Monday 29 April 2013

The LOST Conspiracy - Part 1

In past articles, I have written at length about the power of the mainstream media, particularly film and television. The medium has a huge influence over the lives of most people. It often establishes unrealistic goals and societal norms, influences our beliefs and views of history overall, incorrectly informs us about the affairs and cultures in other countries… in fact there is very little it can’t do to anybody who is receptive (i.e.: a big majority of the global population!) Prime time shows are particularly notable. Those “programs” that air when people are at their most relaxed, settling down for the evening and putting their feet up seem to have the greatest effect. There are very few examples of shows that reach a large audience and do not indoctrinate the viewer in some way or another.

In the last few years, the tone of fictional drama has shifted dramatically. Gone are the days of shows that dared to comment on something worthwhile. There is now a slew of crime shows, series based around military units or intelligence agencies, down and dirty programs that lean heavily toward “realism”. Central characters that are no longer heroes, with the emphasis now shifted onto characters to which we can “relate” (one of many buzzwords often heard from industry insiders.) The documentary style is also very popular. Sadly, a large amount of the blame for this (although far from exclusively) lies with the cultural zeitgeist created after 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror”, homeland security, regime change- style world in which we live.

As somebody who is fascinated by television and film as obvious tools of mass misinformation and distraction, I have been curious to see if any one specific media artefact can be singled out as a contemporary turning of the proverbial tide. This began with identifying the “big players”… writers, producers and directors who are currently the “go to” people. The most notable bunch appears to be “The JJ Brigade” – consisting of JJ Abrams, Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, Bryan Burk, and so on. If these names are unfamiliar to you, then a slightly similar analogy would be the American Zoetrope gang from the 1970s – Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, etc.

“The JJ Brigade” has been involved with a huge number of films in the last several years: “Super 8”, “Cloverfield”, “Prometheus”, the reboot of “Star Trek”, being just a few examples. They cut their teeth in television with shows like “Alias” and “Fringe”, but the big hit that really launched their eventual movie careers was (Disney’s) ABC’s “Lost”.

The show had a very simple and hardly original central premise. A plane crashes on a desert island and the survivors have to rally together to stay alive. Initially, two factors made the show a global hit. The first was a cast of largely good looking castaways, all of whom had very questionable pasts. These were illustrated by narrative plot devices known as “flashbacks”, giving the viewer glimpses of the characters’ lives before the crash. The second factor came in the form of an island full of mysteries to be uncovered, such as: vicious natives, visions of dead people, a radio signal that had been broadcasting for 17 years, polar bears running wild in the jungle and a human-mangling monster that took the form of a column of black smoke.

“Lost” was an instant and huge hit. The broadcast of the pilot episode broke records for viewing figures, the show was picked up in dozens of countries and many of the actors (including Mathew Fox and Evangeline Lily) became overnight stars. The show garnered huge followings thanks largely to some shrewd marketing. The internet was used to full effect to create viral videos and commercials advertising the fictional companies (such as “Oceanic Airlines”) that featured in the show. The producers also took advantage of the “mystery” angle within the show, creating clues that lead to exclusive websites and viewing material. Most notable was a wealth of internet material revealing information about “The Dharma Initiative”, a scientific research community that once existed on the island which abandoned several hidden research facilities known as “hatches” or “station”.

The Dharma angle truly captured the imagination of the internet community. A number of fans came to believe that the show was some sort of conspiratorial experiment that, perhaps, such a group had once existed in the real world! Documents relating to The Dharma Initiative were “leaked” online (actually as part of an online RPG-type game) in a realistic manner. The “previously undiscovered footage” phenomenon was used to create online viral videos. A “conspiracy of silence” regarding the island, the plane crash, the survivors, etc., was perpetuated across the internet. Fans of the show researched meticulously and uncovered clues as to the true nature of “The Island. This in turn led to further “revelations”. Realistic looking business websites advertising jobs for The Dharma Initiative, The Hanso Foundation, Mittelos Biosciences, Oceanic and Ajira Airways, and so on, were created by those involved with marketing and producing the show. The reaction cemented a huge internet based following dedicated to the mysteries on offer. Latching onto the positive reaction to this “conspiracy theory” motif, the producers decided to go even further.

In the shows fourth season, a conspiracy was built around the original concept of the “plane crash” and construction began on a fictional “cover-up” surrounding the events. “The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies” was a companion ‘mockumentary’ to the series, billed as a controversial underground expose questioning the survivors’ stories. The show begins: “Disclaimer: The following video was received from an anonymous source.” The piece is presented as a “60 Minutes” style investigation into the “Oceanic Six” narrative and presents evidence (in the form of aviation engineering and scientific experts, etc.) suggesting some kind of cover-up or conspiracy of misinformation on the part of the authorities, the media, the survivors, etc. It is very similar in style to several of the early alternative investigative films that were created by certain members of the 9/11 truth community. The ‘mockumentary’ concludes, “whoever is behind this colossal hoax had to have had unimaginable financial backing and a co-operation at the highest levels of power… a level of power that could only point to the United States Federal Government, the United Nations, or an unknown organisation with unparalleled international reach.” The piece is available on disc 6 (bonus material) of the Season Four, region 2 DVD box set.

“We thought, you know, this show really needed a conspiracy buff who is basically saying ‘I believe this plane, on the bottom of the ocean, is a sham and I’m going to the island to prove it because maybe there are survivors out there and I can stop feeling so guilty for not having flown the plane that day’” (Damon Lindelof – co-creator/ executive producer of Lost.)

This “conspiracy buff” became the new character Frank Lapidus, a fan favourite. “What if I was to tell you that the plane they found in that trench wasn’t Oceanic 815… you know those nuts that think the moon landing was faked? This is like that… only real. Can you imagine what would happen if we found some of those people alive?!” (Frank Lapidus to Sayid)

Further riffs on the “conspiracy theory” appeared in the show. “Now here’s a funny thing. This black box comes from Oceanic Flight 815. A salvage vessel recovered it from the bottom of the ocean… it was found with the wreckage of the plane along with all 324 dead passengers. That’s not the complete story… given the fact that you (the genuine survivors of the crash) are standing here… breathing. The wreckage was obviously staged. Now can you imagine what kind of resources and manpower go into pulling off a feat of that magnitude? Faking the recovery of a plane crash? Putting 324 families through a grieving process based on a lie? But what’s even more disturbing… Where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies? (Gault, Captain of the freighter sent to the island by Charles Widmore.)

“It’s a phoney. A man named Widmore put it down there and he staged the whole wreck… because he doesn’t want anyone else finding out where the real plane ended up, except for him. The cemetery in Thailand where Widmore dug up 300-odd corpses… the purchase order for the old 777 that he brought through a shell company, and the shipping logs for the freighter he used to drop the whole mess down a trench deep enough to guarantee that no remains will ever be identified.” (Tom, aka Mr Friendly)

Alternative researchers may find something about this overall concept eerily familiar. The producers understood this and took advantage of it. Knowing that the number of “conspiracy theorists” was growing, especially after 9/11, they found it too irresistible to not take advantage of. On a personal note, I do think it is a shame that many people will expend extraordinary amounts of time and effort invested in concepts that are total fiction, yet they have no time to even contemplate the genuine cover-ups that do exist throughout history. Alas, this is largely the world we now live in.

However, there is something “genuine” hidden in plain sight within “Lost”. In order to understand the dark underbelly of the show, it is important to draw upon those areas within alternative research that do exist. Phenomenon like mind control, numerology, and masonic and occult imagery align far more closely with the show than most people might ever realise. For an alternative researcher, it is worth taking the time to have a look at the series, if only to gain some insight into the mechanisms that are utilised to build modern cultural mythologies. The use of deep rooted ‘mystery school’ type beliefs crouched in post-modern reinvention of concepts like existence, faith, society and culture is a curious (if somewhat disturbing) thing to behold. I have gathered together a sizeable (but by no means complete) list of examples of this phenomenon within the show.  If nothing else, it should demonstrate the ability of certain individuals within the mainstream entertainment industry to hide their tools where anybody (if they take more than a casual look) can see.

The writers on “Lost” had a fascination with promoting the concepts of synchronicity and “centrality” or “six degrees of separation”. This was extended to encompass the idea that nothing is coincidence. In the pilot episode, Charlie Pace has plasters on each finger of one hand, on which he writes “FATE”. He subsequently changes this to “LATE”. The series conveys the message that no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid destiny. There is nowhere to escape to. Freedom, second chances and self-determination are addressed. Change is often thwarted by individuals or circumstances. Quotes: “Destiny is a fickle bitch” (Benjamin Linus) “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate” (John Locke)

There are also overtones of balance (old life/new life, episode titles: “Man of Science, Man of Faith” & “Hearts and Minds”) and rules which must be adhered to. Quotes:  “It’s all about Karma. You make bad choices and bad things happen. You make good choices…” (Bernard) “There are rules… rules that cannot be broken.” (Dr Marvin Candle)
The overarching narrative about the battle between good and evil, light versus dark, is portrayed as another form of balance.

The “Lost” writers also felt the need to reinforce the concept of hierarchical structures and certain individuals being detached from the majority. Quotes: “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honour those whom they have slain” (Ben quoting Dostoyevsky) “Everybody has a boss” (Sayid) “The nice thing about sheep is they’re predictable” (Sawyer)

The Man in Black says (referring to humanity), “They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt… it always ends the same. They’re greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy and selfish.” Jacob replies, “So why do you live amongst them?” The Man in Black responds, “A means to an end” (MIB)

It is revealed that the oriental writing, which forms part of Jack Shephard’s tattoos, translates as: “He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us.”

Egyptian, Masonic and Occult Iconography
In an interview with Michelle Rodrigues (who played Ana Lucia Cortez) she discussed the use of symbols and themes, “you know… numbers are interesting. Alchemy could have something to do with it too. I think they use a lot of alchemy in the show. They hint at it… they hint at stars and signs and masonry. A lot of that stuff is in there.” The show is littered with references to masonic (and by extension Egyptian mythological) themes and iconography.

The series begins (as do many subsequent episodes) with the camera focused on a single opening eye. One of the later characters to be introduced, Mikhail, has a black patch over one eye and is first seen in a close up of his uncovered eye on a close circuit camera monitor. In the third season, Locke builds a “sweat lodge” (masonic lodge?) to “talk to the island.” Quotes: “I’ve looked into the EYE of this island and what I saw was beautiful.” (Locke)

Several owl references are made throughout, including an owl ornament on the bookshelf of Dharma Initiative spokesman, Dr Marvin Candle. One of the main characters names is “Sun”. The Smoke Monster concept shares themes with Shakespeare’s masonic play “The Tempest”.  It also shares a similarity with the “Id Monster” from the sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet”, which is also based on “The Tempest”.

One of the aforementioned Dharma stations is called “The Tempest”, the logo of which is a large wave. Another is called “The Hydra” (as in the mythological creature) and has an ‘octopus’ logo. The most well-known station, “The Swan”, has a dome interior constructed of triangular and hexagonal sections (the company logo for “Mittelos Biosciences” also comprises two hexagons.) There is a mural painted on one of the walls containing several masonic images, including “the all-seeing eye”. The station also has a “countdown” counter above the doorway. Inhabitants are compelled to key six numbers into a computer every 108 minutes to reset the counter. On one occasion when this almost doesn’t happen, the panels reveal five Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Three of the glyphs are red on a black background; two are black on a red background – masonic colours.

The island natives have a “temple” shaped like a huge Inca pyramid with internal and external glyphs. On the shore of the island, once stood a towering Egyptian statue. The head wears a crown, has pointed ears and a snout (like a crocodile). In each hand, he holds the “Ankh” totem. Some fans speculated that this was a representation of Anubis, the “gatekeeper”. When the character of “Hurley” (Hugo Reyes) first arrives at the temple (in season six) he carries a guitar case. The case contains, not a guitar, but a sizeable wooden “Ankh”. In a scene where Hurley is in the psychiatric hospital he is shown painting a picture of an Egyptian Sphinx.

The domain of Jacob (guardian of the island) is located beneath the ruins of the statue and decorated with Egyptian images. Jacob is witnessed sat at a spinning wheel, weaving an odd looking tapestry which includes the Egyptian “winged-eye”, complete with “worshippers”. The “flight wings” pin of the plane’s dead captain is highlighted in the pilot episode. This is very similar in design to the Egyptian “winged-eye.”

As Jack cleans the blackboard in the Dharma Barracks Classroom, he wipes away notes from an Egyptian history lesson: “Old Egyptian 2600bc to 2000bc. Tripling Ideograms, phonings and determinates. Middle Egyptian 2000bc to 1300bc. Classic stage of language. Late Egyptian 1300bc to 700bc…”

As an aside, the character of Juliet reveals that all of “The Others” (the island inhabitants) can speak fluent Latin: “Gotta learn Latin… language of the enlightened.”

Black & White
The “masonic” chequer board, “black and white” motif is also prevalent. In the opening of the pilot episode, the viewer is taken with the main character (Jack Shephard) from his initial “awakening” on the island, via his attempts to help the desperate survivors crawling about the plane wreckage on the beach, through to him sitting down to tend to an open wound on his abdomen. It is a long scene beginning with the first thing he sees – a white shoe hanging from a tree, and ending with him sewing up his wound using “standard black” cotton.

In a dream sequence, later in season one, John Locke is shown having one white coloured eye and one black. When Locke is properly introduced, the young character of Walt asks him if he is playing chequers. Locke says it is backgammon and holds up a black and white piece - one in each hand. Quote: “It’s the oldest game in the world… that’s older than Jesus Christ… Two players, two sides, one is light, and one is dark.”

When we meet Desmond Hume for the first time, we see the speedometer on the exercise bike he is using. The speedometer is a chequered black and white flag design. When Charlie Pace is seen, desperately trying to hide his heroin stash (on the plane), he puts it in his shoe. The shoe is a black and white chequer pattern design. Kate Austin’s first “vision” on the island is of a black horse. Several locales and pointers are introduced throughout the first season: The Black Smoke Monster, the columns of “black smoke” fire, the “Black Rock” slave ship and “The Dark Territory”.

The island’s protector, Jacob, is always seen wearing light coloured clothes and has fair hair. His brother (and rival opposite, as is eventually discovered) has dark hair and clothes, and referred to only as “the man in black”. In the apartment of the nefarious character, Charles Widmore, hangs a painting which includes a set of “justice” scales. One scale contains a black object; the other contains a white object.

Continued in part 2...

Part 2 -
Part 3 -

Books available from Carl James:
Science Fiction and the Hidden Global Agenda - Volume One -
Science Fiction and the Hidden Global Agenda - Volume Two -
What Really Happened at the London 2012 Olympics -

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