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Nomansan Island
The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened or L.I.V.E. was founded by Ledroptha Curtain on Nomansan Island. Disguised as a boarding school, the true purpose of the Institute is to use children as "Messengers" to transmit global subliminal messages.

Location Edit

Nomansan Island (a play on words by Trenton Lee Stewart of John Donne's phrase "No man is an island,") is located in Stonetown Harbor off the coast of Stonetown. The rocks around its edge are famously difficult to navigate, and many a ship has been wrecked in them (For example, the S.S. Peterick.) The Institute is in the center of the island, which is reached by way of an enormous bridge. The island is hilly, rocky, and rich with precious minerals. At least one copious brook runs through it. Most plant life consists of grass and cactuses, but a few patches of drapeweed were planted to cover traps in the ground. It is rumored that the waters around it were once a favorite feeding ground of sharks.

History Edit

When Mr. Curtain first bought the island on which the Institute is now located, he built the great bridge to get to it and brought in mining equipment as well as a "colony" of workers. Their dormitory building was contructed for them to sleep in at night, and during the day they mined the precious minerals in the soil. From the mining, Mr. Curtain became very wealthy and used the money to build his Institute. Other buildings were constructed, and the workers dormitory was converted into a student dormitory.

At the end of book one, the Institute was abandoned by Mr. Curtain's followers and flooded with detectives. Mr. Curtain's tidal turbines, which he had invented to power the Institute, were harnessed for the good of the city.

Technology Edit

Every volt of the Institute is powered by electricity from tidal turbines invented by Mr. Curtain. These turbines are efficient enough to power a hundred Institutes, let alone one. Curtain used the extra power to run his Whisperer, gradually suing more and more power in stages - from basic Whispering, to recording Messages, to transmitting them directly without the need for electrical waves and signals, to advanced Brainsweeping. The Whisperer's computers are stored in a concrete room below the Whispering Gallery. Mr. Curtain also invented simplified Whisperers called Brainsweepers and stored them in his "Memory Terminal."

Inhabitants Edit

Staff and Faculty Edit

  • Helpers = Brainswept government officials or inspectors, etc., employed as custodians on the Institute grounds. The Helpers do everything from sewing the uniforms, to mopping the floors, to cooking the food. Milligan would have been made a Helper if he hadn't escaped the island. Known Helpers include: Mr. Bloomburg
  • Executives = Former Messengers who were taken on to be Mr. Curtain's assisants. They are given a briefing that explains to them the Institute's true purpose. They serve as both authority figures and teachers. Known Executives include: Jackson, Jillson, Martina Crowe, S.Q. Pedalian, Regina.
  • Recruiters = Professional kidnappers working for Curtain. Use special "shockwatches" to electricute victims. They seem to heartily enjoy their work. Known to go through lengthy training sessions in the L.I.V.E. gym in preparation for the Improvement. After the fall of the Institute, a handful of these men (one female Recruiter appears in the first book) escaped with Curtain and became the Ten Men. Milligan often disguises himself as one of them. Known Ten Men/Recruiters include: McCracken, McCraig, Bludgins, Mortis, Crawlings, Garrotte, Sharpe, Hertz.
  • Principal = Mr. Curtain, the founder, and principal of L.I.V.E.

Students Edit

  • Messengers = Pupils who are the top of the class. They wear white tunics, blue sashes, and striped trousers, and privy to "special priveleges" (sessions in the Whisperer with Mr. Curtain). Sending messages is very draining and one must know the material very well for it to work, so only the best students are chosen. Other students generally act with great hostility towards aspiring Messengers, but once they've been elected the other Messengers greet them as fiends and welcome them to their exclusive cafeteria table. Known Messengers include: Martina Crowe, Reynard Muldoon, Corliss Danton, Sylvie Biggs, Charlie Peters (formerly), Sticky Washington, Jackson (formerly), Jillson (formerly), S Q (formerly).
  • Special Recruits = Children - usually orphans and/or runaways - who have been abducted by Recruiters and brainswept. These are the students who are most likely to become Messengers, and Executives in due course. Known special recruits include: Eustace Crust, Rosie Gardner, Jackson, Jillson, Martina, Charlie Peters (suspected). Corliss Danton (suspected), Sylvie Biggs (suspected), S Q (suspected)

Rules of the InstitueEdit

L.I.V.E. likes to give the impression they have no rules, though this is just an illusion.

  1. You can wear whatever you want, just so long as you have on trousers, shoes, and a shirt.
  2. You can bathe as often as you like or not at all, provided that you're clean every day in class.
  3. You can eat whatever and whenever you want, so long as it's during meal hours in the cafeteria. 
  4. You're allowed to keep the lights on in your rooms as late as you wish until ten o'clock each night.
  5. You can go wherever you want around the Institute, so long as you keep to the paths and the yellow-tiled corridors.

(imported from L.I.V.E.) Edit

"And gazing at the circled letters on the chalkboard, he felt a sudden, terrible chill. For LIVE, spelled backward, is EVIL." - The Mysterious Benedict Society, page 178


L.I.V.E. is an acronym for The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, which is on Nomansan Island a few miles out to sea from Stonetown Harbor. Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance attend the academy in the first book while undercover as spies. While attending the academy, they often use Morse code to signal messages out to Mr. Benedict, Rhonda, and Number Two, who are watching the island constantly through telescopes. The characters often refer to LIVE as the Institute.

Ledroptha CurtainEdit

The Institute is run by Mr. Curtain, who is the main villain of the story, along with his whisperer. Mr. Curtain is revealed to be the twin brother of Mr. Benedict, and is very malevolent.

Executives and MessengersEdit

At the Institute there are kids with special privileges, called Executives and Messengers. Messengers wear tunics, blue sashes, and pinstriped blue pants, while Executives wear tunics, blue sashes, and solid blue pants. All of the Executives were Messengers at one point, but were later promoted. Some of the Executives include Jackson, Jillson, Regina, and S.Q.  Some of the Messengers are Corliss Danton and Martina Crowe, who is later promoted to Executive.

(imported from The Institute) Edit

The Institute was a school of sorts owned by a man the students called "Mr. Curtain." Its full name was the "Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened", abbreviated as L.I.V.E.

The buildings that we know existed are the girls/boys dormitories, the traps, the Whisperer's room, the tower, the cafeteria, and various hallways.

The lessons were propaganda to help Mr. Curtain's goal of ruling the world. If students excelled at material, they could be promoted to Messengers, or Executives.

The Institute took on mainly orphans, and runaways, some of which were kidnapped by the Ten Men.

Summary of what happens at L.I.V.E. Edit

The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (also known as the Institute or L.I.V.E.), is a school founded and run by Ledroptha Curtain. It is built on Nomansan Island, in Stonetown Harbor.

The Institute is used to train students into Messangers; the special students who are used to send subliminal messages by way of the Whisperer. It is also used to house the Whisperer, along with its creator, Mr. Curtain.


There are certain ranks that are held within the Institute:

Students - They can be further broken up into 'special recruits' (kidnapped and brainswept by force), and normal students (who came of their own free will).

Messengers - Those who do very well in class are awarded with 'special privileges,' these being sessions with the Whisperer.

Executives - The teachers at the Institute, Executives are Messengers who did especially well.

Recruiters (later known as Ten Men) - These are the men who kidnap 'special recruits.' They work as mercenaries for Mr. Curtain, and are ruthless and powerful. Occasionally seen as guards.

See also: Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened.

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