Lost: The origin of the Numbers, revealed!

15058__lost_l_2With your help, readers, we’ve solved Lost! Again! And just in time for a soul-crushing monthlong hiatus.

Stop reading right now if (a) you don’t want your mind blown and (b) you prefer to remain in the dark about the origin of the mysterious recurrent Numbers.

I’m proud to say I can take some credit for this one. My recap of last week’s episode included a link to a page about Ayers Rock, Australia’s famous magnetic mound. (It figured big in last week’s episode.) Now, I wasn’t smart enough to understand the full impact of that link, but luckily, Ed Markel was. He submitted the following to our illustrious Doc Jensen, expert on all things Lost.

"The magnetic field of Ayers Rock was not strong enough to heal Rose, but the mag field of the Island was.  The numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 are points along the Becker-Hagens Planetary Grid System.  It’s all kind of complicated and strange, but the final answer is the Island is located exactly at point 42 on the grid — it’s about halfway between Australia and the east side of the African continent.

"This magnetic stuff is pretty weird, if you read it all — and there’s a lot of it — but the whole mystery of Lost is contained in these pages.  Everything.  The Dharma symbol — the octagon — is a Becker-Hagens grid. I’m kind of sad now that I have solved it, no more mystery."

No more mystery, Ed? Oh, I doubt that. Unless you’re proficient in New Age sciento-theology, there are quite a few things left mysterious. For instance: Why are all the castaways magnetically attuned to the island? How did "magnetic fields" bring a small airplane all the way from Africa to the Southern Indian Ocean? And does Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt know about this theory? Is he behind it all? Does this explain why I get his songs stuck in my head?

More explanations, please. Clearly, we’re going to need the full power of the collective consciousness to crack Lost. And after that’s done, maybe we’ll move on to priority two: world peace.


Comments (60 total) Add your comment
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  • krushgroove

    And this solves the mystery of the numbers…..how? Sure all of the numbers appear on that grid, but so do all the numbers between 1 and 60. 42 is halfway between Australia and the east side of the African continent. So? Why 42? Why not 23 if they went so far off course? Meh, another theory debunked….

  • Eric Blade

    Yeah, uh-huh.
    All the numbers are also retired Yankee’s jersey numbers.
    And they add up to 108 which is the number of stitches on a baseball. And the number of beads on a rosary.
    The numbers have no basis in reality, they pulled some random numbers, perhaps for all we know, FROM the yankee’s retired jersey list, just because they needed 6 numbers.

  • Visa2

    Scott Brown, that is hysterical, Scott Brown.
    But, Scott Brown, could not more univeral truths and realities been somehow been thrown into the mix, Scott Brown?
    And you, Scott Brown, the very sly Scott Brown, do note imaginary magnetic co-ordinates in relationship to the mystery of the island, do you Scott Brown, compare and contrast this Amazing Story, with the similiar Magnetic Field Equations on the Map inside the blast door? Well, do you Scott Brown? Scott Brown, are you there?
    Do you deny, Scott Brown, that the viral pregnancy of Katie Holmes is somehow not uncompletly unrelated to those who chose not to see the clear pattern between Lost and the fabric of those who are not crazy, Scott Brown?
    Scott Brown, the most accomplished author of EW magazine—- (to which I subscribe–can you get me a magazine discount–or a comp, take note, please, Scott Brown?)—- you must dig much deeper into the mysteries of Lost for us, your loyal followers, we, the cult of Scott Brown.
    Scott Brown, until I type things back to you I remain….
    Scott Brown

  • peggy

    krushgroove is correct, numbers 1-60 are too on the grid. Are you forgetting (a few months back), the writers of LOST confessed that even they don’t know what the numbers mean? They’re making this show up as they go along. I’ve “lost” interest in what had the potential to be an intriguing show.

  • Tim L

    I always thought priority 2 was Tom Cruise…damn my life has gone astray.

  • brandonk

    Why would the plane be between Africa and Australia when it was flying to Los Angeles? They may have been off course, but that’s a little extreme. It explains the little plane, I guess, but not the Oceanic flight.

  • Drew

    It may not be right, but at the very least, it’s something to think about. Only the show’s creators know.

  • Zach Smith

    The creators have said that the numbers do not have a “meaning”. Their only importance is that they constantly reoccur. Do your homework.

  • marbalbc

    I’ve been posting this theory (in more detail) since early in the first season. I also have to agree with the poster above who said all numbers from 1 – 60 are on the grid.l I wouldn’t be using that as my ‘proof’ of the theory. I also disagree with you on which grid point they are at, but the theory is the same. We’re on the same page, anyway! :) http://o.forums.go.com/abc/thread?threadID=1007135

  • ivan

    It’s an interesting addition to the stockpile of Lost theories, sure, but I’d agree with the other posters here that it’s a much too soon — and too incomplete a solution — to suggest that the numbers have been solved. (Unless, of course, it was a facetious statement; those don’t always translate well online.)
    In the meantime, here’s another interesting link which seems to help in linking the number 108 to satellite revolutions and the Swan station:


  • John Locke

    Well, no.
    Do you honestly think–if in fact this is THE “solution”–that the writers could pull off explaining this to an avg. audience even with two hours? Talk about New Age sciento-theology.
    Hello! We’re talking America here! People aren’t going to dry swallow this any easier than they would Doc Jensen’s gagged up Aaron Theory. This is pretty heavy stuff we’re dealing with, and by “pretty heavy” I mean “pretty-hard-to-understand-for-the-average-citizen.”

  • Lehcarrebrab

    FYI, not all of the numbers correspond with retired Yankees.
    While the number 42 was retired throughout all of Major League Baseball (in honor of Jackie Robinson, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, not the Yankees), the Yankees themselves never retired that number.
    I don’t believe in the ‘retired Yankees theory’ – for one thing, there are a lot of other numbers that are also retired from the Yankees: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 (it was retired twice), 9, 10, 32, 37, 44, and 49.
    If that theory is correct, why weren’t any of those numbers used, then?
    The magnetic field theory makes a bit more sense – they’ve already established that the Dharma Initiative was conducting experiments in magnetism. And, there’s that great big electromagnet in the Swan bunker.

  • nacho

    Flights to LA leave Sydney (east coast) and fly, North east. The island at #42 would be about a 6 hour flight directly west.
    I think not.

  • Mouse

    Last time I checked, The Island was in the Pacific Ocean, not the Indian ocean. Good try, guys, but you won’t be able to decode LOST that easily.

  • JamesCho

    I’ve said it before…. The numbers are part of the geographic measurements of latitude and longitude!
    In Google Earth, Search for N4.815, W162.342 and you will find the location (granted there is no land mass) but the location meets the roughly 1000 miles off course explanation from episode 1p2.

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