“A Bodhisattva [David-Neel says this is a person that has attained a spiritual perfection that places them just below the Buddha] is the basis of countless magic forms. By the power generated in a state of perfect concentration of mind he may, at one and the same time, show a phantom (tulpa) of himself in thousands of millions of worlds. He may create not only human forms, but any forms he chooses....” (pg 121)
David-Neel continues by saying:
“The power of producing magic formations, tulkus or less lasting and materialized tulpas, does not, however, belong exclusively to such mystic exalted beings. Any human, divine or demoniac being may be possessed of it. The only difference comes from the degree of power, and this depends on the strength of the concentration and the quality of the mind itself” (pg 121)
With this in mind, I wish to take a look at a relatively modern example of the creation of a ghost named Philip. During the 1970s a group from the Toronto Society for Psychical Research, along with a Dr. A.R.G. Owen (who was a mathematician) meet in order to see if they could, in essence, create a ghost. The group was comprised of Dr. Owen, his wife, a former chairperson of Mensa, an industrial designer, an accountant, a housewife, a bookkeeper and a sociology student. Additionally a psychologist by the name of Dr. Joel Whitton would also attend some of their experiments. The original idea was that this group of people could create a ghost seemingly by meditating on the idea of him including the history of the ghost. They would then attempt to make contact with this discarnate entity through séances and gain information from it.
Here is a part of the biography for the spirit the group created in order to flesh out “Philip Aylesford”:
Philip was an aristocratic Englishman, living in the middle 1600s at the time of Oliver Cromwell. He had been a supporter of the King, and was a Catholic. He was married to a beautiful but cold and frigid wife, Dorothea, the daughter of a neighboring nobleman.
With this back story firmly in mind, the group meet weekly in order to attempt to communicate with “Philip”. As a part of their weekly meetings the group would come together and meditate on both the image of Philip and also his history. The group did this for about a year with no positive results. Some members of the group did claim during this time that they were able to sense a presence, but apparently nothing that was verifiable. The group was quite determined and rather than let the last year be for waste they decided to change up the tactics a bit. In order to have better results with conjuring Philip, the group began to replicate the séances of old.
Candle light, sitting around a table, soft music playing, the whole thing. They even had pictures of castles like the one Philip would have lived in, had he ever actually lived that is. This new method seemed to do the trick. During one of the group's séances, they began to receive communication from an entity. Through a series of rappings (reminiscent of the early Spiritualism movement) the group was able to determine that they were finally talking with Philip. The entity revealed this to the group through a series of raps. Speaking through raps, Philip continued to display his own unique attitude. This was discovered by how long Philip would pause in between answering the questions which the researchers posed to him.
The group never questioned that the entity they were in communication with was Philip because of it's lack of knowledge on many topics. It seems that Philip only knew the answers to questions that someone in the group knew the answer to. If they would ask him a question that the group didn't know the answer to he would be unable to answer. While the Q & A portion of Philip's ability might have been lacking, he completely made up for this shortcoming with his very clear psychokinetic abilities. Overtime as the séances continued, the group discovered that Philip was able to move the rapping table. Often, Philip would even cause the table to rush over to people that were late to the weekly meetings.
The height of the Philip saga came when the group set out to perform one of their weekly séances in front of an audience made up of 50 people or so. Additionally a TV film crew was brought in to record the séance as part of a documentary. Unlike most paranormal phenomena, Philip actually seemed to enjoy the spotlight. The rappings and psychokinetic feats were on display for all the audience to see. At one point during the séance the group was even able to get the entire table to levitate a few inches off of the ground. Sadly, because of the dim lighting that was required as a part of the séance the film crew was unable to record this for posterity. Only a part of the documentary seems to be online and you can check out the few minutes of it that exist here.
Although the groups main objective of having Philip physically materialize (not unlike Rosalie), they were overall satisfied with the results of their experiments. So much so that after their success with Philip, the Toronto Society for Psychical Research went on to conjure other ghosts with similar apparent success. In one instance, using a different group of people, they were able to conjure a new spirit which was called “Lilith”. A few other groups are supposed to have been able to successfully recreate this experiment as well, but finding information on those incidents is rather difficult.
At the end of the day it's hard to say what it was that was actually occurring in this situation. It certainly seems to fit in with the concept of the tulpa, especially as explained by David-Neel in her classic work on the topic. I only wish that more of the documentary existed so that it could be scene. Ostensibly, if this experiment was truly as easy as the group proclaimed I suppose that anyone could conceivably do this at home. Before you do decide to go through with this and conjure your own ghost, I feel I must leave you with a parting warning from David-Neel:
“.....the practice is considered as fraught with danger for everyone who …. is not aware of the nature of the psychic forces at work in the process. Once the tulpa is endowed with enough vitality to be capable of playing the part of a real being, it tends to free itself from its maker's control.....Sometimes the phantom becomes a rebellious son and one hears of uncanny struggles that have taken place between magicians and their creatures, the former being severely hurt or even killed by the latter.” (pg 313)
Sources and further reading:
Conjuring up Philip by Iris Owen (part of the original group that summoned Philip)