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The Monster; also known as the Smoke Monster by some of the characters; Cerberus by the DHARMA Initiative; the nickname "Smokey" by fans; or, according to Ben, as an entity for which the Others have no name; is one of the central mysteries on Lost. It was introduced as an unseen threat that dwelled on the Island in "Pilot, Part 1", and it has been encountered by the survivors many times since, sometimes attacking people and at other times sparing them. Its appearance is that of a freely-moving cloud of black smoke that can split into several smaller clouds. It produces a variety of loud noises, is capable of uprooting trees and foliage, and occasionally produces brief flashes of bright light which project images from a person's past. It can also take alternative forms, including human, through which it can communicate verbally with the people it encounters. Its origin and true nature are still unknown, but its primary role seems to be that of a judge of sin, as Ben has sought it out to receive judgment for his actions, and Eko was killed by it for refusing to repent for his past wrongs. It is also presumed to be a guardian of sorts, as Danielle and Robert have referred to it as the Island's "security system," and Ben has demonstrated the ability to summon it in order to protect against threats to the Island. Its connection to both the Temple and an ancient stone doorway suggest that the Monster has existed since the time of the Island's earliest inhabitants, if not longer.


Before the Crash

Ancient Times

MonsterImage

An ancient depiction of the Monster with an Anubis-like figure.

Much of the Monster's early history, including its origin, is unknown. However, it appeared to have some connection with the ancient inhabitants of the Islands, who built a chamber for the Monster below the Temple wall. Among the many hieroglyphs in this chamber was an engraving of the Monster facing what appears to be the Egyptian god Anubis, indicating that the Monster was viewed by the builders of the Temple as a guardian, and possibly even a deity. ("Dead Is Dead")

In addition, the ancient inhabitants devised a method of summoning the Monster, which simply involved draining a small pool in a hidden chamber located in the present-day Barracks. The hieroglyphs on the door covering this chamber, which translate as "to summon protection," further suggest that the Monster served as a guardian to the early Island inhabitants. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

1988

5x05 Montand monster

The Monster looms over Montand.

Venting

Montand pulled into a vent

On their way to investigate the radio tower, the Science Expedition, accompanied by Jin, was attacked by the monster. It silently killed Nadine, then ripped a tree out of the ground, showing similar behavior to its second encounter with Locke in "Exodus, Part 2". The monster then appeared before the team and loomed over Montand, a violinist, making a clapping sound. It then grabbed him and pulled him a great distance to a declivity under the perimeter wall, bearing Hieroglyphs, of the temple area. The French team, with the help of Jin, tried to hang on to Montand, but in the ensuing struggle his arm was ripped off and Montand was pulled down into the declivity. He was heard to call in a calm manner that he needed help, claiming that it disappeared. Robert, Lacombe, and Brennan descended into the opening, in search of their comrade.

It is unknown what happened next, but two months later, Jin found the bodies of Lacombe and Brennan near Rousseau's camp. He then witnessed a confrontation with Rousseau holding Robert at gunpoint, believing he wasn't Robert because he had been changed by the Monster. Robert claimed that it wasn't a "monster" but a security system guarding the Temple. Then, after convincing Rousseau to lower her weapon, Robert pulled up his own rifle and tried to shoot her. He failed because the firing pin had been removed as a precaution by Rousseau. She then immediately shot Robert. ("This Place Is Death")

After the Crash

For unconfirmed or speculated encounters, see The Monster/Theories.

Season One (Days 1–44)

Pilot Part 1 Pilot Dead

Seth's body in a tree

Walkaboutmonster

Locke gazes up at the Monster.

The Monster was the first of many mysteries the survivors encountered on the Island. They became aware of it on the first night after the crash of Flight 815. Loud, machine-like sounds were heard coming from the jungle while trees were seen being knocked over. Rose commented that it sounded familiar to her. When asked where she was from, she replied, "The Bronx." ("Pilot, Part 1")

The next day, attempting to retrieve the transceiver, Jack, Kate and Charlie ventured into the jungle to inspect the cockpit of the plane. The pilot was found alive, but he was abruptly pulled out of the front of the plane by the Monster. He was later found dead, high in a tree, his body appearing bloodied and mauled. The Monster pursued Jack, Kate, and Charlie through the jungle, but disappeared when the rain stopped. During the chase, they hid in the roots of a banyan tree, which appeared to repel the Monster. The Monster was also heard by Rose and Claire from the beach at about the same time, with Claire commenting, "There it is again." ("Pilot, Part 1")

Three days later, Locke was in the jungle hunting for boars when he got his first close-up look at the Monster. As it approached him from above, Locke stood his ground and faced the Monster. Locke was unharmed by the Monster and had some kind of spiritual awakening as a result. He initially told Michael that he did not see it, but later told Jack, "I've looked into the eye of this Island... and what I saw was beautiful." ("Walkabout")

When Locke later told Eko about the experience, he said he saw a beautiful bright light; however, Eko said that is not what he saw, although he did not say what he did see. ("The Cost of Living")

On day 6, while Jack was chasing an image of his father, the Monster's noise could be heard as Christian appeared among the trees. Following Jack's discovery of the caves, Arzt attempted to dissuade Hurley, Sun, Jin, and Michael from moving there. As Arzt told them about seeing Jack chase after his father, they heard the Monster's roar in the jungle, prompting Arzt to change his mind about moving to the caves. ("Arzt & Crafts")

BooneCryingShannon1x13

Boone cradles Shannon after she is "attacked" by the Monster in a hallucination.

Nearly three weeks after Locke's encounter, the Monster appeared to Boone in a hallucination brought on by a drug that Locke applied to his head.

In Boone's vision, the Monster chased after him and his sister, Shannon. When it began chasing them, the Monster appeared to shoot-out of the ground and could be seen for a split second. This was the first visual appearance of the Monster in LOST. The two escaped its first attack unharmed, but the Monster eventually returned to attack them again. This time, it caught Shannon, who was lagging behind Boone, and lifted her off the ground. Boone, already a distance away from Shannon and the Monster, was unable to do anything but watch in horror. Boone later found Shannon dead, mutilated, and covered in her own blood. ("Hearts and Minds")

The Monster's actions inside Boone's dream appeared to be consistent with its behavior outside of the dream, even though Boone had never encountered the Monster. After the fatal attack in the dream, Shannon's body resembled the body of the pilot. The Monster coming from underground is also consistent with its attack on Locke that happens 20 days after Boone's dream. ("Exodus, Part 2")

According to a Season 1 deleted scene, Charlie told a number of survivors about the Monster killing the pilot, so Boone may have heard these details from Charlie.

The Monster wasn't encountered again for almost three weeks. On their way to the Black Rock, a group comprised of Rousseau, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate, and Arzt were chased by the Monster in the Dark Territory. They hid behind some large trees where Rousseau declared they were "safe". Jack asked Rousseau what had chased them and she referred to it as a "security system". Jack asked her what it did and she told him, "Its purpose is that of any security system; to protect something." Kate then asked what it protected and Rousseau replied, "The Island." ("Exodus, Part 1")

Exoduspart2monster

The Monster disappears after being attacked with dynamite.

Later the same day, while carrying the dynamite from the Black Rock back through the Dark Territory in order to blow open the Hatch, the group was chased again by the Monster. This was the first time the Monster was actually seen, aside from the glimpse in Boone's dream. It first appeared as a small wisp of smoke witnessed by both Jack and Kate, moving swiftly through the trees at a short distance away. This was followed by the usual noises and explosions coming out from the ground and the uprooting trees. ("Exodus, Part 2")

After his past encounter with the Monster, Locke was confident he would not be harmed and decided to approach it instead of running away. However, this time the Monster did attack him and knocked him to the ground. After looking up in horror, Locke stood and started running frantically. He was then "grabbed" by the Monster and dragged across the ground by his left foot. Jack was able to grab Locke by the arms as the Monster attempted to pull Locke into a hole in the ground. The black smoke was visible around Locke's ankle in two shots as he was being pulled into the hole. Locke told Jack that everything would be all right and told him to let him go. But Jack refused, ordering Kate to get the dynamite from his backpack and throw it down the hole. When she did so, there was a large explosion and Locke was released. The cloud of smoke was then seen dissipating as it retreated from the group. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Later, Locke describes what he saw as "a column of black smoke" ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")

Season Two (Day 50)

2x10 Eko Monster

Mr. Eko confronts the Monster.

Six days after attacking the group in the Dark Territory, Charlie and Mr. Eko encountered the Monster. Eko first saw the Monster briefly as a quickly passing wisp of black smoke, almost identically to how Jack and Kate first saw it a week prior. Later, while Charlie was in a tree, a variety of noises were heard surrounding Eko, as he turned in circles trying to identify the sound. The familiar noises of the Monster were heard and it appeared, uprooting trees in its wake. Charlie was alarmed at the sight and urged Eko to run, but Eko stood his ground. As the Monster hovered just inches before Eko's face, several images from his past flashed within the cloud, almost like lightning and seemingly timed to the clicking noises it made. The Monster then narrowed and shrank itself dramatically as it receded back into the ground. Charlie described it as "a creature made of swirling black smoke". ("The 23rd Psalm")

Season Three (Days 71–82)

Yemi vision

The Monster appears as Yemi

Three weeks passed without an encounter, until the Monster manifested itself as Yemi, Eko's dead brother. It appeared before Mr. Eko several times, and told him that it was time for him to be judged. While Eko made his way to the Beechcraft, Yemi's final resting place, the Monster could be seen as wisps of smoke, circling Eko from a distance. It followed Eko quietly, as if stalking him, not unlike how animals stalk prey. To test Eko, the Monster manifested itself as figures from Eko's past who exclaimed that it was time for him to be judged. When Eko rested at a riverbank, it crept up over his shoulder and seemed about to envelope him when Eko saw its reflection in the water and stood up sharply. The Monster pulled back quickly into the Jungle just as Locke burst out of the foliage looking for Eko. ("The Cost of Living")

Costofliving

The Monster grabbing Mr. Eko

Later that day, Eko found the crashed Beechcraft and again encountered the Monster appearing as Yemi, who asked Eko to confess for his past sins. Eko then proclaimed that he is in-fact not sorry for anything he has done, nor does he seek forgiveness from Yemi. The Monster, as Yemi, replied, "You speak to me as if I were your brother," then turned and disappeared into the jungle. Following the figure into the jungle, Eko encountered the Monster as the familiar cloud of black smoke, which had notably expanded to over 40ft in height. It seized him with a tentacle-like appendage and proceeded to repeatedly slam Eko into trees and the ground, mortally wounding him. The Monster disappeared when its noises and the sound of the attack alerted Locke and the rest of his group who were nearby in the Pearl. Moments later, Eko died in Locke's arms after whispering his last words. When asked what he said, Locke replied, "He said we're next." ("The Cost of Living")

Nine days later, after Nikki threw a spider on Paulo, the chattering noises of the Monster were heard as a large group of spiders appeared and bit Nikki. Both Nikki and Paulo were paralyzed and mistaken for dead. They were accidentally buried alive, which ultimately resulted in their deaths. After much speculation, these noises, and the subsequent spiders, were confirmed to have been manifestations of the Monster in the Official Lost Podcast of March 21, 2008. ("Exposé")

3X15 MonsterJuliet

The Monster is repelled by the sonic fence

The next day, Kate and Juliet were handcuffed together in the jungle. They begin physically fighting each other and just after Kate significantly hurt Juliet, the Monster was heard. They stopped fighting and ran, as the Monster began chasing them. Juliet pretended not to know anything about the Monster and the two hid from it in the roots of a banyan tree, as Kate previously did back in Season 1. While it apparently could not hurt them while they were behind the roots, we saw a shot from the Monster's point-of-view as it looked upon them. A series of bright flashes of light appear to come from the Monster and are directed towards the two women. The flashes are intensely bright, as if they were from a camera flash, strobe light, or lightning. After these flashes end, the Monster retreated and left them alone. ("Left Behind")

It is unknown if these flashes were similar to what Eko experienced when he encountered the Monster and it seemed to display images from his past amongst its clouds. ("The 23rd Psalm")

The Monster appeared again the next day as three small clouds of smoke, similar to how it first appeared in the Dark Territory in Season 1. The smaller pieces then quickly joined together to form one large cloud and begin chasing Juliet and Kate, once again. This time, before running, Juliet unlocked the cuffs by pulling its key out of her pocket, where she had been hiding it from Kate the whole time. She ran to the other side of the deactivated sonic fence and urged Kate to join her. After she did so, Juliet activated the sonic fence via an electronic keypad. The Monster tried to follow but appeared to be repelled by the sonic fence, as if it had hit an invisible wall. It then retreated back into the jungle after splitting into three different, smaller clouds. The Monster screeched when was repelled. Juliet then commented, "We don't know what it is, but we know that it doesn't like our fences." ("Left Behind")

Season Four (Day 97)

Smoke monster

The Monster is summoned.

Smokemonster arm

The Monster carries off Mayhew.

While the Barracks were under siege, Ben was apparently able to call the Monster through a secret room in his house to attack Keamy and his mercenaries after they killed Alex. The Monster appeared as a single, long, fast cloud that seemed to run parallel to the ground, as opposed to flying through the air, as it has normally been seen. The Monster proceeded to attack the mercenaries while Ben and Locke's group escaped from his house. While only one of the mercenaries was seriously injured in the Monster's attack, it caused a great deal of confusion and panic amongst its victims. Keamy grimly described the Monster as "a black pillar of smoke". During the attack, it tore a tree's roots out of the ground, causing the tree to fall in a manner reminiscent of the falling trees in "Pilot, Part 1". The Monster appeared larger than previously seen, forming a black cloud that swirled around all of the mercenaries. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Season Five (2007)

After returning to the Island, Sun and Frank heard the Monster's distinctive noises in the bushes as they approached the Barracks from the submarine dock. Frank asked what made the noises, and Sun said it was probably an animal. After entering the deserted Barracks, Sun and Frank encountered Christian Shephard, who showed them the old Processing Center. Just before Christian showed them a photo of the 1977 DHARMA recruits (featuring Jack, Kate, and Hurley), a gust of wind blew open the door and a quiet wisp of smoke gathered and exited through the door. ("Namaste").

InsideIt

The Monster judges Ben.

5x12 AlexAttacks

The Monster confronts Ben in the form of Alex to give him a warning.

After returning to the main Island with Locke, Ben attempted to summon the Monster through the ancient chamber in order to be judged. However, it appeared that the Monster never came -- only the impostor Locke appeared. "Locke" suggested that he knew where to find it, so he, Ben and Sun departed for the Temple. Ben and "Locke" ventured down into a hole under the Temple wall, similar to the one where Montand was taken by the Monster in 1988. Ben fell through the ground into an ancient chamber, covered in hieroglyphs, which contained a stone vent below an ancient engraving of the Monster. "Locke" stayed behind, ostensibly to find some rope to help Ben out.

After hearing the familiar sounds of the Monster, Ben watched in horror as the Monster emerged through the vent and surrounded him, with Ben's memories of Alex flashing throughout the smoke. Weeping, Ben acknowledged that Alex's death was his fault, and the Monster, seemingly satisfied with his repentance, retreated back into the vent. Moments later, however, it manifested as Alex, slammed Ben against a pillar and told him to follow and obey Locke, warning Ben that it will hunt him down and kill him should he harm Locke. ("Dead Is Dead")

Known victims

Direct

Picture Name Attacked in Died in Information
Sciencemember
Nadine "This Place Is Death" "This Place Is Death" Attacked by the Monster after venturing into the Dark Territory with the rest of the Science Expedition, her body fell out of a tree after being attacked by the Monster.
Pilot-mini
Seth Norris "Pilot, Part 1" "Pilot, Part 1" Killed by the Monster in "Pilot, Part 1", after explaining to the Survivors that they were a thousand miles off course, and that he had planned to land in Fiji.
Eko-mini
Mr. Eko "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" Killed by the Monster, after its several appearances as Yemi. It seemingly attacked Eko for refusing to confess for his past sins.
Mayhew-mini
Mayhew "The Shape of Things to Come" "Cabin Fever" Attacked by the Monster after Ben summoned it, as a revenge for his "daughter's" killing by Keamy in "The Shape of Things to Come". Died a few days later from severe injuries.


Indirect

Picture Name Attacked in Died in Information
Mini-nikki
Nikki Fernandez "Exposé" "Exposé" Paralyzed by a Medusa spider (confirmed by the Producers to be a manifestation of the Monster) after hearing the Monster's sounds when she threw a real Medusa spider onto Paulo. The other survivors found her in her paralyzed state and, assuming she was dead, buried her alive.
Montand
Montand "This Place Is Death" Unknown Attacked by the Monster after venturing into the Dark Territory with the rest of the Science Expedition, he was dragged into a hole in the Temple wall by the Monster, losing an arm in the struggle. Although he initially appeared to survive the attack, he presumably either died from the injury or was shot by Danielle, believing him to have contracted a sickness from the Monster.


Characteristics

Smoke

The Monster as a wisp of smoke.

The Monster displays a number of unique and inexplicable characteristics. At different times and places, the Monster appears as either a single large entity or a combination of smaller entities. It is unknown why the Monster's behavior changes between encounters.

Polymorphism

The appearance of the Monster has varied between seasons and locations on the Island.

When first encountered by the survivors in Season 1, the Monster could be heard from a great distance and trees were seen falling. The Monster itself was not seen, but it was apparently large enough for characters to refer to it as a "dinosaur". ("Pilot, Part 1")

In Season 1, while in the Dark Territory, the Monster first appeared as small, wispy bits of smoke that flew quietly through the air. Later, it appeared to have footsteps and tried to pull Locke underground. It also dispersed itself rapidly when dynamite was blown-up near it.("Exodus, Part 2")

In Season 2, near the Pearl and jungle locations close to the Survivors' beach camp, the Monster simply floated as a single, large cloud that seemed to be watching and "scanning" Mr. Eko. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Ep2x10-smokecreature

The Monster as a large, single cloud.

Eko encountered the Monster in Season 3 as a large, single cloud on multiple occasions. It also appeared to manifest itself as his dead brother, Yemi, and even engaged in conversation with Eko in this form. Eventually, the cloud sprouted a giant arm or tentacle that it used to grab and thrash Eko to death. ("The Cost of Living")

Later in Season 3, when it confronted Kate and Juliet near the sonar fence, the Monster appeared again as the small, flying wisps from the Dark Territory. The smaller pieces came together to create a larger, single cloud. This singular, large cloud appeared to be repelled by the sonar fence and again split into smaller pieces as it retreated.("Left Behind")

At the Barracks in Season 4, the Monster was summoned by Ben to attack the mercenaries. It appeared only as a large single cloud, but it was shown both slithering across the ground before it attacked, and then also flying around the mercenaries like a large vortex. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

In Season 5, during the time flashes, the Monster attacked Danielle's science team and Jin near The Temple. The Monster slithered along the ground much as it did at the Barracks, but appeared smaller and more similar to a clean-cut column. ("This Place Is Death")

Later in Season 5, when Ben visited the Temple after returning to the Island, the Monster appeared from a stone vent in a chamber beneath the Temple. The smaller strands that emanated from the holes joined together to form a large curtain-like shape that covered much of the chamber's floor. When it fully emerged, its "head" formed from the curtain while the rest of it rose around Ben in a thin vortex. ("Dead Is Dead")

Sounds

The Monster makes a variety of different noises that sound both simultaneously mechanical and biological. Its mechanical sounds have been described by some listeners generally as whirring, clanking, clapping, ratcheting (possibly the sound of the ratchet mechanism of a climbing roller-coaster car), and specifically as the sound of pressurized air being released and the sound of a dot matrix printer printing onto paper. Its biological sounds have been described by some listeners generally as growling, chattering, roaring, and specifically as sounding like a black-billed magpie.

The alarm roar or siren sound that the monster produces is the same as the alarm the transhuman organization The Overwatch uses when chasing Gordon Freeman in the computer game Half-Life 2 (Abrams makes references to this, and other video games, extensively in his other works, most notably in the film Cloverfield).

Rose, who is from the Bronx in New York City, remarked that the sounds were familiar to her. ("Pilot, Part 1")

  • The producers have confirmed they used the sound of a taxicab receipt printer for that particular sound (that Rose noticed).
  • While the produces may have confirmed the sound is a taxicab receipt printer, the ticking sounds identical to the adding machine Locke uses after fighting with his boss in Walkabout. ("Walkabout") The scene is edited to accentuate the sound, as the image fades to black while the sound of the adding machine echoes over the black screen.

Control

Backroom

Ben enters the secret room

The Monster can be summoned via an ancient, secret room inside Ben's house at the Barracks. After entering the room through an ancient doorway covered in hieroglyphs, Ben was able to call upon the Monster to attack Keamy and his mercenaries by draining a small pool within the chamber. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Ben again uses the secret room to summon the Monster, this time in order to judge him. He appears to communicate with the creature by draining a muddy pool of water, and speaking down a hole in the floor. ("Dead Is Dead")

The DHARMA Initiative apparently knew of this room, and possibly its connection to the Monster, since they originally built the Barracks. The positioning of the house on top of an older structure, and the subsequent construction of one secret room leading to another, seems intentional, rather than coincidental. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

The Monster can only be summoned through this method, not controlled. ("Dead Is Dead")

Cerberus

LOST totalback

Jigsaw puzzle glow-in-the-dark blast door map with "CV" references

On the blast door map, several cryptic notations describe a "Cerberus system" along with four instances of the initials "CV". The producers of the show confirmed at Comic-Con 2007 that Radzinsky and Kelvin used the term "Cerberus" to refer to the Monster and that "CV" stands for "Cerberus Vents".

The Official Jigsaw Puzzles also revealed that the "CV" notations on the blast door map stand for "Cerberus Vent". It is assumed that the "vents" Radzinsky and Kelvin were referring to are underground passageways used by the Monster, such as the hole that Locke was nearly pulled into. ("Exodus, Part 2")

On the Lost Dashboard Theme for the Xbox 360, the words "Cerberus System" are in the background of the System Settings page alongside other various Lost-related terms, like Geronimo Jackson, Ben Linus, and Jacob.

In Greco-Roman mythology, Cerberus was the three-headed watchdog of Hades who permitted spirits to enter the lower world and prevented them from leaving. Only a few heroes ever got by Cerberus, including: Orpheus, who charmed him with music; Hercules, who, depending on the myth, either wrestled him into submission or charmed him with kindness; and, in Roman myth, The Sibyl (a prophetess travelling with Aeneas) drugged him and Psyche bribed him with a cake. Cerberus was the child of Typhon and Echidna.

Non-canon appearances

Lost: Via Domus

In the video game, Elliott encountered the Monster several times. Most of the encounters are in the jungle and all occur almost exactly like Jack, Kate, and Charlie's encounter after visiting the cockpit. ("Pilot, Part 1")

The standard encounters happen in the jungle, where the small wisps are first seen, followed by the Monster's signature loud noises. Elliott then runs until he finds banyan tree roots, where he hides until the Monster retreats. On one of these occasions, the Monster attacks Beady Eyes on a tree-fort-like scouting post where he was shooting at Elliott as he ran past in the jungle. ("A New Day")

One of Elliott's encounters is unique, as its the only depiction of the Monster that doesn't occur outside. The Monster attacks Elliott within the caves, but he is saved by Locke before the Monster can get to him. ("Via Domus")

Later in the game, the Monster chases Elliott the distance between the Swan station and the sonar fence. The Monster finally catches up to Elliott, but doesn't harm him. Instead, it hovers in front of Elliott for some time, and then leaves. ("Whatever It Takes") This encounter is almost identically to Eko's encounter with the Monster. ("The 23rd Psalm")

The Monster then leaves and is not seen again in the game. ("Whatever It Takes")

Signs of Life

In the semi-canon LOST novel Signs of Life, Locke, Charlie, Hurley, Jeff, and Michael encountered the Monster while on a boar hunt several weeks after the crash. The group heard the Monster travelling towards them after several hours of unsuccessful hunting and were forced to flee further inland from the Beach Camp.

Locke led the group to a small cliff, which they scaled in the hope of avoiding its oncoming path. Hurley, the last to climb, nearly fell into the Monster's path after sliding several feet down the side of the cliff, moderately scraping the front of his chest and stomach in the process. He managed to regain his grip only moments before the Monster reached the cliff base.

The group discovered a large underground tunnel shortly after reaching the clifftop, where they hid until the Monster moved on. They did not see the Monster during the encounter, although they did speculate briefly as to its origins. ("Signs of Life")

The Lost Experience

In what appeared to have been a "red herring", DJ Dan's podcast on June 14, which was part of The Lost Experience, fielded a call from a scientist worrying about nanotechnology; miniature machines, also known as nanites, that can carry out tasks. The caller suggested that with an electromagnetic field, the machines could work together to form a "storm cloud" that could actually think.

This clearly was a reference to the Monster, but the theory had already been discredited by the producers in the July 31, 2006 podcast, and again in the first DJ Dan Live Broadcast. In this case, it was probably nothing more than an inside-joke.

Lost: The Mobile Game

In the Lost: The Mobile Game for iPods and mobile phones, there is a level where Kate tells you to stop the Monster by taking some dynamite and blowing-up the vent where it is coming out of, in order to save Sawyer.


Trivia

General

  • The Monster has been seen or heard by all the main characters except Daniel, Desmond, Ana Lucia, Charlotte and Libby. However, only Locke, Jack, Kate, Eko, Juliet, Jin, and Ben have had "close encounters" with it.
LockeDrawingSmokey

Locke's drawing of the Monster

  • Richard Alpert took notice of a picture that a five-year-old Locke drew of a man being attacked by a cloud of whirling black smoke. Many fans have speculated that this was meant to be a drawing of the Monster. ("Cabin Fever")
  • When the Monster thrashed Eko to death using its arm or tentacle, the path in which it moved Eko's body was in the the shape of a cross. It first picked his body straight up, then sideways to one tree, sideways again to another tree, and up once more before slamming Eko into the ground. ("The Cost of Living")
    • This is called Signum crusis in Latin, or more commonly known as making the Sign of the Cross.
    • It is unknown if this motion was intentional on part of the Monster or if it has some connection to the fact that Eko was a priest.
    • Notably, Charlie also performed this same ritual before he drowned to death in the Looking Glass. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
  • Cerberus is also the common name for dog-faced water snakes, a genus of water snakes in the Colubridae family.
  • Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have indicated in the February 11, 2009 Lost Podcast that the Cerberus Vent where Montand lost his arm is known internally as "The Declivity in the Temple Wall".

Explanations

Carlton Cuse: Well then, he might be a manifestation that the Island has generated. Perhaps an incarnation of the Monster?

Damon Lindelof: That's interesting. I would assume that that's sort of a theory that people are tossing around. Um… there's several manifestations in that episode. All of them seem to have come from Eko's memory. So, could one assume that when they last faced off, that all those flashes that happened in the Monster cloud, that it was sort of "downloading information" that it might want to use at a future date?

Metaphorically, the Monster was just the great unknown threat, the imminent danger around the corner that potentially haunts us all… Some thought of it as a monster of the id, much like in Forbidden Planet-- that maybe it appeared differently to everyone who saw it. The most tangible thought, as explained later by Rousseau, was that it functioned as a security system set up by the Island’s creators/early residents... For Locke, clearly, the Monster was the "soul" of the Island that was responsible for his "miracle." (LP Interview:David Fury)

Appearances

Sound effects

  • The howling sound is usually in concert pitch A. The frequency of this pitch is 440 hertz. In music, "A-440" is the standard to which musical instruments are tuned.
  • In the voice-over commentary for "The 23rd Psalm" on the Season 2 DVD, producer Bryan Burk confirmed that one of the Monster's sound effects is the receipt printer from a NYC taxi cab. You can hear the sound at this link.
  • This was reaffirmed in the May 21, 2007 Official Lost Podcast, but it was clarified that the mythology of the Monster is unrelated to the cabs and was just a matter of sound effects. This sound effect was heard in the following scenes:

Production notes

  • Some viewers believed that the The Twins (Others) could be amongst the Monster's smoke ripples, but this too was officially debunked in an interview with Damon Lindelof. He said they hired the twin stunt men to be guys on the Others boat, but they were never meant to become important to the storyline. Damon Lindelof said, "We can tell you, sitting here now that twins have nothing to do whatsoever with the mythology of the show." ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • In the production building on the Disney lot where the Lost production has been housed, Cerberus is the name of the safety and fire protection system. The three-headed dog logo can be found all over the grounds.

Producer's favorite fan theory

In February 2007, Damon Lindelof opened a question on Yahoo! Answers about the nature of the Monster. The answer he and Carlton Cuse liked the best was given by user ar233. Out of over 8000 submitted answers, the winner was:

I think the Monster was originally a highly advanced security system designed to separate participants in the experimental DHARMA hatches. I think it was an effect that was designed to frighten people (smoke, noise) if they strayed too far from their experiment location. (A bit Wizard of Oz like) However, the electromagnetic force has mutated it - in the same sense as Desmond experienced time travel and can now see the future after exposure - and made it malevolent and able to physically grab things in its force (Eko, the Pilot, Locke). So in theory it may be able to be deactivated, if they can find the control room for it (which would be another hatch somewhere yet undetected)

The producers' explanation as to why they picked that answer was:

We were amazed at the imagination and prodigious creativity applied to answering the question, what is the Monster? We have chosen our favorite answer. Not that's it’s the right answer. Sorry, but we can't really give away the ultimate secrets of the Monster quite yet. The answer we selected might be somewhat right, totally right -- or completely off-base. But we liked it and found it very cool and intriguing. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in. We loved reading your thoughts -- and thanks for watching! -Carlton and Damon

They later stated they were impressed by how close some of the responses came.

Cultural references

  • Forbidden Planet is a classic sci-fi film based on Shakespeare's The Tempest and was mentioned by writer David Fury when describing the Monster. Its storyline features many similar themes to Lost: a mysterious location, geographic isolation, immense power sources, ancient civilizations, hidden underground facilities, an invisible monster, a stranded crew of explorers, lost scientific expeditions, and deadly psychic powers.
    • The Tempest is a play written by William Shakespeare, that tells the story of the sorcerer Prospero and his daughter Miranda, who are stranded on a mysterious desert island that has mystical properties. Prospero raises a storm, or tempest, which causes a passing ship containing his enemies to run aground. Using magic, spirits and a man-beast creature named Caliban, he separates and manipulate the survivors of the wreck for his own purposes. The play ends with Prospero restored to his former glory.
  • In Stanislaw Lem’s sci-fi novel Invincible, people find monsters in a form of black clouds on a distant planet. The clouds turn out to be swarms of insect-like micro-machines, a new form of life, born through evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines.
  • When the Monster approached Mr. Eko, the sequence resembled the extension of the long column of water from the moon pool in the movie The Abyss. ("The 23rd Psalm")
  • In Dane Cook's "Rough Around the Edges" tour, he references the Monster, calling it a "Smokey Dragon", and wonders why no one ever thinks about it when they go into the woods. (Outside references to Lost)
  • The Outer Limits episode 18 from season 4 was called "Monster" and featured a man named Ford Maddox, who through government experimentation was capable of unconsciously conjuring up a murderous, smoke-like creature using telekinesis.
  • In Dante's Inferno, Cerberus inhabits the Third Circle of Hell, where he torments the gluttonous. Cerberus is described as "black" and as a "great worm".
  • In the anime xxxHolic, the main character Watanuki Kinihiro is plagued by a living black smoke, which follows him around. This black smoke is revealed as "lost spirits", stuck between the living world and the dead. Black Smoke also follows and moves around characters who lie, or who are happy in their own ignorance. Paralleling LOST, some characters see this smoke as a "beautiful thing", while others are fearful and run from it. The smoke also has the ability to grasp on to, and move characters.
  • The British television series Sapphire and Steel (specifically the second "assignment", in the railway station) features an antagonistic, amorphous, shadowy entity known as "The Darkness", the appearance of which is frequently heralded by incoherent whispers. This creature has a particular affinity for the spirits of people killed before their time, and causes them to appear before the living to serve its agenda. Other LOST-like traits displayed by the Darkness include time manipulation, psychokinesis, mind possession, and the creation of apparently solid delusions / hallucinations.
  • Doctor Who: The Face of Evil, from the original BBC series (1976), is set in an alien jungle "haunted" by invisible, roaring, psychic entities that hunt down and kill intruders. They are kept at bay by a security fence of sonic disruptors.
  • Cerberus’ three heads relate to the threefold symbol of the baser forces of life. They represent the past, the present and the time yet to come.[1]
  • In book of Holy Quran it is foretold a kind of punishment in the day of judgment, it is mentioned in the 44th Surah of AlDukhan (The Smoke) verse 10-11:"Then watch thou for the Day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke plainly visible, enveloping the people this will be a penalty grievous".
  • Similarities with the Edimmu in Sumerian Mythology are striking.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Monster/Theories
  • What is the Monster?
    • What is its origin?
    • How old is the Monster?
  • What are the noises it produces?
  • What are the abilities of the Monster?
  • How does the Monster decide whom to kill?
  • Why did the monster drag Locke and Montand into a hole in the ground? ("Exodus, Part 2")  ("This Place Is Death")
  • Did it "infect" Danielle's expedition team? ("This Place Is Death")
  • Is the Monster a "security system" for the Island? ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • What is the relationship between the Others and the Monster?
    • How much do they know about the Monster?

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