Main Article Theories about
The Orchid
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Exotic Matter

  • Exotic matter isn't a generalized name for something specific (as in "oh that matter's exotic" where exotic is an adjective), exotic matter is the blanket name of yet-discovered theoretical particles that have negative mass and repel gravity. Exotic matter is needed to stabilize wormholes in the Casimir effect. They just use the blanket term for such particles since there's no better name at this point, which is "exotic matter". The important thing is that under the Casimir effect, these exotic matter particles are used to stabilize a wormhole and make it usable. This would explain the time travel of the Island, it moves through a wormhole in space/time.
  • The Casimir effect has no actual relation to exotic matter particles per se nor is it in any way related to the creation of a wormhole, though it can be utilized to create the necessary mass-negative regions to stabilize the vent horizon of a wormhole. Exotic matter does not necessarily relate to negative mass particles at all, but is a blanket term for ALL forms of undiscovered, but theorized matter. This includes dark matter, whatever might be the source of the cosmological constant if it turns out to not be zero-point energy, dark energy, etc. The fact that Ben calls the exotic matter 'negatively charged' is somewhat a misnomer, since it actually possesses a negative mass or energy density (the two are interchangable thanks to special relativity). It's not actually necessary for the matter to repel gravity, because it doesn't. It simply repels regular, mass-positive matter, though this need not even be the case since nobody fully understands the functioning of gravity as it stands now and the current structure of equations describing its actions are not equipped to account for the existence of negative mass. The introduction of the negative mass is actually a bit of a 'cheat' to make Lorentz time dilations non-imaginary for particles traveling faster than the speed of light. As far as the wormhole itself goes, the fact that there was a huge flash of light prior to the island disappearing indicates the opening and enlarging of an event horizon and is consistent with Hawking radiation being emitted from the black hole and then ionizing the surrounding air. Since Hawking radiation is emitted with a black body spectrum, it is likely that the light would be white since many colors would comprise the discharge, unlike similar ionizing radiations like Cherenkov radiation which ionizes air with particles of uniform energy, thus leading to a blue-colored glow instead of a white one.
  • The Orchid is placed near a Schwarzschild wormhole. A Schwarzschild wormhole is a bridge between areas of space that can be modeled as vacuum solutions to the Einstein Field Equations. Kip Thorne proposed that using "exotic matter" to hold open the throat of a Schwarzschild wormhole, one can create a transferable wormhole. This is called a Morris-Thorne Wormhole. By accelerating one end of a wormhole, it would allow the person entering it to travel to an exact location years in the past or future.

True purpose

  • True purpose of Dharma station was as says below: spacetime experiments. However true purpose of WELL and original site must precede Dharma's petty experiments. In this respect it is for MASS-scale time/space alterations (of the island). The well itself may also have once had some other purpose related to life-extension (a fountain of youth - see above).
  • The Orchid experiments with time/space travel. The two rabbits in the video are the same but from different points in time. Like in 'Back to the Future' they musn't meet. The Orchid acts as the Big Box, where anything can come out of, this is how Ben magically drifts off the Island. The spot of the orchid was naturally gifted, and is where and how the Black Rock came to be on the Island. It can move the Island as it has powers with space.
  • Any organic matter that goes into the portal of the Orchid is PHYSICALLY transported exactly to the other side of the earth. Admittedly, it seems a stretch - but hear me out on this. Approximate mapping of Tunisia's Geographic Coordinates shows that the *near exact* other side of the earth is the region where the Island is expected to be. For example, the coordinates of the southern tip of Tunisia, which contains the Sahara Desert, are 29.841N, 9.492E. The other side of the earth is 29.841S, 170.508W, which is a spot in the South Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand. Considering the highly detailed, physics-based discussion of the Orchid orientation video (see Casimir Effect), it is entirely possible that, by putting metal objects into the enclosure of the Orchid station, the Dharma Initiative could physically alter the earth's core, allowing for transport of organics to the other side. Interestingly, the orientation video strongly warned AGAINST putting metal objects into the enclosure. I hypothesize that the Dharma Initiative realized this once they sent a polar bear to the opposite side of the earth, as discovered by Charlotte in Tunisia. Though they couldn't have known the exact location to which the polar bear was transported (Charlotte discovered this much later), they quickly realized that the bear was no longer there on the island. And I don't think any of us believe it's truly a coincidence that Benjamin Linus also ended up in the Sahara Desert...I don't believe the Orchid leads to a spacetime 'ungluing'-type event that Desmond experiences; those observations are not consistent with what we know about the reappearance of Ben in Tunisia. If Ben had 'simply' traveled through time, he would likely become unglued without a constant. Plus, he says himself that once one leaves the island - presumably in physical form, as he is speaking to Jack in part 2 of 'There's No Place Like Home' - one can not return. I would extend this to also mean that one cannot exist in an unglued state when one is on the island. Remember, Desmond does not experience his ungluing until he is in the chopper on the way to the Kahana. Understanding that this is an actual physical event that occurs may also add depth to the Daniel-Charlotte connection: if Daniel Faraday had an approximate idea of the location of the island, he easily could have dispatched his anthropologist friend/lover Charlotte to go on an expedition in Tunisia. Additionally, this adds depth to Charlotte's connection to Widmore. Sorry for the long post.
  • Becoming unstuck/unglued in time is a similar process that does not involve moving the body.
  • Nicely thought out. Two "variables:"
  • It must be possible to leave the Island under some conditions and return; Richard did it.
  • The small amount of metal in the collar of the bear's skeleton seems small to have propelled the bear that distance.
  • Your probably right and DHARMA probably knew that the metal Hydra collar on the polar bear was the problem, and made measures to stop things being transported, as if the DHARMA bear was ever discovered at the time, it could have been a security risk to the DHARMA initiavive.
    • Scrap the earth core alteration part. I buy the wormhole argument.
  • The Orchid is a station experimenting in time travel, the orientation video shows 2 rabbits with the same number, these are exactly the same rabbit, the one which appeared seemingly out of nowhere travelled through time and space, and it can't go near the other rabbit due to it possibly causing the universe to collapse on to its self, the effects are unknown but something bad will happen.
  • The study being conducted was about time travel. Candle was about to give a demonstration, sending the rabbit a few minutes into the future or the past. The rabbit that appeared was the result of a miscalculation of that future experiment. One researcher claims that the "shift" was "negative 20" which could mean that they sent the rabbit back in time 20 minutes. That's why it's so important to Candle that the two rabbits do not come close to each other, they are actually the same rabbit from different time periods.
    • this is why the rabbits cannot touch each other, being the same rabbit from different time periods this would create a space time paradox, NOT GOOD.
    • In the British sci-fi television series Doctor Who, if a person time travels and encounters a version of him/herself from a different time period, Bad Things can happen. The Blinovich Limitation Effect dictates that if two versions of the same time traveler come into contact, the result is a massive and catastrophic release of temporal energy.
  • The February 28, 2008 podcast confirms a connection between the Orchid station and time travel.
  • Candle asked when the shift was set -- negative 20 being 20 minutes ago, and the duration of the shift is 9 minutes.
  • The problem with sending something back in time, is that you see the results before you do it. If that is the case, then you can imagine something will happen. For instance, if I can send something back in time, then I can think right now that I want a chocolate bar sitting in front of me, and it should appear, as long as sometime in the future I actually send back a bar of chocolate to the exact time and space that I thought of it. With that in mind, whoever decided that sending the rabbit back in time 20 minutes for a duration of 9 minutes, would be discovered 11 minutes in the future from when the disturbance took place.
  • Lending credence to this theory, if you listen closely on the Comic-Con and S3 DVD versions of the video (not the video, for some reason), just after Dr. Halliwax says "The field you have been selected to study is highly volatile and potentially dangerous," there is a brief unusual sound effect that might actually be the sound of the rabbit suddenly appearing on the shelf through time travel.
    • If the rabbit appears on the shelf [and I'm not disputing that] then what is the object that falls theough the frame to the doctor's right at 1:24? It seems to be an actual object as opposed to an artifact on the film, note that the rabbit appears to react to it.
      • I believe that it's merely an object that the rabbit knocked off of the shelf.
        • At the beginning of the film, there are two flasks on the top shelf behind the doctor. When the rabbit "pops" into existence there, it displaces the flasks, causing one to fall off the side of the shelving unit and the other to protrude slightly over the lip of the shelf.
  • Note that not only does Dr. Halliwax prevent the rabbits from touching, he's preventing what appears to be the earlier rabbit (the one in his hands) from the later rabbit (the one that appears.) All this is consistent with an attempt to prevent a causality loop. If the early rabbit never knows (sees, touches in this case) the later rabbit, they haven't interacted.
  • Candle may have expected the second rabbit to appear in the cage after he says, "... highly volatile and potentially dangerous." He pauses and glances suspiciously at the cage.
  • In "The Man Behind the Curtain" commentary the producers mention that Ben is the one who numbers rabbits. This means that the experiments done in the Orchid by Dr. Candle are occurring after The Purge and that Dr. Candle is, or was, one of the others.
    • Or Dr. Candle passed on the torch to Ben.
    • Or the film is from when Ben was on the island before The Purge.
      • Then Ben was involved in the rabbit tests when he was a boy, and he may have been present at the Orchid station with Dr. Candle. He is a bright kid and picked for this training - another reason Roger despises him.
        • Or, being a kid, the DHARMA initiative gave young Ben a simple repetitive job, like spray painting numbers on bunnies.
  • The Orchid uses a particle accelerator to open a wormhole that is used for time/space travel. This is the "frozen wheel" - particle accelerators need to be cooled to operate (they use superconducting magnets).
  • The rabbit that Edgar Halliwax put into the vault in the There's No Place Like Home orientation video was the rabbit that appeared on the shelf in the Comic-Con Orientation video.
    • Instead of forwards the rabbit went backwards.
  • The writers have said that Dharma did not know of the frozen wheel chamber before they built the Orchid, but Dharma must have known something as Dr Chang definitely is aware of the 'energy' behind the wall, warning the Foreman not to do anything further.
  • It is possible that the Orchid may have had two purposes. While the information gained from the lower level suggests the Orchid was meant to study time travel, the upper level still has remains of a greenhouse. It also appears that there is a variety of plants in the greenhouse. Even if the Dharma Initiative built the greenhouse as a cover story they might as well have used it for botanical studies. For cover story to be true, the plants would have to remain well kept and staff would have to be stationed on the upper levels of the station, the plants were also most likely kept by botanists who may even have believed botany was the true purpose of the station and even used the upper level of the station for botanical research. The members that took the elevator to the lower level could have claimed they were studying underground plants such as fungi.

Connection to The Swan

  • In botany, there is indeed a Swan Orchid, genera Cycnoches. The stamens of which look remarkably like a swan's head, and thus the logo of the Swan.
  • The Orchid Orientation video suggests time travel experiments, the reaction to the two rabbits getting so near to each other is similar to that of the doc in back to the future when he stresses to Marty the importance of a past and future versions of the same person not coming in to contact with one another. This could also explain why Richard Alpert doesn't appear to age, perhaps he was sent back in time by Ben to when Ben was younger to initiate the Purge.
  • The Orchid and the Swan are separate stations, but the "casimir effect" is a product of the interaction of both stations magnetic forces. The particles created by the two magnetic stations creates a unique environment (in between the two stations) that make time travel possible. (See Wikipedia for explaination of Casimir.)
    • The "Incident" that made the Swan release terminal necessary was a build up of too many particles resulting in involuntary and uncontrollable time travel. (ie, Desmond)
    • The Orchid is the control center for the time travel, and can be used like a "Magic Box" by pulling object out of different timelines. The timelines themselves are affected and therefore do not create paradoxes in and of themselves. Instead a new timeline where the events took place is created (see string theory for time travel). Example, if Halliwax has seen the rabbit come into being in front of him, he need not send the rabbit back at a future point because it being sent back has already altered the time line into a new string. Therefore, anything you can concieve of someone sending to the island has potential to appear on the island (as an object sent from a future timeline)
  • The Swan is positively charged, and the Orchid is negatively charged.
  • It is possible that the Swan impolosion crushed Desmond with sheer electromagnetic force, creating somewhat of an effect where the discharge in the Swan's electromagnetic force triggered a discharge in Orchid's temporal force simultaneously; and that his displacement was connected to his exposure to the center of the implosion.


  • The Orchid relies on the Casmir Effect, which states that you can travel faster than the speed of light by passing an atom through a gap between two very thin metal plates (this could relate to the possible orchid symbol on Ben's jacket in "The Shape of Things to Come"). This would allow a object/creature to travel though time and space. When reseach was conducted in The Orchid they tested this theory out on a polar bear, sending it to the Sahara.
    • The Casimir effect actually has nothing to do with stating anything about faster than light travel. Nor does it have any particular reliance on 'two very thin metal plates.' It ACTUALLY states that because of second (or canonical) quantizations in quantum field theory, objects very close (we're talking nanoscale here) to one another may experience a repulsive or attractive force between them depending on their arrangement. This is an effect due to the presence of quantum zero-point energy - since the canonical quantization yields a field of virtual particles that obey the classical boundary conditions between the objects yet does not exclude the existence of a virtual field (that is if you are using the metal plate example, the electric potential is zero at the plate surfaces and there is no field real net electric field between them though there can still be a field between the plates that has a real effect on the forces on them), the objects can be directed by the force exerted by this field to a lower energy state, thus causing an attractive or repulsive movement between them. This CAN cause an area of effectively negative mass density to form, which can be used to stabilize the event horizon of an Eistein-Podolsky-Rosen bridge.
  • The circles in the logo actually represent the waves of water created after the Island is moved.
  • The reason for the cave being frozen over may have to do with the description of the Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno. In the story, the Ninth Circle is the innermost region of Hell where Lucifer resides. This makes sense given that the cave plays a central role in controlling the Island. This seems to be oldest part of the Island, with writing of a seemingly earlier time than the hieroglyphs. Also, much like Dante's eponymous character in The Divine Comedy (of which Inferno is a part), Ben's next step after this seems to be a state of purgatory, where he is banished from the Island.
  • Pierre Chang is the director of the Orchid, this would explain why he knows so much about the station and why his Halliwax parka had the Orchid logo on it.
  • The chamber was constructed/renovated by the crew of the Black Rock using dynamite and slaves. Possibly overseen by an orginal other who needed to return to the Island.
  • The well was the method in which the Island's original inhabitants would gain access to their Frozen Donkey Wheel. Obviously, DHARMA wished to keep it a secret, filled in the well and built the station nearby to be able to access it secretly.
  • The Others probably knew about the Orchid's purpose at the time of Charles Widmore's reign. I base this theory on the fact that Keamy is holding a folder with the Orchid logo on it in S04E11. This is probably how Widmore were able to know where Ben would go.
    • Widmore was still leader of the Others after the Purge (since he was exiled on the submarine). It is likely he obtained the info about the Orchid after the Others had begun inhabiting the Barracks and Dharma stations.
      • Widmore is also a millionaire. I am very doubtful that say the University of Michigan would decline a sizable "donation" from Mr. Widmore in exchange for some old obscure files on a random failed scientific expedition from the 80's.
  • It was built near the statue of Tawaret because that is the source of its power. Jacob is the source of the power.

Name Theories

For arguments sake, considering other possibilities than the mere fact that The Orchid's front was a botanical preserve

  • In Samuel R. Delany's classic science fiction novel Dhalgren, the Kid (the protagonist) wields a multi-bladed weapon known as an "orchid". This connects to The Orchid, because just as The Orchid manipulates space and time via the vault and the wheel that moves the island, the Kid's orchid serves as his defense while traversing the unusual spacetime abberations in the city of Bellona. In Bellona, a city ravaged by a mysterious disaster, the city itself twists and changes, time passes at different rates for different people, locations shift around, events are remembered differently. Thus, it can be claimed that the city of Bellona can be likened to a proto-vision of the island, in all its unusual manifestations.
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