Show Theories

Lost Theories
There are many theories about how and why events are unfolding. Check them out and share your thoughts or add a new theory.

Theory on a Cracker

Support for the Theory

Poking Holes

“Purgatory: They’re all dead
In essence: Everyone on the island is actually dead and their actions on the “island” determine where they end up; heaven or hell.
Everyone on the island has a serious set of issues, with the island working at times as group therapy.

Also, Gary Troup, the author of "The Bad Twin" is an anagram for purgatory.
Although this is the favorite theory seized upon by every viewer new to the show, the new evidence of the existence of the outside world destroys this theory. more holes

"The Future Effecting the Past"
In essence: Some major disaster has happened in the future, and some how those in the future have managed to alert some people in the past by sending messages back in an attempt to prevent it. They are altering the past in very many tiny ways hoping that it will cause a chain reaction that will eventually lead to the prevention of the disaster. Everyone on the island has a part, big or small, to play in eventually stopping this disaster.

The island because of its strange magnetic field is somewhere where these future messages are focused so they can be understood, but it leads to lots of strange things happening. This was discovered by Dharma, or possibly the original Others (the Black Rock?)

To some these future messages are just images, random things like the numbers appearing. Other people can understand the messages better, such as the Others on the Island and possibly those on the List. To them they are clearer and they are attempting to stop the disaster.

In the last few episodes the issue of past and present and time have become quite important, especially with Desmond's developing story. Sub-conscious messages from the future could also explain how certain characters and supporting characters seem to know what is going to happen, or why everyone in the show appears to be some how connected.

The future disaster is probably something to do with fertility. The Others have always seemed interested in children, especially Claire's baby. In S3E7 we are shown a scan of a 27 year old with the womb of a 70 year old.

The Others keep saying they are the good guys, which implies they at least believe that they are doing good work. The List they have might be warning about who is useful in preventing the disaster, or who might cause the disaster. It is possible that they have also wrapped the work up in a religious context and believe that they are doing the work of God (if they don't understand who is sending the messages to them)
This wouldn't explain all the spiritual questions in the show, such as Eko's brother appearing to the girl who nearly died.

It also wouldn't explain the Island's monster, as if that is a scientific thing and not just imagination, it is clearly quite advanced.

Abducted by Aliens”
In essence: The survivors are no longer on Planet Earth.

It would explain the monster and all the other strange goings-on. Lindelof shot down that theory cold. “There are no spaceships. There isn't any time travel,” he told

“It’s All in Someone’s Mind
In essence: A variation on the purgatory theory, with everything happening in the mind of one of the castaways. Or perhaps some sort of virtual group therapy in which in
the real world they are all plugged into some kind of matrix. ''That theory is absolutely correct,'' Lindelof joked to EW, ''and the character is JJ Abrams.''

Polar bears, black smoke monsters, people who aren't there and horses that appear out of nowhere would sure make a lot more sense if they're all in the mind of one person. Again, it would rob the actors and the viewers of any real emotional payoff. Lindelof clarified in an e-mail interview at, "This is not a fictional reality that is playing out in someone's brain. To this I say, "Yes. I saw Identity, too. And I did not like it."
This theory received a shout-out, too, in an episode devoted to the premise.

“It’s All a Government Experiment
In essence: Yes, they have all been brought here for a purpose, and the island is functioning as an elaborate Skinner Box to gauge their reactions.
If this were true, some of the inhabitants of the island, probably the Others, know that it is an experiment, because they have information about the castaways and the outside world.

The discovery of the various hatches and the sketchy Dharma Initiative, which is still delivering food to the island, lend credence to this theory. When you look at why the castaways are on the island you will see that each of them has been told to get the flight by someone else or someone else’s influence has had them make that flight. ''It's a piece of a much bigger picture,'' Abrams said back in November 2004. ''It's not the big answer." more support

If each person was handpicked to be on the island, that’s a whole lot of planning and coincidence. If, however, each person is there by chance, the theory holds more weight. more

Also, the plane crashed due to a magnetic surge because of the button not being pressed at the correct time, so how could anyone know the button would not be pressed?

“Everything Happens for a Reason
In essence: All the survivors were fated, as John Locke has said, to be on the flight, and to end up on the island. In other words, the island chose them.

The pre-island connections between castaways keep adding up. And incidents like Claire’s psychic convincing her to take the fatal flight (and playing a part in Eko getting on), Hurley making the flight despite all odds, Jack talking his way (or, his dad's body's way) on board and Sawyer getting deported lend a lot of creedence. more

The producers have said there’s a rational, scientific explanation for everything that’s happened so far, a statement that’s been held up to a lot of skepticism with each passing episode as the faith and mysticism have been piled on. Evangeline Lilly thinks, "Lost is a very big metaphor for every single character's mental state of being, psychological, and emotional state of being ..." more

“The Chosen One”
In essence: Somehow the island, or someone on the island, wanted only one passenger on Flight 815 (perhaps Walt or the unborn Aaron) and arranged for the flight to crash to deliver that passenger to the island.

The Others wanted, and took, both Walt and Aaron, and their ultimate plans for each have not yet been revealed, and possibly won't be, now that they seem done with both. Will they want Sun and Jin's child next?

The Others made a list of people that they wanted on several occasions. If they wanted only one person, the list would consist of only one person.

"The Truman Show Theory"
In essence: All the world's a stage, including the Island, and at the end of the series, the camera crews will reveal themselves and everyone will have a good laugh.

Goes with the "Snow Globe" idea mentioned by Desmond.

Repeated viewings of The Truman Show and Survivor. The videotapes in the Pearl Hatch.

A trick ending like that -- so, Shannon and Boone aren't really dead? -- would present the same problems as the purgatory and matrix theories, i.e. a bummed-out audience. Producer Carlton Cuse has debunked the theory.

"The Time Machine"
In essence: Oceanic 815 flew through a rift in the time/space and are now lost in the past somewhere.

Would a distress signal really play for sixteen years with no one finding it? How outdated are the records in that hatch?

This theory got some big support at the 2006 ComicCon in San Diego. ... more

The records may be outdated, but that I know I'd love to have a washer/dryer as shiny and new as the set they have! We seem to have met Alex now, and she doesn't seem to be 16. With the introduction of Penny, we know (well, assume) that someone's looking for the island.

New Episode "" have proven that it is modern times, with Ben telling Jack that they know about current events and are in contact with the outside world.

"It's Virtual Reality"
In essence: The people on the island are all part of a virtual reality. This could be from playing a game, as in eXistenZ, from being in suspended animation, as in Vanilla Sky or Philip K. Dick's novel Ubik, or due to some evil force consigning them there, as in The Matrix. more

In the season two finale, Kelvin tells Desmond that with the turn of the key, everything just goes away. When Desmond turns the key, the island stays right where it is, albeit with a sky that temporarily turns violet, which may be an homage to Vanilla Sky. Perhaps it was a way to leave Virtual Reality temporarily. Same with when ... more

If this were a game, it is hard to understand the point of it. There is also something arbitrary about the way that Shannon's death was engineered. Perhaps her real-life persona bounced a check paying for her participation?

New Episode - Although Vitrual Reality is still a possibility, it wouldn't have enough of a pay-off for viewers-done to death at the moment.

""The 30% Theory":
The remnants of Dharma Initiative are engineering a virus they think can help them change the Valenzetti Equation (the Numbers) by reducing the world's population.
Much of the Lost Experience pointed in this direction. It neatly ties together virus and Numbers theories. How do apparitions like the smoke monster fit in?
If DHARMA is trying to kill 2 billion people, and others know about this, why aren't they alerting governments? Or is the UN (which originally commissioned the Equation) in on it? In that case, shouldn't the project be better funded/equipped and guarded?
"Man vs. Nature"
The whole plot is a commentary on humankind's place in the universe and the steps that people will go to to feel in control of their surroundings.

See Link

"The Commercial Theory"

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..."

Whoever wrote this crap is an idiot. Please ignore it.

This is not a theory of the plot, but rather an opinion that the producers are merely securing an audience with no real payoff at the end.
LOST is actually a TV show with a storyline that becomes increasingly absurdly complex, like a Rube Goldberg machine. The purpose is to suck viewers in with a mysterious plot by never giving away a sensible storyline.

Despite the shows allusions to philosophers and religions, LOST actually has the intellectual content of a sitcom, and its success is the result of expensive special effects, competent acting, and well paid writers.

It would be a fallacy to actually have a logical theory or truth to the show, because this is not the point of the show, rather the point is for viewers to trying to find the plot, which is half of the entertainment, but the actual "truth" behind LOST is meaningless.

Perhaps the actual truth is guarded so well because it does not exist because it is so empty.
A very unsatisfying ending may result. There are many open ended questions to the Lost show, however this is the very thing that drives viewers to watch again and again. Many questions may be answered in the near future, but laying claims to the 'increasingly absurdly complex' plot says more about your expectations not being met. The truth behind the show is that everyone on the island is lost is some way: physically, psychologically, spiritually, and even philosophically.
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GreenerTweets My theory - Watched up to season 4.2 on DVD-It's a Dimentional Portal 3 Jun 21 2011, 11:59 PM EDT by mike_hik
Thread started: May 4 2010, 10:38 AM EDT  Watch
Just started watching Lost a month ago (all on Blu-ray DVD - on my 12 foot home theater - which is GREAT!)

My theory is that there must be writers from Star-Trek on the show - because this sure looks like a dimensional portal. It is the only explanation - For instance, when Juliet is shown the image of her sister (having survived the cancer and being with her baby, that must have been a dimension where her sister never got cancer!)

I think the people from this island can travel to and from any dimension they want... which explains why they know so much about everyone... I find this show so addicting, that I couldn't wait for the next dvd to be sent from netflix and started streaming the episodes on my computer!

I might be all wrong, since I haven't seen past season 4.2, but I just had to add my 2 cents.

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Anonymous Lost, Continent of Atlantis, Bermuda Triangle 14 Sep 23 2010, 2:21 AM EDT by laura1981
Thread started: Apr 18 2007, 6:33 PM EDT  Watch
Alright, here it goes. The "Lost" island is somewhere in the south pacific (leaving Australia, set for LA). Let's say (suspend reality for a minute) that the Bermuda Triangle is some crazy magnetic anomaly (maybe some kind of "black hole") that creates a wormhole to the other side of the Earth, the south Pacific. By this theory, something goes into the Bermuda Triangle, and winds up on the other side of the Earth. This would explain why Juliette departed from MIAMI, via submarine, and wound up in the South Pacific (and, yes, the Bermuda Triangle is just off the coast of Miami). So now for Atlantis. Some say that Atlantis may have been located around Bermuda (again, please suspend reality). The Bimini Road, found near the Bermuda triangle, is thought to be a remnant of Atlantis (google Bimini Road). This is my thought: Atlantis, because of the odd electromagnetism of the area (true magnetic anomalies in Bermuda Triangle), got sucked down, though some wormhole, and spit back out in the South Pacific. If the "wormhole" exhibits weird electromagnetic properties, that would explain the black rock found on the island, the electromagnetic phenomenon in the hatch, as well as the reason why compasses do not work (the bermuda triangle is one of the two only places on earth where compasses don't point north (well, geographic north) not to split hairs). So, if you were to try to navigate to the island, you couldn't detect it w/ a compass. A plane could get there, if it crashed. Also, this would be an explanation for the slave-trade ship found on the island (slave-trade ships voyaged through the Bermuda Triangle). I'm running out of room, so a few last points: Penny's workers detected SOMETHING they were looking for. And they were stationed someplace REALLY cold, like a POLE (s or n). I think the Widmores are looking for atlantis, and the poles are perhaps the only place to perceive the magnetic anomaly. I'm out of room, so post a reply if there's ANYTHING else
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PhantomGirl Invasion of the Body Snatchers? 0 Mar 23 2010, 9:59 AM EDT by PhantomGirl
Thread started: Mar 23 2010, 9:59 AM EDT  Watch
Is it just me or is this getting to be alot like the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (whichever version you like of it)? I mean when the black smoke (Locke) takes over people (i.e. Claire, Sayeed, etc...) they suddenly do not have any emotions.

At least that's the way I see it.
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