DHARMA Initiative Station #1
The Hydra is a DHARMA Initiative zoological research station located on the Hydra Island, a second and smaller island (twice size of Alcatraz; about 44 acres or 178,061 metres squared) a few miles offshore. The Hydra appears to be one of the larger if not largest DHARMA facilities: a sprawling collection of different buildings and underground facilities. Similar to the Flame and the Tempest in that a large section is not hidden below ground. The above-ground area of the station is surrounded by thick jungle, and is located relatively close to shore. The Others also constructed a runway not far from the station.
The Hydra was constructed at some point prior to 1977 and its original purpose was one of zoological research. The station contained research facilities for experimentation on polar bears and marine animals such as dolphins and sharks. Pierre Chang threatened Hurley with being sent to Hydra Island to weigh polar bear dung for the scientists there in their “ridiculous experiments.” (“Some Like It Hoth”) Personnel were carried to and from the station via the Pala Ferry which ran three times a day. (Barracks video)
The blast door map references the Hydra station with the statement, “Stated goal, repatriation, accelerated de-territorialization of Ursus maritimus (polar bear) through gene therapy and extreme climate change,” suggesting the experiments may have been aimed at making polar bears less aggressive. A system found in one of the cages is similar to the experiments carried out by B.F. Skinner in conditioning. (“A Tale of Two Cities”)
After the Purge, an unknown number of polar bears managed to escape their cages, and subsequently swam to the main Island. (Access Granted)
At some point after the Purge, the Others assumed control of the Hydra, which was used as a base of operations for a number of different types of projects away from their home on the main Island. (“Stranger in a Strange Land”) One of these projects was the construction of a runway on Hydra Island that Kate and Sawyer were forced to work on. (“The Glass Ballerina”) (“Every Man for Himself”) (“I Do”) Karl’s imprisonment and attempted brainwashing in Room 23 also suggests that other psychological experiments may have been underway. The station may have also served as a makeshift prison or judicial center for the Others. Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Karl and Juliet were all imprisoned here, and a number of the Others traveled to Hydra Island specifically to watch Juliet’s trial. Ben also had an office here.
After Ben’s surgery, the Others abandoned the station and returned to the Barracks, possibly fearing that the survivors could return. (“Stranger in a Strange Land”)
In 2007, Ajira Airways Flight 316 made an emergency landing on the Hydra Island. The survivors shortly thereafter discovered the Hydra and moved their injured into one of the station’s buildings. At least Caesar and Ilana explored the complex, looking for anything that might help them. (“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”) (“Namaste”)
Later in 2007, after Jacob’s death, Charles Widmore and his people appear to have taken up residence in the Hydra station. His team appears to have been making extensive preparations, including surrounding the facility with a portable sonar fence and setting up a pair of giant solenoids in the yard behind the main building. Both Jin and Desmond were captured and brought to the Hydra. Jin was kept in “Room 23” for a short period of time and Desmond woke up in the infirmary. (“The Package”) (“Happily Ever After”)
In making preparations inside the solenoid chamber, Simmons was accidentally killed when the power was switched on. Widmore orders Desmond to be put inside. Jin objects, but Widmore explains that Desmond has survived such electromagnetic catastrophes in the past and their lives depend on whether or not he can do so again. Desmond survives the experiment and is left unconscious for a few seconds. During this time he appears to have had some form of contact with his counterpart in the flash-sideways timeline. (“Happily Ever After”)
(Mythological Symbolism: POLYPHEMUS‘ Cave)
Out behind the main building is a large open yard. Charles Widmore and his people set up a large enclosed wooden structure here surrounding two massive solenoids with huge cables connecting it to the main building. When switched on, the solenoids generate an intense electromagnetic field. A large metal stairway leads up and into the main building from here. (“Happily Ever After”)
In the video game Lost: Via Domus, several additional locations are revealed at the Hydra. These locations are considered canonical.
Research Lab & Staging Tank
This room has a code name which is DIHS-R38. The room was used for various zoological research and experimentation. There are several animal cages, as well as laboratory equipment. There is also a wall that has x-rays from a shark. It is likely that many experiments with dolphins, sharks, and other marine animals were done in this laboratory.
In this room there is a large aquarium that contains two large shark tanks adjacent to each other. Above the tank there is a large metal machine that can carry the sharks and suspend them in mid-air. The staging tank has a code name which is DIHS-ST1. (“Worth A Thousand Words”)
Associated LOST Characters
Primary Symbolism: Water & Fertility Deities
Secondary Symbolism: Death, Underworld & Darkness Deities
Room 23 is a locked room in a facility within in the Hydra compound where Karl and Walt were held by the Others, and Karl was subjected to a brainwashing video. In 2007, Charles Widmore held Jin-Soo Kwon captive in the room. The DHARMA Initiative originally used the room to trigger amnesia in the Hostiles after interrogating them, so as not to violate the Truce. (“The New Man in Charge”) After The Purge, however, it was co-opted by the Others. (Access: Granted) The facility bears the Hydra logo, although it appears to be separated from the rest of the Hydra station. Room 23 is located at the end of a hall. The door next to it leads outside. Behind it is a stairwell because the terrain is lower at the backside of the building than at the front side.
Walt was held at Room 23 by the Others some point after they took him off the raft. According to Ben, Jacob wanted Walt there because he was important and special. However, Walt posed a greater threat to the Others than they expected, as he had been doing something unspecified in the room that frightened them so that they would not go in to see him. Ben responded to a particular situation with a blaring alarm and people in commotion, where Juliet suggested that Ben take responsibility and bring Walt back to his father. Ben refused, and Juliet took him outside to show what Walt had done: a group of dead birds were lying on the stairwell beneath a boarded up window. (“Room 23”)
Walt later told Michael that the Others made him take tests, after which Beatrice Klugh became agitated and threatened to put Walt in the room again. Walt instantly froze up at the mention of this. (“Three Minutes”)
Karl was subjected to brainwashing inside Room 23 by being forced to watch a video, strapped to a chair, while extremely loud drum-and-bass music was played. Alex, Kate, and Sawyer found him with an IV in his arm and wearing LED goggles. When he was freed, Karl was not fully conscious and had to be carried out by Sawyer. The video Karl was subjected to contained various quick cuts of images and text, as well as a reference to Jacob and short glimpses of Gerald DeGroot and Alvar Hanso. At the time, the facility that housed Room 23 was guarded by Aldo. (“Not in Portland”)
In 2007, Jin-Soo Kwon was held captive in Room 23 by Charles Widmore and his team. He awoke inside the room and began flipping various switches. One switch triggered the projection of the brainwash video. Jaunted, Jin quickly stopped it. Zoe came inside and explained him that the DHARMA Initiative used the video to conduct experiments on subliminal messaging. (“The Package”)
Associated Number Symbolism
Associated LOST Characters
Primary Symbolism: Space-Time/Infinity & Darkness Deities
Secondary Symbolism: Sun & Sky Deities
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Reference)
Decoded LOST Character (Partridge)
In Greek mythology, the Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast (as its name evinces) that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly. The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Heracles as the second of his Twelve Labours. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, though archaeology has borne out the myth that the sacred site was older even than the Mycenaean city of Argos since Lerna was the site of the myth of the Danaids. Beneath the waters was an entrance to the Underworld, and the Hydra was its guardian.
The Second Labour of Heracles
After slaying the Nemean lion, Eurystheus sent Heracles to slay the Hydra, which Hera had raised just to slay Heracles. Upon reaching the swamp near Lake Lerna, where the Hydra dwelt, Heracles covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to protect himself from the poisonous fumes. He fired flaming arrows into the Hydra’s lair, the spring of Amymone, a deep cave that it only came out of to terrorize neighboring villages. He then confronted the Hydra, wielding a harvesting sickle (according to some early vase-paintings), a sword or his famed club. Ruck and Staples (1994: 170) have pointed out that the chthonic creature’s reaction was botanical: upon cutting off each of its heads he found that two grew back, an expression of the hopelessness of such a struggle for any but the hero. The weakness of the Hydra was that only one of its heads was immortal.
The details of the struggle are explicit in Apollodorus (2.5.2): realizing that he could not defeat the Hydra in this way, Heracles called on his nephew Iolaus for help. His nephew then came upon the idea (possibly inspired by Athena) of using a blazing firebrand to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. Heracles cut off each head and Iolaus cauterized the open stumps. Seeing that Heracles was winning the struggle, Hera sent a large crab to distract him. He crushed it under his mighty foot. Its one immortal head was cut off with a golden sword given to him by Athena. Heracles placed it under a great rock on the sacred way between Lerna and Elaius (Kerenyi 1959:144), and dipped his arrows in the Hydra’s poisonous blood, and so his second task was complete. The alternative version of this myth is that after cutting off one head he then dipped his sword in it and used its venom to burn each head so it couldn’t grow back. Hera, upset that Heracles slew the beast she raised to kill him, placed it in the dark blue vault of the sky as the Constellation Hydra. She then turned the crab into the Constellation Cancer.
Heracles later used an arrow dipped in the Hydra’s poisonous blood to kill the centaur Nessus; and Nessus’s tainted blood was applied to the Tunic of Nessus, by which the centaur had his posthumous revenge. Both Strabo and Pausanias report that the stench of the river Anigrus in Elis, making all the fish of the river inedible, was reputed to be due to the Hydra’s poison, washed from the arrows Heracles used on the centaur.
When Eurystheus, the agent of ancient Hera who was assigning The Twelve Labors to Heracles, found out that it was Heracles’ nephew Iolaus who had handed him the firebrand, he declared that the labor had not been completed alone and as a result did not count towards the ten labours set for him. The mythic element is an equivocating attempt to resolve the submerged conflict between an ancient ten Labours and a more recent twelve.
Decoded Family Members & Associated Characters
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Association)
Decoded LOST Character (Charles Widmore)
Poseidon was the god of the sea, storms, and, as “Earth-Shaker,” of earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. Linear B tablets show that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes in pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, but he was integrated into the Olympian gods as the brother of Zeus and Hades. Poseidon has many children. There is a Homeric hymn to Poseidon, who was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena.
Worship of Poseidon
Poseidon was a major civic god of several cities: in Athens, he was second only to Athena in importance, while in Corinth and many cities of Magna Graecia he was the chief god of the polis. In his benign aspect, Poseidon was seen as creating new islands and offering calm seas. When offended or ignored, he supposedly struck the ground with his trident and caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings and shipwrecks. Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice; in this way, according to a fragmentary papyrus, Alexander the Great paused at the Syrian seashore before the climacteric battle of Issus, and resorted to prayers, “invoking Poseidon the sea-god, for whom he ordered a four-horse chariot to be cast into the waves.”
According to Pausanias, Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the oracle at Delphi before Olympian Apollo took it over. Apollo and Poseidon worked closely in many realms: in colonization, for example, Delphic Apollo provided the authorization to go out and settle, while Poseidon watched over the colonists on their way, and provided the lustral water for the foundation-sacrifice. Xenophon’s Anabasis describes a group of Spartan soldiers in 400–399 BCE singing to Poseidon a paean — a kind of hymn normally sung for Apollo.
Like Dionysus, who inflamed the maenads, Poseidon also caused certain forms of mental disturbance. A Hippocratic text of ca 400 BCE, On the Sacred Disease says that he was blamed for certain types of epilepsy.
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Association)
Decoded LOST Character (The Man In Black)
Cerberus in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed hound (usually three-headed) which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Cerberus featured in many works of ancient Greek and Roman literature and in works of both ancient and modern art and architecture, although, the depiction and background surrounding Cerberus often differed across various works by different authors of the era. The most notable difference is the number of its heads: Most sources describe or depict three heads; others show it with two or even just one; a smaller number of sources show a variable number, sometimes as many as 50.
The name “Cerberus” is a Latinised version of the Greek Kerberos, which may be related to the Sanskrit word सर्वरा “sarvarā”, used as an epithet of one of the dogs of Yama, from a Proto-Indo-European word *ḱerberos, meaning “spotted” (This etymology suffers from the fact that it includes a reconstructed *b, which is extremely rare in Proto-Indo-European. Yet according to Pokorny it is well distributed, with additional apparent cognates in Slavic, British and Lithuanian). The use of a dog is uncertain, although mythologists have speculated that the association was first made in the city of Trikarenos in Phliasia.
Cerberus is said to be the sibling of the Lernaean Hydra, the Nemean Lion, the Sphinx, the Ladon, and the Chimera.
“Cerberus” is generally pronounced in English with a soft C as in cell, even though the ancient pronunciation, in both Greek and Latin was with a hard C as in cat.
Cerberus was the offspring of Echidna, a hybrid half-woman and half-serpent, and Typhon, a fire-breathing giant whom even the Olympian gods feared. Its brother is Orthrus, always depicted as a two-headed hellhound. The common depiction of Cerberus in Greek mythology and art is as having three heads, a mane of live serpents (similar to Medusa’s hair) and a snake’s tail. In most works the three-heads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. Each of Cerberus’ heads is said to have an appetite only for live meat and thus allow the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld, but allow none to leave. Cerberus was always employed as Hades‘ loyal watchdog, and guarded the gates that granted access and exit to the underworld (also called Hades).