4.18.19: The One With The Tulpa


Welcome to Butterfly Language, a look at the world inside and outside my head!


Here’s a fun story I’d like to document, about the time a person I knew either created a thoughtform, flat-out summoned some type of entity, went insane, or possibly all three at the same time. As with many of this stuff in the modern era, pop-culture both inspired and guided her way into this endeavor.

When I was in college, I had this good friend. I’ve mentioned her before. She was into the occult—or rather, whatever vague accumulation of “the occult” she cobbled together from the misinformed, the histrionic, and pop-culture. She didn’t think she was into the occult. She thought she was into “Wicca”—this “idea” of Wicca.


Further, she held the notion that all Wiccans were “white-lighters,” whereas those into The Occult were of “the left hand path.” She made this point very clear; it was frankly quite dogmatic. She obsessed over who was “right” and who was “wrong” in terms magick. She didn’t even want to spell magick with a “k,” because that would be like invoking Aleister Crowley or something. Is it possible to be “politically correct” but only in terms of some sort of esoteric “purity test?” Because this was the situation with her.

None of her strict beliefs as to what constitutes “right” and “wrong” magick prevented her from attempting to create a thoughtform of Brandon Lee’s character The Crow.


A “tulpa,” she called it. She created a tulpa of The Crow.


She told me about this over the phone one day. I knew she was obsessed with both Brandon Lee & The Crow…it started when I showed her this CD-ROM (yeah, this is how far back this story goes) I had of The Crow movies. There was one video in particular that was supposed to be Lee’s last interview; the content of which seemed harmless enough, though there were a few “foreshadowing”-type things Lee said that were creepy in retrospect after he died. My friend asked me to play that video over and over again. She asked me to forward it one frame at a time so she could see the subtle movements in his face as he talked.

Now, why did I indulge her in this? Well…I didn’t really have a lot of people I talked to. I had acquaintances and friends, but not a lot of people who I was close with. I liked that she was into mystical stuff, as I literally had nobody to talk with on that subject. The Internet was barely a “thing” back then, and I didn’t even know about the message boards and chat rooms that did exist. And she was a good person; she was intelligent, funny, etc.

But then she called me one night to tell me she created a tulpa of Brandon Lee as The Crow. So you know…that happened.


And I was like…OK.


I think she was a bit confused as to whether this was a tulpa or perhaps the actual spirit of Brandon Lee. But let me clear some shit up for you right now: that was NOT Brandon Lee. Now, she claimed that this “thing” said it was Lee, and was talking about the afterlife and his girlfriend and his family and whatnot. And honestly, this woman was a talented “channeler.” She could have been a professional medium if she wanted to.


That was not Brandon Lee.


My friend only mentioned the tulpa a few more times in the weeks that followed, then dropped the subject. I tried to bring it up again to see what happened with all that, but she gave me some sort of vague answer like that type of stuff was “all over,” and she was past all that.

But this thing was still in our lives. In her life—because she began to drastically change. And in my life—as if some sort of second-hand spiritual contamination had taken place.

My friend became…way darker. She started dressing in these very “Goth” clothes and makeup—or rather, what her perception was of such based on pop-culture and one British “lifestyle” magazine we got at a head shop in the West Village. It was the sort of “change” in a person that feels so on-the-nose, like from a bad 1980s horror movie.


Her dogmatic opinions about “right” and “wrong” magick became more intense…though at the same time, she seemed to be practicing a far more “black” type of magick. She started researching basic blood stuff—you know, kinda mixing the occult with vampires, her other obsession. And she started talking about cursing other people—I don’t think she actually told me she had cursed anybody yet, but she did seem interested in the basic concept.

Did I mention we had a lot of paranormal crazy scary shit happen to us during that time? Well, yes—that happened. A lot of psychic dreams and morbid premonitions that came true. She believed she was being followed by some sort of “Men in Black.” She was spontaneously channeling shit (including info on a creature she called “LAM”—which, if you know the occult provenance of Lam, is all sorts of fucked up). I had weird flashing lights shit happen in my house, sudden “hot spots” that smelled like brimstone, and TONS of occult/out-of-body dreams.


So to the person sort of hearing all this for the first time…well, 1st, it can all be dismissed as a Creepypasta I just made up as a social experiment because God knows, how many fucking times have I discussed exactly that topic? Tons. So that, I admit, can be the first easy conclusion to make.

2nd conclusion: my friend was bat-shit crazy, and I shared her delusion. Certainly, that’s possible. And that could be the end of the story right there. The power of belief is a mighty powerful thing indeed. I am totally open to this second conclusion. But let me finish my story.


And so, with my friend’s encouragement, I dressed like The Crow for our campus Halloween party. She dressed as “generic vampire,” but I went all-out and really tried to replicate the “look” of that character. Because now…I was firmly part of this Mythos, right? She never mentioned the tulpa again, but its presence could be felt all around us every day.

**Was it a tulpa, really—or an activated archetype?**

We stood out there on the roof of the student union building that night, with the drinks we smuggled in. Somehow, my friend drifted away and I was by myself, amongst all these people in their costumes…holding my drink, drunk, swaying

And all of the sudden, this piece of metal falls out of the sky and hits me on the head.


I wasn’t hurt, or anything; just startled. And I knelt down and squinted in the dark to see what it was. It was this small, curved, metal object that looked like it had been cracked open.

And I was kinda like…that looks kind of like a bullet. Like, a spent bullet, a casing.

This was really the first major sign to me that whatever folie a deux we were playing, whatever entity or wrongheaded Notion we had entertained to the point where it gained sentience—that shit had to end.


Luckily, I graduated early the following Summer, and immediately entered the workforce. Now my mind was occupied with Grown Up Stuff: job status, guys, etc.

But my friend was still in school. And though we talked on the phone and occasionally met up, it just wasn’t the same. And she had…really slid, emotionally. She was still knee-deep in the Mythos.


Whereas, I still could feel the occasional darkling “pull” of the Mythos, but I just kept pushing it away. Because now…I wanted a successful career. I wanted to meet a guy and get married. I wanted to feel like…I was Somebody.

You can’t be playing fucking obsessive comic book cosplay and raising “spirits” and shit and be successful. No, no…I couldn’t be doing that shit anymore. That shit was over.


The last time I saw her (as a friend), it was my birthday. She said the Spirit (the tulpa? the Universal God? Harvey the 6-foot rabbit?) told her to make this present for me: a block of wood (like the type used for a plaque) painted black, with runes and sigils drawn in red. Plus: black candles.

She told me it was very important that I do a ritual with this.

What type of ritual?, I asked her, kind of very freaked out.

She said I’d know when the time was right.


A few weeks after that, we had a massive fight on the phone and I never spoke to her again. A year later, when visiting the campus, I had passed by her in the hall & she started doing like Doctor Strange hand-jive towards me.


Even more creepy, I watched my hands as they flew in front of me & they did Doctor Strange hand-jive right back at her.


No words were exchanged. She looked at me like I was the Antichrist. Then: it was over. She was gone…down the hall and out of my life for good.

All this craziness, that had been going on for almost three years, was finally over.


Only…through a bunch of coincidences…I kept running into Crow iconography.

I was now in the comic book industry…so I literally crossed paths with things related to The Crow on a regular basis. Like, I had friends who officially drew The Crow for comic books. I even had friends who were friends of the filmmakers.

And to be honest…I still felt this “presence.” I wrote about it in my journals and dreamt about it at night. And I started writing a novel based on that entire period of my life.


Then I started getting really sick.


Like, wasting away weird Victorian Ages-type pale sick-and-dying-with-sores type sick.


Like: muscles were wasting away within my fingers, scary weird shit like that.


So one day I went through my entire house, threw out all Crow, “Goth,” and occult items from it—including those black candles and the sigil plaque—and started reading my Bible.


Folks, this was how fucked-up things got.

But it worked; because that’s the power of Belief for you. I traded one reality tunnel for another…this new reality tunnel being so dogmatically against the previous one that it “bleached out” all that crap. I was a hardcore Christian for several years.


Now: it was truly over.


But there was just one thing left.


I was living in the same house as my sister at the time, and had told her the story of my friend from college. My sister is the most pragmatic person I know, and not prone to all this superstitious esoteric crap. But she asked me, in a serious voice: Do you have anything left that she gave you?”

I said: “Nah, I threw most of it out. I mean, I still have this ring—”


Folks, it was the middle of winter, and snow was piled up like six feet. But my sister made me put on my boots and coat, and she put on her boots and coat…and she made me go out there several blocks in the snow and bury the ring in the deepest hole we could scoop out with our gloved hands.

But it was finally OVER.


I finished my book, regained my health, and started a new and successful phase of my life.


Sure…I occasionally write about these topics, do some research. But I have distance from it, now. I know all about this Power of Belief. I know all about Reality Tunnels. I know all about Chaos Magick. I’ve read Robert Anton Wilson and Grant Morrison. I can have a mirthful chuckle about it now and then, because I’ve put myself at an ironic distance from It. I’ve seen behind the curtain on this. Case closed.

It was just a dumb thing that people do when they are in college.