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 do not know what it is, Native American policeman Deputy Hawk says that the Black Lodge is from the mythology of his people, describing it as:
During the second season, Windom Earle relates a story about the White Lodge:
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 purpose of his trips was.
Although the Red Room began exclusively as a location within Agent Dale 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.
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 Medici, easily mistaken for the Venus de Milo (the Venus de Milo can be seen in the hallway). 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 chevron 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. As the Masonic historian archeologist Dr. David Harrison notes in his article on Twin Peaks, the floor resembles a zig-zag version of the Mosaic Pavement in a Masonic lodge, hence the names Black Lodge and White Lodge, which consists of squares in the middle, but of triangles at the borders. As the focus of the series is on how to pass through from one surreal realm into the other, or how to transcend from one level of fear of this metaphysical realm to the one associated with love and that both are a way to come to a cumulative, final interpretation on the matter of reality itself, reachable from both sides of the medal, the condensation and reduction of the symbolism to a zig-zag floor makes sense in context of the series' themes.
The Black Lodge and White Lodges are 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 Jeffries, and Dale Cooper.
The spirits can possess humans if they are let in: BOB possessed Leland Palmer, but not Laura, who wouldn't let him in. Later BOB possessed Dale Cooper's doppelganger (not Cooper himself); The Giant and an elderly waiter from the Great Northern Hotel were "one and the same". 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 sits in the Red Room with Lisa Simpson, who 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 in the segment are direct references to Twin Peaks, including a moving shadow on the curtain, and Wiggum's hair standing straight up after waking.
In the manga series Soul Eater, the Red Room is used as a motif when Soul Eater and Maka Albarn are infected with Black Blood. A demon who dances backward (similar to The Man from Another Place) to a skipping jazz record attempts to convince them to give in to the Black Blood's madness.
The Red Room is also parodied as "The Sitting Room" in multiple episodes of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, first accessed by Scooby-Doo in a dream and later accessed by all of Mystery, Inc. under mass hypnosis. A helper figure similar to The Man from Another Place appears there, and, like the original Man, is played by Michael J. Anderson. The Sitting Room appears to be a spirit realm where both helpful and malicious entities can dwell, as well as pieces of the souls of those tainted by the Treasure of Crystal Cove.
In an interview, Atlus co-founder Kazuma Kaneko confirmed that the Black Lodge was the main source of inspiration for the Velvet Room's design in the Persona video game series, though the color of the room was altered to blue in reference to David Lynch's film Blue Velvet.
On an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden in September 2017, the opening segment featured actor Kyle MacLachlan having turned his dressing room into the Red Room, including speaking in the warped backwards manner.
It is also referenced in All Hail King Julien in the third episode of season three "Dance, Dance, Resolution" in which Mort speaks backwards to King Julien in the black lodge, you can see the mythical pineapple shadow on the red curtains and King Julien's parents there, to which King Julian asks "Mort why are you talking backwards!?", Mort then does a strange forward walk that also seems somewhat backwards to which King Julien's parents clap, King Julien then tries to please his parents which then turns into Maurice, then King Julien awakes.