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I'm re-watching Lost and haven't got back to the bit where we find out about John being dead to check the details, but it got me thinking. We see a lot of dead people on the island, or people who couldn't be there. The implication is either they're delusions or 'magic' but in light of what we find out later about John and the Smoke Monster, does this imply every time we see such a person, they are really present as their monster takes their form?

Specific examples I wonder about...

  • Echo's brother
  • Jack's father
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    You know that there's a lot of time travel in Lost? So "dead" in what time or even world?
    – Mithoron
    Jan 6 '16 at 17:28
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    You should finish the series before asking this; a lot of it will clear up.
    – user40790
    Jan 6 '16 at 17:52
  • I've watched it all before 1-2 times. It just struck me this time through after knowing what the monster is. If the later seasons will answer my question, so can you. And time travel isn't a magic pill...
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 6 '16 at 18:45
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    Possible duplicate of What was the freeform black cloud in Lost? Jun 13 '16 at 17:42
  • @MajorStackings In what way? That doesn't give any of the exceptions, and thus doesn't answer this question.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Jun 13 '16 at 18:32
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No. (Spoilers)

[For simplicity's sake, I'll be referring to The Smoke Monster/The Man in Black as "Johnny" throughout this answer.]

While many of the dead people are secretly Johnny, there are various ghosts who actually are the original person, or what remained of them.

We see Jacob's ghost in Season 6.

Jacob's ghost

Any ghost we see off the Island can't be Johnny, as it's made very clear that Johnny is incapable of leaving it.

Ana Lucia's ghost

Charlie's ghost

The dead people that interact with Miles and Hurley are genuine.

The dead people in the Flash Sideways world were not Johnny (though what they really were is debatable).

Flash-sideways people

Some (but not all) of Christian's post-death appearances seem to have actually been him.

The whispers were dead people who couldn't move on from the Island.

Michael can't move on

Johnny brought Sayid back to life, but he remained himself, to some degree.

There are also various unclear examples, some listed here.

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  • You make reference to a lot of things without exploding what they mean, or backing them up. Can you elaborate and expand this answer to make it canonical?
    – Mr. Boy
    Sep 4 '18 at 1:45
  • (I'm rewatching again 2 years later and this question came back to mind)
    – Mr. Boy
    Sep 4 '18 at 1:46
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I watched an interview online (on YouTube) with the creators, writers and producers of Lost and they were asked about this very thing. They said that the people who have died and "seem" to come back are really the Man in Black messing with the people on the island.

If you'll remember when we finally meet him and Jacob, they had an eternal bet going about the inherent goodness of man, or their inherent tendency to be more evil. So, over the centuries, Jacob would pull ships or planes to the island to prove to the Man in Black that man had more goodness than evil in them. The Doctor and a couple of others proved Jacob's theory that man was basically good in the end by the actions of Jack and Hurley. It's a complicated story the more the series progresses, but that's what the writers and producers had to say.

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    Please share the link itself - "a YouTube video for you to find" sounds rather strange in an answer...
    – desertnaut
    Nov 28 '19 at 13:29
  • Note you can edit in the YouTube link as a bare link and it will embed into the video. Please find it so there is some evidence in this that this is indeed true. If you could also transcribe some of the relevant quotes into the answer that would be amazing. If not adding the link and a timestamp if relevant should be done at the very least!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 28 '19 at 13:42
  • @TheLethalCarrot could you kindly edit back the phrase? My comment above seems irrelevant now, while its essence still holds - thanks
    – desertnaut
    Nov 28 '19 at 13:56
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    @desertnaut There's no point in editing in irrelevant commentary that's already been edited out. The point of your comment (add the link) still makes sense as it is and that's what it's there for.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 28 '19 at 14:00

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