Richard Alpert's items. ("Cabin Fever")

In 1961 or 1962, Richard Alpert presented a five-year-old John Locke with a test involving six items. Alpert placed a compass on a table with five other items, asking Locke to identify which "already belong to him". A time-traveling Locke had previously given Richard a compass, a compass that Richard would return to Locke years later, in 2007.

Young John selected a container of granules and the compass before settling upon a knife. Disappointed, Richard collected the items and left, leaving a dejected Locke with his angry foster mother.


4x11 Mystery Tales.jpg
The comic book and knife. ("Cabin Fever")

Cultural references

Richard Alpert's compass.
  • The test given to young Locke by Richard Alpert resembled the Tibetan Buddhist ritual used to confirm a reincarnated tulku (the Dalai Lama being the most widely known). (Religion and ideologies)
    • In the Season 3 DVD commentary for "The Man Behind the Curtain", Richard Alpert was described as someone who was not interested in leading the Others but was very influential in finding and selecting a leader. In the commentary for "The Man Behind the Curtain", he was described as being similar to a Panchen Lama choosing the next Dalai Lama. He and Ben kept each other in "check" by having the power to pick/veto each other's replacement on the Island. Ben's role would be to pick the next Panchen, should the need arise. This kept the two in a sort of balanced power relationship. They were allies, yet they had some measure of control over the other should one get out of hand.
Community content is available under CC BY-NC-ND unless otherwise noted.