Monthly Archives: June 2016

Re-Blog: Tulpas, Thoughtforms and Monsters, Oh My!


This is a blog that I wrote back in 2013 but, given some of the rumblings about thought forms I have been hearing on-line, I thought this was a good time to re-post it.  

I am an inveterate podcast listener. The job that puts bread on the table can, at times, be very repetitive, requiring little in the way of thought, so I often spice up my day by listening to one or the other of the paranormal podcasts on the Web. The other day I was listening to an interview with the noted paranormal author, Nick Redfern and the discussion turned to the place of tulpas in monster lore. I realized, as I listened to this show, that while I had referred to these beings obliquely in some of my posts, I have not dedicated a post to this subject.

First off, a point of definition. In my view a tulpa and a thought form are the same thing. The only difference is that the term tulpa originates with the Tibetan esoteric tradition while thought form is used in the Western traditions to describe the same process. You will also sometimes see Western magicians refer to a thought form as a servitor. While some people will quibble and say that each of these concepts is a slightly different thing, I am going to throw them all into the hash together and refer to them, from here on out, as thought forms.

So what is a thought form? Pared down to basics, a thought form is a being of desire, visualization and imagination (see Magical Use of Thought Forms: A Proven System of Mental & Spiritual Empowerment by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and J.H. Brennan). To create a thought form, the magician pulls an image from his or her inner storehouse of images (imagination), visualizes it powerfully and in Technicolor detail (visualization) and empowers it to perform a certain task or tasks according to his or her desire. Simple enough until one realizes how flabby human visualization skills have gotten since the advent of television and film. The other skill that the magician must master in order to work effectively with thought forms is the skill of placing limits on them and de-constructing them once their purpose is finished.

What can a thought form be used for? Almost anything. As I mentioned, some modern magicians refer to these creations as servitors because that is precisely what they are supposed to do – serve the will of the magician. Thought forms have been used for everything from helping a writer with inspiration for a project (no, I do not use thought forms for this purpose) to providing a soldier with actual physical protection in battle. In general, a thought form is not visible to the majority of people (some psychics can see them) but, if you read enough magical lore, you will find stories of magicians who created thought forms that were not only visible but were able to physically interact with this world. In chapter 3 of the excellent book I mentioned above, one finds the story of a Tibetan lama who, after considerable effort, managed to bring a yidam, a type of meditation deity, into physical manifestation as part of his movement toward enlightenment.

That chapter is instructive not only in telling the reader about the possibilities of thought form creation but also in bringing to the attention the knowledge that the process of thought form creation is not as easy as it sounds. In order to do this type of work, one really has to be able to make an image real in the mind and then be able to infuse it with all the force of desire, directed by magical means so that the being is limited in its scope. This is important since magical lore also tells us that a thought form created without proper limits can take on a sort of life of its own.

One of the best known stories in this regard also comes from Tibet. One of the early theosophists, Alexandra David Neel, journeyed to Tibet and, during her stay there, worked on the creation of a tulpa (thought form) in the image of a short, fat, jolly monk. After several months of meditation and practice, this tulpa manifested and was seen by David Neel and others. David Neel also reported physical contact from this thought form on a number of occasions. Eventually, though, the monk began to take on a darker aspect and David Neel was forced to learn how to take the thought form apart and re-absorb it. I suspect that this had to do with David Neel’s not having a clear desire for the thought form when she created it; the being was an experiment and so did not seem to have a distinct purpose other than to assuage her curiosity.

Now, how does the creation of these magical beings tie into the world of the paranormal? I think that an excellent example might be some of the Manwolf sightings around Native American mounds in the Wisconsin/Michigan area of the United States. Archeologists argue about what purpose the mounds served but they are agreed that these were sites of importance to the indigenous people of that period. I think it is entirely possible that some of the Manwolves reported in those areas are actually thought forms, created by ancient shaman as guardian spirits for the mounds. If such a thought form were created by a group of shaman, given the assignment to guard the mounds indefinitely and then turned loose to do that bidding, there would be no reason for the thought form to dissolve. Over time, it would take on a single minded life of its own and the only thing that would prevent it from doing its job would be a lack of energy. It would have gotten a powerful shot of energy in its creation and would have been “fed” periodically by its creators but when those people died or moved away, the thought form would have languished and dissolved unless it found alternate ways to feed itself – such as scaring the heck out of people and feeding off that energy.

As with all the theories I discuss on this blog, I do not think that thought forms constitute the universal field theory of the paranormal but, given what is known about them, they should certainly enter into the consideration of any paranormal investigator.


Pride Flag Halfmast

The Internet has been full of people slinging opinions around after the terrible tragedy of 50 people losing their lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  Normally, I do not use this blog to get involved in such controversies.  Normally, I am content to let people believe what they want to believe and spew forth whatever vitriol they want to spew.  Normally.

There is nothing normal, though, about a madman bursting into a night club and gunning down a hundred or more people (dead and wounded).  Nor was there anything normal about the response to this shooting as I watched the social media outlets.  If I had to sum up the response, it seemed to me that it would have been “Sorry all those people died but, if you guys had listened to me about (fill in the blank) this never would have happened.”


What I have found particularly horrifying about this event and, in fact, the response to mass shootings in general is the high level of us vs. them, I am right and you are wrong thinking expressed in so many of the responses.  This sort of black and white, fundamentalist thinking is precisely what allows people to begin to rationalize marginalization, oppression and persecution of the “other” (whoever that may be) and, with the proper mental aberration, even murder of those who do not fall into the category of “us”.

Those 49 faces that are starting to appear in memorials?  They were fellow human beings who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  What you think about guns or immigration policy, for example, is completely irrelevant at this point.  There will be time for such discussion when cooler heads can prevail.

What is relevant, what is vital, is that we, as a country, step up and offer whatever support we can to the living victims and their family, friends, acquaintances and beyond.  What is vitally important, in my view, is that those people, people just like you and I are not left to bear their sorrow alone because everyone is so damnably busy pointing fingers or espousing their favorite cause.

This is a chance to show your fundamental humanity, folks.  Donate blood if you can, contribute to the relief funds, use social media to express your deep condolences and support of those who are left behind.  Leave the politicking behind for a little while and extend your heart and hands openly.

For all the healers out there, this is a time to ply your gift unreservedly and with all the strength you can muster.  For those who are magically inclined, there is work to be done making sure that the ways are open for those who died, that protection and healing follow those who survived and that healing spirits are everywhere available to help and console where you physically can not be.  It is so trite to say that our thoughts and prayers are with those in Orlando, but let that really be so and lets back those thoughts and prayers up with action.

I understand that tragedies of this sort prompt strong feelings in people and that many folks have opinions about how these monstrous acts could be prevented.  I certainly do.  Right now though, let’s stop being pundits for a short time and allow ourselves to be fully human, feeling the pain of those effected by this horrific act and acting with compassion and love from that empathy.  Do not harden your hearts and look at this as just another example of how you are right but allow yourself to move past your opinions to see the people who are so direly effected by this event.



The Three Kings


I happened across this little gem called The Three Kings Ritual amongst my Twitter feeds the other day.  I am beginning to think that I am going to have to write a book about safe spirit contact for those interested in the paranormal since people keep putting this tripe online (no offense intended to the Week in Weird folks – the original version of this ritual came from a Reddit feed).

Anyone who has followed the blog for a while will know that I am all for spirit work.  I work with spirits in my practices all the time and I feel that those spirits have blessed me with love, support, protection and guidance over the years.  I do dream work with the spirits that I know and commune with them regularly in my meditations and by making offerings and prayers to them on specific days.  I have built a relationship with them and, if I need something I ask.  Conversely, if the spirits in question want something from me, they are not shy about letting me know.  I try to accommodate them and, if I can not, I explain why and try to work out an equitable solution.

Does this sound familiar?  It should since my relationship with my spiritual ‘family’ is similar to the relationship that I have with friends and relations in our consensual reality.  I do not walk out into the middle of my neighborhood, approach people I do not know and ask them if they want to come over to my house for a chat.  Anyone proposing that you do that sort of thing would likely be met with a jaundiced eye by most people but the Internet seems determined to get people to do just that with the spirit world.  If I were of a more conspiratorial bent, I might think that there was a group of disharmonic entities working through people to put these ‘games’ online.

I am not going to waste a lot of words taking this ritual apart piece by piece.  Suffice to say that the ‘game’ is designed to place people in a semi-fearful state of mind or, for the more skeptical, at least create a sense of anticipation by using not so subtle cues like the performance of the ritual in the so-called dead time made famous on certain paranormal shows.  In addition, the constant harping on back ups (such as the candle, the water bucket and the toy to make certain that the person comes back from their trance) also creates the anticipatory feel that something is going to happen.  Add to that the effect of sitting quietly, in a dark room with two mirrors and nothing but the light of a flickering candle and all but the most concrete-headed will fall into some level of trance.  Basically, this is a set up for mirror scrying – clairvoyance using a mirror as a focus, a technique well known in ceremonial circles as a part of spirit evocation (calling a spirit into various levels of manifestation).  For more on the use of mirrors in magic, see my blog titled Mirror, Mirror.

The old adage in magical circles applies here: never summon what you can not send back.  The fact of the matter is that this ritual is dangerous simply because you have no idea what you are summoning, you have no protections in place in case something nasty comes through (yes, Virginia, there are spirits who do not like humans at all and other spirits who feed on the type of fear that this sort of incautious work engenders) and there is no easy way to send back whatever decides to show up since the worker has not taken any steps to contain any spirit that manifests.  As with the use of a spirit board, there is a correct way to use use such a tool in invocation/evocation work and there is an incorrect way.  This ritual does not even approach being the correct way to make contact since it follows the open door system of spirit contact – i.e. there is no specific entity being sought, rather, the door is being opened for any being to come through.

Given the references to the “Shadowside”, the creepiness of doing this during dead time, the repeated references to back ups designed to bring the operator out of trance and so on, the subconscious coding for this ritual is one of the anticipation of something scary manifesting.  Add to this the testimony of others on the site that something creepy did indeed occur and this ‘program’ is even more deeply set.  If your subconscious mind already has the ritual coded as a scary event, then guess what you are most likely to attract?




Cops and the Paranormal


Most people think of police officers, military police and public safety officers of varying sorts as being reliable witnesses.  Such individuals are trained observers, often with extensive experience in documenting what they observed and with a finely honed sense of the verity of those they come into contact with.  I just got finished reading Cops’ True Stories of the Paranormal: Ghosts, UFOs and Other Shivers compiled by well known author Loren W. Christensen and had to get my two cents worth in on this subject.

About the book, Mr. Christensen seems to have been a little short of stories of a particular type for the book so he pads the contents with news stories and pretty much takes a kitchen sink approach to the paranormal, throwing in everything from ghost stories to tales of ‘divine intervention’ to his own UFO experiences working as military policeman in the 1960’s.   The tales themselves are worth a read; more than one of the stories will make even the most seasoned paranormalist do a double take, especially when considering that the witnesses are public safety personnel.

Having spent a considerable amount of time working security of one type or the other when I was young, I had my own interesting experiences of the paranormal kind. The two incidents that stand out for me both happened when I worked as a security officer for a popular tourist hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas (no, this was not the haunted Menger hotel, it was one of the structures that went up to accommodate the crowds that came for Hemisfair in 1968).

The top floor of this hotel was actually a large ballroom and, of course, it was a place that the security staff had to make certain was secured after hours since I and other officers had encountered adventurous lovers in various states of dress (or undress) when someone had forgotten to lock the doors.  Given that one never knew what one might stumble over and that walking the empty floor of the ballroom in the dead of night, with no light coming in but ambient illumination from the street below, was spooky even without the story below, patrolling the ballroom was not a duty that officers looked forward to.

I was working the midnight shift when a call come through from one of the other officers working that night to meet him in a service area on the floor below the ballroom.  I hustled to get there since the officer sounded a little panicked on the radio and, when I arrived, I found that the other security person working that evening had also responded.  “George” (names have been changed since I do not have express permission to use them), the officer who had called, was in a state.  He was pale, his hands were shaking and his eyes were so wide that I could see the whites all the way around.  At first, he could not seem to get out what the matter was but eventually, he led “Maria” and myself up the stairs to the ballroom.

It seems that George had been on patrol, walking the top floor of the hotel.  He unlocked and came through the double doors to the ballroom and, after re-locking the doors, noticed that there was someone standing in middle of the ballroom floor.  This, by itself, took him aback since he was certain that there was no one there when he came in.  He told himself that it had to be one of the banquet staff who had been behind the partition that hid the serving area from the main floor.  George hailed the figure standing in the middle of that large expanse of dance floor and, when he got no reply, turned his flashlight on.  The figure promptly disappeared and George made record time getting down to the next floor and calling back up to accompany him upstairs.  We cleared the area and there was no one there.

I might have been inclined to treat George with a strong touch of disbelief if I had not had an experience over the winter that convinced me that something odd was going on in this hotel.  Strangely, it happened that “Maria”, the officer who had accompanied us to the ballroom that night, was on duty with me that evening as well.

It was shortly before Christmas and, as happens with some hotels, our property was experiencing very low occupancy.  As such, “Maria” and I were covering the whole hotel for the evening.

I was about an hour away from finishing up my shift at 11:00 p.m.and was looking forward to meeting some friends for a friendly round or two after work when the call came in.  A guest was complaining of work men hammering in a room adjacent to him.  I responded to the area and did not hear anything and “Maria” showed up a couple of minutes later.  We stood in the hallway and listened.  There was no noise at all except for the murmur of a television down the hall.  After a few minutes, I knocked on the guest’s door, identified myself and spoke with him once he opened the door.  He invited “Maria” and I in and, sure enough, as soon as we were in the room, something banged on the wall in the room next door.

Now, this was alarming since our dispatch had confirmed that there were no guests in the rooms around the complainant.  There were no room renovations in progress and no reason why the maintenance crew would be working so we swiftly moved out into the hallway and used a master key to enter the other room.  It does not take long to check occupancy on a hotel room.  There was no one there but, as we stood looking confused, we heard the banging clearly again.  Only this time, the sound seemed to be coming from the room on the other side of this guest’s room.

Again, we sprinted past the occupied room and entered the unoccupied room where the sound seemed to come from and, again, the rom was completely vacant.  Since the hotel was almost empty, “Maria” and I spent the next half hour systematically checking all the rooms above and below the guest’s room and never found anyone.  We did, however, hear the banging two or three other times, always in rooms that we had either just left or in rooms that we were going to next.  Eventually, we explained to the guest that we were unable to locate the source of the noise and offered him a change to a room several floors below the one he was in.  He accepted gladly and that was the end of the problem.

The property was fairly old so I suppose that the banging could have been caused by pipes or some other mechanical issue but the trickster nature of the whole incident still gives me pause.