Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 13th, 2010
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, 1600-1602, (Hamlet, in Act I, scene v).
What are we to make of tulpas, the thoughtforms of ancient wisdom that have been transported hundreds of years into our modern times?
In the 2001 revised edition of John Keel’s 1975-authored book, The Mothman Prophecies, he deals with the tulpas right off the bat, on page 6, and then, now and then, throughout the text.
The most famous tulpa story comes from Alexandra David-Neel’s Magic and Mystery in Tibet (1929), which has been reprinted by Penguin and Dover Books in recent years. A lama of eastern Tibet told Ms. David-Neel:
“What becomes of these creations? May it not be that like children born of our flesh, these children of our mind separate their lives from ours, escape our control, and play parts of their own?” (pp. 147-8 of the Penguin edition).
Tulpa (Wylie: sprul-pa; Sanskrit: निर्मित nirmita and निर्माण nirmāṇa; “to build” or “to construct”) is a Vajrayana, Bonpo and Tibetan Buddhist upaya concept, discipline and teaching tool. The term was first rendered into English as “thoughtform” by Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz in The Tibetan book of the great liberation, or, The method of realizing nirvāṇa through knowing the mind, (1954: p. 29):
Inasmuch as the mind creates the world of appearances, it can create any particular object desired. The process consists of giving palpable being to a visualization, in very much the same manner as an architect gives concrete expression in three dimensions to his abstract concepts after first having given them expression in the two-dimensions of his blue-print. The Tibetans call the One Mind’s concretized visualization the Khorva (Hkhorva), equivalent to the Sanskrit Sangsara; that of an incarnate deity, like the Dalai or Tashi Lama, they call a Tul-ku (Sprul-sku), and that of a magician a Tul-pa (Sprul-pa), meaning a magically produced illusion or creation. A master of yoga can dissolve a Tul-pa as readily as he can create it; and his own illusory human body, or Tul-ku, he can likewise dissolve, and thus outwit Death. Sometimes, by means of this magic, one human form can be amalgamated with another, as in the instance of the wife of Marpa, guru of Milarepa, who ended her life by incorporating herself in the body of Marpa.
“What goes around, comes around!” Ancient Unknown Buddhist Monk.
The Anomalist informs us of a new interview With Nick Redfern at “Ghastly Door” by Jason Whittle. During this exchange, Redfern gives his interpretation of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch question, including the possibility that the tulpas answer might be the right one. The interview is in transcript form.
Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman (this one, not that one) extended the concept of the tulpas into the high strangeness of the 1970s, by using the David-Neel story to illustrate our experimental planetary poltergeist theories in our first two books from Warner, The Unidentified: Notes Towards Solving the UFO Mystery (1975) and Creatures of the Outer Edge (1978), recently (2006) reprinted as a combined volume, with a new introduction, by Anomalist Books.
An anonymous writer at Wikipedia has captured the influence of these works this way:
Authors Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark, in their writings for Fate Magazine in the early 1970s and their first two books, “The Unidentified” (Warner Books, 1975) and “Creatures of the Outer Edge” (Warner Books, 1978), modernized and popularized tulpas for a new generation of ufologists and cryptozoologists. The surviving “zooform” movement in the United Kingdom can be traced to Clark’s and Coleman’s reworking of the tulpa concepts. Coleman and Clark have since rejected the tulpa theories as the foundation to unexplained phenomena, and have written a new introduction to the combined republishing of these two works by Anomalist Books in 2006: The Unidentified & Creatures of the Outer Edge: The Early Works of Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman. (NY: Anomalist Books, 2006, ISBN 1-933665-11-4).
Yes, for those who have created an imaginary feud between myself and the Center for Fortean Zoology folks, you should realize that Creatures of the Outer Edge was the inspiration to a generation of thought-form/zooform Fortean CFZers, including Jon Downes, Nick Redfern, and several others, apparently. Any change in my thoughts on thoughtforms has not changed my respect for those who have considered these theories valid for their own worldviews. To each to their own sense of the phenomena, I say, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, 1600-1602, (Claudius, Act III, scene iii).
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P.S. This posting is not about the European/English sports bars that have existed for the last few years, named “Tupla.”
Update: Response link from Nick Redfern.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.