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Be Careful What you Conjure: The Dangers of Tulpamancy

Tulpa image

Many people can fondly recall the creation of an imaginary friend when they were younger. Imaginary friends are a global phenomenon, used as a source to combat loneliness, and as a means to encourage creative enterprises in children. 

But what would you do if your imaginary friend suddenly became real? Would you try to destroy it? Or would you accept its unusual companionship? 

The Art of the Tulpa 

Such is the idea behind tulpamancy, a metaphysical concept that stems from ancient Tibetan practices. In essence tulpamancy is the ability to manifest an imaginary friend by intense mental concentration. A tulpa is a mental construct that takes physical shape–and once it does, the tulpa is capable of being fully autonomous from its creator. 

Individuals who practice the art of tulpamancy cite varying reasons for doing so, such as friendship, or as a means of combating certain types of anxiety. Practitioners all seem to agree on one thing, however–the tulpas they manifest are real people, entirely capable of freewill. 

The Science of Tulpamancy 

The creation of a tulpa is an arduous mental process that requires both immense time and concentration. First, an individual who wishes to manifest a tulpa must have a very concrete idea as to the parameters of their mental construct–what does this tulpa look like? What are the tulpas primary and secondary characteristics? What is the purpose of the tulpa? The tulpamancer must be able to create, then recall these details with near perfect clarity. 

Once said parameters are established, the tulpamancer must be able to envision their mental construct over and over again until they can evoke these details with little to no conscious effort. Many practitioners believe that a meditative state must first be achieved in order to successfully manifest a tulpa. 

Tulpas as Thoughtform 

Tulpamancy was introduced to the western world as “thoughtform” and gained popularity during the late 20th Century by way of science fiction shows and novels. Thoughtforms are much the same as tulpas in that they are physical manifestations of a mental concept and are capable of operating as free agents upon creation. 

While modern day practitioners tend to view tulpamancy as having separate origins from paranormal experiences there are some who believe that thoughtforms, or tulpas, are at the heart of some supernatural occurrences. For example, several individuals who study the paranormal now believe that poltergeist activity stems from negatively charged thoughtforms that are powerful enough to cause reactions and activity in the physical world. 

A small community of modern American tulpamancers were asked about the origins of their tulpas. Of those surveyed, 8.5% believe tulpas stem from the metaphysical realm, 76.5% think tulpas are psychologically created, and 14% think tulpas originate from spirituality or from paranormal ideas, beyond the paradigms of science. 

Dangerous Tulpas 

While we may, ultimately, never know the origins of tulpas it is important to proceed with caution when engaged in tulpamancy. Practitioners are encouraged to use sound judgement during manifestations since tulpas are autonomous in nature. Nothing could be as potentially dangerous as a tulpa that has been created void of sound ethical practices.  

Although many tulpamancers claim to have healthy, happy relationships with the tulpas they create, there have been multiple accounts where creating a tulpa has had a negative, even dangerous, impact on an individual. If you are contemplating creating a tulpa consider the following potential outcomes. 

Born From Negativity 

Once tulpas mature they develop their own personalities and preferences. However, every tulpa is born and primarily exists within their tulpamancers, or host’s mind. Since a tulpa is an extension of oneself it is common for tulpas to inherit their host’s thought patterns, moods, and mentality at the time of creation. Thus, individuals who are suffering from depression or anxiety can transfer these emotions into their tulpa. There have been numerous accounts of tulpas being extremely sad, even suicidal in nature. Tulpamancers who suffer from these bouts with depression may feel their problems have increased tenfold because now there are two depressed individuals to consider. 

Negativity tends to feed off of itself, and hosts who are battling chronic, seasonal, or even temporary depression may “give birth” to a tulpa that increases these feelings. 

Born From Violence 

Many tulpamancers admit that during the creation process it is easier for them to emulate traits from fictional characters they love, rather than attempt to build a tulpa from scratch. Some tulpamancers do so deliberately. Many have been tempted to create tulpas based off of characters that possess less than savory personality traits including a tendency towards violence. 

Again, once a tulpa is fully mature, they become free from their host’s will. Their actions are entirely their own and sometimes they desire to do things that could appall, even harm their host. 

During development it is common for tulpas to experience drastic mood swings just like children and teens do. These fluctuating temperaments combined with the fact that they have yet to learn about morals and ethics makes for a dangerous combination. Tulpas have been known to threaten to kill a host’s family members, pets, friends, even the host themselves. 

It takes a lot of hyper-focused concentration in order to create a tulpa and just as much energy and power to destroy them. Dissipating a tulpa can take several days, even for an advanced tulpamancer. What’s worse? Since tulpas share a headspace with their host they will know the moment their host first considers attempting to destroy them–and this will, naturally, make the tulpa very angry. There are tulpamancers in the world who live in constant fear of the very beings they created. 

Tulpa Obsession 

Even tulpas that have been created and manifested in a healthy environment can create unexpected consequences and events for their host. Once a tulpa has reached maturity it is not unheard of that they develop romantic feelings for their host. While some tulpamancers encourage these feelings, having relations with a tulpa can run the same risks as becoming romantically involved with a real human being including abuse and intense jealousy. Only, you can’t get away from your tulpa.

There have been instances where a tulpa’s devotion to their host has become unhealthy, even dangerous. Emotionally stunted tulpas may cause no end of problems if they feel their host is paying too much attention to real humans. Even a host/tulpa relationship that began from a place of love and harmony can turn sour like human to human relationships do…Problem is, you cannot simply walk away from your tulpa once a breakup occurs. Your tulpa remains with you, in your headspace. 

Tulpa Dependency 

Even supposedly healthy relations with a tulpa can have detrimental effects on a person and their relationships with other people. As bonds form between a tulpa and their host, the host may find themselves unintentionally, or deliberately, neglecting their other relationships, even familial and platonic ones. Why go all the way to a friend’s house when you have a tulpa friend right in your head? Why ask for support from loved ones when one can ask for support from their tulpa, all while sitting on the couch? 

Relying on a tulpa for every emotional need can lead to alienation and neglect. 

Tulpas and Mental Illness 

It is also strongly advised that individuals who suffer from personality disorders, mood disorders, and/or schizophrenia do not attempt to create a tulpa. During the manifestation process tulpamancers often report first communicating with their developing tulpas as a voice in their head. Often times these mental tulpas will speak to their host using their host’s voice as they have yet to develop the skill of vocality. 

Individuals who suffer from intrusive thoughts, split personalities, or auditory hallucinations may mistake their mental illness for an emerging tulpa and neglect to seek treatment. As these false tulpa encounters continue, and grow stronger, individuals run the risk of causing permanent damage to their mental wellbeing. 

Many tulpamancers argue that their lives were bleak, and lonely prior to the creation of their tulpa(s). However, tulpamancy is an intense, emotionally, and mentally grueling process with varying, unpredictable results. Tulpas can create lasting, even permanent, changes to a person’s life and state of being. Such a practice is not for the meek, the bored, or underprepared individuals.

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Lifestyle

Buyer Beware: Perils of Owning Haunted Artifacts

Ghost silhouette through the door
Photography by Nathan Wright

It’s interesting the types of things that are available to buy online, a quick search on eBay will reveal a number of haunted and possessed objects just waiting for the right buyer. Whether you’re an amateur paranormal investigator, or you collect these kinds of things for a living, there are always a plethora of haunted items up for sale. While it’s entirely possible these things aren’t actually haunted, it’s just as likely that they’re being sold because the current owner didn’t realize what they were getting into. The most dangerous aspect of objects that are possessed by spirits is the idea of coming into ownership without knowing about the spirit that the object hosts. There are many instances of new homeowners finding hidden rooms in old homes that contain creepy dolls that were locked away and walled off in an attempt to keep an unhappy spirit at bay.

5 Reasons to Avoid Owning Haunted Artifacts

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“The Hands Resist Him” by Bill Stoneham (1972)

Dolls, paintings, boxes, and really anything else you can imagine has the ability to become a vessel for the dead. Spirits are in death as they were in life, their personality is translated into their afterlife–were they innocent and pure, or were they full of grief, anger, or hatred? These are the kinds of things that must be taken into account when you contemplate becoming the new owner of a spirit vessel. It doesn’t truly matter if you believe in the paranormal or not, tempting fate and pursuing ownership of haunted artifacts probably isn’t the best idea—and here’s why:

1.    They aren’t toys

It may seem like a fun thing to acquire, especially around times like Halloween, but in all sincerity, they are not toys. These artifacts are vessels for people who have died and they may not be happy about the circumstances under which they died.

2.    It could result in an unhappy spirit

If you don’t really know what you’re doing when taking ownership of a haunted artifact, then you’re already in over your head. Understanding spirits and how to appease them is imperative to peacefully coexist with them. Living with spirits is difficult, even for mediums and psychics that deal with them on a regular basis—it’s exhausting and will interfere with the way you live your life, so unless you want a permanent house guest that you can’t explain to company, don’t invite it into your life.

3.    Spirits can cause behavioral changes

This is kind of a huge one, having a resident spirit in your home can cause major behavioral changes. This includes, but is not limited to depression, anxiety, mood swings, strange thoughts, anger, as well as violent and self-destructive behavior.

4.    It could already be an angry spirit

If you can’t handle an unhappy spirit, you don’t even want to know what you would be getting into with an angry spirit—let’s just say that people bury, sell, or otherwise rid themselves of these objects any way they can for a reason. If you would really like to know the type of activity an angry spirit can bring, just watch a horror movie based around malevolent ghosts and you’ll get a fairly vivid image.

5.    They might be cursed

Bear with me here—you may not believe in ghosts let alone curses, but even those who don’t believe are likely to feel quite unsettled or disturbed after handling a purportedly cursed object. Whether the angry or otherwise malevolent spirit was cursed to be confined within, or it was used during a ritualistic curse, there is a lot of negative energy attached to cursed objects. Typically speaking, objects that are used during ritualistic cursing or, “black magic,” are disposed of, so while it’s not likely, it’s still best not to tempt fate.

An open dybbuk box
Photography by Marika Martinelli

It’s important to understand that most of these kinds of auction listings begin with the phrase, “buyer beware.” While there may be a few fake listings, this phrase isn’t just a catchy way to draw attention to the listing—it really means it, that’s why there are usually strict no-return policies on them—they do not want these artifacts to find their way back to them.

Much like the dybbuk box that starred as the main terror of The Possession (2012), they aren’t objects of fascination, they are to be avoided by those who would rather live a peaceful existence.