Main Article Theories about
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.



  • In A Tale of Two Cities, Ben tells Ethan and Goodwin to make lists in 3 days. They both seem to know what he means by this, indicating that the Others have had to do something like this before (perhaps with Danielle's team and/or DHARMA Initiative members)
    • These lists may have been intended to be comprised of people that Ethan and Goodwin already knew. In other words, Ethan would have listed Locke, since they met in a previous time, during "Because You Left". Both of them may have listed survivors that we will later see meeting Ethan and Goodwin in a time prior to the crash. Since they can infer these people time travel later in life, they're listed as being important.


  • Being "On The List" (See "Par Avion" - Mikhail tells Kate she's "not on the list" and she's "flawed") may refer to a specific DNA string or sequence that's compatible with the Island's special power. It may even relate to a multitude of "ideal" factors required for "island compatibility". Ben appeared to have no great interest in Locke (he was apparently too angry to be the "ideal type", and therefore not on the list) until he realized Locke's apparently inherent connection with/understanding of the Island.
    • Ben may have been interested in Locke before that, but hid it from the rest of his people since he knew it would lead to some, such as Richard, looking to Locke as a potential new leader, as he implies in "The Brig".

2x22 PresentingTheList.jpg

  • There is something about the passengers of 815 that makes them uniquely different from the non-DHARMA Others. Mikhail's statement "You're not on the list because (looks at Kate) you are flawed... (looks at Locke) because you are angry... (turns to Sayid) and weak, and frightened." implies that there is something Mikhail's group has or is capable of that the passengers of flight 815 do not or cannot comprehend. Some possible interpretations of Mikhail's statement:
    • Each of the people he is speaking to has all of the flaws he lists (anger, weakness, fear)
    • Mikhail is listing the individual flaws of Kate, Locke, and Sayid.
      • It is possible that Mikhail, being noted as strongly loyal to Ben, is merely regurgitating that which Ben has said about Kate, Locke, and Sayid. --Roger.barret 07:27, February 26, 2010 (UTC)
    • Mikhail is describing the flaws of everyone that was on flight 815.


  • The lists are simply a tool by which Jacob and/or MIB keep track of, and manipulate all of the people involved in what Jacob calls "progress." (noting, as some have suggested, that MIB may have provided lists through deceptive means). It was not necessary that the Others had a list from Jacob naming Sheppard, because the steps necessary to make Sheppard a contributing piece in the "progress" have/had to occur in such a way that those steps lead to Jack's personal realisation; that is, if you believe Jacob (noting that the truth may reveal that Jacob is the great deceiver). Additionally, the lists determine whether or not certain pawns needs to stay in the original timeline (which is actually the alternate timeline). If they do not need to stay in the original timeline (actually the alternate timeline) they can be killed so they merge back to the alternate timeline (which is actually the original timeline). Juliet last statement "it worked" hints that she merged into the alternate timeline (which is actually the original timeline). And Sawyer decides he is not going to kill Jack because he seems to be aware that Jack would merge into the alternate timeline (actually the original timeline) if he killed him.--Roger.barret 07:19, February 26, 2010 (UTC)

Good and Bad

  • It's unclear how exactly the Others define "good" and "bad".
    • The difference between "good" and "bad" might not be as literal as the Others have implied.
    • Due to the revelation of the Temple as a holy place, and its connection to Egyptian mythology, the distinctions between "good" and "bad" may be more in line with ancient times.
      • Depending on the mythology, either Osiris or Anubis would weigh the heart of a person against a feather; if the heart was too heavy, due to guilt, flaws, or misdeeds, it was consumed by a demon.
        • From this, Ben could be a "good" person even though he has murdered, stolen, and kidnapped because in his conscience he believes that he has done if for the island.
        • Sayid, Kate, Locke, and Jack were all omitted from lists devoted to sifting "good people" because of personal weaknesses, guilt, and anger, which they had not come to terms with. With these critical character flaws, they were not "good" people.
  • This list contains "bad", not "good", people.
  • The purpose of the lists is something other than sorting "good" from "bad" people, as the Others claimed.
    • This is supported by the fact that Locke is not on the list, even though Ben said he was coming for him.
      • The list could have been a way of allowing Locke to become the leader of the Losties by eliminating opposing forces.
      • That depends on which list you are talking about.
      • Of course, most everything Ben says is a half-truth at best, especially at this point when the characters are so unaware of and vulnerable to Ben's constant lies..
  • The list could indicate which side the person would choose to fight for in the war.
  • The lists were part of an extended DHARMA project in social utopia, used to select "good" people from "not good" people and relocate them for the purpose of creating homogeneous groups.

Goodwin's list


  • I think there are two Goodwin's lists. One that he made of all the Tailies and brought to Ben, and another which had the names of the Tailies that the Others wanted.
  • Only a few were taken on the first night at the tail-section camp, as Goodwin presumably had little time to "assess" them for his list. 9 more were taken a week later, once Goodwin had the chance to get to know the survivors, according to Ana Lucia. However, if this is true, it's interesting that the children were taken in the second raid and not straight away, suggesting that the Others do not, in fact, take all children without exception, but rather need time to consider their "goodness" just as they do with adults.
    • Goodwin, however, suggests to Ana Lucia that the first raid was to eliminate potential threats, meaning that only the second raid had anything to do with taking "good people". Goodwin's reliability on this matter, of course, is debatable.
    • Also, The survivors tried to defended themselves in the first attack (Mr. Eko specifically), so The Others may have wanted to get the kids on the first raid, but were forced to retreat with only three.


  • Those who were taken on the first night weren't taken by the Others at all. Rather, some other group was responsible for the first kidnappings. This explains why the kidnappings were such a failure (with two Others killed by Mr. Eko), seeming rushed; usually, the Others are much more effective and efficient. This is an alternate explanation for why the "listed" Tailies were taken in two batches, rather than just one; if the Others had simply kidnapped everyone they wanted to in one fell swoop, they would have had a much easier time of it, as the Tailies wouldn't have been expecting anything. This seemingly counterproductive first kidnapping thus may imply different factions of Others.
    • Unlikely, as the Others have been shown to fail numerous times (as seen with their botched planned kidnapping of Sun and their inability to keep Claire) so it is plausible that the first attack on the group really was an unexpected failure.
    • It has been revealed in the same episode as Sun's attempted kidnapping (Season 2 - Episode 13 - The Long Con) that it was in fact Sawyer & Charlie who grabbed her. As for the debacle with Claire, Ethan acted on his own impulses when it was discovered he was is not a flight 815 passenger, and we are to assume that Ben is the mind behind how The Others infiltrate the survivors. It is a possibility that it was a third fraction, but it is more likely that it was simply The Others, & they were inexplicably unsuccessful.

Michael's list

2X22 KlughList.jpg

  • Jack was only needed to do the spinal surgery on Ben.
  • The Others were familiar with the love triangle between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer; they brought all three so that they could manipulate Jack, Kate, and Sawyer's relationships with each other to ensure compliance.
  • Sawyer was needed for some special, unexplained reason. Pickett once said to Sawyer, "If they didn't need you, I'd kill you."
    • Sawyer was taken by Ben for manipulation between Jack and Kate.
  • Kate was needed only to make Jack cooperate.
    • Sawyer was needed so that the Others could threaten Kate with something if she tried to escape, and vice versa. This is similar to Sayid's plan to take two Others so that they would force each other cooperate. Indeed, Sawyer and Kate's escape attempts are foiled several times by their unwillingness to leave the other behind.
      • In "Not in Portland", Pickett says that Ben would rather die than let Kate and Sawyer go. If all they wanted from them was to make Jack cooperate then they wouldn't have needed them so bad, especially now that Jack was already performing the operation and definitely not over Ben's life. Juliet is also hesitating on letting them go, although that might be just because she is looking for a reason to let Ben die.


  • Sawyer and Kate were needed so that the Others could initiate a possible pregnancy to study. Since Kate is not a "good person", and she is young, she makes a perfect test subject for Juliet.
  • Hurley was on the list solely to deliver a message to the other Losties.
    • Hurley was chosen for this duty because Ethan's reports indicated that Hurley is one of the most trusted and well-liked of the Losties.
    • Hurley was chosen because the Others see him as a complete non-threat: they knew that Hurley wouldn't attempt to lead an uprising amongst the Losties, that he is easily manipulated, and that he is generally nonviolent and laid-back.
    • Hurley was chosen because he looks up to Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, would be awed by the Others for capturing them, and wouldn't risk their lives (or his own) by disobeying.

1X02 HurleySayid.jpg

    • Hurley was chosen because of his size. Being large, Hurley would be slow getting back to the beach, buying the Others the maximum amount of time to bring Jack, Kate, and Sawyer to the Hydra before their message was delivered.
  • Hurley was on the list because he is secretly one of the Others, and the Others wanted a convenient excuse to check in with him. See Hugo "Hurley" Reyes/Theories for more details on this theory.
    • This explains why Hurley, unlike Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, wasn't shown being zapped by the Others. He and Michael were both in league with the Others, so it would be unnecessary to knock him out.
    • This also explains why Hurley was willing to go with Michael, despite still being in mourning for Libby. Although his implied motivation is a desire to get revenge on the Others, this contradicts his later willingness to easily comply with the Others. (Though on the other hand, this may be because he blames Michael more than the Others for Libby's death.)

1x18 hurley.JPG

  • Hurley was on the list because the Others knew or suspected that he was "special" somehow, or were aware of his connection with the Numbers.
    • The Others planned to experiment on Hurley, and did some quick tests on him while everyone was knocked out. However, they didn't find anything unusual about him, or they didn't need his kind of "unusualness" anymore, so they let him go. (Their reason for doing this may be related to their reason for letting Walt go at the same time.)
    • On the Island, Hurley's "curse" actually makes those in close proximity to him lucky. The Others knew of this, and asked for Hurley to come in order to ensure Jack's safety while he crossed the Island.
      • When Hurley plays Sawyer in horse-shoes, it is Hurley who seems to be "lucky", not Sawyer.
    • Hurley's "curse" protects him from direct harm. The Others knew of this, and asked for Hurley to come because they knew he'd be safe on the return trip to deliver his message. Other potential messengers, traversing the jungle on their own, might have died.

2X18 HurleyLibbyKissing.jpg

  • Hurley probably wouldn't have been chosen if the Others had known that Libby would die, since her death gave Hurley a potential motivation to rebel.
  • Everyone on the list has had visions while on the Island: they have found their "White Rabbit" on the Island.
    • Hurley has seen Dave.
      • The Others may have let Hurley go when they learned that his visions were just psychotic delusions about a made-up person, whereas Jack, Sawyer, and Kate, like Ben, all saw (or heard) real people who had died.
    • Jack has seen his father, Christian Shephard.
    • Sawyer believes Frank Duckett has manifested himself in multiple forms (whispers, boar).
    • Kate believes that Wayne talked to her through a wounded Sawyer and manifested as a horse.
    • Ben may have been curious about the visions because of his own vision of his mother. This would also explain the Others' interest in Walt appearing where he shouldn't be.
      • There are other people on the island who have had visions (like Eko, for example) and yet they were not on the list. Also, if that would be the case, it wouldn't make sense why they let Hurley go.


  • Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are on the list because their biological fathers are dead. The Others seem interested in paternity, as Ms. Klugh wanted to know the relationship between Michael and Walt, and Ben later wanted Locke to kill his own father.
    • Jack's father drank himself to death in Sydney.
      • That was an apparition of the monster to lead Sawyer to murder?
    • Kate killed her biological father.
    • Sawyer's father shot himself when Sawyer was a child.
    • Hurley's father is presumed alive as per his flashbacks in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead". This may be why he was let go. (Though it doesn't explain why he was on the list in the first place.)
    • This doesn't explain why Claire and the many other Losties whose fathers are probably dead weren't on the list.
      • Claire's father is Christian Shephard - he is either still alive or being used by the island through apparitions. Since Jack was on this list, Claire could-would have been too.
  • All of these people have been on the island before, as in during the 70s. Jin is the only person to exist in the 70s and not be on the list.

4x01 SayidChoosesASide.jpg

    • Sayid was on the island in the 70's too.
    • It's clear that the young Ben and possibly Ethan will know who Kate Austen, Jack Shepard and Hugo Reyes are since they are using their real names when they join the Dharma Initiative. James is using his real first name and LaFleur is close to Ford. These are all names on Bea Klugh's list. The young Ben also knows who Sayid is. Ben knows they will be a significant part of the islands history because he lived through it as a child.

Jacob's list


  • Jacob's list could be referring to the list of passengers that were supposed to be on flight 815. This is supported by the fact that Danny says "Jack wasn't even on Jacob's list", since Jack had to argue with the ticket agent in order to get on to the flight.
  • All four of those confirmed not to be on the list had left the island and had to get back because they were supposed to be there
    • Kate was also said not to be on "the list" (presumably this is also Jacob's list). She, on the other hand, was brought on the Island.
  • Jacob's list might have nothing to do with the Losties at all, except for some mere coincidences - these being the people that were kidnapped by the Others during the first couple of days after the crash (after comparing the lists of survivors with Jacob's list). References to the list made by Mikhail suggests that Jacob and his list both predate the crash.
  • Jacob's list is a list of prophecies describing events that will occur to the Others.
    • The lists of the tail- and mid-section survivors were compiled for cross-referencing with Jacob's list to determine if any of the survivors played an important role in these future events.
  • The Book of Life is a list of names of all those who will live eternally. Interpretations vary as to how ones name appears in the book, but the main theories are that the names are either those who have received salvation, those that have overcome evil, or those who were identified before the beginning of time. Given that Jacob took for himself the name of the nation of Israel, his list may identify those who will survive on the Island.
    • Equally plausible, Jacob's list in the context of DHARMA may mean the opposite. If some names appear in Jacob's list, then obviously all of the other names would make up a second list. Thus there are really two lists. This is consistent with the theory that Jacob's list contains names of bad people.
    • At the time of the Apocalypse, the archangel Michael will rescue everyone whose name is written in the book, a possible connection to Jacob's list. His is the only Lost character with a Biblical name that appears in both the Hebrew-Jewish Bible and New Testament, suggestive of his return to the Island with a specific purpose to save those on the list.
  • Jacob's list is a list of the time-travellers on the Island. We know that Jack, Kate and Sayid are not on the list and they are three of the Oceanic Six, that are not travelling through time.
    • Jack, Kate and Sayid are confirmed to have time-travelled as of Namaste.
    • However, it's unclear if Jacob's people would know this as they were only together in Dharma a short time.
  • Jacob's list is a list of people who are NOT important. Locke, Jack, Kate, Sayid, etc. all have made very important impacts on the island. They would not have done any of this had not Jacob been capturing (or killing) all of the useless people. Jacob is setting up his own endgame, and he had to do a little spring cleaning in order for it to play out smoothly.
  • Jacob's supposed list could not have come from Jacob at all. It may have just been part of Ben's pretense that he communed with and received instructions from Jacob.
  • Jacob's list is mentioned several times by Danny and Mikhail. But we all know the cabin of Jacob had been invaded by MIB, appearing as Christian Shephard. What if this Christian guy gave the list, probably to Alpert, but deliberately missed out on our Losties, because he had hopes the Others might kill them. As soon as they were in the Temple, they were saved.

Ben's List (post island)

The paper inside the ankh was another list

  • In "LA X, Part 2", it is revealed that the guitar case Jacob left with Hurley contains a wooden ankh, which itself contained a message from Jacob to Dogan. After reading it, Dogan asks for the full names of all survivors present (Jack, Kate, Jin, Hurley, and Sayid).
    • The paper Dogan read was another list.
    • The list was from Jacob.