This article contains spoilers from The Secret History of Twin Peaks and the 2017 series of Twin Peaks. If are not up-to-date with the aforementioned book and/or television program, it is strongly recommended that you do not read this article.
Margaret Lanterman (née Coulson), better known as the Log Lady, was known as such for carrying a cut log with her that she claimed had an agency to be able to perceive events. To most residents in the town, she was perceived solely as mentally ill as she often spoke in nonsequiturs. However, aside from her confusing speech patterns, she was a shaman who was able to interact with the spiritual world through the log that accurately described multiple events. Members of the Bookhouse Boys including Sheriff Harry S. Truman and Deputy Hawk recognized the Log Lady as having connections with the spiritual world, with Hawk mentioning that the log held many spirits within it.
Margaret was seen by a physician on September 9, 1947, having experienced intense thirst and hunger following her disappearance alongside classmates Carl Rodd and Alan Traherne. She also had a pattern of raised skin on the back of her right knee.
Murder of Laura PalmerEdit
On February 18, 1989, Margaret briefly encountered Laura Palmer outside the local roadhouse. Putting her hand to her log and then the stunned Laura's forehead, Margaret intoned: "When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy."
The next day, she attended a conference held by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who announced the bureau's takeover of the murder investigation of Laura's murder. Margaret flickered the lights, shushing the citizens in attendance.
The next day, she drank coffee at the Double R Diner when she was greeted by Agent Cooper. She overheard him speaking about Laura and went to him, saying her log saw something the night of the murder. She told him to ask it, but he said nothing and she left.
The Log Lady attended Laura Palmer's funeral two days later.
A few days later, Deputy Hawk, Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Agent Cooper, and Doctor Will Hayward came to her cabin, where she had been waiting for them. She invited them in for tea and cookies and said they were two days late. She told them about her husband, who was a logging man, who "met the devil" in the form of fire the day after their wedding. Hawk then commented that "The wood holds many spirits." She said that her log saw something the night Laura was killed and presented it to Agent Cooper, who asked it what it saw. Margaret talked for it: "my log" described describing darkness, laughter, owls flying, two men, two girls, flashlights in the woods over the ridge, quiet and then the footsteps of a man. And then, not long after, she alleged the log heard the screams of a girl further up over the ridge.
She sat at the Double R Diner several days later, chewing gum, which she spat out and stuck to the wall.
Margaret returned to the diner the next day and sat next to Major Garland Briggs. Norma Jennings poured her a cup of coffee and requested her to start properly disposing of her gum. She then swallowed her current wad of gum and asked for a bear claw. She observed the Major's medals, asking him if he had any pride for his medals, which he denied. Her log then told her a message for Briggs, which she translated to "Deliver the message," which Briggs understood the meaning of.
She went to Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman days later to tell them, "There are owls in the Roadhouse" and confirmed to Cooper that something was happening. She went to the Roadhouse with them, where she ate many peanuts.
"The opening to a gateway"Edit
Margaret went to the diner a few days later, where she saw Major Briggs, who had a pattern of three triangles behind his ear. She went to the sheriff's station with Briggs, and they told Cooper about the markings on them, hers of the two mountains surrounding Twin Peaks. She also recalled having heard a call of an owl when she received the marking as a girl. Margaret also said she heard the sound before her husband died.
Margaret ate at the diner the next day when Agent Cooper entered with his loud, nearly-deaf superior, Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole. She observed as Cole admires Shelly's beauty, and he declared that he could hear Shelly speak, despite his hearing problems. He described it as a miracle, and Margaret asked what was wrong with miracles, declaring her pie to be a miracle.
Margaret attended the Miss Twin Peaks Contest, where choreographer Tim Pinkle cried with joy on her shoulder, upon seeing the contestants. The Log Lady was impersonated by Windom Earle who was seeking to abduct the winning girl, who turned out to be Annie Blackburn.
Margaret went to the sheriff's station, where Pete Martell accused her of stealing his truck. However, Cooper said Windom Earle was responsible. She brought a jar to Agent Cooper with oil, which her husband retrieved and called "an opening to a gateway."
Twenty-five years later, Margaret appeared to be weak and required the use of an oxygen mask. She called the sheriff's department and relayed a message from her log to Deputy Chief Hawk: that something was missing and that Hawk must find it, and that it related to Agent Cooper, who ahd since gone missing. She added that the way Hawk would find it had something to do with his heritage.
She later called Hawk on his cell phone and told him, "the stars turn and a time presents itself," and made an offer for him to stop by her cabin for pie and coffee.
Margaret later called Hawk again with another message, telling him about the presence of electricity and its fading glow. She went on to say that the Truman brothers were Hawk's brothers, as well as the other good men he associated with. She said that the circle was almost complete and for him to "watch and listen to the dream of time and space. It all comes out now, flowing like a river. That which is and is not." Her message culminated in her saying, "Laura is the one."
Saturday Night Live sketchEdit
The Log Lady shows up at the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department to confirm Agent Cooper's praises for Georgia Coffee.
She shows up at the Double R Diner to again confirm the praise for Georgia Coffee.
A Mystery of "G"Edit
She shows up once again to confirm praises for the coffee at the sheriff's station.
In David Lynch's project, Psychogenic Fugue, actor John Malkovich plays various roles from Lynch projects, including the Log Lady and Dale Cooper. Among images posted prior to the project's announcement was an advertisement for Lanterman's Essential Oils, presumably related to Margaret Lanterman.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Log Lady was played by Catherine E. Coulson, who was previously involved in production of David Lynch's Eraserhead (while married to its star, Jack Nance) and played the titular character in his short film, The Amputee.
The idea for the Log Lady was concieved by Lynch in the 1970s, when he had intended to do a television series called I'll Test My Log with Every Branch of Knowledge. He presented the concept in such terms, some of it was reused while other ideas were scrapped:
- "It's a half-hour television show starring Catherine as the lady with the log. Her husband has been killed in a forest fire and his ashes are on the mantelpiece, with his pipes and his sock hat. He was a woodsman. But the fireplace is completely boarded up. Because she now is very afraid of fire. And she has a small child, but she doesn't drive, so she takes cabs. And each show would start with her making a phone call to some expert in one of the many fields of knowledge. Maybe on this particular day she calls a dentist, but she makes the appointment for her log. And the log goes in the dental chair and gets a little bib and chain and the dentist X-rays the log for cavities, goes through the whole thing, and the son is also there. Because she is teaching her son through his observations of what the log is going through. And then sometimes they go to a diner and they never get to where they're going. That was the idea."
Coulson appeared posthumously in the 2017 series.
- When the series was syndicated to Bravo, Lynch created new Log Lady introductions for each episode. They range in length from under a minute to about three minutes.
- Interestingly, Margaret's scar presented in The Secret History of Twin Peaks is the marking on Major Briggs as rearranged by Agent Cooper, not of the Log Lady.
- Her husband is thought by some to be the Woodsman seen in the Meeting Room with other members of The Black Lodge.
- It is thought that the spirit of her husband resides in her log due to Hawk comments about the "wood holding many spirits" and seeing how Josie's soul is trapped in a wood knob in the Great Northern Hotel. It can be noted that it was not the personal opinion of the Log Lady's performer Catherine Coulson who considered that the log was more of memento of the Log Lady's late husband.
- The Curious Woman in the Fat Trout Trailer Park has the same sweater as her, indicating perhaps a Deer Meadow alter-ego, as the town itself is shown as a twisted version of Twin Peaks in the movie.
- The rule book for the Twin Peaks Murder Mystery Game erroneously states that Margaret witnessed Laura's murder rather than her log being a witness.