Black and White Lodges
The Black Lodge is a fictional setting featured in the television series Twin Peaks. It is an extradimensional place which seems to include, primarily, the "Red Room" first seen by Agent Cooper in a dream early in the series. As events in the series unfold, it becomes apparent that the characters from the Red Room, the room itself and the Black Lodge, along with the White Lodge, are connected.
At first it is revealed that there is a mysterious dark presence in the woods that the town's Bookhouse Boys have been combatting for generations. Although they don't know what it is, Native American policeman Deputy Hawk says that the Black Lodge is from the mythology of his people, describing it as:
the shadow-self of the White Lodge. The legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it 'The Dweller on the Threshold' ... But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.
During the second season, Windom Earle relates a past-tense story about the White Lodge:
Once upon a time, there was a place of great goodness, called the White Lodge. Gentle fawns gamboled there amidst happy, laughing spirits. The sounds of innocence and joy filled the air. And when it rained, it rained sweet nectar that infused one's heart with a desire to live life in truth and beauty. Generally speaking, a ghastly place, reeking of virtue's sour smell. Engorged with the whispered prayers of kneeling mothers, mewling newborns, and fools, young and old, compelled to do good without reason ... But, I am happy to point out that our story does not end in this wretched place of saccharine excess. For there's another place, its opposite: A place of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and vicious secrets. No prayers dare enter this frightful maw. The spirits there care not for good deeds or priestly invocations, they're as likely to rip the flesh from your bone as greet you with a happy "good day." And if harnessed, these spirits in this hidden land of unmuffled screams and broken hearts would offer up a power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking.
As the Black and White Lodges become more prominent in the story, Major Briggs claims that during one or more of his disappearances, he had visited the White Lodge and goes on to offer advice regarding it. There is no clear evidence of him being affected by the Black Lodge and it is not clear how he arrives there, aside from a bright flash of light, or what the intentions of his trips were.
Although the Red Room began exclusively as a location within Agent Cooper's dreams, the inhabitants began appearing in other locations in the town, inciting other elements in the plot, to the point where the Red Room and White/Black Lodge stories became one. After discovering a mysterious map in Owl Cave, it becomes evident to Earle and Cooper — both independently and with different motivations for wanting to visit it — that the entrance to the Black Lodge is located in Ghostwood Forest which surrounds the town of Twin Peaks, at a pool of a substance that smells like scorched engine oil and surrounded by 12 young sycamore trees. This area is known as Glastonbury Grove (spelled Glastonberry in the book Welcome to Twin Peaks, ISBN number 0-671-74399-6).
It is said that the key to gain entrance to the Black Lodge is fear —usually an act of brutal murder. This is in contrast to the key to the White Lodge, which is love. Another requirement to enter the Black Lodge through the entrance in Glastonbury Grove is that it may only be entered "...when Jupiter and Saturn meet..." When the above requirements are met and one approaches the pool in Glastonbury Grove, red curtains appear, which the person walks between before the curtains vanish once again.
There is little furniture in the Red Room aside from a few armchairs, a wheeled table and a couple of floor lamps. There is also a statue of the Venus de' Milo. There are no doors to speak of; movement from room to room is accomplished by crossing through another set of red curtains that lead to a narrow hallway. The floor is a zig-zag pattern of black and white, and all sides of any room and all walls of any hallway encountered are covered by identical red curtains. In the final episode, a second room in the Lodge is seen, identical to the first. Between the two rooms is a narrow corridor which has the same floor and "walls" as the other two rooms.
Although the Lodge inhabitants speak English, their voices are warped and strangely clipped and their movements are unnatural (this effect is accomplished by the actors performing in reverse and the footage is then played backwards). Residents often speak in riddles and non-sequiturs. The main inhabitants of the Lodge are The Man from Another Place, The Giant and Killer BOB.
In the final episode of Twin Peaks, Cooper meets The Man from Another Place, who refers to the Red Room as the "waiting room". This coincides with Hawk's claim that every spirit must pass through the Black Lodge on the way to perfection and that the Red Room leads to the White Lodge as well.
The red curtains, zig-zag floors and bright spotlights of the White and Black Lodges have also appeared in several of David Lynch's other films, suggesting that Lynch may view their influences as ongoing in his narrative worlds.
The Black Lodge and White Lodge is home to many spirits and people alike including BOB, MIKE, The Man From Another Place, The Giant, Laura Palmer (passing through the Red Room before ascending to the White Lodge), Chester Desmond, Phillip Jefferies and Dale Cooper. The spirits can take over humans: BOB possessed Leland Palmer and later, Dale Cooper; The Giant possessed the elderly waiter from the Great Northern; and MIKE and The Man From Another Place (MIKE's arm) possessed Phillip Gerard.
References in popular culture
In the two-part Simpsons episode, "Who Shot Mr. Burns?," Chief Clancy Wiggum has trouble solving the case and falls into a dream sequence in which he awakes in the Red Room and Lisa speaks backwards. She gives him clues in reverse-speak, but Wiggum is unable to understand her until she gives up in frustration and speaks normally. As with Twin Peaks - while recording Lisa's lines for the segment, Yeardley Smith recorded the part backwards and it was reversed. Several other parts out of the segment are direct references to the dream, including a moving shadow on the curtain, and Wiggum's hair standing straight up after waking.
William Burroughs' 1980 book Cities of the Red Night makes reference to the mystical "Black and White Lodges", pre-dating Twin Peaks and possibly being the inspiration for the Lodges referred to in the show.
Likewise, the Red Room is referenced in the manga/anime series Monster, in which a backroom in a bar that's curtained off serves as a meeting place for the Baby (whose character was partially inspired by the Man from Another Place) and Nina Fortner. During the scene, the Baby also dances in a way reminiscent of the Man from Another Place during his appearances.
The design for 'the black room' in the manga/anime series SoulEater was taken from the Red room also. Although the floor is instead a red and black checkered pattern.
The Red Room from Deadly Premonition is based on Twin Peaks, as is much of the rest of the game.
The Black and White Lodges are referred to in "The New Traveller's Almanac," a companion to Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which a vast number (if not the entirety) of fictional characters and places are established. As it is mentioned in Chapter Three: The Americas:
...while travelling further south, just past the logging town of Twin Peaks, with its many interesting Indian legends, we find areas of dense forest sometimes called "The Deep, Deep Woods" by locals. Doll-like creatures have been seen here, thought by some to be escapees from the otherworldly realm we shall hear word of that exists beyond some spatial flaw above the fields of Kansas. Others have insisted that these sinister and smiling toy-like beings have their origins, along with various other extra-human creatures, in a supposedly-haunted dell within the Deep, Deep Woods called Glastonbury Grove, but this cannot be verified.
The Lodges are again referred to in the journal of Orlando, in Chapter Five: Asia and the Australias:
"For not unrelated reasons, I also avoided the mysterious cloudy valley just north of True Lhassa, where two rival cults of sorcerors (or perhaps more-than-human supernatural forces) called the White Lodge and the Black Lodge are believed to be at war, with human souls and freakish twilight entities both as their pawns."
The indie rock/electronica band from Washington, Idiot Pilot, has a music video for their third song from their album Wolves, called "Retina and the Sky" which takes place in The Black Lodge.
"Black Lodge" (song)
- Stewart, Mark Allyn (2007). David Lynch Decoded. AuthorHouse. p. 113. ISBN 1-4343-4985-3. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Created by Matt Groening; edited by Ray Richmond and Antonia Coffman. (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ASIN 0006388981. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M. ISBN 0-00-638898-1, 978-0-00-638898-2. pp. 176–177; pp. 180–181.
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)". BBC. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- Mirkin, David (2005). Commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part Two)". The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Oakley, Bill (2005). Commentary for the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part Two)". The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Twin Peaks Mythology - Further Study of the Black Lodge