The unnamed entity recently referred to as the Man in Black (also referred to as Brother, Adam, the Monster, the Smoke Monster, the Black Smoke, Jacob's Nemesis, Cerberus and the Security System) is a mysterious inhabitant of the Island who is antagonistic to his twin brother, Jacob. In life he was a middle aged man with dark hair, steely eyes and tanned skin, but an encounter with the Source changed him into a cloud of black smoke. As the smoke, he has the ability to manifest himself as deceased individuals, frequently as his former self, but most recently, and apparently, according to Illana, permanently, as John Locke.

Born on the Island in the Classical Roman era, the Man in Black lived most of his life with the other survivors from his mother's shipwreck. He tried to harness the power of the Source to escape the island, but his adoptive mother thwarted his plans and he killed her in a rage. Jacob, in turn, took revenge by casting him into the heart of the island, which transformed him. The brothers spent the following centuries in conflict, drawing people to the island to test their nature. Though their mother had prevented them from hurting one another, the Man in Black eventually killed Jacob by assuming the form of John Locke and convincing Benjamin Linus to stab him. He has since tried to kill Jacob's replacements and is also planning to use Desmond for the one thing he could never do: destroy the Island.


Early life and transformation

6x15 YourTrueFamily

The Man in Black is shown his origins by the ghost of his mother. ("Across the Sea")

The Man in Black was born on the Island after his pregnant mother Claudia's ship wrecked off-shore. A woman on the Island delivered him and his twin brother Jacob but killed their mother and raised them herself. The boys initially led a carefree life, but some thirteen years later discovered the shipwreck's other survivors on the island. Upon telling Mother, she blindfolded him and his brother and led them to a cave where a stream flowed into a glowing light. Mother told them both that it was the reason they were on the Island, and that one of them would eventually become its protector. The Boy in Black remarked how beautiful the light was, but was warned never to enter the cave. Later, Claudia's ghost convinced the young Man in Black to join her people, against his adoptive mother's wishes. He invited Jacob to join him, but Jacob chose to remain with Mother.


The Smoke Monster issues from the cave, knocking over Jacob. ("Across the Sea")

Years passed, but he remained in touch with Jacob, meeting with him often to play their childhood game. The Man in Black disapproved of his people, but when they discovered the Island's electromagnetism, he used them to dig a well to its source, seeking access to the light his adoptive mother had once shown him. He planned to build a wheel to harness the energy and leave the island. Jacob told their mother though, and she knocked him out, filled his well and killed all his people. Furious, the Man in Black sneaked up on her in her camp and stabbed her to death.

Jacob avenged her death by throwing his brother into the Source, which transformed or absorbed part of him into the Smoke Monster while somehow also killing his body. Jacob laid his mother and brother's bodies in a cave, where Locke would centuries later dub them "Adam and Eve." ("Across the Sea")  ("House of the Rising Sun")

Continued feud with Jacob

5x16 IWantYouDead

The Man in Black confesses his urge to kill Jacob. ("The Incident, Part 1")

The Man in Black retained the ability to assume his human form, but Jacob confined him to the Island, believing it a prison that restricted his "darkness". Their Mother had prevented the Man in Black from hurting Jacob, so he sought a "loophole" to kill him and his replacements. The two also began a conflict regarding the nature of humanity. Echoing his mother's beliefs, the Man in Black thought people always "fight, destroy and corrupt," but Jacob, believing their potential for good, began drawing them to the island to test their nature. ("Across the Sea")  ("Ab Aeterno")  ("The Incident, Part 1")

In ancient times, some of these early inhabitants built the Smoke Monster a chamber beneath the Temple and devised what they believe was a method of summoning him - though Benjamin Linus later deducted the Man in Black only made it appear as if he was summoned. An engraving portraying the Man in Black with Anubis suggests they considered him a deity, and hieroglyphs outside his summoning chamber read "to summon protection," suggesting they considered him a guardian. ("Dead Is Dead")  ("The Shape of Things to Come")  ("What They Died For")

Soon after the Black Rock crashed on the Island, the Man in Black as black smoke killed its passengers and scanned Richard's memories. He returned in the form of Isabella, telling Richard they were in hell, and left, his screams convincing Richard the smoke was killing her. Later, in his human form, he freed Richard and gave him a knife to kill "the devil," who had taken Isabella. Jacob convinced Richard otherwise though, and Richard returned with a white rock from Jacob. ("Ab Aeterno")

According to Charles Widmore, the Man in Black became a much-feared figure in myth, ghost stories, and "jungle noises in the night" to the inhabitants who would reside on the Island during subsequent years. ("The Package")

DHARMA Initiative


The entrance to the Man in Black's 'summoning' chamber ("The Shape of Things to Come")

It is unclear how much the DHARMA Initiative knew of the Man in Black and his origins, although their constructing the sonar fence around the Barracks suggests they knew of his presence. In the video for new recruits, Pierre Chang said they built the fence "to protect us from the Island's abundant and diverse wildlife." ("The Man Behind the Curtain")  ("Namaste") Though their leader's house stood over the Man in Black's summoning chamber it is unclear whether they knew its significance. ("The Shape of Things to Come") Near the end of the series, Ben Linus referred to the summoning chamber saying "It's where I was told I could summon the Monster. That's before I realize that it was the one summoning me." ("What They Died For")

The blast door map, begun by Radzinsky and Inman in the Swan, cryptically referenced "Cerberus activity" and "Cerberus vents", likely referring to the Man in Black and his subterranean pathway of tunnels. ("Lockdown")


5x05 Montand monster

The Man in Black, looming over Montand. ("This Place Is Death")

The Man in Black, in his smoke form, attacked Danielle Rousseau's science expedition on their way to the radio tower. He silently killed Nadine, uprooted a tree and dragged Montand beneath the Temple's outer wall. He severed Montand's arm during the struggle and pulled his body into the depths. Moments later, the team heard Montand's voice saying the Monster had disappeared. Robert, Lacombe and Brennan disappeared into the opening. ("This Place Is Death") Montand's body was found years later not far from the opening. ("LA X, Part 2")

Two months later, in early 1989, Jin found Lacombe and Brennan's bodies near Rousseau's camp. A hysterical Rousseau confronted Robert at gunpoint, claiming he and the team were sick and had been "changed" by the "Monster". Robert claimed it wasn't a monster at all, but a security system charged with guarding the Temple. ("This Place Is Death")

After the crash of Oceanic Flight 815

Days 1–44 (Season 1)

Just after the crash, Vincent encountered the Man in Black as Christian Shephard in the jungle. He asked the dog to wake up his "son", saying he had "work to do". ("So It Begins")


The Man in Black appears to Jack as his father. ("White Rabbit")

On their first night, the Monster awoke the survivors by knocking over trees. Rose, from New York, found its loud machine-link sounds familiar. The next day, he pulled out the pilot out of the cockpit and left him dead in a tree. He 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 him. ("Pilot, Part 1")

Three days later, Locke saw the Man in Black's Monster form. He stood his ground and escaped unharmed. He initially told Michael 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") ("White Rabbit") Locke later told Eko he saw a beautiful bright light. ("The Cost of Living")


The Man in Black disappears after being attacked with dynamite. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Jack later saw the Man in Black as Christian Shephard but thought him a hallucination. ("Walkabout") He followed the apparition at Locke's suggestion and discovered the Man in Black's old home, the caves, which contained water and some debris from the plane. He found Christian's coffin intact among the wreckage, but the body was not inside. ("White Rabbit") Jack also found the black and white pieces from the Man in Black's board game and the corpses of him and his mother. Locke dubbed the bodies Adam and Eve. Following Jack's discovery, Arzt heard the Man in Black's roar and decided against moving to the caves. ("Arzt & Crafts")

Boone hallucinated the Man in Black chasing him. In the hallucination, the Man in Black killed Shannon. Three weeks later, the Man in Black as the Smoke Monster form chased Rousseau, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate and Arzt in the Dark Territory. Rousseau called it a "security system" that protected the Island and said they were safe behind some large trees. ("Exodus, Part 1") He chased them again later the same day, first appearing as a small wisp of smoke then producing his usual noises and explosions. Locke approached him, but he knocked Locke down and dragged him to a hole in the ground. Kate tossed dynamite at the Man in Black, and he let go of Locke, the smoke dissipating. ("Hearts and Minds")  ("Exodus, Part 2")

Day 50 (Season 2)

2x10 Eko Monster

Mr. Eko confronts the Man in Black in his Monster form. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Six days after the Dark Territory attack, Charlie and Mr. Eko encountered the Man in Black. Eko first saw him briefly as a wisp of smoke, and when the Man in Black returned, uprooting trees, Eko held his ground. As the Monster hovered just inches before Eko's face, several images from Eko's past flashed within the cloud, almost like lightning, coincident with clicking noises the Monster made. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Days 71–82 (Season 3)


The Monster grabs Mr. Eko, moments before killing him. ("The Cost of Living")

Three weeks passed without an encounter, until the Man in Black manifested himself as Yemi, Eko's dead brother. While Eko made his way to Yemi's final resting place, the Man in Black appeared as distant wisps of smoke. To test Eko, he appeared as figures from Eko's past. As smoke, he approached Eko, then retreated. Later Eko again encountered the Man in Black as Yemi, asking Eko to confess his sins. Eko denied any guilt, and the Man in Black left and returned as smoke, now over 40 feet in height. It seized Eko with a fist-like like appendage and proceeded to repeatedly slam him into trees and the ground, mortally wounding him. 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, the Man in Black appeared as spiders, biting and paralyzing Nikki. (Official Lost Podcast/March 21, 2008) ("Exposé") The next day, the Man in Black chased Kate and Juliet through the jungle. He emitted a series of bright flashes of light at the women then retreated and left them alone. ("Left Behind") He chased them again the next day. Juliet activated the sonar fence's keypad, and it repelled the Monster like an invisible wall. Juliet remarked, "We don't know what it is, but we know that it doesn't like our fences." ("Left Behind")


The Monster attacks Widmore's mercenaries. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Days 97–100 (Season 4)

When Hurley stumbled upon Jacob's cabin, he saw Christian Shephard in Jacob's rocking chair, wearing his usual outfit. ("The Beginning of the End")

While the Barracks were under siege by the mercenary team, Ben summoned the Man in Black through a secret room in his house. He appeared as a single black cloud, larger than ever before, that ran parallel to the ground. He only injured one of the mercenaries seriously, but he caused a great deal of confusion and panic amongst his victims, who fired upon him in vain. Keamy grimly described the Monster as "a black pillar of smoke". ("The Shape of Things to Come")


"You can go now, Michael." ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")

The Man in Black later held Aaron outside of Sawyer, Miles and Claire's camp. Miles saw Claire walk away with him in the night, calling him "dad". ("Something Nice Back Home") When Locke entered Jacob's cabin, he met "Christian," who claimed to be speaking on Jacob's behalf. He dodged questions about Claire, prompting Locke to ask, "How do I save the Island?" In response, the Man in Black told him to "move the Island." Soon afterward, Christian appeared to Michael on the Kahana, heralded by whispers. He told Michael that he could "go now" and the bomb Michael was trying to control detonated. ("Cabin Fever")  ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")

At some point after residing with Christian Shephard in the cabin, Claire came to know the Man in Black enough to consider him her "friend" and recognize him in different human forms. She credits him with helping her survive in the jungle from attacks by the Others for the next three years. He falsely told her the Others had Aaron, allegedly to motivate her with hate. ("Lighthouse")  ("Recon")

Time flashes

The Man in Black approached Locke as Christian while Locke was trapped beneath the Orchid station in a frozen underground cave. He claimed that when he told Locke they must move the Island, he referred to Locke specifically. He told Locke to turn the frozen wheel, and confirmed Richard's statement that Locke would die trying to unite the Oceanic Six, calling it a "sacrifice". Moments before Locke turned the wheel, "Christian" asked Locke to say hello to his son. ("This Place Is Death")

After the arrival of Ajira Flight 316

2007 (Season 5)


The Man in Black appears for the first time in the form of John Locke. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")

After Flight 316 crash-landed on Hydra Island, Sun and Frank heard the Man in Black's Monster form on the main Island, but Sun said it was probably an animal. Shortly after, the Man in Black took on Christian's form and showed Sun a 1977 photo of Jack, Kate, and Hurley in the DHARMA Initiative. He told Sun she had "a bit of a journey" ahead of her and to go to Ben's old house and wait for John Locke. ("Namaste")  ("Dead Is Dead") Back at the Ajira survivors' Hydra Island camp, the Man in Black assumed Locke's form and talked to Ilana, revealing the real Locke's memories. He later found Ben in their makeshift hospital and informed Caesar Ben had killed him. After a confrontation that killed Caesar, Ben and the Man in Black traveled to the main Island in one of the outriggers where they met Sun and Frank.
5x12 BenSmokeMonster

The Monster judges Ben beneath the Temple. ("Dead Is Dead")

The Man in Black convinced Ben to summon the Monster then briefly disappeared, saying on his return that he knew where the Monster resided. He led Ben and Sun to the Temple, where Ben accidentally fell through a weak section of floor. The Man in Black left and transformed into the Monster, surrounded Ben and flashed him with memories of Alex. He then retreated and returned as Alex, telling Ben to obey Locke or it would "destroy" him. The Man in Black vanished and returned to Locke's form. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")  ("Dead Is Dead")

He left the Temple and led Ben and Sun to the Others' camp where they met with Richard Alpert. Richard assumed he was Locke but noted a change, and the Man in Black attributed this to his new-found purpose. He led Ben and Richard to the Beechcraft, giving Richard instructions to relay to time-traveling Locke. ("Because You Left") After this, he demanded they see Jacob, surprising Richard and Ben by inviting all the Others to accompany him. He announced that something had to be done about the Ajira survivors then secretly told Ben he intended to kill Jacob. ("Follow the Leader") Richard asked how Locke had resurrected, and the Man in Black attributed this to Jacob. Ben described his encounter with Alex, pleasing the Man in Black. He then told Ben he wanted him to kill Jacob, reminding him of all he'd suffered at Jacob's hands. ("The Incident, Part 1")

The party reached the statue, and the Man in Black and Ben entered. Jacob immediately recognized his old enemy, calmly realizing the Man in Black had found his "loophole." Ben stabbed Jacob to death, and as he fell to the floor spitting blood, Jacob told the Man in Black, "they're coming." Looking startled, the Man in Black kicked Jacob into the fire pit at the center of the room. ("The Incident, Part 2")

2007 (Season 6)

6x01 MonsterFightsBodyguards

The Monster begins killing Jacob's bodyguards. ("LA X, Part 1")

The Man in Black sent Ben to fetch Richard, but Bram's crew entered instead. The Man in Black revealed Jacob was dead and gave the bodyguards permission to leave, but they instead opened fire, striking him several times to no effect. The Man in Black then disappeared behind a pillar, returning as the Smoke Monster and killing them all, though Bram temporarily repelled him with an ash circle. He told Ben he was sorry he had to see him "like that". He told Ben that he was a how not a what. He also said the last thing John Locke was thinking when Ben killed him was "I dont Understand". He asked Ben if that was the saddest thing he's ever heard sarcastically. When Ben asked him what he wanted The Man in Black responded by saying he wanted the one thing John Locke didnt want, to go home. He then exited the statue, knocked Richard unconscious, announced disappointment in the crowd and carried Richard into the jungle. ("LA X, Part 1")

After Richard declined to join him, the Man in Black recruited a drunk Sawyer from the Barracks. On the way to the cliffside cave, they encountered Jacob's ghost, who warned privately that killing "him" would break the "rules." At the cave, after a dangerous climb, the Man in Black threw a balanced scale's white stone into the ocean, tipping it in the black stone's favor. When Sawyer asked what that was all about he told him it was an inside joke. He then escorted Sawyer to Jacob's list of candidates, explained its meaning and told him he had three choices. He could do nothing and see how it all plays out and maybe his name will get crossed out, he then crosses out John Lockes name. Or he could become the new Jacob and protect the island from nothing. Or they could just leave. The Man in Black smiled at seeing Sawyer pick the third choice. ("The Substitute")

6x06 MiB's Group

The Man in Black and his new recruits after the Temple Massacre. ("Sundown")

Later that day, he met a shocked Jin at Claire's camp. ("Lighthouse") He sent Claire to the Temple to fetch Dogen, but he instead sent Sayid to kill him, warning him to stab him before he spoke. The Man in Black snuck up on Sayid, and he stabbed him in vain. The Man in Black then cryptically offered him anything he wanted in exchange for his help. Sayid delivered the Temple a message from the Man in Black - join him by sundown or die - and then killed Dogen and Lennon, likely at his new boss's instruction. The Man in Black appeared just after sundown despite the Temple's ash circle and in his Smoke Monster form killed every Other who remained. As Locke, he then walked off into the jungle with his new followers. ("Sundown")

The next day, he came to Ben and undid his shackles with a single gesture. He offered him control of the Island and directed him to a rifle. ("Dr. Linus") He then led to his followers to Claire's shelter, where he blamed the Black Smoke for killing Temple Dwellers. Privately, he told Sawyer he killed them to save being killed himself. He then sent Sawyer on a reconnaissance mission to Hydra Island. Returning to the camp, he broke up a fight between Claire and Kate. Later he approached an upset Kate and offered to show her where he sent Saywer. They sat on the beach together veiwing Hydra Island and The Man in Black told Kate that a long time ago he had a crazy mother. He said that because of this he had some growing pains. He said this could have been avioded had things been different. When Kate asked him why he was telling her this he told her because now Aaron has a crazy mother too, refering to Claire.("Recon")

He advised Jin about his wounds and told him about the candidates, then he left for the beach camp, leaving his own in Sayid's care. ("The Package") Richard was shouting for him, and though he didn't reach him in time, he watched from afar then turned away angrily. ("Ab Aeterno") He then reached the beach camp and offered to lead Sun to Jin. He then chased her till she fell unconscious. He returned to his camp and found Widmore had attacked it and kidnapped Jin. He rowed with Sayid to Hydra Island and exchanged words with Charles Widmore. Telling him that a wise man said war was coming to this island, and that he thinks it just got here. ("The Package")


The Man in Black watches as his plan to kill the candidates is set into motion. ("The Candidate")

He returned to camp, and the next day led Desmond, whom Sayid had taken from Widmore's camp, to one of the wells he'd dug years ago. They passed Jacob's ghost, now a laughing older boy. When Desmond asked who the boy was The Man in Black simply told Desmond to ignore him, clearly agaitated. The Man in Black talked of the Island's mysterious properties then, angry at Desmond's confidence, pushed him into the well. ("Everybody Loves Hugo") Hurley's group joined his camp, and the Man in Black privately told Jack he'd assumed Christian's form to guide the survivors. Zoe arrived demanding Desmond's return and fired a missile nearby, but The Man in Black was unphased. She gave him a radio to call her when he was ready to give Desmond back, but he threw it on the ground and destroyed it wit the stick he was carving. He sent Sayid to kill Desmond, and the two shared a tense moment when he doubted whether he'd obeyed. He talked to Sun and denied guilt for new aphasia. And he sent Sawyer to retrieve a sailboat to ferry his followers to Hydra Island, but when he reached the beach, he found Jack crawling out of the ocean, Sawyer having taken the boat. Widmore then fired at the area, and the Man in Black carried Jack inland as another missile hit. ("The Last Recruit")

They rowed to Hydra Island where he freed the candidates from cages by attacking Widmore's followers as the smoke monster. As Locke, he then disarmed an explosive from the Ajira plane after killing Widmores guards easily, but he secretly slipped it into Jack's pack, hoping the candidates would activate it and kill each other. He then led the group to Widmore's submarine, where Jack pushed him into the water. He climbed back out and shot several of Widmore's men, who were attacking the group. The sub left, according to his plan, but three candidates and Kate escaped before it sank. The Man in Black walked off, rifle in hand to "finish what he'd started." ("The Candidate")


The Man in Black attacks Richard in the Barracks. ("What They Died For")

The next day the Man in Black arrived back on the main Island via outrrigger. Zoe spotted him from the port and radioed Widmore. Widmore told her to immediately return to Ben's house. Ben and Richard decided to go out of the house and talk to the Man in Black while Widmore and Zoe hid in Ben's secret room. Ben and Richard left the house. They started to walk around looking for the Man in Black. They heard the noises of the Smoke Monster, which emerged from the jungle and slammed Richard against a tree. Ben, looking shocked, returned to his front porch and sat in a chair and waited for the Man in Black. The Man in Black approached Ben and said he was just the man he was looking for. Ben sarcastically offered him a glass of lemonade. The Man in Black needed Ben to kill some people for him and in return, Ben could have the Island all to himself. The Man in Black asked who the other outrigger belonged to and Ben said it was Charles Widmore's and told the Man in Black that Widmore and Zoe were hiding in his closet. The Man in Black found them and said it'd be nice to talk without those fences between them. He slit Zoe's throat after he asked her name and threatened to kill Penny once he left the Island unless Widmore told him why he brought Desmond back to the Island. Widmore whispered in his ear and then Ben shot him three times, killing him, then saying that Widmore didn't get to save his daughter. The Man in Black remarked that Ben never ceased to amaze him.

The Man in Black states his plan to "destroy the Island". ("What They Died For")

Luckily for Ben, Widmore told the Main Black everything he needed to know and Ben asked if there were more people to kill. As the two of them trekked through the jungle, Ben asked the Man in Black why he bothered walking if he could turn into a cloud of black smoke. The Man in Black replied that he liked the ground beneath his feet which reminded him that he was once human. They reached the Well where Desmond was being kept and the Man in Black realized that Sayid hadn't killed him. Ben noticed a rope hanging over the side and guessed that someone helped him out, while the Man in Black claimed to be helped out himself. He explained to Ben that Desmond was a fail-safe, a last resort for Jacob if all the candidates were killed. Furthermore, the Man in Black said he was going to find Desmond for help to do the one thing he could never do himself: destroy the Island. ("What They Died For")

Non-canon appearances

Lost: Via Domus
In the video game Lost: Via Domus, 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") The Monster also 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 identical 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 traveling 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 nature. (Signs of Life)

Lost: The Mobile Game

In 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.



The Man in Black has taken on a number of different forms while interacting with the characters throughout the series. He appears to be able to take on the appearance of the deceased, perfectly mimicking their appearance, voice and memories so as to manipulate others. The entity appears capable of changing from human to monster form at will.

This list denotes apparitions seen in the series that have been definitely confirmed to be the Man in Black.

Picture Name First seen Last seen Information
The Monster "Pilot, Part 1" "What They Died For" The most recurring form of the Man in Black is that of a black cloud, described as looking like smoke. Known as "the Monster," initially unseen, it made its presence felt to the oceanic 815 survivors on their first night on the island. It has violently killed many characters, and spared others. The Monster can generate images of a character's past within itself and create various biological and mechanical noises.
The Man in Black "The Incident, Part 1" "Across the Sea" Before becoming the monster, the man in black was Jacob's brother. He was a dark-haired man who always wore his signature black clothes. After falling in the Source, the man in black came back in his birth form. When he later assumed the appearence of other persons, he seemed able come back to his original form, until he got fixed into the form of John Locke.
MiB Isabella-Portal
Isabella "Ab Aeterno" "Ab Aeterno" After the Black Rock was shipwrecked, the Man in Black took the form of Isabella, the deceased wife of the ship's last survivor, Richard Alpert. He used this form to convince Richard that he had died and gone to Hell. Immediately afterwards, he made sounds of the Monster outside the Black Rock, which facilitated Isabella's quick disappearance and subsequent mission for Richard to "rescue" her.
Christian Shephard "Walkabout" "Namaste" The Man in Black impersonated Christian Shephard immediately following the crash of Oceanic 815, appearing to several of the survivors - most of whom were personally unfamiliar with Christian - on several occassions. He led Jack to the caves, convinced Claire to leave Aaron in the jungle and accompany him to the Cabin. He convinced Locke to 'move the Island', appeared to Michael before the Kahana freighter exploded, and later met Sun and Frank at the Barracks.
Yemi "The Cost of Living" "The Cost of Living" The Man in Black impersonated Yemi in order to manipulate Eko. He first appeared inside Eko's tent, somehow setting it on fire. Eko then ventured into the woods, being stalked by the Monster and other visions. Eventually, Yemi contacted him at the Beechcraft and requested he atone for his sins. When Eko refused, the Man in Black revealed that he wasn't Yemi and retook his Monster form before he killed Eko.
Alex Rousseau "Dead Is Dead" "Dead Is Dead" The Man in Black took the form of Alex in the tunnels leading to the Temple when Ben went there to be judged. After being surrounded by the Monster and shown images of his past, Ben was greeted by Alex, who violently demanded that he follow John Locke's every word or she would kill him. Ben agreed, unaware Locke was actually the Man in Black as well.
6x01 Go home
John Locke "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" "What They Died For" The Man in Black has most recently begun impersonating John Locke, whose dead body was returned to the island on Ajira flight 316. The Man in Black used the Locke form to get Ben to kill Jacob. The deception worked until Ilana showed Locke's corpse to Richard and the Others. All of the survivors are now aware of this impersonation, but only Richard has indicated he knows the true identity of the Man in Black. According to Ilana, this is the only form that the Man in Black can currently take, excluding his black smoke form.


The Monster

The Man in Black's most notorious ability is that of manifesting himself as a giant dark cloud, often described as looking like smoke. Referred to as "the Monster" by most characters, it appears immune to conventional weaponry, but was repelled on one occasion by dynamite. ("Exodus, Part 3") While seemingly intangible, the Monster can grasp and manipulate objects with a tremendous application of force - capable of uprooting enormous fully-grown trees, knocking down walls and slamming victims into the ground. The Monster makes a variety of biological and mechanical sounds -- two of the most distinctive being a mechanical clicking and a loud high-pitched warning or alarm call. It appears the Man in Black is somewhat limited in movement in this form -- and cannot ascend high enough above the ground so as to pass over the sonar fence. The Man in Black also implies his smoke form cannot pass over large bodies of water. ("The Package") (Hence, it is likely he used another method to reach the Kahana freighter to appear to Michael Dawson in the form of Christian Shepherd). ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")

The Monster has also shown an ability to somehow read and display images from an individual's past within itself. The scanning process manifests as a rapid series of bright flashes of light. ("The 23rd Psalm")  ("Left Behind")  ("Dead Is Dead")

It was believed the Monster could be summoned from a secret room beneath Ben's house. ("The Shape of Things to Come")However, Ben later realised this was not the case, the Man in Black only turning up when he chose to do so. ("What They Died For")

Forms of the dead

Throughout the series, the Man in Black has displayed an ability to take on the form and perfectly mimic individuals who have died on and off the Island. In this form, he also seems to retain their memories. In one instance he commented on Locke's last thoughts as he was dying. ("The Substitute")

The Man in Black has taken a number of forms of the deceased through the series:

  • In 1867, after the Black Rock shipwrecked on the island, the Man in Black scanned Richard in his Monster form. Later he then appeared in the form of Richard's dead wife Isabella to manipulate Richard into believing he was in hell. Isabella was then seemingly attacked by the Monster.
  • Sometime in or prior to 1867, the Man in Black appeared to Locke as Christian Shephard in order to manipulate him into leaving the Island, bringing back the Oceanic Six, contacting Eloise and thinking he had to die.
  • During 2004, the Man in Black took on the form of Yemi several times and also Emeka to manipulate Eko.
  • From 2004-2007, the Man in Black claimed he took the form of Christian Shephard, alleging he only wanted to help the survivors of Flight 815. As Christian, he led Jack to the caves to show him a source of fresh water. He also used this form to manipulate Claire into abandoning Aaron, to manipulate Locke and Ben into moving the Island, and to manipulate Sun and Frank into trusting "Locke". Hurley also saw him as Christian in Jacob's cabin.
  • In 2007, he took the form of Locke - using his appearance to gain the trust of Richard and manipulating the Others to gain access to Jacob. During this time he also temporarily took on the form of Alex so as to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob.

On another occasion in 2004, the Man in Black took on the form of a Medusa spider so as to paralyze Nikki. He may have taken on other forms throughout the series as well (some possibilities include Emily Linus, Daniel, Kate's horse, Dave and Harper Stanhope) - although these are unconfirmed.

According to Ilana in 2007, following Jacob's death, the Man in Black is now unable to use anything but his Locke and Monster forms.


The Man in Black is immune to bullets in both his Monster and human forms. Bram and Charles Widmore's team shot at him with no effect. Sayid stabbed him in the chest with a knife, but he did not appear to be wounded or suffer pain. He also appears to be invulnerable to explosions in his human form per Widmore's mortar attack. Regardless, the Man in Black claims he can be killed and used this as a justification for destroying the Others at the Temple.


Sayid stated that the Man in Black brought him back from death. ("The Last Recruit")

The Man in Black somehow released Ben from his shackles without physically touching them. ("Dr. Linus")

On occasion the Man in Black has displayed some unusual precognitive abilities. In the guise of John Locke, he knew exactly where and when to be to meet the passengers of Flight 316 when it made an emergency landing on Hydra Island. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") Much later, the Man in Black brought Richard Alpert to exactly the right time and place to meet an injured Locke caught in the time flashes. ("Follow the Leader")

Although the lagoon at the Hydra dock was quiet he told Claire he knew the sub had sank, and was also certain that not all candidates had died. ("The Candidate")

In addition to all his supernatural abilities, the Man in Black is incredibly persuasive. He can easily bring people to trust him, or at least follow his lead. He is an expert liar (even outsmarting Ben) and can fake emotions and sympathy, so it is difficult to tell when he is sincere. So far, few characters weren’t convinced by his lies. He is also very strategic, being able to find the “loophole” necessary to kill Jacob.

Despite his long imprisonment on the Island, the Man in Black proved adept at fashioning a timing detonator from a digital watch and blocks of C-4 found aboard the Ajira aircraft, probably after learning from John Locke. ("The Candidate")

According to the apparition of his birth mother, Claudia, The Man in Black is able to see the dead while his brother Jacob cannot. ("Across the Sea")

Due to his "special" nature, the Man in Black appears to be extremely intelligent. He was able to construct a mechanism to harness the island's electromagnetism in ancient times. ("Across the Sea")


Sonar fence

The DHARMA Initiative's sonar fence repels the Man in Black in his Monster form. When Juliet activated the fence, the Monster slammed into the invisible barrier, screeched, and took off into the jungle. ("Left Behind") When Charles Widmore arrived on Hydra Island, his men began setting up a portable series of sonar pylons to keep the Man in Black at bay. ("Recon")  ("The Package")

Ash circles

Ash circles have been known to repel the Man in Black. There are two colors of ash, black and light grey (which could be called "white"). Black ash is known for a fact to repulse the Man In Black, at least in the form of a smoke monster. Bram tried to use it to save himself by surrounding himself with it in the form of a circle on the ground he stepped in the middle of when he confronted the Man In Black in the foot of the Statue of Taweret. The Man In Black was not able to cross and attack Bram directly but it used an object to knock Bram from the circle and impale him on a large shard of wood ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2"). Black Ash was also seen being spread with great urgency after Hurley told Dogen and Lennon that Jacob was dead. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2"). Despite this The Man In Black was able to enter the Temple in Smoke form after Dogen was killed. The gray/white ash was seen surrounding the cabin that allegedly belonged to Jacob in a wide perimeter at the time Ben took the actual John Locke to it to meet Jacob ("The Man Behind the Curtain"). Black ash was also seen within Jacob's cabin circling a chair within the cabin. An entity in the cabin called out to Locke "Help Me" and then attacked Ben, tossing him aside. Whether it was Jacob or some other entity it is unknown. The Man in Black was known to be freely roaming the island at and before that time. It is unknown if gray/white ash would also affect The Man in Black in a similar or another way as the black ash does or not at all. It is also unknown at this time if the gray/white ash could had imprisoned Jacob in his own cabin, although the color match up, gray/white ash for Jacob who is often seen to wear very light near white shades of clothing and black ash which is definitely known to affect the Man In Black seems to suggest the possibility. Ilana was seen taking Jacob's ashes, which were gray/white, out of the fire that was in the chamber of the Statue of Taweret ("The Substitute").

Banyan trees

On several occasions, characters have hidden in thickets of banyan trees, which seem to repel the Monster. Kate hid in a thicket after the Monster killed the pilot. ("Pilot, Part 1") In his hallucination, Boone and Shannon hid inside one while the Monster chased them. ("Hearts and Minds") Later, Rousseau claimed hiding in banyan thickets could protect someone from the Monster. ("Exodus, Part 1") When Kate and Juliet were chased by the Monster, they hid in a banyan thicket. A Monster-perspective crane shot looms in front of Juliet behind the branches. Juliet reacts to several bright flashes of light just before the Monster leaves. ("Left Behind") The Monster, in the form of John Locke, is able to approach Kate as she sits in a banyan grove. ("Recon")


The Man In Black appears to be vulnerable to explosives at least in his smoke form. On his second encounter with John Locke it attempted to drag him away in a similar fashion as it did with Montand when it killed him in 1988. ("This Place Is Death") Jack Shepherd and Kate Austin was with him at the time and attempted to save him. Kate had a few sticks of old and unstable Dynamite from the wreck of the Black Rock. She lit and threw them at the monster and it released Locke.("Exodus, Part 2") In December 2007 when Charles Widmore returned to the island where, under his orders, Zoe and her party attempted to intimidate The Man In Black while he was in his humanoid form by firing mortar rounds in close proximity to his camp where Sayid, Claire, and Jin were staying. Later Zoe presumably under Widmore's orders fired on the Man in Black when he was on the beach with Jack. ("The Last Recruit") These instances suggest that the Man In Black is vulnerable to explosives and Charles Widmore knows this vulnerability. Widmore had wired the aircraft that was Ajira Flight 316 plastic explosives. The Man In Black had made it known of his supposed intent of leaving the island by that means. It was perhaps Widmore's last ditch method to destroy the Man In Black if he was successful in leaving the island aboard the airplane.


The Man in Black has killed many people and has indirectly led to the deaths of several others.



These are single victims killed in direct encounters with the Man in Black.

Picture Name Episode Manner of death Information
Mother "Across the Sea" Stabbed by the Man in Black The Man in Black's Mother was responsible for the purging of his people, as well as hindering his efforts to leave the Island, when he returned to the Caves, he murdered his mother with his dagger.
Jonas Whitfield "Ab Aeterno" Smashed through the deck of the Black Rock Attacked by the Monster after the Black Rock crashed onto the Island, grabbed and smashed through the deck of the ship.
Nadine "This Place Is Death" Unknown Attacked by the Monster after venturing into the Dark Territory with the rest of the Science Expedition, her body fell from the treetops after the Monster uprooted a nearby tree.
Montand "This Place Is Death" Arm ripped off 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 possibly survived the attack, he presumably died from the injury, as his body was seen when the castaways brought Sayid into the Temple.
Seth Norris "Pilot, Part 1" Unknown 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. He was ripped from the cockpit and his body was later seen in the treetops.
Mr. Eko "The Cost of Living" Slammed into trees and the ground Killed by the Monster, after its several appearances as Yemi. It seemingly attacked Eko for refusing to confess for his past sins.
Mayhew "The Shape of Things to Come" Slammed into trees or the ground 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.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Part 1" Slammed into ceiling and floor Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was thrown into the ceiling and floor of the Statue of Taweret.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Part 1" Thrown against another member of the party Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was slammed against another member of Bram's party.
Unnamed Ajira passenger "LA X, Part 1" Thrown against another member of the party Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Was slammed against another member of Bram's party.
Bram "LA X, Part 1" Impaled on a wooden stake Attempted to shoot the Monster in John Locke's form. Created an ash circle to protect himself, but the Monster used indirect means (collapsing the ceiling) to push him out of the circle and then hurl him through Jacob's tapestry.
Seamus "The Candidate" Slammed into the Hydra cages Attempted to shoot the Monster in smoke form whilst holding the survivors hostage in the Hydra animal cages. Was picked up and slammed into the side of the cage right in front of the survivors.
6x14 Wheeler
Wheeler "The Candidate" Neck broken Shot at the Man In Black several times while attempting to guard the Ajira plane. MIB responded by coolly breaking his neck.
[[Image:|center|67px]] Unnamed Widmore associate "The Candidate" Shot with rifle Shot at the Man In Black several times while attempting to guard the Ajira plane. After killing Wheeler, the Man in Black picked up his rifle and shot the second guard.
Zoe "What They Died For" Throat slit Her throat was slit after Widmore ordered her not to talk to the Man In Black, rendering her useless.


These are mass groups of victims killed by the Man in Black's Monster form. The exact numbers of victims in these incidents are unknown.

Picture Name Episode Manner of death Information
Black Rock (full)
Crew of the Black Rock "Ab Aeterno" Dragged and thrown upon the deck of the Black Rock When the Black Rock shipwrecked onto the Island, five officers were still alive, until the Man in Black arrived and proceeded to eliminate, it is assumed, everyone alive on the ship except Richard Alpert. Four officers and Jonas Whitfield were presumably killed.
The Temple Others "Sundown" Thrown against various pillars and walls The Others at the Temple were given the opportunity to join the Man in Black. Those who refused were massacred at sundown. At least 9 dead individuals are seen.
Widmore's team - MIB
Hydra Station Widmore's team "The Candidate" Thrown against various cage bars, presumably mauled, shot at least five. To free the Candidates from being held by Widmore's People at the Hydra Station and kill them. The Man in Black kills at least a large portion of Widmore's People as Jack and Sayid frees the Candidates plus Claire, Kate and Lapidus from their cages during the ensuing battle. The specific number of deaths is unknown.


These are victims who were killed indirectly by the Man in Black.

Picture Name Episode Manner of death Information
Nikki Fernandez "Exposé" Paralyzed and buried alive Paralyzed by a Medusa spider 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.
Jacob "The Incident, Part 2" Stabbed by Ben Unable to kill Jacob himself, the Man in Black worked for over a century to find a "loophole," ultimately manipulating Benjamin Linus to stab Jacob to death in the Statue of Taweret.
Sayid Jarrah "The Candidate" Killed by the bomb hidden in Jack's bag by the Man in Black The Man in Black, in an effort to kill the remaining candidates, placed an explosive device into a bag belonging to Jack, When the bomb started to count down and after Sawyer attempted to disarm it unsuccessfully, Sayid sacrificed himself and ran as far away from his companions as possible inside the submarine before being blown up.
Jin Kwon "The Candidate" Drowned in the submarine after the explosion of the bomb The Man in Black, in an effort to kill the remaining candidates, placed an explosive device into a bag belonging to Jack, When the bomb started to count down and after Sawyer attempted to disarm it unsuccessfully, Sayid sacrificed himself and ran as far away from his companions as possible inside the submarine before being blown up, the result of this caused a large beam to trap Sun. With this Jin stayed and sacrificed his life to stay with her.
Sun Kwon "The Candidate" Drowned in the submarine after the explosion of the bomb The Man in Black, in an effort to kill the remaining candidates, placed an explosive device into a bag belonging to Jack, When the bomb started to count down and after Sawyer attempted to disarm it unsuccessfully, Sayid sacrificed himself and ran as far away from his companions as possible inside the submarine before being blown up, the result of this caused a large beam to trap Sun. Jin stayed and sacrificed his life to stay with her.


The entity has been known by several names to both fans and characters of the show, both as the smoke monster and as the Man in Black. Whether or not any character currently alive knows the Man in Black's true name is still unknown.

  • Referred to simply as the "Monster" or the "Smoke Monster" by the survivors as well as Ben. The MIB resents being referred as this.
  • The DHARMA Initiative appeared to refer to it as "Cerberus"
  • According to Ben, the Others have no name for it at all.
  • Rousseau and Robert referred to it as the "security system."
  • Sawyer and the Man in Black himself refer to it as "the smoke thing." ("Recon")
  • The ghost of Isabella told Hurley that Richard must stop "the man in black" from leaving the Island. This was the first time he was referred as such in the show itself. ("Ab Aeterno")
  • Richard referred to the Man in Black as "that thing".("The Package")
  • On few occasions, Jacob called him "brother".


  • For "The Incident, Part 1" he is credited as Man #2
  • From "LA X, Part 1" onwards his 2007 manifestation is credited as Locke
  • For "Ab Aeterno" his 1867 manifestation is credited as man in black (no article, no capitals).

Fan Nicknames

As the Monster

  • The entity's black smoke form is most commonly known to fans as "Smokey".

As the Man in Black

After the entity's first human appearance in "The Incident, Part 1", the character was given several nicknames by the fan community, including:

  • "Esau"; in the Bible a character named Jacob has a brother named Esau. "God loves you as He loved Jacob" is one of the phrases that flashes on the screen when Karl is undergoing the Ludovico-esque treatment. As Jacob is the name of the mysterious man/entity who touched the candidates, many fans immediately adopted the biblical reference of Esau for the unnamed other man/entity. [1]
  • "Flocke", a portmanteau word of the words "Fake" and "Locke". Coincidentally, Flocke is the name of a polar bear in the Nuremberg Zoo.
  • "Un-Locke", as in, the opposite of Locke. Used subsequently in TV Guide.[2]
  • "Samuel", often used as a reference to the character's initial casting call.
  • "Man in Black" (MIB), name used by in episode synopses and on the Internet Movie Database. This nickname has also been endorsed by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. [3]
  • "Man in Locke" (MIL) [4]
  • "Jacob's enemy" or "Jacob's nemesis", in relation to his antagonistic role to Jacob (used on Lostpedia).
  • "Locke Ness Monster", references the legendary Loch Ness Monster of Loch Ness, Scotland. Used by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in their February 22, 2010 Podcast.
  • "Demon Locke", as Michael Emerson refers to him.




Locke's drawing of the Monster

  • He seems to know the existence of Widmore's Daughter, Penny, as he has threatened to kill her once he leaves the Island.
  • 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. ("Cabin Fever")
  • Cerberus is also the common name for dog-faced water snakes, a genus of water snakes in the Colubridae family.
  • Cerberus in the Greek Mythology was a multi-headed hound which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Robert claimed the monster wasn't a monster at all, but a security system charged with guarding the Temple.
  • In the May 26, 2006 Official Lost Podcast, the producers said, "There's a good chance that you guys saw the Monster this year Season 2, but just didn't realize you were looking at the Monster." Gregg Nations later stated that the appearance of the Monster was after the episode "The 23rd Psalm" and likely in the second half of the season.
  • As described by Danielle Rousseau, the entity may have some connection to the Sickness. ("This Place Is Death")
  • When the entity appeared in human form, his shirt and Jacob's shirt are contrasted. Jacob wears a light colored shirt, while his nemesis wears a dark shirt. (Dark and Light)
  • In November 2009, executive producer Damon Lindelof stated that, regarding the scene in "Pilot, Part 2" where Locke explains to Walt the premise of backgammon using the concept of light and dark, he and fellow co-creator JJ Abrams had planned for those two sides to eventually be personified by two individuals (in reference to Jacob and the Man in Black). [1]
  • The casting call described the entity's 1800's appearance as "Samuel. Any ethnicity, 40s-60s. A corporate raider looking to take over his next company. Powerful, devious and obtuse. He has a cunning intellect and a strong sense of danger. May lead to recurring. Looking for someone very interesting and very special for this role..."[6]
    • Samuel in the Bible was a prophet and judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David.
    • Samael is an important archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is accuser, seducer and destroyer, and has been regarded as both good and evil. It is said that he was the guardian angel of Esau and a patron of the empire of Rome. He is considered in legend both a member of the heavenly host (with often grim and destructive duties) and a fallen angel, equatable with Satan and the chief of the evil spirits.
  • After his death, Jacob describes the Man in Black to Hurley as "an old friend who became tired of my company."
  • Dogen describes the Man in Black to Sayid first as "an angry man" who is influencing Claire, then "evil incarnate."
  • The Man in Black evidently has a streak of sadism, as shown in the brutality of its attacks as the Monster, and the apparent amusement it expressed at John Locke's confusion about his own murder.
  • Since a DVD commentary reveals the monster sound effect to be a NYC taxi cab printer, Rose's familiarity with the sound may be an in-joke. In ("Pilot, Part 1"), the morning after the Losties first heard the Smoke Monster in the jungle they were discussing it on the beach. One Lostie is heard saying "The noise it made sounded very familiar". Another person is heard asking "Where are you from?" to which the first person replies "New York".
  • In what appeared to have been a red herring, on June 14, 2006, DJ Dan fielded a call on his podcast, which was part of the ARG The Lost Experience, from a scientist worrying about nanotechnology (miniature machines 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 the Christian Bible, Revelation 9:2 refers to a black smoke released from the bottomless pit (where it has been trapped) as part of the herald of the apocalypse. Revelation 9:1-3 "The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss"
  • In Greek Mythology Typhon (which comes from the Greek word τύφειν (typhein): to smoke). He is the most deadly monster in all of Greek mythology. He attempts to overthrow Zeus and kill him. He is eventually defeated by Zeus and trapped under Mount Etna. Typhon is also the parent of Cerberus.

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 howling noise frequently made by the smoke monster in 'Lost' is strikingly similar to noises made by the monster from 'Forbidden Planet'.
    • 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 manipulates the survivors of the wreck for his own purposes. The play ends with Prospero restored to his former glory.
  • 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)
  • 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.[2]
  • In William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, one of Lost's major influences, survivors on a deserted island live in constant fear of an entity they dub "The Monster". Unlike on Lost, the "Monster" in Golding's work is a figment of the survivors' imaginations, and fear of this monster is a major driver of the story. Also, interestingly enough, the survivors mistake a corpse hung up on a tree by a parachute for this monster, much in the same way Naomi was caught in a tree upon landing on the Island.
  • ABC's recap of "The Incident, Part 1"[7] refers to him as the Man in Black. In Stephen King's The Stand and Dark Tower series, "the Man in Black" is a name used for an antagonist also known as Randall Flagg or Walter o'Dim.
  • The Man with No Name - is a stock character in western films, but the term usually applies specifically to the character (or possibly characters) played by American actor Clint Eastwood in what is often called "The Dollars Trilogy" directed by Sergio Leone. The Man in Black has never been heard to have name, even at his birth when his mother Claudia stated "I only chose one name" referring to his brother Jacob. She did not know she was carrying twins.


  • Hurley and Paulo both questioned whether the Monster was a dinosaur. (Lost is filmed on many of the same locations used by Jurassic Park.)
  • Hurley also said the Monster could be just a "pissed off giraffe". This is an ongoing inside-joke between the producers and writers, as noted in the Season 1 DVD commentary. ("Numbers")
  • There is considerable discussion about the entity's relation to judgment of the characters, especially with regards to Eko's two encounters. In the November 6, 2006 Official Lost Podcast, the producers said:

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)

Sound effects

In the form of the black smoke monster, the entity releases several distinct noises.

  • 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:
  • The repetitive clicking sound is from an insect called the Cicaida.

Production notes

  • Some viewers believed that the The Twins (Others) could be amongst the entity's manifestations, but this 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.

Additional casting

  • Ryan Bradford played the role of The Boy in Black (age 13) in "Across the Sea"
    • The casting call for the Boy in Black described him as "[MATT], Caucasian, dark hair, 12-14, dark hair, defiant and rebellious. Wise and smart but fights with other boys. He’s given a big responsibility that makes him feel important... NICE CO-STAR." [3]

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.

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 Man in Black/Theories


  • Did Mother give him a name?
  • Why is he kept at bay by the sonar fence?
  • Why is he kept at bay by a circle of ash?
  • Why was the Man in Black able to enter the Temple after Dogen's death?
  • Can he be destroyed?



  • What does he intend to do upon leaving the Island?

Recent events

  • Where was the Monster dragging Montand, and much later Locke?
  • If the Man in Black was in Christian's form at the Cabin, who was the second man there?

External links



  5. interview - "Titus Welliver: Lost's Season-Ending Mystery Isn't Black and White". July 13, 2009. "Welliver: He has no name. He's just 'the man,' because they don't want to give anything away. I know that this character has a name and I know the importance of it; that's all that I know. So you don't know his actual name? Welliver: No — and I think they deliberately withheld that."

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