The Lost Blog

The Lost Experience Explained

By Cecil Rose

Alvar Hanso's letter at www.thehansofoundation.org OK, "Lost" fans, hang with me. This may be long, but I'll try to keep it as concise as possible, yet give you a taste of what the real obsessives spent the summer doing. WARNING: Some people may consider some of the things discussed below to be spoilers. I don't really think so, because I doubt the show is going to repeat all the information revealed, but it certainly provides background for what we do see. Nevertheless, you might want to skip past this post if you don't want to know anything outside the actual TV show.

The Lost Experience began with "commercials" inserted into the show. These led you to Web sites such as the Hanso Foundation. Astute Web users soon discovered hidden portions of the Web site, aided by clues found in other sites advertised on the show, inside commercial tie-ins for Sprite, Jeep, Monster.com and others. The story, not told directly but hinted and indirectly displayed, was that the Hanso Foundation was not the benevolent entity its publicity claimed, but a sinister organization with ulterior motives. The alterations in Hanso's site were revealed to be by a mysterious hacker with some inside connections, named "Persephone."

Among the things hinted:

  • Alvar Hanso had disappeared and the Hanso Foundation was under the control of the dastardly Dr. Thomas Mittelwerk, VP.
  • The Hanso Foundation was involved in genocidal medical experiments in Southern Africa.
  • Experiments were conducted on mental patients in Iceland.
  • Mittelwerk's academic credentials were fake.

More information was delivered by many disparate means:

  • A telephone number given for the Hanso Foundation.

  • A book published in May ("Bad Twin"), supposedly by a passenger on Flight 815, Gary Troup (anagram of purgatory)
  • References (including a video interview of 'Troup' on Amazon) to an earlier book "The Valenzetti Equation," all copies of which had been bought up and suppressed by the Hanso Foundation.
  • Distribution of actual "Apollo Bars" chocolate bars, some of which contained clues.
  • An internet DJ's actual podcasts.
  • Appearances by Hugh McIntyre, Hanso Foundation public information officer, on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

  • Appearances by Rachel Blake at ComicCon in San Diego (more about Rachel below).

Get the idea? Enthusiasts were pushed all over the net, and to actual events looking for clues. Fast as they were discovered, many were shared on blogs, Web sites, Wikipedia articles, and elsewhere.

In June the Hanso Foundation shut down its own Web site, declaring it had been hacked and was closed until further notice. Again the astute discovered clues in the HTML source code of the shut-down notice. These led to what was supposedly a blog by a young girl named Rachel Blake, detailing her summer vacation in Europe. Nothing in the Lost Experience ever being what it seems, more searching soon revealed that "Rachel" had left video traces of her real quest (to expose the Hanso Foundation) all over the net. This led to lots more searching to find the various parts of her video diary. She spied on Mittelwerk, researched libraries and public documents, and finally made a video of Mittelwerk expositing most of the "truth" to (apparently) new the Hanso Foundation trainees.

So what did Rachel uncover?

  1. It all began with the mathematician, Enzo Valenzetti. Sponsored by the UN after the world almost went to nuclear war in the '60s, Valenzetti developed an equation that predicts the exact date the human race will extinguish itself.
  2. The Valenzetti Equation has six terms. The constant coefficients of the six terms are (you guessed it) 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
  3. In order to avoid the extinction of the human race, some scientific means must be found to alter one or more of the terms of the Valenzetti Equation.
  4. Wealthy industrialist Alvar Hanso (AH) formed the Dharma Initiative to find a way to alter one or more of the Valenzetti Equation's terms (Dharma stands for Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications).
  5. Each station on the island is the center for researching one term. The groups are to work in secret until they make a breakthrough and signal it to the world.
  6. Mittelwerk says the Dharma Initiative failed, but the Hanso Foundation (under him) keeps searching for a way to change one of the core values of the Valenzetti Equation.
  7. One of the ways they are doing this is by infecting villagers in Africa with a virus, pretending to treat the disease, then examining the bodies of the villagers after they die. This process will kill ("optimally") 30 percent of the villagers.
  8. Mittelwerk likens this to a triage operation to "end all war, famine and disease."

The "active projects" list on the original Hanso Web site suggests that the six Valenzetti Equation terms (and six Dharma groups/hatches) were concerned with:

  1. Mathematical forecasting.
  2. Wellness/disease prevention.
  3. Mental health.
  4. Electromagnetic research.
  5. Genomic advancement.
  6. Life extension.

The following is a video that culminates the game:

Or is it the culmination? The shut-down Hanso site was altered again to contain a letter from Alvar Hanso, stating that he had been released from imprisonment thanks to the efforts of his daughter, Rachel Blake, and had returned to resume control over his corporation, wresting it from the Mittelwerk regime. In addition, Google searches on "Benjamin Linus" have turned up some very interesting sponsored links.

So now you have a hint of what all that burned computer time revealed. If you've been involved, you may have become overly obsessed –- a real Lost Experience junkie.

How can you tell if you've become a little too obsessed with the Lost Experience?

  1. You click randomly all over every Web site you visit, or slide the cursor around looking for hidden links.
  2. You read way too much fine print looking for slight changes in typography.
  3. You click 'view source code' on every Web site looking for clues.
  4. Your significant other is ready to trash the computer.
  5. You have WAY too many "Lost" bookmarks.

In the course of all this running around, I've encountered a good many Web sites chock full of information, both about the game and the series itself. Did you know that people out there (with better equipment than mine) have deciphered all the jungle whispers and posted scripts? Looking at the scripts and listening to MP3s of the whispers, I'd say they've done a pretty good job. I can't hear all the words they claim, but enough are audible once you know what to listen to, that I believe they've caught it. Others have produced detailed correlations about every fact, event, location, and character in all the episodes. Wikipedia has a fantastic set of linked articles on "Lost", and the Lost Experience, especially. There's a whole wiki out there specifically for "Lost" (Lostpedia).

A word of caution if you want to follow around some of the Lost Experience links. There are a lot of hoax Web sites out there. Misspell a legit site by one letter and you may be looking at an apparently legit but actually bogus site put up by a fan or a disinformation spreader.

And, of course there are several other recappers out there. One of particular note is Television Without Pity, which recaps a number of shows. Nearly as good as our dear Mac, but not as well organized -- mostly a straight narrative retelling of the events (with some speculations). Reading this will make you appreciate the trouble Mac takes to organize his "key points" format, and how much structure that brings to a sometimes confusing show that jumps around a lot in time and location. And note that these guys take six full days to get their recaps up, whereas Mac's right there the next day – still the champ!

So here's a few links to get you started if you want to get some flavor of the game:

These few links just scratch the surface. For a limited period of time (until Nov 16th) I will send anyone who emails me at lostjunkie@earthlink.net my "Lost" bookmarks. These are loosely organized in topics, but I don't guarantee the correctness of all the categorizations. I do guarantee you can sink an incredible amount of time following them and all the places they lead. The bookmarks will be in a standard Microsoft Outlook Export Bookmarks .htm format, 32k.

Good Luck, and Namaste!

-- Cecil Rose

Kudos to Cecil for assembling this phenomenal recap of the Lost Experience. I know I speak for many when I extend a big THANK YOU! -- mac

#1. Posted by: mac at November 7, 2006 1:09 PM

I always wondered what you looked like. :)

#2. Posted by: meg at November 7, 2006 1:50 PM

This is incredible....Thanks CR!

Does anyone know, and can anyone explain, how it is scientifically and mathematically possible to alter the core value of a number? How would this change the outcome? Or is this just a plot point for the show and no one can actually do this?

#3. Posted by: Vikki at November 7, 2006 2:11 PM

Great re-cap, thanks for sharing!

#4. Posted by: SarahC at November 7, 2006 2:36 PM

BRAVO BRAVO

ENCORE

ENCORE

Great job Cecil.

#5. Posted by: Mr. Grimm at November 7, 2006 3:13 PM

@Vikki

Actually, changing the core values of an equation relates well to one of my theories about Lost.

In his book Schild's Ladder, Greg Egan describes a group of scientists (far in the future), who accidentally create a 'vacuum' in space, the physical rules of which are stronger than those of a normal vacuum. In essence they created a new set of physical laws in this region. In the novel the region (because of the stronger rules) expands, threatening to engulf the universe.

My theory is that the Lost Island is located in a region where certain laws of nature are different from those in the real world, and the the Island Rules are stronger.

Let me use an analogy. Imagine a large container of water with some sort of turbulance generator moving the water round randomly. Now, imagine that there are many black specks floating around in the water - most of them black pepper say, and a small amount of iron filings. All the black specks move about pretty randomly.

Now, imagine that you suspend in the water a powerful magnet. This attracts the iron filings. Importantly, if you zoom in on a small enough group of pepper and filings, the motion will still look random, even though an overview will show the non-randomness of the iron filings' movements.

Bringing this back to the Island, I see the water as the world, the magnet as the Island, and the pepper and filing as people. But what, then, is the equivalent of the magnetic effect?

Who is drawn to the Island? It seems to be either people who already have some connection to it - because of someone they know (e.g. Desmond and Penny Widmore, Eko and his brother); because of something they've encountered (e.g. Hurley and the numbers); because of something they can do (e.g. Jack and Ben's tumor) - or else people who are apparently unconnected.

I believe that the Island has a force of attraction based on information. A similar force seems to exist in the real world, but on a very weak scale - we call it society. I think that on the Island this force is exponentially strengthened, to the point where everyday happenings on the Island would seem like conspiracy in the real world.
And, because of the strength of these rules, I think they can act on the outside world, drawing linked people and things to the Island. An important point is to note that on a small scale, for example in one person's life, the effects of the Island could be discounted as chance. It is only when a plane full of such people crashes that the chance of chance becomes unreasonably small.

Wouldn't such a force appeal to people trying to alter the fundamental factors in human society? Would we live in the same way if a natural law connected ALL the dots for us?

Who knows?

Good Luck, and Namaste = Locke's a Goddamn Tuna

#6. Posted by: Danny at November 7, 2006 3:25 PM

@Vikki:

>Does anyone know, and can anyone explain, how it is scientifically and mathematically possible to alter the core value of a number? How would this change the outcome? Or is this just a plot point for the show and no one can actually do this?

Well, it's a little pseudo-scientific, but plausible. Whereas physics equations like the universial law of gravitation or Einstein's famous

e=mc**2

have actual, measurable physical constants (the "c" in the above stands for the speed of light in a vacuum, 186,000 miles/sec). These don't change, so far as we know, although our increasing knowledge changes the actual values we assign to them. See the history of "Hubble's Constant" (rate of expansion of the universe) for a 'constant' that has changed considerably in the last 80 years.

One would expect the Valenzetti equation to be more sociological, and therefore the "constant" terms to be some measurable aspect of human activity, say reproductive rate (children per woman per lifetime) or average human lifetime, or average IQ.

These 'constants' are really the sum total of a lot of individual behavior. If you can change something about that behavior, perhaps you can change the constants in the equation. Of course, as would-be rulers over the centuries have found, it can be extremely difficult to change human behavior.

Nevertheless, it can happen. The human reproductive rate usually falls as societies become more affluent, witness what is currently happening in the US and Europe. Making a change in just the direction and amount you want, is, of course quite a different thing.

So, to sum it up, it has enough plausibility to hang a good story on, regardless of how sociologists might snort at "an equation that predicts the exact year and month of the extinction of the human race".

Isaac Asimov hung his great Science Fiction 'Foundation' series on such sociological engineering.

#7. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 7, 2006 3:46 PM

Thanks for all the hard work and info! Gret job.

#8. Posted by: Sillygirl0630 at November 7, 2006 4:47 PM

I eko the comment of Sillygirl0630.

Kudos!

#9. Posted by: ButchM at November 7, 2006 5:58 PM

WOW....that is an incredible theory, and so well explained, Danny...and another super informative explanation from Cecil Rose....Thank you both so much. I have a much better understanding now and a stronger foundation to base a few new theories on. Really, I appreciate it immensely....thank you both.

#10. Posted by: Vikki at November 7, 2006 7:37 PM

Now for a more serious comment, after taking the time to read the posing. Great job Cecil!! No wonder this show attracts such an intelligent audience - I have now begun to question whether I possess enough IQ to actually continue posting on this blog! :) (seriously though) I don't even understand most of this. It's a good sign that someone does. There is hope in the world of science.

I will definATELY stick too English along with ButchM.

#11. Posted by: meg at November 8, 2006 8:20 AM

Mac,

Your fame is international. I just got a bookmark request from Portugal. (Hola, Filipe!)

#12. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 8, 2006 10:08 AM

@Cecil -- I'm HUGE in Portugal ;)

mac

#13. Posted by: mac at November 8, 2006 10:15 AM

i believe the list reads as follows, mac:

1) Mac
2) Cristiano Ronaldo
3) Englebert Humperdinck

#14. Posted by: mediaboy at November 8, 2006 10:33 AM

No one seems to have noticed, that the healing influence of the Island may also affect the process of aging on the inhabitants of the Island. Perhaps Benjamin Linus is much older than you suspect.

Just a crumb to nibble on.

#15. Posted by: Neal Mindflood at November 8, 2006 11:52 AM

Have you also deciphered what is being said on the Hanso site, when you move your mouse over the words Hanso Foundation in the third paragraph?

More food for thought.

#16. Posted by: Neal Mindflood at November 8, 2006 11:56 AM

@Neal Mindflood

>Have you also deciphered what is being said on the Hanso site, when you move your mouse over the words Hanso Foundation in the third paragraph?

Click in the word "humanity" in the third paragraph to see a hacked in message from Mittelwerk that indicates the battle is not yet over and hear the words clearly. (Also note the cursor does not change when hovering over "humanity", which is evil, evil, evil of the designers.)

#17. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 8, 2006 1:39 PM

Cecil Rose - Fabulous and so very helpful! Thank you!!!

Mac - I know you get this all the time, but you are amazing and thank you so much for the insight and wit you add to our lives!

#18. Posted by: hookedonlost at November 8, 2006 2:01 PM

@ Cecil

An easy way to find those is to press the Tab key in IE and see if any fields highlight. :D


#19. Posted by: Neal Mindflood at November 8, 2006 2:09 PM

@ Neal Mindflood

>An easy way to find those is to press the Tab key in IE and see if any fields highlight. :D

Oooh. Where were you six months ago?

#20. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 8, 2006 2:55 PM

Hello Fellow Bloggers,

I’m jumping into the throes of this incredible informational dialogue to wish everyone well. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s episode and MAC’S CAPTIVATING RECAP on Thursday . . . except, unfortunately I have to leave town Thursday morning. I have rehearsals all afternoon and a concert on Thursday night and won’t be back until Friday to be able to read and digest both MAC and all the BLOGGERS COMMENTS!

AAAHHHHHHHHHH!

OK . . . Got that out of my system. By the looks of the TV previews, it appears that most of us may have to spend two days in a cold shower before we can even catch our breath for a comment here . . . but nevertheless, friends, have fun over the next 48 hours. I look forward, with eager anticipation, to the emotional turmoil this fall season finale is going to bring on us. And I look forward to your comments as well, MAC.

(I’m still astounded by Sunday night’s Desperate Housewives . . . Whoever saw THOSE gunshots coming? . . . )

What will we see tonight?

#21. Posted by: davidrh at November 8, 2006 3:59 PM

@Cecil, great job!

I think, though, that you pushed me over the cliff. I feel thoroughly overwhelmed with trying to understand what is a clue and what is misdirection and red herring. Sigh. I'm not sure what I'm getting out of trying to understand this show.

Ah well, some answers tonight and ... some more mysteries introduced.

#22. Posted by: Darryl at November 8, 2006 6:21 PM

I never thought I'd see the day when I am nearly ambivalent about LOST, but I think I may be there. The problem is they have gone sooooo far out there with clues, websites, Comicon(!) appearances, that the show has become bloated. sad....so sad

#23. Posted by: Mike v at November 8, 2006 9:26 PM

Some more food for thought. Dharma is a word found in Hinduism and Buddhism meaning essential quality or character; religious law; conformity to law; virtue; and the doctrine or teaching of Buddha.

#24. Posted by: Rodney P at November 15, 2006 5:02 PM

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#25. Posted by: gclqao dwthzic at March 6, 2007 1:02 PM

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#26. Posted by: gclqao dwthzic at March 6, 2007 1:02 PM

Hey,

What is it with girls fighting?

BigMike


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#27. Posted by: bigmike at March 9, 2007 12:42 AM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#28. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 23, 2007 11:57 PM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#29. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 23, 2007 11:57 PM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#30. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 24, 2007 12:00 AM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#31. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 24, 2007 12:16 AM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#32. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 24, 2007 12:18 AM

Has anyone else thought of this...I know it goes deeper then this..but there must be a coorilation to "The Sins of Our Fathers". I have been watching for years and have never seen the web sites or read posts or seen the underground web sites..but after wathing the pre summation tonight..there seems to be a direct link to Fathers. Locks Father being the cause of Sawyers issues. Jacks Father and his faults and being Clares Father, Jin's Father In Law causeing him to have his faults and past, Ben's issues and final killing of his own father and Kate killing her own step father for abuse of her mother. Could the final lesson be...as in the ending of human life..."We pay for the sins of our Fathers?"

#33. Posted by: Erin Bentkowski at May 24, 2007 12:19 AM

Very interesting... as always! Cheers from Switzerland.

#34. Posted by: Dog training at November 22, 2007 2:43 PM

There's a new Lost Experience commercial!! It has showed two nights in a row now at around 3 am. It's just a simple advertisement for Oceanic Airlines....but at the end gives an online site: Flyoceanicair.com

then theres a vid about declaring the passengers deceased.. something about flight attendent sonya... and then another banner for find815.com

here theres a little interaction just follow the directions :)

#35. Posted by: nina at January 3, 2008 3:46 AM

hint: check the eyes (possible anagram) and the mole.

#36. Posted by: nina at January 3, 2008 3:50 AM

My favourite pharma supermarket
world-pharma.pillsfm.com
WBR,
Alex

#37. Posted by: luckylucker at March 19, 2008 9:02 AM