Oct 28, 2021 I Nick Redfern

The Ultimate Tulpa: A Dangerous and Terrifying Game

To turn this story into a trilogy-like article, I've decided to feature on what I consider to be the greatest, and most important, Tulpa-based story that's out there. Born in 1868, Alexandra David-Neel had a rich and fulfilling life; it was a life that lasted for just short of an incredible 101 years. She was someone for whom just about every day was filled with adventure and excitement. She was a disciple of Buddhism, was strongly drawn to the concept of anarchy, and had a particular affinity with Tibet and its people, much of which is described in her acclaimed 1929 book, Magic and Mystery in Tibet. It’s a fine and entertaining tale of road-trip proportions and with a large dose of the supernatural thrown in. It was while in Tibet that David-Neel became acquainted – deeply acquainted - with the phenomenon of the Tulpa. Like so many people that came before her and since, however, she found herself in the icy grip of a thought-form that, when primed, activated and called forth, was determined to keep the priceless life to which it had quickly become accustomed.

David-Neel used her very own experiences to demonstrate to her readers the extent to which one creates a Tulpa at one’s own eternal peril: “Once the Tulpa is endowed with enough vitality to be capable of playing the part of a real being, it tends to free itself from its makers’ control. This, say Tibetan occultists, happens nearly mechanically, just as a child, when his body is completed and able to live apart, leaves its mother’s womb. Sometimes the phantom becomes a rebellious son and one hears of uncanny struggles that have taken place between magicians and their creatures, the former being severely hurt or even killed by the latter."

You would have thought all of this knowledge would have dissuaded David-Neel from following the path that so many trod earlier and paid the price. But, no. She was ready and fired up for the challenge.  David-Neel knew precisely of what she wrote way back in the 1920s – as well as of the inherent dangers. Indeed, on one occasion in Tibet she unwisely chose to create her very own Tulpa. She did so in the form of a rotund, beaming, jollity-filled monk. By the end of the experience, however, there was nothing fun-filled or even chubby about her strange creation. As David-Neel described it, she performed certain procedures and rites – all taught to her by her Buddhist friends in Tibet, and all designed to place her into a state of mind that would make the manifestation of the monk an all but guaranteed reality. It was a long and drawn-out procedure, one which lasted not for days or even for weeks: it went on for no less than months. Dedication was most definitely the order of the day.

Finally, the day came when David-Neel saw her creation – in her very own abode, if not exactly in what we would call the flesh. At first, at least, the monk was a character that could only be seen as a brief, shadowy manifestation of something barely recognizable. As time progressed, however, the monk became more and more physical and substantial. One can see this clearly in David-Neel’s own words. She said that he eventually “became a kind of guest, living in my apartment."

It was shortly after her monk was "born" that David-Neel temporarily left her apartment behind her and "started for a tour, with my servants and tents." By now, the creature had a strong presence in David-Neel’s environment, to the extent that she no longer needed to focus on the monk to make him appear. The monk would now materialize when and where he wanted to appear, regardless of what David-Neel’s plans might have been for him. This was far from being a good sign: the tables were slowly, carefully, and less than subtly, being turned. As its time in our world progressed, said David-Neel, so did the monk’s progression from a shadowy figure to that of a physical entity. And, to the extent that, on several occasions, she felt his robe brush softly against her. One time, she even felt his hand grip her shoulder. There was nothing playful about any or all of this, however, as David-Neel soon came to realize – and to her cost.

As time progressed, and as the monk became far less like a fragmentary thought-form and far more like a fully-formed person, something ominous happened. The Tulpa began to physically change. Its chubby form altered; it became noticeably slimmer and far more toned and lithe. A fat visage was replaced by sculpted cheekbones of the kind that an up and coming Hollywood star would kill for. His original, smiling and beaming appearance was soon gone. It was replaced by a slyly and knowingly evil face. The creature became “troublesome and bold.” Then, there was the most terrifying development of all – if “development” is the correct word to use. David-Neel said that the day finally arrived when her monk-of-the-mind “escaped my control.” The monster was now fully free of its moorings.

What had begun for David-Neel as an interesting and alternative experiment concerning the issue of what amounts to reality, was now a downright state of emergency. There was only one way to solve the problem, a knowledgeable lama told her, and that was for David-Neel to destroy her creation. It wasn’t quite so easy. Just like the unfortunate doctor in Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel of 1818, Frankenstein, David-Neel didn’t just come to rue the day she created her supernatural thing. She also found it extremely difficult to end its life. It took close to half a year, David-Neel said, before the manipulative creature was finally dissolved and forever wiped from the face of existence. It was far from an easy task, as David-Neel admitted: "My mind-creature was tenacious of life." Just like the Slenderman has become.

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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