              • Widmore may have not even made it off of the Island before it sunk, so there would be no Penelope Widmore for Desmond. Same for Eloise and Daniel.
  • The Energy Pocket could have been keeping the Island buoyant somehow. Since the Hatch was designed to keep this energy at bay, we could assume that the H-Bomb negated ALL of the energy, where the regular electro-magnetic incident would have kept just enough to keep the Island afloat. The Island could have then steadily headed underwater once the H-Bomb exploded.
    • This is similar to my belief, except I believe the opposite. The detonation didn't cause the island to sink, it prevented it from sinking by sealing and containing the energy that would have otherwise been released when the DI drilled into the pocket.
  • It may very well be a trick put on by Charles Widmore to regain his throne as leader of the others. He told Benjamin he would be coming back for him. We have seen him place a plane with bodies at the bottom of the Ocean, so something like this would not be as far fetched.
    • Also, the new timeline airplane flew right over The Sunken Island with only minor turbulence. Any other incarnation of the Island is very difficult to find or to get near.
      • It's hard to say with the stylized way they did the shot if the airplane flew "right over" the Island. In the "new" timeline, there was never any mention of being 1000 miles off course, which it seems would have delayed their arrival into LAX.
  • The island sank in 1977 when Juliet struck the bomb. There are two different timelines now: The original one that we've been watching where the bomb did not go off and the new one where it did go off. In the second timeline, the plane makes its way safely to LA and crosses over the remains of the island that sank due to a nuclear explosion.
    • I have never heard of a nuclear explosion sinking an island. I don't doubt that the events are related, but the explosion wouldn't account directly for the island suddenly being at the bottom of the ocean.
    • Needless to say, this island is a bit different from your average island. If turning a wheel could move the island through time, a nuclear blast could certainly sink it.
      • Daniel Faraday told Eloise in Jughead: "Because in fifty years, this island is still here!" That suggests that, according to Faraday, the H-bomb could sink the island.
      • The nuke itself didn't sink the island. The nuke interacting with the energy pocket could've sunk the island. The island is, after all, volcanic in nature. Maybe the disruption of the energy pocket caused a catastrophic volcanic event.
        • Indeed, several Islands through history, have sunk after a volcanic cataclysm.
        • Or that the Island is not like other islands. There is nothing tethering to the sea floor and hence make a big enough explosion it might have forced the island down enough to sink. or that the electro magnetic energy released attracted the Island to the sea floor.Zaggs 21:47, February 3, 2010 (UTC)
  • We should be more concerned with When did the Island Rise? We know this must have happened when the Black Rock was sailing above, hence that is how it became stranded on solid ground. If we know when it rose, it must have been sunk before then, possibly all the way back to the Eqyptian time when the Temple and Statue were constructed. Therefore, detonating the bomb just caused the Island to never rise, rather than to sink. The new alternate reality represents life without the Island's influence.
    • No because you can see the remains of the Dharma initiative's village on the island underground.
    • Now you mention an island rising from the waters I'm forced to mention R'lyeh. Any chances of C'tulhuian mythos in LOST?
  • The island sank in 1977 when Juliet struck the bomb. The H-bomb did not produce a nuclear explosion because the EMP from the H-bomb cancelled out the electromagnetic event occuring. The result was two separate events happening almost simultaniously - first, an event like when when Desmond turned the failsafe, which is what caused the initial time jump, sending the Losties back to 2007. And second, a large underground explosion from the bomb itself (H-bomb minus the H part, which was cancelled out by the electromagnitism), which is basically like detonating a very large amount of dynamite from deep inside a shaft. That is what blew the island into chunks that sank underwater.
  • If the island had JUST sunk, not only would the foot of the statue not be totally covered in underwater flora, but you'd also likely see a ton of silt and sediment in the water that had yet to settle.
    • Going along with what has been suggested about a different incident (not the H-bomb) causing the reset, it would make sense that the true reset was caused when Desmond first did not hit the button (which caused the original 815 to crash). This time, however, he turned the key instead of entering the numbers. The electromagnetic energy released before he turned the key would have caused the violent turbulence experience on the plane, and when he turned the key he caused the island to instantly sink (similar to what was shown when Ben first moved the island).
      • If this were true, the statue of Taweret would not be covered in coral and other marine life.
  • Eloise moved the island back in 1977. That explains the white flash at the end of season 5, how Daniel grew up off the island and was raised by Eloise, and it explains why the island is underwater when Oceanic 815 flies over it in 2004 yet the DHARMA village was still built.
  • Ankh seen underwater
    I don't have a screen cap, but when the camera is coming up behind the statue, there is what looks like part of one of the statue's ankhs sticking out of the ground. Is that there in any of the scenes where Richard takes Flocke to see Jacob? Drinkybird 12:00, February 4, 2010 (UTC)
    • I don't remember it being there at any other time. It wasn't even there when the statue is first seen in 2x23.
      • From the positioning of the Ankh in the submerged shots, it could have been in the water just off the beach when the island was still an island.
  • The buildings didn't seem to be very decayed. If the Island had been underwater for a very long time, as in many years, then shouldn't those buildings have looked a lot more decayed by being in water for so long?
    • No, if you look at shipwrecks from the 1700s and 1800s, there is still wood present, as there is no oxygen to break down the wood. What would happen is that sea life would cover the village, eventually obscuring it from view.
  • The important thing is that the island is now underwater and that the Losties may still be destined to end up there. This means that they may be destined to end up together in some other manner on boat or something else. Jack may be led to search the ocean for his father's coffin.
  • The island may have sunk long ago. In this timeline they never went back in the past to do any of the events they did including joining the Dharma or setting off the H-Bomb, because the original event, being the crash never happened. Any action they helped cause in the past may never have happened.
  • In the island's future it is sent to some point in the outside world's past in order to intercept the flightpath of 815 now that it is not flying off course as it did first time round. It ceases to function correctly on arrival causing it to sink. The contemporary version of the island is still where it was first time round, thousands of miles from the correct flightpath.
  • The Island sank when Desmond first failed to enter the numbers in the Swan station on the right time. That's why flight 815 never crashed on the Island in the Sideverse.
  • Sunk due to global warming. Hurley said they could help prevent it from happening in 1977 in Some Like It Hoth but since the Pastaways left, global warming does occur and the rising ocean makes the Island seem sunk.

Raising/Lowering the Island

Given that the Black Rock was found inland, there may also be an up/down (sink/float) switch for the island.

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


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