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More Than You Want to Know?

Even if Spoiler Sites Turn Out to Be Right, They're Just Plain Wrong. Ask Any 'Lost' Fan

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 16, 2008; Page M01

The truth is out there.

Anyone with a computer and an obsession believes this is true.

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The truth of "Lost," that metaphysical beacon of our times, seems tantalizingly within reach on spoiler Web sites such as TheTailSection, DarkUFO and DocArzt. There are message forums for discussing rumors, mysteries and symbolism. There are unsatisfying sections in which fellow devotees have posted "Answers," which answer nothing but questions you'd never realized were questions to begin with.

What did Naomi mean when she said, "Tell my sister I love her"?

Entire communities are built around such mysteries -- virtual water cooler klatches descended from those lunch bunches that once discussed "Twin Peaks" or "The X Files" -- all united by a pursuit of one goal: B e the first to figure out what happens next.

But get too caught up in the quest, and you discover its downside: If you take a shortcut to the answer, you could end up hanging out there for a while, all alone, until everyone else shows up.

(One-sentence indoctrination for non-Losties: Plane crash survivors with shady pasts are stranded on creepy island.)

The search for the truth is as meta as any inscrutable TV show, because it's not really about what you will find but about why you feel the need to find it -- and what it will feel like to actually succeed.

Of course, you never worry about that while you are on the hunt.

Over on the message board section of "Lost" site DarkUFO, a bunch of Losties are analyzing a close-up of a book -- a blown-up screen grab from a recent episode. It might be just a book, but it might be an "Easter egg," a clue implanted by "Lost" writers to reward sharp viewers.

"It looks to be 'Second Degree White Belt Sudoko,' " writes a user who goes by the handle Epontius. Epontius has searched Barnes & Noble's Web site to verify this.

This is just one puzzle from one episode. The bigger questions -- seriously, what is the island's deal ?-- have been debated for months, even years.

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