One of the original and most popular fan theories was that the Island was purgatory. Writers repeatedly dismissed the theory, and the show's events disproved it beyond argument. Regardless, several characters, such as Anthony Cooper and, more notably, Richard Alpert, have believed the island is hell or purgatory.


A state or place of purification after death; according to Catholic teaching, a place or a state after death where people are purified ('purged') and prepared for the Beatific Vision of heaven. After this purgation of the impurities of the effects of sin, the souls are received into heaven.


Although dismissed as a theory by the writers and producers, they did occasionally make allusions to the "purgatory"/"they're all dead" theory.

"Ab Aeterno"Edit

Richard Alpert's flashback episode, "", deals heavily with this debunked theory. Richard kills a man in 1867 and is told he cannot repent for this sin. Shortly afterwards, he arrives on the island on the Black Rock. He is quickly convinced the island is hell when the the Monster massacres the other crewmen and an apparition of his dead wife Isabella tells him they are in hell before being taken by the Monster. The Monster, in the form of the Man in Black, tells Richard he is, in fact, in hell, and that Jacob is the devil and must be killed so Richard can be with his wife and escape. After Jacob overpowers Richard, he explains he is not the devil and the island is not hell, but a cork keeping the Man in Black from escaping into the outside world.

The "Flash-sideways" World Edit

In season six, however, the flash-sideways timeline that was presented as an alternative to the flash-fowards and flashbacks, was revealed to be a form of limbo constructed by the characters in order to help them move on.

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