The Lamp Post was a DHARMA Initiative station located in a basement chamber beneath a church in Los Angeles, California in the United States. The station's purpose was to determine the Island's most probable location in space and time and identify windows of opportunity to travel there. It was the only known DHARMA station to exist off of the Island, other than the Initiative's headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ("316")
The Lamp Post station was the means by which the DHARMA Initiative originally located the Island, and was the first of the stations to be built -- so likely the station was constructed somewhere in the late 1960's or 1970. The station was built in Los Angeles over a pocket of electromagnetic energy linked to other similar pockets all over the world. Through monitoring or manipulation of this energy, the Initiative was able to deduce the location of the Island. The pendulum was added later by a "very clever" individual who realized that in order to find the Island, it was not a question of where to locate it, but to determine where it was going to be at a given point in time. ("316")
The Lamp Post also served a role in the periodic resupply drops sent to the Island. An automated system periodically sent the coordinates of the Island to the DHARMA Logistics Warehouse in Guam, from which a pallet would be loaded and sent by air to the Island.
The Lamp Post was staffed by at least one person until the end of the DHARMA Initiative following the Purge. However, the station continued to function automatically following its abandonment, periodically locating the Island and transmitting its coordinates to the warehouse in Guam. ("The New Man in Charge")
It is unknown if the church was built by the DHARMA Initiative, although it does provide a simple way to hide the Lamp Post.
Although built by the DHARMA Initiative, at some point control of the station fell to Eloise Hawking, one of the Others living off the Island in 2007. Eloise refered to DHARMA in the third person ("They built it"), indicating that she was not a member of the Initiative. It is not clear how she came to become the caretaker of the station -- although given the Others' goal of preserving the Island at all costs, they would have a strong motivation in keeping this place a secret from the outside world and preventing its use by anyone else. Eloise's duties at the station are also unknown. It is possible that the Others continued to use the station in returning to the Island from the outside world. ("The Lie") ("316")
It seems likely that Charles Widmore did not know of the existence of the Lamp Post, or was blocked from using it in some way, since he undoubtedly would have used it to further his goal of locating the Island.
2007 (Season 5)
Ben took Jack and Sun to the church. There they met up with Desmond, who had also been looking for Eloise, per Daniel Faraday's instructions. The four of them went inside where they were greeted by Eloise. She then took them below the church and into the Lamp Post. Using the station, and notes from Daniel's journal, Eloise instructed them on how they could return to the Island. She identified a single flight that was going to fly right through the "window": Ajira Airways Flight 316. She explained that this flight would be the only way back to the Island. ("This Place Is Death") ("316")
The station was located entirely underground beneath a church in Los Angeles, California.
A large church concealed the entrance of the Lamp Post. In a back room (past a door marked "High Voltage"), a spiral staircase descended into a short vaulted hallway to a large hatch door emblazoned with the station's logo: the entrance to the Lamp Post. A number of what appeared to be thick electrical cables were bundled along one wall. ("The Lie") ("316")
The pendulum chamber
The interior of the Lamp Post
The Island's coordinates changing
The Lamp Post appeared to consist of a single large circular chamber, the floor of which was largely occupied by a giant map of the world. Hanging directly over the map at the center of room was a large weighted pendulum (very similar to a Foucault pendulum) tipped with a piece of chalk. The pendulum was constantly in motion - swinging in long graceful arcs back and forth across the room creating marks on the map below. Several loudspeakers were visible at various points throughout the room. A number of alcoves were set around the periphery of the chamber - most containing other machines and computer mainframes - including one bank of instrumentation that looked like a seismograph.
One of these alcoves contained an elaborate electronic switchboard set into the wall, which was updated periodically, displaying sets of latitude and longitude coordinates. A small light on the lefthand side of the panel may have identified the most probable location of the Island at a given time.
A photo of the Island taken for the U.S. Army. ("316")
Another alcove contained a large chalkboard mounted on the wall. Pinned to the top of the chalkboard was a large black and white photo of the Island. The caption appeared to indicate it was taken by the U.S. Army in September 1954. The photo was marked as being top secret.
A final alcove contained a desk and several file cabinets. Atop the desk were a number of binders and an Apple desktop computer (similar to those seen on the Island at the Swan and the Pearl). Eloise Hawking was observed to use the computer briefly which displayed a map of the world with several locations highlighted that corresponded to those drawn by the pendulum on the chamber's floor. The computer beeped and a message appeared: "EVENT WINDOW DETERMINED." ("The Lie") ("316")
The logo on Hawking's computer
The Lamp Post was first hinted at from a logo released in the course of the alternate reality game Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project. A Dharma Special Access e-mail described it as a "yet-unseen Dharma station", and the logo was visible for a split second at the end of the Dec. 9, 2008 video with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
The Lamp Post logo on the Ajira Airways website
The logo was seen again on the Ajira Airways website. After entering the flight booking system and selecting seats, the 35th seat selected causes the logo to be visible for a brief moment on the sidebar.
|Picture||Name||First visit||Last visit||Reason for Visit|
|Eloise Hawking||"The Lie"||"316"||Had been working in the Lamp Post for a long time, attempting to locate the position of the Island.|
|Ben||"316"||"316"||Had been working in conjunction with Eloise Hawking for an unknown amount of time in attempting to get the Oceanic Six to return to the island. It is unknown if he only worked with her after acquiring her name from John Locke, or if he already knew of her and killed Locke to protect her and the station.|
|Jack||"316"||"316"||Visited station along with Ben and Sun in order to learn more information about returning to the island from Eloise Hawking.|
|Sun||"316"||"316"||Visited station along with Ben and Jack in order to learn more information about returning to the island from Eloise Hawking.|
|Desmond||"316"||"316"||Visited station in order to find Daniel Faraday's mother, Eloise Hawking.|
- The name of the station is a reference to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia. In the book, a lamp post marks the passage between Narnia and our world. The Lamp Post serves a similar function with regard to the Island.
The lamp-post in Narnia
- The lamp post in Narnia was explained in book six of the The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician's Nephew. In that story, a prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and featuring the creation of Narnia, a young boy named Digory discovers a "place between worlds" that allows him to visit other worlds by jumping through pools. He awakens Jadis, who then returns to London and wreaks havoc, eventually tearing a bar off a lamp post before she and the children end up coming to a new world that is just beginning to be created, Narnia. Aslan is in the process of creating the new world when she attacks him with the bar. He ignores the attack, and she throws the bar away, where it plants itself in the ground and begins "growing" into a new lamp post. Both the "jumping into pools" and using the lamp post as the lone connection to the outside world seem related to Narnia.
- Going to and from the town of Twin Peaks, Dale Cooper stays at a hotel called the Lamplighter Inn. He suggests another FBI Agent, Albert Rosenfield, stay at the Lamplighter Inn on the way to Twin Peaks.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Lamp Post/Theories
- When was The Lamp Post constructed?
- Who was the "clever fellow" who installed the pendulum?
- How is the pendulum used to determine the location of the Island?
- How did the U.S. Army photo of the Island come to be posted at the Lamp Post?
- How and when did Eloise become the caretaker of the station?