After re-watching this episode, I am puzzled by the character named Harper. She appears in flashbacks and the present timeline on this episode, but never appears again in the series. She appears after we listen to The Whispers, which could mean she is dead. If she is dead, that would explain why she disappears immediately after her dialog with Juliet.

Having said that, the present day Others wander thru the Island jungle in a very quiet/stealth way. So she could be alive. We just never see her again (i.e., she went to The Temple). If she is alive, that would explain why she says that she has instructions from Ben.

However, there is no way she could have had contact with Ben. At that point, Ben is trapped in a prison cell down one of the basements in the barracks--where Locke has him pretty much to where no one can even get to him. This brings me back to my question: Is present-day Harper really the Men In Black, manipulating Juliet in order to continue his long multi-season con on the castaways?

If she really is the Man In Black, would that add credence to the idea that The Whispers start to whisper when they're trying to warn the castaways that something (or someone?) bad is coming their way? What do you think?

  • Nice theory. Looks pretty sound to me, and I remember this bugging me at the time.
    – user1027
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 1:05
  • 2
    I'm pretty certain that this (like other minor mysteries) was never answered anywhere. There's a pretty good summary of theories about Harper at lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Harper_Stanhope/Theories
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 10:38

2 Answers 2


We don't know - this is one of the unresolved LOST mysteries. There is some evidence supporting the 'Man in Black' theory:

  • The whispers are strongly associated with the Man in Black.
  • It explains why she isn't seen again - although there's a rather high mortality rate for Others, so she could have just died (and out-of-universe, it's likely that this was one of the loose ends that Cuse/Lindelof didn't have time to tie off).
  • It explains her ability to appear/disappear.
  • It explains away the problem with communicating with Ben, although given the presence of time travel and Ben's general conniving-ness, I don't feel it's possible to say that he couldn't have communicated with her.
  • It gives her actions additional motivation - he's trying to use Juliet (like he uses others) to do something that would ultimately kill all of Jacob's candidates.

Her name (Harper Stanhope) is an anagram for "Perhaps an Other", like Ethan Rom's name is an anagram for "Other man". The "perhaps" is suggestive that she is something 'other' than a simple Other.

It's not totally clear, though. In The Official LOST Podcast (March 10, 2008), we find out:

CARLTON CUSE: Okay. Is this the last we've seen of Harper?

DAMON LINDELOF: No, she's an Other -

CARLTON CUSE: Might be around.

DAMON LINDELOF: She's still on the island. We didn't kill her.


DAMON LINDELOF: That being said, the podcast is not in canon.

DAMON LINDELOF: (laughing) No.

DAMON LINDELOF: So you should disregard everything we're saying.

CARLTON CUSE: Including what Damon just said.

DAMON LINDELOF: Including what I just said.

CARLTON CUSE: 'Cause he was just lying when he said disregard everything he said. That's a lie.

DAMON LINDELOF: Now this is like those two guys where one always tells the truth, and one always lies, and, you know, and you have to ask which one is guarding the gate to heaven and hell.

A couple of weeks later (March 28), there's this:

DAMON LINDELOF: They go onto a door that says "deceased"; once they die, we move them over there. And then there's the door that says "undead".


DAMON LINDELOF: And on the undead door there's only three pictures. One of them is...

CARLTON CUSE: Christian Shephard.

DAMON LINDELOF: One of them is Christian Shephard, one of them is Yemi, and the other one is...

CARLTON CUSE: Kate's horse.

Both "undead" Shephard and "undead" Yemi were the Man in Black (presumably also Kate's horse...), and at this point we didn't know about many of the other forms (Alex, Locke). If Harper was on the "undead" door, it seems like they would have said four, especially given that the episode was quite recent.

  • 1
    What a great answer! Well researched, even if the official podcast is not 100% canon. I am more convinced that Harper was in fact the MIB. Thanks. Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:49

She appears in "The Substitute" just as Locke rolls into the teachers lounge. enter image description here

  • 1
    How does this answer the question?
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 14:02

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