Jul 03, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Tulpas and Thought-Forms: Making a Case for Their Existence - A Very Weird Existence

The phenomenon of the Tulpa has its origins in the ancient teachings of Buddhism and is a Tibetan term that roughly translates into English as “manifestation.” It’s a highly appropriate piece of terminology for a Tulpa. In essence, it is the process by which the human mind can allegedly 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. That may very well extend to numerous phenomena, too. Bigfoot, Nessie, the Dog-Men: they have all been suggested as Tulpas. As amazing as this may all sound, there is a dark and danger-filled downside to creating a Tulpa-style thought-form. All too often they have a disturbing habit of running wild and turning against their creators. They become not just troublesome, but deeply manipulative, highly deceptive, and extremely dangerous. Sometimes even close to deadly. It’s a case of being extremely careful of what you wish and yearn for. With that said, I'll share with you my favorite Tulpas. They range wildly.

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 who then unleashed them into the world around her. She said: "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. I had received serious injury from someone who, at considerable cost to myself, I had disinterestedly helped, and I was sorely tempted to retaliate. Lying on my bed resting one afternoon, I was brooding over my resentment, and while so brooding, drifted towards the borders of sleep. There came to my mind the thought of casting off all restraints and going berserk.

"The ancient Nordic myths rose before me, and I thought of Fenris, the Wolf-horror of the North. Immediately I felt a curious drawing-out sensation from my solar plexus, and there materialized beside me on the bed a large wolf. It was a well-materialized ectoplasmic form. It was grey and colorless, and had weight. I  could  distinctly  feel  its  back  pressing  against  me  as  it  lay  beside  me  on  the  bed  as  a  large  dog  might. I knew nothing about the art of making elementals at that time, but had accidentally stumbled upon the right method - the brooding highly charged with emotion, the invocation of the appropriate natural force, and the condition between sleeping and waking in which the etheric double readily extrudes.”

How about the Slenderman as a Tulpa?  In my book, The Slenderman Mysteries: An Internet Urban Legend Comes to Life, I wrote: "...on an episode of the hugely popular paranormally-themed talk-show Coast to Coast AM, the host, George Noory, took a number of calls from people who claimed to have personally encountered the Slenderman. They all described the Slenderman as looking like Eric Knudsen’s monster. In some case, the witnesses claimed, the Slenderman invaded their dreams. Others said they saw the Slenderman in the real world. It was the Coast to Coast AM show which really demonstrated that what was going on was the beginning of a radical and sinister shift in the Slenderman phenomenon: what was first fiction was now rapidly becoming something else entirely." I continued in my book: "Some might suggest that the people who phoned in to Coast to Coast AM were hoaxers. Maybe there were; maybe they weren’t. But, in certain terms, it doesn’t really matter: if enough of the Coast to Coast AM audience believed what they were hearing, then that collective and combined belief would have gone a significant way towards ensuring that the Tulpa version of the Slenderman would soon be up and running. And, guess what? He was."

(Nick Redfern) The Slenderman Comes to "Life"

Now, let's take a look at the possibility the Men in Black are Tulpas. In his book, The Excalibur Briefing, Tom Bearden states this: "The kindling of virtual state tulpoidal forms into the zeroth bioframe of a physical reality (materialization) can result in the materialization of living, breathing, functioning forms. There is essentially no limit on the format that may be obtained. Sasquatch, Nessie, fairies, demons, angels, mothmen, skunkmen, yeti, kangaroos, etc. are just a small sampling." On this same matter of Tulpas, Bearden addresses the MIB in this fashion. He says: "The men-in-black syndrome is based on our own unconscious tuning; since each of us has some unpleasantness in the unconscious, sometimes the tuned-in-men-in-black can be very nasty indeed." The M.I.B. as Tulpas? It seems logical to me.

(Nick Redfern) Are the Men in Black Tulpas? They just Might Be

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.

Alexandra 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. And, it took a hell of a long time to destroy it.

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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