Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tulpa Theory

We hear the word “Tulpa” being thrown around a lot in the Mythos to explain aspects, or origins, of Slender Man. It’s become one of the most popular origin theories out there, and many ARGs use it as a default explanation for Slendy. Andy already did a short post explaining the basics of what it is, so I won’t go into too much detail there. What I plan to discuss is the metaphysics of Tulpa Theory, because putting words like “metaphysics” in my blog makes it appear very intelligent and high class without me having to actually do any work.

What is It?

I’m keeping this short, as my knowledge of religions is focused on Europe/Mid-East, so there’s not much I can talk about Buddhism short of copying Wikipedia. Which is exactly what I am about to do.

“In mysticism a tulpa is the concept of a being or object which is created through sheer willpower alone. It is a materialized thought that has taken physical form and is usually regarded as synonymous to a thoughtform.”

Basically, the Tulpa Theory makes the claim that Slender Man came into existence through belief in him. The stories we tell about him are what are defining him and giving him abilities; if everyone believes Slender Man to be associated with trees, he is. If we believe he starts fires, he does. And so on.

Realistic Perspective

Now I will try to use hard science on a setting which would cause any dedicated researcher to burst into tears. Wish me luck.

From a purely realistic outlook, the Tulpa Theory isn’t possible. Human belief on its own cannot create objective beings; if it could, then we’d be up to our necks in gods, faeries, and spirits. Human belief has never been capable of creating a being independent of the believer on its own, and I highly doubt that the first thing would be a minor internet meme. Longcat will probably be given form before Slender Man is.

Also, the idea of human belief creating form runs into a problem of different individual beliefs. Say we have someone who fervently believes in Slender Man, with all their heart and mind. But then say we have someone who, with equal strength of belief, believes that Slender Man doesn’t exist. Which belief is the one which creates the reality? And we can’t say that they cancel each other out, because that’s the equivalent of the nonbeliever winning. So do we say that only believing in something has an effect, not disbelieving? But what about a circumstance where a belief in one thing necessitates the nonexistence of all other things? Say we have an eldritch abomination, let’s call him Bob. The thing about Bob is, within his mythos, he is the only eldritch abomination. This isn’t just a feature, it is a defining aspect of Bob; he only works in a setting where there are no other eldritch abominations. Whose belief would win out here? If Bob and Slendy had an equal amount of belief (because belief is totally something you can quantify), which would exist? Does Bob’s belief cancel out Slendy, or do they both coexist? But if both exist, then the Bob who was created wasn’t the Bob which was believed in, as he could only exist as a singular abomination.

So there, I’ve disproved Tulpa Theory in the real world.

While I’m here, the Easter Bunny isn’t real and Santa is your parents.

Less Realistic Perspectives

I don’t want you to misinterpret me based on my previous statements; I don’t dislike the Tulpa Theory. It’s my favorite origin theory for Slender Man. It’s just not a very realistic theory. But in this Mythos, when has realism ever mattered?

Meta Creation

Tulpa Theory’s major advantage is how it handles Slender Man’s obviously faked origins. It doesn’t take long for anyone new to the Mythos to learn about his origin (unless they are very, very bad at internets). The problem is, it’s harder to be scared of a monster which you know isn’t real than it is to be scared of one which could be real. Tulpa Theory solves this: Yes, Slender Man was just some clever little photomanipulation done by Victor Surge on SomethingAwful. But that was then; now, because of that thread, he’s become real. And is coming for you. Yes, you.
The Theory also explains why Slender Man never stays consistent between stories. As the abilities we give him change, he changes to match our new beliefs.

Preexisting Belief Feeder

A related hypothesis to the Tulpa Theory is that Slender Man existed before the Victor Surge post, but was given strength and from it. This tends to be found in stories which want to include Slender Man in past events, while still retaining the basics of Tulpa Theory. This idea still has the same consequences as Tulpa Theory (Slendy’s abilities and appearance being defined by us, the SomethingAwful thread being the catalyst of his existence, etc.) but changes his actual origin.
This hypothesis is much less popular than straight Tulpa, but it does crop up every now and again.

Controlled Tulpa

This idea is from A (I seem to take a lot of my material from people with letters for names….), but also had some inclusion in Core Theory. According to A, Slender Man could pick and choose which beliefs he wanted to apply to him. In other words, if you believed Slender Man was impervious to gunfire, he would become impervious to gunfire as that would be an advantageous ability. However, if you believed that he was vulnerable to the color yellow, that wouldn’t happen, as Slendy would choose not to let that belief affect him. So yeah, under this idea, he’s practically immortal.

Core Theory had a similar idea, though not as hopeless. In it, Slender Man has the ability to shift between which rules affect him. All beliefs affect him, but not all at once. If there’s a belief that he’s vulnerable to electricity (which I’ve noticed has started to spread around a bit), then he’s vulnerable to electricity while following the rules of those stories. According to Core Theory, at any time he could switch to a different set of rules, ones where he doesn’t have that weakness. Here he still has a vulnerability: if every set of rules gives him a weakness, he’ll have no option but to have that weakness.

Useful Links
Tulpa Wikipedia Entry:
Defining? Symbols/Faith II: (Second time I’ve linked to this post)


  1. Good to see you back, man.

    Where have you been seeing the electricity thing?

  2. "Si vis pacem, para bellum", "The London Librarian", and "Paranormal Log" are a few which have discussed Slender Man and electricity.

  3. I specifically talked about it here. There was one thing I forgot to mention in that post; Nightcrawler's blog, Observe and Terminate, mentioned the Slender Man being affected by an electromagnet.

  4. I think I just saw a long cat outside my window... IT'S THE FIRST SIGN OF THE END!

  5. Just thought I'd say a quick thing in regards to the fallacy on the Tulpa Theory, the conflicting thoughts bit. I consider myself a bit of a theoretical physics and metaphysics nerd so I couldn't help myself:

    Well CERN, a theoretical physics organization in Geneva, tested the Tulpa Effect basis in lab conditions. Basically the ideal of it, humans creating beings with their mind, is perfectly plausible. You see, on our own, a single human has the power to do minimal things, change how ice crystals freeze, the direction a goldfish might swim, the trajectory of an object thrown, little things. We do this by observation, subconsciously altering energy and matter (which is basically trapped energy). If enough people are thinking about something they can alter the energy and matter to their will, shift it to such an extent that their dreams become reality. But they thought of the same fallacy as you and tested it too, with fairly surprising results. For reasons that we still don’t quite get, when two conflicting thoughts exist, one to create something and the other to destroy I, the “creator thought” will almost always be expressed. This could be due to the idea that the “creator thought” is active and trying to change whereas the “destroyer thought” is more passive, trying to keep everything the same but not exerting any particular force.

  6. I mean no offense, DragonSovereign, but I can't seem to find anything on those ideas from CERN. I'm not saying they're not there, I'm mostly just saying I'm lazy. I was wondering if you had a link, because I'd love to look into it more.

    I've yet to see a psychic powers test that I was impressed by, let alone swayed by. Those experiments sounds as though they'd be interesting.

  7. Hey...
    Just started reading your entire blog and all...
    Out of all the blogs about Slendy, yours TOTALLY gave me the chills...
    Aren't gonna be cut up somewhere like the rest...
    Are you?

  8. @DragonSovereign: I'd really like to see those results; could you provide a link?

    @Hikari Nozomi: I desperately hope that I will not get cut up somewhere. Having such a thing happen to me would make me feel most depressed.

  9. "From a purely realistic outlook, the Tulpa Theory isn’t possible. Human belief on its own cannot create objective beings; if it could, then we’d be up to our necks in gods, faeries, and spirits"

    Well, technically, Omega, we kind of were once. Possibly. Or where do all the stories of gods, fairies and spirits come from?
    Did you know that fairies for example, as in the female Elf-like creatures, exist in more or less every culture on this globe as a myth? And always as Aryan women, for some reason - from the Africain Mami Wata to the Peri of Saudi-Arabia.

    There might be another explanation for that, but them really having existed is almost at least as credible under those circumstances.

    Also, I agree with DragonSovereign on why a creative thought would overcome a noncreative thought. Someone can convince me that something is there - by showing it to me, letting me touch, smell, hear and taste it. But I can never be convinced about the nonexistance of something just as much. Simply because there's not proof for something not to exist. It might not be where I can experience it, but that's not the same. Hence being convinced about something existing should always be a little bit stronger that vice-versa.

    Also: Archive binging Slenderia is fu~n.

  10. Obviously the reason they all have similar elves is because of Aliens.

    I believe I could be convinced that something does not exist. But I suppose that's because I was exposed to too much SCIENCE at an early age.

  11. hi there, i cant speak english perfectly but i needed to tank you for all the whole information i get here.
    I personally can agree with the tulpa's theory, im not the right guy to explain the proofs about the eistence of the tulpas, but i can strongly ensure with no possibility of being wrong, that tulpas exist, they can be dangerous like this, or "friendly" lets say.

    for those who are looking for physically proofs, search about "the chords theory", there are a lot of cases also, where a tulpa kills and hurt people, they're documented.

    I mean, this happens far away, in te india for example, so get an idea, it will no happen in a city, because there is no faith at all in tulpas there, but imagine a place like where slenderman showed up, this kind of places give the people a lot of posibilities to imagine, this make the people more... in a "fantasy atmosphere", where this tulpa's effect have place.

    sorry, really sory about my horrible english, im just learning, but i needed to tank you and say all this, tanks again.

    my regards.

  12. I'm going to be reading more into this blog just because of curiosity, but have you heard of something called the "Philip Phenomenon'? Essentially, people were able to 'will' a ghost into existence. Perhaps with our friend Slendy it's the same case. Just a thought.

  13. I'm doing a research project on Tulpa, and It would really help me out if someone can help me with this. I'm confused

  14. Sorry to disagree with your argument but belief and disbelief don't exist. You either participate or not, you are either aware or unaware. Belief and disbelief are forms of agreement and disagreement. They are historic expressions of experience or non experience. Your argument is equal to agreeing or disagreeing with a truth. It does not delegate a truth to nonexistence only non participation.

  15. But if no one participates in experiencing Slender Man, he's as good as not real. If he doesn't affect us at all, there's no observable data to say whether he exists or not...

  16. I would call that a logical Mobius but once you apply that logic to issues that were previously unknown it doesn't stand. Although I appreciate you using the term "as good as not real". This logic is often used to deceive others by withholding information. Its rationally aggressive and embodies the essence of a slenderman tulpa. It's like saying I'll believe it when I see it. Apply that to radio waves and you get my point. But if you say I'll see it when I believe it now you expand possibility through study and education.

  17. What a load of useless jargon.

    If Slender Man doesn't affect us in any way, we have no reason to posit his existence in the first place. End of story.

    If the existence of a Slender Man would explain your experience, that's still only subjective evidence. If he would explain natural phenomena, then he is a theory... One without factual or objective basis, I might add.

  18. not to engage an endless argument here but I think you would agree that at some point we may all experience something that we can't explain. from that position we attempt to categorize it. if frogs fall from the sky we are likely unaware of the tornado that occurred 400 miles away that is likely responsible. we see the outcome but not the full effect. from there we attempt to categorize. it is interesting that slender man without his suit on would resemble a tall grey alien as a meme. like the MIB if you haven't experienced it your likely to disagree which by the way is not supporting evidence of non-existence.

    do we have a 6th sense my opinion yes and its our brain which correlates data from our other senses to categorize experience. does it manifest physical form? well if you can't see a steak and it's tasteless and odorless you can only feel it by touch it no longer is a steak its form is re-conceptualized as something else it gets re-categorized. much like our vision where we only see about 60% our brain does a calculation to manifest the rest as a complete picture, otherwise we would be bothered by seeing 40% black space. I discussed this with my optometrist ...logically eye glasses should be unnecessary, his response was eye glasses take a load off of processing requirements of my brain so I can focus on other areas. I think tulpas are a manifestation of categorized experience we could not fully interpret at the time of occurrence. what we cannot explain clearly may cause us more stress and result in concentrating our attention on the things we can't explain. notice I give no reference to personal experience. it may be that a tulpa is a form of delusion and hysteria, but I have reason to wonder.

  19. I may not porpose a whole concrete thought myself about tulpa theory and a way it can exist but just hear me out. You said that two thought that counter each other by suggesting that if one believes and the other does not than it disproves it. Wel I was just thinking too much as usual but, what if what one person believes and the other person believes doesn't exactly have to share tha same reality. Sounds crazy I know but, Lets ay if someone believes in a god and the other believes in another, Than what if both could exist but prior to sharing the same reality it could only apply to that of its creator. I guess people could just be in their own world, but seeing as how many thing s are possible, why not? Now for someone who doesn't believe in another's thoughts or does not share the same reality what if there was a way for the reality to become concrete again and in that situation like said in one post the creator's belief become the dominant one (hopefully I read that right) and causing things like ghost sightings happen to people when one could think its a load of stuff and the other thinks otherwise. So maybwe reality itself isn't as concrete as we thought and somehow either by sheer will power, spontaneous, or in pattersns could be like jello under our feets to which peope standing on it can choose to keep it plain and straight or bend it using tulpa theory and the next minute it becomes concrete for a good moment and making others see the parts of one person's reality. So in simple terms reality is jello that can become a stable and balanced table at anymoment.

  20. ...Sir. Sir. Proofread. Break up that block of text if you want anyone to read it. Run-on sentences are difficult to read when you're discussing theory.

    And the point here is, "objective reality" is a silly concept anyway. Human experience is not objective reality, no matter whether you combine everyone's viewpoints or rely on only one trusted individual. We can know and experience things as ourselves, but we will always have a bias that we cannot account for.

    The "jello reality" I think you're trying to explain is the product of merging all our subjective experiences.

  21. You're wrong on several points in this blog post.

    First off, you're assuming Slendy is physical to begin with. Given his ability to be selective visibility hints that he's more likely to be something etheric, like a ghost.

    Also, to clarify, if Slendy was a tulpa of the internet, he would technically be an "egregore." The way Egregores manifest is the sum total of all beliefs. The attributes that most people believe will be the most prominent, while the ones that only a few people believe would barely register at all.

    As far as mythical creatures go, a good portion of them are supposed to be real, just in a higher vibration than we are, and are thus mostly intangible. They used to interact with us a lot, but both sides have kind of stopped.

    For the clearly imaginary ones, though, such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, they exist as egregores in that same plane of reality as the real mythical creatures, although I would guess they'd be much higher up.

    Why Slendy sightings would be more common than Santa sightings is simple: negative energy is lower vibrationally. Since he's almost demonic in nature, he's very low in the astral plane, while Santa, being purely benevolent, is very high up.

    Believe it or not, that's up to you. I just thought I'd share my thoughts.

  22. Now, you just have to turn all of those theories into one big picture of reality! That is the thuth! Reality, as humanity percieves it, is the most instable thing to exist! It is a formable plane of being nobody will ever truly grasp!

  23. The only thing that can stop him is "The Journal" that tells his weakness however it is in German you can find it somewhere in Florida