SuperMod, Enforcer and all-around-great-gal JG informed me today (3-11-05) that there were requests to bring this thread back from the depths to which it was sent late last year.
Keep in mind, this concept and idea date all the way back to 10-4-04. So if some of finer points of the this theory are lost on what we now know has happened since then, I apologize. Back when Lost started, I immediately began to search for a grand concept that cold possibly explain all the strange things we had already seen in the first few episodes, as well as what I knew was coming down the line. To date, I still believe this is one of the more workable theories, and its the one I'm still working on to continue to add proof as we see new clues each week. When boiled down to its essential elements, it basically says that some kind of experiment happened on the island, and that the lingering effects from that experiment could be the cause for the strange effects to the crash survivors, the crash itself, and the overall mysterious nature of the island. This was also based on the early quotes form Fury and Lindeloff that in the end, there would be a scientific or psuedo-scientific explanation for everything. Enjoy.
I was waiting to post this until I completed my research this weekend, and I'm not posting this as a spoiler because it's speculation, but it defiantly could ruin the mystery of the island and what it is if you buy into my concept, so read at your own risk!
Some of you younger sorts may not remember a really bad 1984 movie called the Philadelphia Experiment, but maybe you do remember the story.
Trust me, don't waste your time with the movie, I spent all weekend sifting through data on the web, and there's plenty of information out there to read about this event. I actually bought the movie and watched it because I hadn't seen it for so long, and like I said, don't waste your time or money. The science behind this movie is compelling though, or science fiction, depending on how you look at it, and that's what this is all about. The scientific or pseudo-scientific explanation of what the island is.
To lay this all out, I'm going to do it in parts, first the basic background of the story, then some information on the science fiction behind it, and then how this concept relates to the show Lost.
Part I - Basic Background of the Experiment
This is a basic description of the story of the Philadelphia Experiment from one of the websites I reviewed this weekend. A lot of the websites that are out there are VERY speculative, they mostly are written by people who have spent time researching this and interviewing people who were supposedly part of the experiment or witnessed it in some way. The Navy probably did the usual bang up job that any branch of the military does when it needs to cover something up, so there's not a lot of declassified material laying around to support the claims of these researchers. What is important going forward is the basic concept involved, just keep that in mind. Here's the story.
The Philadelphia Experiment, otherwise known as Project Rainbow, has been a subject of long controversy and debate. It was an attempt by the Navy to create a ship that could not be detected by magnetic mines and-or radar.
Although the story itself seems too bizarre to be true, far too many coincidences have occurred for it to not be based upon some small iota of truth. The technical data that has also been presented upon the subject hold far too much credence to be ignored. Many of the stories associated with this infamous experiment are wild: whispers of men 'freezing' in time for months, rumors of men traveling through time, and horror stories of men becoming stuck in bulkheads or even the floor of the ship itself.
In the 1930's Nikola Tesla got involved with a group with was experimenting with moving through the Time/Space continuum. In the early 1930's, the University of Chicago investigated the possibility of invisibility through the use of electricity.
In 1939 this project was moved to Princeton's Institute of Advanced Studies - this is not far from Philadelphia. There they were able to make small objects invisible. They presented this technology to the government. The military, because we were at war wanted to pursue it in their direction.
Tesla had come to the same conclusion that Einstein did that this technology if developed would not be used for the benefit of mankind.
In 1943 the government conducted a test using domestic animals on a ship. The ship that was eventually used for the experiment, the USS Eldridge, was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on August 27,1943 (Department of the Navy). The animals were placed in metal cages on the USS Eldridge. The ship became invisible but when it materialized many of the animals were missing or had radiation and other burn marks on them. Humans were not to be tested.
Yet on August 12, 1943 the USS Eldridge with a full crew aboard reportedly underwent the Philadelphia Experiment. The men did not know what was to happen. The generators were fired up. The switches were thrown. The ship disappeared and all seemed well.
The Navy, in a search for a plausible answer, has suggested that perhaps the Philadelphia Experiment was confused with experiments done attempting invisibility to magnetic mines. This was a process known as degaussing.
But the ship was gone from the harbor for about 4 hours, not just a few minutes. Legend has it that the ship was transported through space and time. It arced through Space/Time.
Four hours later it returned to its original place. There was a greenish haze on deck. Some of the sailors were on fire. Some seemed insane. All were sick. Some had heart attacks. Some were dead. Some were part of the super structure of the ship, buried in the deck or walls of the ship. Some reports said that men just seemed to disappear and were never seen again.
But where had the ship gone for 4 hours? Some witnesses placed it in Norfolk Harbor. Others say it voyaged 40 years into the future and wound up at Montauk, New York.
The Navy denied everything and said the men were lost at sea. Perhaps one day the truth will be known.
Part II - The Science Fiction
This is the part of the theory that works for me. When you're reading this information, you'll see what's all involved, guys like Tesla and Einstein were actually involved in this. It's based on Einstein's Unified Field Theory, and if you look at this from Lindelof's and JJ Abrams perspective, its a beauty. Here are a few pieces of info on the science behind the experiments, these are also from the above link, and again are speculative in nature, in fact, the researcher believes he was a World War II secret agent in a past life or something. There were major debunking efforts that were put up against all this, but again, it's only the concept that we need to move forward.
Dr. Albert Einstein, Dr. John von Neumann, and Dr. Nikola Tesla were involved in the project. Some controversy has arisen as to the participation of Tesla because he died in New York city on January 7, 1943, which was only a two month period of time after the project took place. Einstein, on the other hand, suggested such a project as this to the Navy on several occasions. Because of this, he was probably involved in the project. As for von Neumann, there is no evidence to refute or promote his active participation in the matter. There is evidence that supports the fact that he later continued on the experiment at a different time.
The principle that lay behind the Philadelphia Experiment was the Unified Field Theory. This theory states that gravity and magnetism are connected, just as mass and energy are connected through the formula E=mc2. Einstein never solved the Unified Field Theory, but the very nature of the Philadelphia Experiment suggests otherwise. It is probably that this theory has become a government secret because it is capable of doing many things, possibly even space travel without the assistance of rockets.
If the technicalities of the experiment are vague and a matter of controversy, the results of the experiment are just as foggy. One fact which everyone seem to agree on is that a field was extended many yards, up to perhaps one hundred, outside of the ship and into the water (Anonymous).
Everything inside of this sphere was vague in form and the only visible shape was the hull of the Eldridge in the water. This field seemed to have a greenish color and was misty. Another fact everyone agrees was that the Eldridge did not function properly after the experiment and became a source of trouble.
The Eldridge Today - Some reports say that the ship was dismantled. Others report say it was taken to Greece and renamed the Leon. A man named George N. Pantoulas maintains that the was given as military aid from US to Greece sometime between the late 40's and early 50's where it served in the Greek navy until 1990 and is sea worthy today. It is purported located in the Suda Bay Naval Station in Crete.
So that's an overview-explanation of the science. Here are some other links to some of the websites I reviewed this weekend, the last is a skeptic debunking site, the first is from a guy named Andrew Hochheimer who wrote a pretty good book covering all of this. He even has a section on the Russian version of the experiment, and he was interviewed by the Discovery Channel for a special they did on this topic, his site has a lot of great photos. None of the bookstores in my area had his book or any other books about this subject though, which I thought was odd. I'm thinking that's a bonus for the creators of the show because the story is so cold right now, it's totally off the radar and has never been done correctly by Hollywood or TV.
Obviously, there are many more sources out there for review, these were some of the ones I looked at. If anyone comes across others that are useful, please post them. So before I go into my thoughts on how this figures into the show, I invite you all to read the information on some of these links and go a little more in depth with it, the more you know about it, the more what I propose will make sense. If you really want to get crazy, do a search for Einstein's Unified Field Theory and read those sites. If, however, you don't have the time or desire to do so, that's fine, I've posted the key elements here so you wouldn't have to go very far to get the basic concept.
Keep this in mind at all times - the concept that someone completed and applied Einstein's Unified Field Theory is HUGE. That's really what I think the writers are working off of here. It contains elements of almost every well-known science fiction theme out there. From time travel to inter-dimensional travel to invisibility to the involvement of alien technology, its all in there as a fringe element of the story.
That's why this really isn't as much of a "theory" of mine as it is a "concept".
Part III - The Concept of the Completion of Einstein's Unified Field Theory and it's Practical Applications for the Writers and Producers of the TV Show Lost
For the record, this is a concept, not a black and white theory. I will draw some conclusions about the show as an example of how great this concept works to explain things on Lost. My goal is to use this as a foundation to maybe get the island it's own board so we can all continue to post our developing theories based on this concept.
Where to begin? Let's start with the writers and producers. If you were going to come up with a show like this, where you had a 4 or 5 year story arc developed for the characters and the island, you'd need a pretty big, open-ended concept that you could take in a lot of different directions later on. You'd need some flexibility, and that's exactly what this concept offers them. The other thing it offers that no other theory I've seen posted so far really covers is the possibility of a conspiracy. I know that's important to a lot of the J.J Abrams fans out there. With this concept, you could have it and it could be almost anything.
My biggest problem with the show so far was that a lot of us had pointed out that this island is obviously big enough that it should have been inhabited at some point, or at the very least, you'd be able to see it from space. I posted a NASA link where you can view the Earth grid by grid and look at satellite images of all the little islands and atolls that are out there. The fact that no one supposedly gets off of the island along with the 16 year old radio signal that doesn't seem to be carrying like normal radio waves do is what lead me to review the concept of the Philadelphia Experiment.
So here's the whole concept as it relates to this show: What if nobody ever gets off the island because you can't actually see it and radio signals for help can't escape it?
That's what I think is happening in a nutshell. Think about how it makes all makes sense, and again, this is just one possible scenario the writers could be working from.
We know they crashed in South Pacific somewhere. What took place all over the Pacific islands in the 40's and 50's? That's right, nuclear bomb testing from several countries, not just the US, but Britain, France and others too. That's not important, what is important is that the countries that did the testing moved a lot of the original inhabitants around so they could nuke parts of or all of their islands. Then the testing counties did major clean-up efforts and spent lots of money trying to make the islands livable afterwords, I posted some links about this on another thread.
So here's a thought. At they same time Einstein and other scientists were working on the Manhattan Project, they were supposedly also working on the Unified Field Theory and how it might be used to make ships invisible. We know they succeeded in making the atomic bomb, and that was reportedly one of the reasons Einstein didn't finish his theory, he knew it would never be used for anything good, but that the military would use it for their own advancement, not to mention the other applications it had for space travel, time travel (which I think he viewed as dangerous, I could be wrong though) and stealth technology.
If you start with that basic foundation, it's not hard to extrapolate what the writers could say happened next.
Some country, probably the U.S. because we supposedly did the original experiment (although it could be another country or group for purposes of the show Lost
) wanted to continue the experiments. The story is that Dr. John von Neumann continued the work. It wouldn't have been uncommon for a project like that to go off the books after 1943, it would probably have been set up as a black operation where the funding for it wasn't itemized and accounted for by the GOA. It could have become a CIA or NSA project or it could have been privatized with a government contractor company with little or no involvement from the military.
So after the initial experiment, this technology would have to have been viewed as EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, and testing near populated areas would have stopped completely. So what could they have done then? Well, they could have said they needed one of those islands out in the South Pacific where the nuclear testing was going on for different kinds of tests, preferably one that's smaller, out of the way and not inhabited.
So the government finds a spot for them in the Marshall Islands or somewhere near there, which is defiantly a possible site for the plane crash in the show.
From there, you can take this concept and draw it out about a hundred different ways.
I'd like to think that they got there and set up shop after WW II was over, probably in the late 40's. I don't think they would have moved this technology to the Pacific Theater during the war with Japan being so close. As far as the goal of the mission and the nature of the project, like I said, it could be a lot of things. Maybe they wanted to try the same thing, but with a nuclear powered vessel. The first nuclear craft was a sub called the Nautilus in 1951:
The first nuclear ships showed up in 1955 as both military and commercial ships.
So lets say they tried the same experiment, but with a nuclear power source to create a larger or more powerful field. Maybe the goal was to do what they originally set out to do, to make a ship invisible to the eye and to radar. Maybe the goal was to build a small nuclear reactor on the island to produce a massive field to create an invisible island base that couldn't be seen.
Besides the race to create the first nuclear bomb, which we won, there was another great race going on in the 50's-the space race. We lost that one when Russia launched Sputnik, the first satellite in 1957.
Now I doubt the first purpose of Sputnik was to go looking for islands in the South Pacific where the U.S. might be working testing Unified Field Theory equipment. But other satellites, mostly for spying, started going up pretty quickly.
So with satellites going up in the late 50's, if something went wrong with the experiment (or right for that matter) before then, the island could have disappeared and the only ones who would have known about it would be those who worked the project. Satellites could theoretically be imaging the area today and nothing would show up. Boats could steam right by and not see a thing. And they originally had problems reaching the crew of the Eldridge by radio due to interference from the electromagnetic field the ship was producing in the first experiments. So there's your explanation of why the radio message isn't getting out.
That's what I'm thinking is going on. On some level the experiment succeeded. Either a nuclear vessel (like a sub in a tunnel base, or a ship docked on the other side of the island in a small inlet or cove) or a small base in or on the island itself with a nuclear power source is producing an electromagnetic field big enough to envelop the whole island.
Keep in mind this field would be spherical in nature, so if we're looking at a 10 or 15 mile diameter globe-shaped area, then it would extend straight up from the source half that distance (the radius) into the sky. Since one mile is 5,280 feet, if the diameter of the field is 12 miles, then it would extend upward 31680 feet. Extend that as far as you want to for use with this concept, the point is it would have been big enough for a plane to fly into.
Think back to what the pilot said: "Six hours in, our radio went out. No one could see us. We turned back to land in Fiji. By the time we hit turbulence, we were 1000 miles off course. They're looking for us in the wrong place."
When he said "no one could see us", I could never figure that out. With the concept of the electromagnetic field, that would explain why his radio went out. It would also explain what he meant, all of a sudden, they couldn't see their own plane's signature on radar because they had entered the field. They must have known they were already off course, and when they flew through the field, they either went down inside of it or turned back around and entered it on the way back to Fiji. Odds are, if you fly or float into this field and your plane or ship is not outfitted with the equipment used in the experiment, your radio signals would be disrupted and just bounce around inside the dome shaped field. EMP interference, or an electro-magnetic pulse could have also shut some of the planes systems down, causing them to lose flight control. That coupled with the turbulence could have brought the plane down VERY QUICKLY, right into the island, and ripped it apart in the process. Likewise if a ship or barge entered the field, they could have also lost power, and then they'd be coasting at a high rate of speed without the ability to reverse course. All of a sudden this island would appear out of nowhere, they wouldn't be able to stop, and they'd run aground and wreck and sink.
This would explain how people have gotten "Lost" there and haven't been able to be rescued.
That's the basic concept I'm putting forth. Like most good theories and concepts backed by various degrees of proof, it raises more questions than it solves, and that's exactly the kind of flexibility the writers are looking for. Think of all the questions this creates about the island that we can discuss for weeks and weeks and weeks:
Who really did the experiments? Are there governments or agencies or private companies involved? Are there still conspiracies in place today, or have those that started the work all died, victims of an accident? Was it a ship or the entire island they were trying to make invisible? What went wrong with the experiment? Where they just trying to work on invisibility or were they trying to move ships through space or time? Are there areas of instability on the island where portals are opening up, causing animals from the past or future to appear? Did they try to go back in time and bring animals back with them as proof of success for continued funding? Are the experiments still going on today? Who knows about them? Is there a new sinister group that has started the work again and is responsible for putting this group together on this flight and setting the flight path to take them right to the island? If so, for what purpose? Is the island being monitored somehow with a special satellite that can see thought the electromagnetic field? Did the whole island move to a different time or place in the ocean? Was some of the technology used in the experiment reverse-engineered from recovered alien technology? Even worse, was there collaboration with the aliens to get the technology? Is the island an abandoned alien base, made invisible so they'd always have a place on this planet to operate from?
I think you all get the point.
The thing to remember about this show is that we're only going to find things out about the island as fast as the survivors do.
An even when they do find clues, they're going to have to figure them out to move forward in the right direction. We might all be screaming at the television when they discover something, because maybe we'll know what's going on and they won't. Or the opposite could happen, and we'll all think we know what's going on, but the writers change gears and take us someplace else. Bottom line, Lost
will be about the characters and how they deal with each other while they're trying to figure the mystery of the island out.
This concept works marvelously for this story and gives the writers unlimited "outs", to use a poker term, for where they can take the mythology arc of the show
. As always, feel free to agree or disagree, and I'm sure you could take any single question from the group above and argue the different sides of it for hours, not to mention the other questions you will all come up with yourselves. I think that's what the creators of the show want us to do. They want obsessive, loyal fans to make this show a cult phenomenon, and so far, it looks like they're succeeding.