While discussing this summer’s “Lost Experience” alternate reality game, some have suggested that the meaning of “Hurley’s numbers” has not yet been explained. I feel that the story behind the numbers has been explained quite well, but since some don’t think so, here is my summary/theory.
As Alvar Hanso explains in the Hanso Exposed video, the numbers have their origin in the secret Valenzetti Equation. An equation which predicts the exact number of years and months until the end of the world. Enzo Valenzetti gave numerical values to the core environmental and human factors in his equation. Those numerical values where 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
Valenzetti’s equation and the doom it predicted was ignored by the United Nations, but there was one man who wouldn’t ignore it – Alvar Hanso. He started The Dharma Initiative, a scientific project on a remote island, with the goal of changing the outcome of the equation by changing one or more of the core factors (each Dharma station/hatch probably represents one of the numbers/factors).
In the video Hanso also explains that a radio transmitter had been erected on the island. The transmitter was intended to only broadcast the core numerical values of the Valenzetti Equation (the numbers). He then starts explaining what will happen when the Dharma scientists manage to change the value of any numerical factor, but in the middle of explaining it, the video gets scrambled and we are unable to hear what should be done. It is my belief that when they are able to change the value of one of the factors, the transmission should be changed to reflect the new result of the equation and by doing so telling the Hanso Foundation that a solution to save the world from destruction has been found.
According to Sam Toomey’s widow, the transmission was heard by Leonard Simms and Sam Toomey while monitoring long wave radio transmissions at a military listening post in the South Pacific. Sam later used the numbers to win $50,000 at a fair. From that moment he was “cursed” with bad luck until he finally committed suicide. Leonard became a patient at the Santa Rosa Mental Institute, presumably because of the numbers. It was there he met Hurley, who used them to play and win the lottery.
From the moment that he won the lottery, Hurley became convinced that the numbers had given him bad luck. He ended up on Oceanic Flight 815 which crashed on the island, where Hurley later spotted the numbers inscribed on the hatch.
The numbers where probably inscribed on all of the stations on the island because the purpose of the various Dharma stations was to change one of the core factors of the Valenzetti Equation. Without knowing it, Hurley had ended up in the place where the numbers started their journey to him.
Was it fate or coincidence? Maybe both.
Are the numbers cursed? This is a tough question, but personally I don’t believe they are. The fact that bad things happen to Hurley and Sam Toomey probably has nothing to do with the numbers. While it sounds strange, the string of bad events is probably nothing but coincidences.
There is probably no reason behind the numbers appearing on the shirts of a female soccer team either. Just like Lost shows that there are connections between people who don’t know each other, I believe that the same numbers can show up in different places without really being related.
It should be noted that this theory relies on that the story from the Lost Experience exists in the same storytelling universe as Lost, but that is a different subject which I will discuss in a later post.