- Cauldron Lake is a special place; very inspiring.
- ―Barbara Jagger
Cauldron Lake is one of the most important locations in Alan Wake.
The lake has mysterious supernatural powers that enables highly talented artistic creators to bring their works to life at the site, including events, creators, and characters. Hundreds of years ago, Native American tribes encountered the lake and possibly began to use its power. It is speculated that they abandoned the site after discovering the Dark Presence taints their works and they banished it back to the bottom of the lake, within the Dark Place. Centuries later, the island on Cauldron Lake was inhabited by the famous poet Thomas Zane and his wife Barbara Jagger. It becomes known as "Diver's Isle" due to Tom's intense love of diving. Shortly after the death of Barbara Jagger, it is destroyed in a volcanic eruption that also forces the closure of the struggling mining industry in the area.
Though it is never clarified, the source of the eruption was most likely Thomas Zane. The explosion happened very shortly after his and Barbara's disappearance, and managed to sink Divers Isle with no casualties.
Cauldron Lake is also used by the Dark Presence to hold prisoners as collateral as it attempts to coerce writers into writing it into existence as a powerful entity, free to move at will at any time of day.
The Anderson Brothers use unfiltered water from Cauldron Lake as a key ingredient in their famous moonshine - it is hinted that the water of Cauldron Lake itself is chemically unique, as it makes the Andersons' moonshine very powerful and clears the mind of those who partake.
Beneath Cauldron Lake is the Dark Place, a realm of pure creativity where the Dark Presence resides and where Alice was held captive. It is this that allows the works of art around Cauldron Lake to come 'alive', though the true nature of the connection between the Lake and the Dark Place is still somewhat unknown presumably that it is manifested from the character past sin that giving the dark place an opportunist to creating the evil being.
- Found on a sign in Episode 3: Ransom:
The eighth deepest lake in the world, Cauldron Lake is a caldera lake, formed in a volcanic crater. The volcano itself could be considered to be active, but it has not erupted since the volcanic earthquakes of 1970, and even then the underground activity was comparably mild: despite some property damage, there were no casualties. Cauldron Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in the Bright Falls area, as well as a central figure in many local folk tales. It's a popular recreational area for the area residents.
- In Episode three, Walter informs Alan that the native American Indians thought that the lake was a gate to the underworld. It is currently unknown if this was a result of them discovering its power and the Dark Presence.
- Thomas Zane, in Alan's dream, quotes his poem about the lake:[note 1] and after Alan finishes Departure, he states:[note 2] He states that the "lake" is actually an "ocean". The meaning of this is still somewhat unclear, and possibly a metaphor for both characters realizing the scope of the lakes power and danger. What it could possibly mean is that the dark presence doesn't just lurk in Bright Falls, but could eventually be a global phenomenon. It may also be possible that "It's not a lake" literally means that it is not a lake as it contains no water, just the darkness. The best evidence for this theory is that unfiltered "water" from cauldron lake is a key ingredient in the Anderson brother's moon shine which according to the dying man at the Anderson's farm "makes you see" and it allows Alan to put many of the final pieces together. If it is that the lake contains no water than the statement is a mixed metaphor: "not a lake" meaning it literally isn't a lake and "its an ocean" indicating the greater scope of the darkness.
- The waters of Cauldron Lake are green at the surface and black just under the surface, foreshadowing the evil that lurks in its depths.
- The Dark Presence currently resides in the Dark Place at the bottom of the lake. The two, however, are not one and the same.
- ↑ "There lied a deeper, darker ocean green, with waves both wilder and more serene..."
- ↑ "It's not a lake, it's an ocean."