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The Lost Experience

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The Lost Experience was an alternate reality game that was part of the ABC television drama Lost. The game, written by Jordan Rosenberg as revealed by Carlton Cuse, played out during Lost's second season in the United Kingdom and during the summer break in the United States until the launch of season 3. The Lost Experience, which began in May 2006, used websites, voice mail, television and newspaper ads and a novel to give players clues to the game. The Lost Experience ended on September 24, 2006.


Hanso
The Hanso Foundation

The Hanso Foundation is an organization established by Alvar Hanso sometime in the 1960s. The Foundation was the primary funder for the DHARMA Initiative which would help further scientific research in many fields. The Hanso Foundation funded the DHARMA Initiative and their name appears in the copyrights for the DHARMA Orientation films.

Dharma Sri Lanka Logo
Sri Lanka Video

The Sri Lanka video was filmed by Rachel Blake and the footage contains a DHARMA Initiative film dating back to 1975 starring Alvar Hanso, as well as instructions from Dr. Thomas Werner Mittelwerk to Hanso Foundation members about a new project, and about how the DHARMA Initiative failed.

RachelBlake
Lost Experience Characters

There were numerous characters that were introduced in The Lost Experience, these characters affected the final outcome of the Experience.

TLE-Hanso Exposed
Lost Experience Websites

Many websites were use prominently in the Lost Experience as a way to provide more knowledge and information to those involved, but also to further the ongoing plot.

TLE-DJ Dan
DJ Dan

An ongoing theme of the Lost Experience was "DJ Dan" and his radio show "DJ Dan: Shutting down the Man". DJ Dan and his host Tonya Jefferson speak periodically about The Hanso Foundation and other conspiracies that he and his listeners choose to discuss.

TLE-BookTalk
Book Talk

Book Talk was a talk show hosted by Laird Granger, who interviews authors on their releases of their latest books. One of his guests was Gary Troup who authored the novel "Bad Twin".

TLE-ValenzettiEquation
The Valenzetti Equation

The Valenzetti Equation as mentioned in the DHARMA Initative's orientation film was created in 1962 by Princeton mathematician Enzo Valenzetti and predicted the exact number of years and months until humanity extinguishes itself. The DHARMA Initiative's sole purpose was to change the values of this equation.

TLE-BadTwin
Gary Troup's "Bad Twin"

Gary Troup's Bad Twin was the official tie-in novel for the Lost Experience which told the tale of Paul Artisan who was hired by a member of the Widmore family to his twin. The novel has many references to both the Hanso Foundation, and Lost itself.

TLE-ValenzettiBook
Gary Troup's "The Valenzetti Equation"

Gary Troup's "The Valenzetti Equation" was a non-fiction novel used to chronicle the events surrounding the Valenzetti Equation. All copies of the novel, as well was including the original publisher, were purchased by the Hanso Foundation in order to cover it up.


PremiseEdit

The game is divided into five phases. The first began on May 2 in the United Kingdom, May 3 in the United States and Australia, with a television commercial that aired during an episode of Lost for the fictional Hanso Foundation, a corporation referenced in "Orientation". The advertisement listed a telephone number which brought up fictional voice mail lines for employees at the Hanso Foundation. Some of these messages provided clues to be used in the Hanso Foundation's website. Commercials for the Hanso Foundation in subsequent weeks directed players to other in-game websites, some of which are tied to specific sponsors, as detailed below.

Hansofoundationorg2

www.thehansofoundation.org

Several different websites for fictional organizations or individuals mentioned on the show or in part of the Lost Experience were introduced. The websites, particularly the Hanso Foundation website, contain background information into the mythology of Lost. The character Rachel Blake, also known as Persephone, is introduced to guide players through the game. Most clues on the Hanso Foundation website are revealed by clicking on faintly marked anomalies in the web page design or by entering specific codes into webpages. Some require passwords found elsewhere, such as in the voicemail service. The clue revelations are designed as minigames, though with little challenge as they are completely linear. A notable exception is the coded messages on persephone.thehansofoundation.org involving simple encryption schemes such as ROT13 and base64.

Also in May Hyperion Publishing published the novel Bad Twin, a book written by and credited to fictional author Gary Troup, who was on the plane that crashed on Lost. Bad Twin is a mystery novel that contains references to the show and mentions the Hanso Foundation occasionally. On May 9, various newspapers ran quarter-page ads from the Hanso Foundation which condemned the novel for giving misinformation about the Hanso Foundation. Of note is the fact that "Gary Troup" is in fact an anagram of the word "purgatory" itself, indicating that the book may itself be a red herring as the purgatory theory has been refuted.

On June 19, Rachel Blake's blog is revealed in the source code of the Hanso foundation site, which comes to play a major part of the second phase of the game. Rogue investigator Blake posts videos of her traveling around the world (mostly Europe) to uncover the secret agenda of the Hanso foundation.

Hansoexposed-web

www.hansoexposed.com

HansoExposed.com is launched through a stunt at Comic-Con on July 22 2006, marking the start of the Lost Experience phase three. The website (which was identified earlier as sharing IP number with thehansofoundation.org) features open-registration accounts to a video sequence editor. By entering alphanumeric codes new video segments can be added. New codes are expected to be released regularly - entering an invalid code yields a statement that the code in question does not work at this particular time.
Whereisalvar

www.whereisalvar.com

In late August 2006 Apollo chocolate bars (the Apollo bar is a part of the Lost mythology and has been featured onscreen) begin distribution through Forbidden Planet stores in the UK, and visits by an Apollo truck in the US. On August 24 the web site www.whereisalvar.com is launched. Site users may upload pictures of themselves and Apollo chocolate bars they have been issued. A certain number of Apollo bars are designated "golden oracle", and contain special codes that can also be submitted to the site. A message from Rachel Blake promises that further instructions will be given "once enough of the world is watching". Now the site has told that DJ Dan will tell the full truth and finally shut down the whole thing on his radio show on September 24 at 8pm PST.

Fans of Lost have been looking over the clues and discussing them on internet forums, and several websites have been set up which give detailed information on all parts of the game. Since its focus on the worldwide web (as opposed to broadcast), the intentionally low-fi nature of some Lost Experience material and its use of consumer-oriented distribution channels such as Blogger, Flickr and YouTube it has been particularly difficult separating fan-made material from the official canon.

The Hanso FoundationEdit

Main article: Hanso Foundation

Until June 20, 2006, when the Hanso Foundation website closed, the Lost Experience centered mainly around The Hanso Foundation website, with other tie-in websites being linked from hidden clues in the main site. The Hanso Foundation website includes many easter eggs, and reveals mysteries behind the Hanso Foundation, its employees, the DHARMA Initiative and the island, without spoiling the plot of Lost.

Now, since the site's closing, most new clues are related to Rachel Blake's website, http://www.hansoexposed.com.

TimelineEdit

The game is known to be set in five phases (though some argue there are only three phases). When one ends and the next begins has not yet been explicitly stated by the creators of the Lost Experience, and may or may not be at a later time. The phase delimiters presented below are based on consensus among internet sources covering the game.

Phase 1Edit

May 3, 2006
(Event took place on May 2nd in UK, and May 6th in Australia.)
The game begins with www.thehansofoundation.org website being updated and the airing of a fictional television ad.
First clue: visitor is contacted again by Persephone when signing up for newsletter.
May 4
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Gary Troup interview are released on the Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon.com websites respectively.
May 5
A press release is issued by Hugh McIntyre, a fictional employee of the Hanso Foundation. The release includes a hidden link to persephone.thehansofoundation.org where the second clue was found.
May 7
The message on persephone.thehansofoundation.org is updated.
May 8
A message appears from Persephone in the executive biography of the fictional Alvar Hanso, CEO and founder of the Hanso Foundation, commenting that he has not been seen in public since 2002.
May 9
The Hanso Foundation places a newspaper advert in real world newspapers: 'Don't Believe "Bad Twin"'
A hidden link and a TV commercial both direct viewers to www.sublymonal.com, where a puzzle reveals a code.
After using the code at Thomas Mittelwerk's executive biography on the Hanso Foundation's website, Persephone questions his [Caltech credentials, including a concealed message about Gary Troup, the fictional author of Bad Twin.
May 10
Persephone's sublymonal clue is changed and the Gary Troup message is no longer readable.
A note from Bad Twin's publisher is placed on hyperionbooks.com and Gary Troup's websites regarding Hanso criticism of Bad Twin.
May 12
A new press release is issued on thehansofoundation.org website about Bad Twin with a link to the May 10 newspaper ad.
A hidden letter from Hugh McIntyre to Robert Miller, real-life President of Hyperion Books, that demands that Hyperion cease selling Bad Twin.
Hugh McIntyre and Persephone both begin responding to emails.
May 16
A link is found in the source code of thehansofoundation.org to http://www.djdan.am/. Interestingly, on the site there is a section on 'mythic beast sighting'[1] which depicts a mapinguari, as cited on oceanic-air.com in a leaked script throw-out. [2]
persephone.thehansofoundation.org is changed to a new number set from original, which translates to "stand by".
May 17
Hugh McIntyre's picture is removed from the Executive Bios page. A password entry field for press releases also appears on the same page.
One of the active project pages directs viewers to a link: www.letyourcompassguideyou.com
May 18
persephone.thehansofoundation.org is changed to a new number set.
May 19
Flashing letters are superimposed on Peter Thompson's Executive Bio and a hidden password entry is placed under this.
May 23
During live coverage of Channel 4's Big Brother 7, on its E4 channel, the audio feed of the housemates is occasionally replaced by a female voiceover which described events from the second season of Lost.
May 24
Hugh McIntyre of the Hanso Foundation appears as a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel Live talk show, answering questions on the organization, and how the writers of Lost have included it in the series' mythology.
May 24
A television advertisement is aired after the season finale of Lost for the website [3].
May 29
The backgrounds of Lawrence Peck and David Vanderfield are uncovered.
June 1
Information is given regarding a third world hospital funded by The Hanso Foundation.
June 6
A television advertisement is aired during Boston Legal that points viewers to Retrievers of Truth [4], which includes a mailing list to subscribe to.

If, in the box to write the E-mail to subscribe to mailing list, you write "Steinbeck" (note: case sensitive), the site changes the information provided and shows a TalkForum

June 17
A video [5] is posted on monster.com featuring a woman named Rachel Blake sitting in a hotel room.
June 19
Rachel Blake's Blog is hidden in the source code of The Hanso Foundation's webpage www.thehansofoundation.org. The link is www.rachelblake.com. The current date on her most recent post is September 14th, 2006.
June 20
The Hanso Foundation site www.thehansofoundation.org is shut down, but has a message stating that "The Hanso Foundation has been hacked by malicious infiltrators seeking to blemish the good work of many dedicated researchers. Until a legal investigation is completed, the site will no longer be accessible to the public. Namaste."

Phase 2Edit

June 22
persephone.thehansofoundation.orghas a disturbing film displayed on a constant loop with strange music, the picture is of an upside down woman. There is a voice talking during the music. When the voice is played backwards, it says a series of numbers.
June 22
[6] the directory listing on letyourcompassguideyou.com within the trash folder, last file named OpenersHep.log reveals dialog between William at DaimlerChrysler fleet sales and Rachel B., AKA Persephone, that centers around Chrysler vehicles being used in a most nefarious way. Rachel, in an attempt to prove the malicious intent of the Hanso Foundation, sends William a zipped file named missing_organs. This file is enough to convince William to continue contact with Rachel.
June 30
Rachel's blog is updated, revealing that she is the hacker "Persephone".
July 5
Rachel's blog is updated, discussing Mittelwerk's visit to a medical clinic. She directs readers to the thisisaknife site on channel4.com. Here, if you watch the latest show (July 5th), there is a break with what appears to be a message from Rachel - "Navigate to the Truth" - and the URL channel4.com/lost flashes on the screen. There is then a hidden link on the main navigation bar leading to an audio file.
July 12
An advertisement airs during a Lost rerun of "The 23rd Psalm" showing Mittelwerk himself asking you to "discuss (The Hanso Foundation's) achievements and continued progress." No website is stated during the commercial, although "Presented by ABC Corp," is shown.
July 14
Rachel's blog is updated with a picture of a path, a username, and a password. A hidden video, using the username and password, is found which shows a shocking twist in the game's plot on Sublymonal.com.
July 18
Rachel's blog is updated with a blurry picture of a man's head, a username, and a password. A hidden video, using the username and password, is found which shows what happened immediately after the previous entry.
July 21
Rachel's blog is updated, telling readers she has fled to Sri Lanka, claiming it is too dangerous for her and people who possess the evidence. She states that she must resort to desperate measures, which will become clear in the coming days

Phase 3Edit

Phase three began on July 22. At Comic-Con in San Diego, Rachel Blake interrupted a Q/A session by the Lost panel which included Co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse. She asked about the Hanso Foundation and, when the two producers insisted it was fictional, claimed to be living proof of its existence and said to go to hansoexposed.com. She was then escorted out. Two days later, Rachel's Blog Is updated with a picture of a glyph and a code for hansoexposed.com. At this point 10 fragments are available to be uncovered. The same day The Hanso Foundation Website was updated with a video of Thomas Werner Mittelwerk encouraging people to discuss the Hanso Foundation and its work.

From late July through early September, codes, or "glyphs," were released on numerous websites and in physical locations in cities across the world. 70 glyphs were released in total, each corresponding to a video clip, the last of which was found on September 8. When combined, the full video was put on YouTube, here .

On August 11, DJ Dan hosted a 2-hour live webcast of his show, with call-ins from actual viewers, unlike his podcasts with staged callers. (A 50 MB mp3 of the webcast is available here) In early September, an update on the DJ Dan website[7] mentioned another live podcast ("The DJ strikes back!") to take place on September 24 at 8pm PST.

Starting August 24, free Apollo candy bars were handed out in New York City and have been handed out at other events across the USA. In addition, Forbidden Planet stores in the UK also begin handing out free Apollo candy bars. With the distribution of the Apollo bars, fans are directed to whereisalvar.com. On the site, there is a message from Rachel that explains that when "enough of the world is watching," further instructions will be given.

During the period between September 9 and September 14, various hidden codes and images were released on the blogs of Speaker, Lost Ninja, The Other Girl, and Rachel Blake.

On September 18, Rachel Blake sent an email to everyone registered at whereisalvar.com instructing them to check out the site, which was updated with peoples' pictures making up the word UNITE. Also, she included instrucions to listen to DJ Dan's next live podcast (09/24 8pm PST). On DJ Dan's site, he instructs people to whereisalvar.com to try and guess who his secret special guest is going to be. The Lost Experience is set to conclude with the live podcast.

On September 24th, DJ Dan's live show concluded with an interview with Rachel Blake. During the conversation, another caller was allowed to get through, claiming he hacked a government radio communication and patched it through. It seemed the authorities were going to apprehend Dr. Thomas Mittelwerk, but it was a trap, as the police apparently followed a decoy into a building, where they found a recording of Mittelwerk stating that he can't allow his research to be compromised, followed by a large explosion. It would appear the building the authorites were in was detonated. Following this, Rachel directed the listeners to www.abc.com, where a final Rachel Blake video was shown. This video contained the Sri Lanka video in its entirety without the breakups inbetween the glyph segments, followed by Rachel Blake's encounter with a gray-haired Alvar Hanso. It is revealed that Rachel grew up with just her mother, and had a mysterious trust fund for her schooling. She traced this fund to the Hanso Foundation, and in the end, to Alvar Hanso himself. The video climaxes with the revalation that Rachel Blake is indeed the daughter of Alvar Hanso, and she must stop the Hanso Foundation at all costs.

On September 26th, two days after the Experience officially ended, the Hanso Foundation homepage was updated with a letter from Alvar Hanso stating he would try to pick up the pieces of the Foundation and salvage its reputation. Clicking on the second instance of the word "humanity" in the third paragraph brings users to a video message from Thomas Werner Mittelwerk, saying he has the virus and will use it at all costs. Some online users are speculating that the game might continue through the mid-season break of LOST and wrap up the story before LOST returns in January.

Viral marketing sitesEdit

It appears that the Lost Experience is, at least in part, a platform for viral marketing for various products. These new methods of advertising are being used by broadcasters like ABC in response to the increasing use of DVR devices which enable viewers to watch TV shows while skipping commercial breaks. In addition to the specially created sites mentioned below, numerous videos and other bits of information have been intermixed with sponsors' official web sites. For instance, one Rachel Blake video was buried in a Jeep Compass product presentation page.

SpriteEdit

Sublymonal

Sublymonal.com

The Hanso Foundation commercial shown during the Lost episode on May 10, 2006 contained the on-screen text "Paid for by Sprite" and directed viewers to their website. The word "lymon" (intended as a combination of "lemon" and "lime") has previously been used in Sprite advertisements during the 1980s, and the website itself contains references to Sprite. Other clues in the game have prominently contained the word "obey" (part of Sprite's slogan, "obey your thirst").

As of May 10, 2006, the clock on the site occasionally changes to display OB:EY for one minute. The changes are marked by an audible blip of static. The minutes of the day at which these changes occur correspond to the Lost numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42), though not every occurrence of these times results in the link. When the clock does change, it becomes a clickable link to the Sprite advertisement website.

There is now a Sprite commercial on the air that promotes the sublymonal website, which has recently changed to a completely Sprite-based subliminal ad site. One commercial shows a person blind folded with a lemon and lime slice, getting small drops of Sprite in his/her mouth and eye. A second commercial shows the clashing of a green Sumo wrestler, and a yellow Sumo wrestler into a young gentleman. These commercials both contain hidden passwords that flash briefly onscreen. The passwords, such as bentley, scan, listen, tongue, chill, belly, spray, pulse, embedded, and duh can be entered into the text box on the sublymonal website for hidden videos and websites.

If one enters "108" into the text box, one can be treated to a podcast clip from DJ DAN, a fictional Lost Experience radio DJ, commenting on big corporations and "electromagnetic super weapons". Another, more recent podcast can be found by typing "BigD" into the text box.

JeepEdit

Compass guide you

www.letyourcompassguideyou.com

The Hanso commercial shown during the episode on May 17, 2006 contained a Jeep copyright message and directed players to the website www.letyourcompassguideyou.com. Users must spin their mouse cursor around the compass and click on "108". A figure can be seen in the compass, which looks a lot like the woman in the opening graphic on the Hanso website. A box then appears that asks the user if they are "one of the good ones". Typing "Y" takes users to a page that looks like a directory listing of the site. Typing "N" redirects users to the Hanso Foundation site. The question recently changed and now asks if you "do believe" or not.

Exploration of this site led players to a Jeep commercial hosted on YouTube, which contains game clues at the end. Further confirming this connection is a subdirectory. On May 26 access to the directories of /usr/hmcintyr/ and /usr/pthompso/ is granted, created to appear as personal mail folders for Hugh McIntyre and Peter Thompson. Their email folders contain scans of DaimlerChrysler Jeep fleet contracts for the Hanso Foundation, a link to a Jeep commercial and photos of newspaper ads.

Also the mail found in the [8] includes a binary sequence, which can be converted into the words "the mouth piece". Also the words "the mouth piece" are found in the image in the directory.

The domain letyourcompassguideyou.com is registered to DaimlerChrysler, and the slogan "Let Your Compass Guide You" is used on the website for the 2007 Jeep Compass.

When moving the cursor to one of the "hotspots", one of the map compass points shows an odd text code in the same font as the glyphs in Part 3 of the Lost experience. As of yet though, the code seems to be invalid. As of the 20th of September the site has been removed with a picture of a postcard in its place. By clicking the word "removed" it sends you to a youtube video ending with a url.

If the text of the page with with postcard is highlighted, a series of numbers is revealed. Taking A=1, B=2, etc., These correspond to the message 'MISSINGORGANS'. Clicking on the numbers takes you to a 'usr' directory. The trash directory contains a PDF file of 'evidence' of Hanso's crimes.

Monster.comEdit

During the May 24 episode of Lost, The Hanso Foundation advert was shown again, but with a disclaimer indicating that it was "paid for by Monster.com." The advert also mentioned the Hanso Foundation Careers website, a mock job search engine with five jobs listed (as of 25 May 2006). The site contains a link to the Monster.com website. Also on the website are several grayed letters in the job descriptions. Although, HansoCareers.com does possess a series of grayed letters dispersed in the job ads, forming the string: n, s, l, u, t, m, i, e, m, a, y, a. This is an anagram of "inmate asylum", a password used in the game. Both characters Hurley and Libby in Lost were inmates at an asylum.

VerizonEdit

Retrievers of truth

www.retrieversoftruth.com

On June 6, an advertisement aired during "Boston Legal" that points viewers to the Retrievers of Truth website. The website features Dr. Vincent "Wally" Bolé, a "pioneer in the field of canine parapsychology and neuroveterinary medicine". Ostensibly a site about the psychic abilities of the yellow Labrador retriever, solving a puzzle takes you to a bulletin board populated by fictional Verizon employees (the users all have Verizon-related puns in their names - iobiSeeingyou, DSLerator, etc.), discussing the political machinations of the Hanso foundation within Verizon as a company. One of the posts also refers to a Verizon advertisement, in which there are clues for the Hanso foundation site. Type "Steinbeck" in the text box you would normally put your email address in to unlock a hidden fictional forum.


External linksEdit

Official LOST Experience tie-in sitesEdit

Related LOST Experience sitesEdit

Official LOST Experience tie-in moviesEdit

Recordings Edit

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