Dec 02, 2020 I Nick Redfern

A Handful of Freaky Cases Concerning Tulpas: The “Thought-Form” Phenomenon

The phenomenon of the thought-form - or the Tulpa - has its origins in the ancient teachings of Buddhism. It is a Tibetan term that roughly translates into English as "“manifestation." In essence, we’re talking about the process by which the human mind can bring some degree of alternative, physical existence to an entity that is created solely within the depths of the imagination - and from within the dream state, too. In other words, and as incredible as it may sound, each and every one of us may well possess the ability to give "life" to certain "things" that don’t exist in the same way that we do. Our aliens, Bigfoot and ghosts may not be what they appear to be. They may be our creations – inadvertent or deliberate. Almost always, the Tulpa breaks free of its brain-based moorings and takes on a degree of independent reality in the world at large. In simple terms, what we imagine internally - when we, quite literally, put our minds to it - can mutate into full-blown reality of an external nature. Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz, a writer, anthropologist, and pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism, said of the Tulpa concept: “In as much as the mind creates the world of appearances, it can create any particular object desired. The process consists of giving palpable being to a visualization, in very much the same manner as an architect gives concrete expression in three dimensions to his abstract concepts after first having given them expression in the two-dimensions of his blue-print.

Now, onto the strange saga of the late Stan Gooch. He was the author of a number of books, including Creatures from Inner Space and The Paranormal. Gooch (in the pages of The Paranormal) told of his encounter with nothing less than what seemed to be a Neanderthal man at a séance held at a house in the English city of Coventry in the 1950s. In Gooch’s very own words, during the course of the séance, something both primitive and primeval materialized before the shocked attendees: "This was a crouching ape-like shape, which became clearer as the moments passed. I guess it approximated to most people’s idea of what an ancient cave man would look like. Yet one could not make out too much detail - the eyes were hidden, for example. It stood in half shadow, watching us, breathing heavily as if nervous. I must say, though, that I sensed rather than heard the breathing. I could not decide whether our visitor was wearing the skin of some animal, or whether it had a rough coat of hair of its own." All attempts to question the man-beast, and have it join the circle, were utterly fruitless, and, eventually, it melted away into nothingness. Nevertheless, Gooch never forgot the experience and later mused upon the notion that what he had seen on that fateful evening was a "classic Neanderthal." As someone who had a deep interest in the history of ancient man, Gooch came to believe that his intense fascination for the Neanderthals led his mind to briefly create a Tulpa version of one of our early ancestors.

The story of Alexandra David-Neel is a fascinating one, too. She was born Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David in France in October 1868, and was the first woman to gain the title of a Tibetan lama. A committed Buddhist who lived to the highly impressive age of one hundred years, she was a noted traveler. She was never one to turn her nose up at a new experience, and chose to attempt to create her very own Tulpa after learning of, and becoming fascinated and slight awed by, the concept from Buddhist monks. She duly focused her attentions on the image of a kindly Friar Tuck-type character from the days and legends of Robin Hood. After months of deep meditation, in which she visualized her creation gaining form, David-Neel provided it with a character, history and background, and the day finally came when the mind-monk cast away its chains of the brain and strode forth into the heart of the real world. But, the friendly monk was not all that he appeared to be. Subtly, over time, he began to change, as David-Neel noted with regret later on. She reflected on the affair some years later, in the following fashion: "The fat, chubby-cheeked fellow grew leaner, his face assumed a vaguely mocking, sly, malignant look. He became more troublesome and bold. In brief, he escaped my control."

Richard Freeman is both a zoologist and a former zoo-keeper. In the summer of 1997, Freeman – having an interest in the thought-form phenomenon – chose to create a Tulpa of his very own. Freeman’s inspiration for his creation was awriter Clark Ashton-Smith’s spider-deity, Atlach Nacha. It appears in Ashton-Smith’s story, The Seven Geases which was published in 1934. Atlach-Nacha is described as a terrifying, malevolent arachnid that has a somewhat human-looking hairy face, and huge, spidery limbs. When Freeman decided to try and create a Tulpa version of Atlach Nacha, he took the whole thing very seriously, which is certainly a vital key to ensuring a high degree of success. As well as constructing an altar to the spider-god in the cellar of the house he was living in at the time, Freeman took a large piece of cloth, painted it to look like a vast spider’s web, and hung it up in the cellar. Then, at the foot of the altar, he began a complex series of rites and prayers, all designed with one goal in mind: to bring Clark Ashton-Smith’s monster to life – of sorts, at least. It worked. It was late one night, and roughly a month after the experiment began, that Freeman went into that old, dark cellar – with the intent of trying to further enhance his Tulpa. He was confronted by something hideous and almost heart-stopping. It was the shadow of a giant spider on one of the walls. Freeman fled from the room and took steps to mentally deconstruct the monster.

Dion Fortune was an occultist, mystic, and the author of a number of acclaimed works, and whose real name was Violet Mary Firth. Fortune, who died in 1946 at the age of fifty-five, was someone who was skilled at creating monsters in the mind and then unleashing them into the world around her. Fortune made it very clear, however, that creating a mind-monster rarely has a positive outcome. It is something that each and every one of us should take careful heed of. Her story is as fascinating as it is disturbing: "The artificial elemental is constructed by forming a clear-cut image in the imagination of the creature it is intended to create, ensouling it with something of the corresponding aspect of one’s own being, and then invoking into it the appropriate natural force. This method can be used for good as well as evil, and 'guardian angels' are formed in this way. It is said that dying women, anxious concerning the welfare of their children, frequently form them unconsciously. I myself once had an exceedingly nasty experience in which I formulated a were-wolf accidentally. Unpleasant as the incident was, I think it may be just as well to give it publicity, for it shows what may happen when an insufficiently disciplined and purified nature is handling occult forces." A full examination of Fortune’s work in the field of Tulpas will appear in the book.

There can be no doubt that one of the creepiest supernatural phenomena to have surfaced in the last two decades is that of what have become infamously known as the Black-Eyed Children. They are pale-faced, eerie-looking children whose titles comes from the fact that their eyes are completely black. Witnesses claim they have the power to control peoples’ minds, and that they try to find their way into homes to steal the souls of the unfortunate people targeted. The tales are very much akin to urban legends – and which is certainly how they began. Incredibly, however, people now see the BEC regularly and all around the world. The most popular theory for the existence of these dangerous, paranormal entities is that they are monsters of legend and imagination that, having been given so much publicity on the Internet and in books, have now taken on their own, independent lives as Tulpas – and all because thousands of people believe in them.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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