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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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Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore Women in Horror

Beyond Frankenstein—Mary Shelley’s Literary Successes

The tragedy of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is that, despite having one of the most famous horror stories of all time, her other work is virtually unknown. Her other two novels, aside from Frankenstein, were actually strange and unique in their own way—keep reading to learn more about the roads Mary Shelley paved for the literary community.

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818)

Shelley’s first and most notorious novel was started when she was still a teenager, in 1816, at age 18. Female writers around the world, myself included, are grateful for her contribution to literature, even though she published initial additions anonymously when she was twenty in London in 1818. Her name didn’t actually appear on the publication until the second edition was published in Paris in 1821.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

What is incredible about this book is not just that it was written by a teenager, or that it was written by a woman, but that it was written by a woman from the perspective of a young male scientist. This story arose from her travels through Europe in 1815 while she traveled along the Rhine in Germany. Eleven miles away from what is considered Frankenstein Castle, where two centuries before her visit a mad alchemist conducted various experiments. She continued her travels across Geneva, Switzerland—which was also used as a setting for much of the novel. Shelley and her traveling companions had incredibly controversial conversations that ranged from the occult to galvanism—this of course was around the time that Luigi Galvani was conducting his experiments with his frog galvanoscope.

The legend of how Shelley came up with her idea of this particular novel tells us that Shelley and her traveling companions, most all of them writers, decided to have a contest amongst themselves. They wanted to challenge each other and see, who among them could create the most engaging, terrifying, and outrageous horror story. Initially stumped by the prompt, Shelly thought upon the topic for days until she finally had a dream that would inspire her to write the story of a scientist who created life, only to be horrified by his own creation.

The story of Victor Frankenstein was rather controversial due to the idea of Galvani’s technology and what his experiments meant for the scientific community at the time. So, Shelley portrays Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist as a man pursuing knowledge that lies in the unorthodox, blasphemous fields of secrets yet-to-be-told. Life and death are uncertainties in this story, when Victor creates a sapient creature, one constructed from the pilfered parts of those who have died.

Galvani’s experiments gave the scientific community a lot of ideas about reanimation after death and also launched experimental medical treatments using electricity to cure diseases that were incurable at the time. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the process that Luigi Galvani used to achieve this ground-breaking discovery about electrical impulses and the nerve system, there are a few YouTubers who decided to replicate the experiment. Enjoy!

The Last Man (1826)

Shelley’s novel The Last Man is an unusual topic for the time during which it arose; originally published in 1826, this book envisions a future Earth—set in the late twenty-first century—that is ravaged by plague and unknown pandemic. It harbors the eery scene of a planet in the throes of apocalypse, where society has degraded to a dystopian nightmare, amidst the ravages of an unchecked and unknowable plague that blankets the globe.

The Last Man

In order to write this particular novel, Shelley spent time sitting in meetings of the House of Commons in order to have a deeper understanding of the inner workings of a Romantic Era political system. As such, she created another first in literature—dystopian apocalyptic visions of the future within the writing community. Due to the insanely new concept of a dystopic world, her novel was suppressed by the literary community at large, as it was a wholly nightmarish idea at the time. It was almost considered prophecy and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the novel resurfaced to the public where it was clearly understood to be a work of fiction.

Mathilda (1959)

Mathilda is one of those books that, if it had been published during Shelley’s lifetime, it might have created another scandal for Mary Shelley—as such her second long work, despite having been written between August 1819 and February 1820, wasn’t published until 1959, well after Shelley’s death. While this isn’t a horror novel, it does provide some insight into the dark and depressed mind of Shelley following the death of two of her children. Their deaths in 1818 and 1819 respectively caused Mary Shelley to distance herself emotionally and sexually from her husband which was an incredible hardship on their marriage.

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The plot of this particular novel dealt with a common theme found in Romance Era novels—incest and suicide, this novel in particular was the narrative of a father’s incestuous love for his daughter. Now you may be thinking—that’s disgusting! And by today’s standards of familial relationships and romantic relationships, you would be correct.

Mathilda tells her story from her deathbed, having barely lived to her twenties, in order to tell the story of her darkest secrets that have led her to such a young demise. She confesses the truth of her isolated upbringing which leads to the ultimate begrudging truth of her emotional withdrawal and inevitable, secluded death. She never names her father, who confesses his incestuous love for her—his confession fuels his decision to commit suicide by drowning.

Index of Sources

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Borley Rectory – Most Haunted House in England

There are many, many demon houses in America – from the hauntings of Amityville to Georgia to Connecticut and every state in between. But there’s another Gothic-style home that came far before any of these famous hauntings – across the pond and described as “the most haunted house in England” by famed psychic researcher Harry Price. Yes, we’re talking about Borley Rectory. Built in 1862 and demolished in 1944, there were claims of paranormal activity within the house for many decades – from owners, paranormal experts, visitors and more for many decades after the house was destroyed. Sure, there were a few skeptics… but what haunting legend doesn’t have its haters? Read on to learn more about Borley Rectory and the horror it bestowed upon Britain many years ago.

The Reverend

Quite a few hauntings around demon houses involve religion, whether it’s regarding a nun spirit (wait for it) or the priest who is forced to come in and perform an exorcism on the property. The difference with Borley Rectory, however, is that it was made specifically for Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull to live in after becoming rector of the parish. The manor was built after the previous rectory had burned to the ground just one year prior… and immediately became a source of gossip for the townspeople. Partly for the gothic exterior that stood out in a rural suburban town, and partly for the spirits that were seen wandering the grounds throughout the years.

Borely Rectory Image from 1800's

Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull lived there with his fourteen children until his death in 1892, and those three decades were supposedly filled with all types of paranormal activity and unexplained events – a claim which would be supported by later owners. His daughters were the first ones who claimed to see the ghostly nun – which would become one of the most prominent spiritual figures within the home and an apparition seen by many people of Borley. Despite these claims of ghostly activity, the Bull family owned the house until 1927 when the Reverend’s eldest son died. That’s when Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved in and began to ask questions that the Bulls never had. 

Society for Psychical Research

Society for Psychical Research

When you find the skull of a young woman in one of the cupboards of your new house, like the Smiths did, it’s likely that you’d have a few questions. Especially since the paranormal activity at Borley Rectory reached a peak right after this discovery of human remains. The couple apparently saw a headless horseman pulling the carriage while they heard unexplained footsteps and servant bells ringing… which prompted them to contact The Daily Mirror and plead for contact with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). That’s how the Smiths met Harry Price, the famed paranormal investigator who would later call Borley Rectory “the most haunted house in England.”

Price’s presence in the house only upset the spirits, and his report of terrifying experiences at Borley Rectory included objects being thrown and “spirit messages” in the mirror. As could be expected, this phenomena came to a halt shortly after Price left the house. While the investigator had many skeptics who doubted his claims of paranormal activity at the house, including Mrs. Smith herself, his experiences captured the attention of people far outside of Borley and contributed to the house’s infamy. It’s also worth noting that many other paranormal investigators over the years, including famed ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, supported the idea of frightening phenomena within Borley Rectory. 

The Smiths stayed in the house for only a couple years, being replaced by Reverend Lionel Algernon Foyster and his wife Marianne in 1929. This family reported far more frightening events than those before them – including being locked in rooms, threatening mirror messages, and being violently thrown from the bed. The Reverend compiled an entire report of paranormal phenomena that they experienced during their time at Borley Rectory, which caused Harry Prince to circle back around and become even more interested in the house. While he failed to exorcise the property on two occasions, he drew enormous attention to Borley Rectory and inspired many ghosthunters and mediums to attend and study the ghosts within the walls. How popular was this home in the city of Essex, exactly? Let this quote from The Daily Mirror tell you. 

Daily Mirror Borely Rectory 1929

“The rectory continues to receive the unwelcome attention of hundreds of curious people, and at night the headlights of their cars may be seen for miles around. One ‘enterprising’ firm even ran a motor coach to the Rectory, inviting the public ‘to come and see the Borley Ghost’, while cases of rowdyism were frequent.’”

The Spirits

After the Foysters left Borley Rectory in 1935, Price would move in and spend years experimenting with the paranormal phenomena in the house. He held seances, hired psychics, and recorded instances with meticulous detail to uncover the history of the house. The closest he got was one instance in 1938, in which medium Helen Glanville was reported as having made successful contact with a nun and an unidentified male spirit. The man even predicted that the Borley Rectory would be destroyed in a fire in March of that year. Spoiler alert: he was right. 

Despite the fire badly damaging the house and the entire demolition of the property in 1944, there has been continued interest in the ghostly activity within Borley Rectory. Both from Harry Prince and the many ghost hunters that came after him. What’s the deal with the nun, and why exactly did the Foysters experience more terror than any other family?

There are plenty of books, movies and mini-series that you can check out for answers, as you become immersed in the mystery of Borley Rectory. 

Books

Films

Borley Rectory horror film 2017

Borley Rectory horror film 2017 poster

The Haunting of the Borely Rectory 2019

The Haunting of the Borely Rectory 2019 horror movie poster

The Banishing Coming 2021