The Dweller on the Threshold, also known as the "shadow self," was a concept found in the stories of the Nez Perce tribe indigenous to the Twin Peaks region.

In the stories of the Black Lodge, the Dweller on the Threshold represented the sum total of a person's dark, negative, unresolved qualities at the time of their death. At the moment of a person's enlightenment, the dweller would appear and confront them, forcing them to vanquish it in order to pass through.[1] Facing the dweller was the final test faced by all spirits on the way to perfection.[2]

Deputy Hawk explained the legend of the Dweller to Special Agent Dale Cooper while expounding on the myths of the White and Black Lodges,[2] which Cooper in turn mentioned in one of his tapes to secretary Diane Evans.[1]

Many years later, Special Agent Tammy Preston summarized the legend in a report for Gordon Cole. Despite her initial assumption that the dweller was simply a metaphorical concept, she pondered whether the double of Agent Cooper they had encountered might literally have been the "Dweller on the Threshold."[1]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]

  • The concept of the Dweller on the Threshold is a Theosophical one originating from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel Zanoni and notably reused by Madame Blavatsky.
  • In The List of Seven, written by Mark Frost after season 2 in 1993, a fictionalised version of Arthur Conan Doyle summarised Blavastky's Theosophical concept of the Dweller on the Threshold to another character. In Frost's description it is a single entity which attempts to return the Human world:


"A being ... an entity of high spiritual origin that, as part of its pilgrim's progress, consciously chose to come down into the world—"
"To live in human form, you mean."
"Yes, as all souls do, according to Blavatsky: a way of learning, matriculation."
"Why was this being different?"
"In its disembodied state, this one supposedly held a place of favor at the right hand of whatever word you wish to use for God. And when it entered the physical world, it fell—I'm trying to remember her wording; this wasn't it precisely—it succumbed to the temptations of material life."
'The ways of the flesh," said Sparks.
"Devoting itself to the accumulation of earthly power and the satisfaction of earthy appetites, turning its back on its exalted spiritual heritage. In this way was conscious evil born into the world."
"[...] How did it come to be described as the Dweller on the Threshold?"
"At the end of each term of physical life—it has had more than a few apparently—Blavatsky claims this being, upon leaving the earthly plane, retires to a limbo at the door between worlds, collecting around it the lost, corrupted souls of persons who fell to its influence while alive and followed it blindly to their deaths—"
"[...] So these twisted devotees are the first to return from this purgatorium to physical life," said Sparks, his mind leaping ahead, "where their purpose is to prepare the way—the 'passage'—for their Black Lord who 'dwells on the threshold' between the physical and mystic worlds, awaiting return to the earth."

—Arthur Conan Doyle & Jack Sparks

References[edit | edit source]

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