The Vile Vortices are twelve roughly evenly distributed geographic areas that are alleged to have the same mysterious qualities popularly associated with the Bermuda Triangle. The best-known vortices are the the Bermuda Triangle itself, the Devil's Sea near Japan and the South Atlantic Anomaly.
Five of the twelve vortices fall on a latitude close to the Tropic of Capricorn, while another five fall close to the Tropic of Cancer. The remaining two are located on the North and South Poles. Together they form the vertices of an icosahedron.
The theory is based on the real, albeit pseudoscientific concept that there are twelve Bermuda Triangle-like areas dubbed Vile Vortices distributed more or less evenly around the globe (see map below). Five are near the Tropic of Cancer; Five are near the Tropic of Capricorn; And one each are at either of the Poles. The most famous of the Vile Vortices are the Bermuda Triangle itself and the Devil's Sea near Japan. Some believe the Vortices are connected to each other via electromagnetic 'grid lines'. Some believe that they are gateways or portals to other dimensions. Of particular relevance to Lost is the Vortex located in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji; The one in the Mozambique Channel near Madagasgar; and the one over the western Sahara desert near Tunisia.
As applied to Lost
It is surmised that the Island is a "central dumping ground" - the "middle of a spiders web" to which boats and ships are drawn to through the Vile Vortices. As the Island is ostensibly a tropical Pacific island it is located spatially near the Fiji Vortex - but in another dimension. The Vortices are enterable if approached from certain bearings or positions. Alternately, passing vessels and objects may succumb to a Vortex if it is agitated or inflamed by an electromagnetic surge, such as a discharge emanating from the Island. Such a discharge would also be enough to alert the 'outside world' as to a disturbance via the electromagnetic grid lines.
Drawn through the Fiji Vortex:
Drawn through the Mozambique Channel Vortex:
- The Black Rock
- Note: Locke said that the ship "must have been en route to a mining colony--(it) probably set off from the eastern coast of Africa--Mozambique". ("Exodus, Part 2")
- Also: The only known surviving artifact from the ship - the first mate's ledger - was discovered in same region, on a small island off neighbouring Madagasgar. ("The Constant")
Drawn through the Sahara Vortex:
- Note: When Boone entered the plane we saw a map in which the word SAHARA was prominently featured. Indeed the camera panned up from Nigeria to the Sahara suggesting that this was the plane's route. ("Deus Ex Machina")
- A dimensionally-linked Bermuda Triangle-like area near Fiji explains why vessels could go missing in the area, and why no official search craft have ever been seen.
- Vortex travel goes a long way to explaining how a small, damaged aircraft originating thousands of miles away in Nigeria could end up in the Pacific.
- Vortex travel explains why travel to the Island could be "kind of intense" and "a little bumpy". ("One of Us")
- 'Dropping' through a Vortex explains how a ship could be found deposited in the Island's interior.
- A known Vortex would explain why Ben seemed so prepared to handle the plane crash when the Others watched Flight 815 break up from the barracks. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
- The notion that the Vortices might be inter-dimensional gateways, time portals, wormholes etc is consistent with the hypothetical physics research conducted by Daniel. ("The Constant")
- The Vortices are consistent with Damon Lindelof's statement regarding Tunisia that "there are certain special places on the earth that relate to the show and this spot is one of them" (...although he did also mention the non-Vile Vortex Ayers Rock). (Official Lost Podcast/February 28, 2008)
- According to information offered in The Lost Experience and Find 815 alternate reality games, the Black Rock was last seen sailing away from a Papua New Guinea port in an easterly direction (toward the Pacific), rather than west to Africa.
- Maybe so, however the veracity and canonicity of ARG information is unclear at this stage, and even if it were true – the ship could still have fallen victim to the Fiji Vortex.
- Where are all the other vessels and junk that would have been drawn to the Island over the ages?
- Perhaps the dispersal area is much larger than just the Island and most of it lies in the surrounding waters.
- Plus the Island is rather large, objects could land anywhere on it.
- There is also the issue of the plane apparently being found in the "real world" dimension. If they had ended up in another dimension, what is the plane doing in the real world?
Drawn through the Arctic Vortex:
- Note: The producers have since confirmed that the polar bears were brought to the island by DHARMA (Lost: The Answers), though the Vortex could easily have been the method of transport.
- The listening station scientists could be 'tapping into' the Antarctic Vortex in order to find the Island. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
- Juliet may have traveled from Miami to the Island via this Vortex (located just off the coast of Florida). ("One of Us")
- Cooper may also have been transported to the Island via this Vortex following his abduction in Tallahassee. ("The Brig")
Probably drawn through the Fiji Vortex:
- Note: Naomi may have been describing the view through the Vortex when she said "I was flying back for the ship when all of a sudden the clouds cleared and I saw land" and "The instruments started spinning" ("The Brig") - typical of alleged experiences in the Bermuda Triangle.
Indian Ocean Vortex:
- The crew of the Christiane I may have experienced equipment malfunctions and observed atmospheric phenomena associated with this Vortex (located just south of the Sunda Trench). (Find 815)
- Note: The name Miles Straume first appeared in the ARG - a clever play on the word 'Maelstrom' meaning a powerful type of vortex or whirlpool.
Drawn back through the Sahara Vortex:
- Note: The animal could have been deliberately moved to the desert via the Vortex for acclimatization tests, or it may have been 'sucked' through by accident - perhaps when the Vortex opened for the Nigerian Beechcraft.