"A Tulpa is a thoughtform or being created from the collective thoughts of separate individuals. The Tulpa Effect is the name given to the unintentional creation of a Tulpa based on collective belief of a being with similar traits."
It's nearly Halloween, which means it's about time we all got a little spooky, and there's nothing quite as spine-tingling, hair-raising, and unnerving as Slender Man. It feels as though there's always something new coming out about the faceless, long-armed monstrosity—a new game, a new video, a new parody, a new theory—and while this golden nugget might not be "new," it certainly hasn't made any headlines, which means a large majority of Slender fans may have never heard of it.
I'm referring to a YouTube channel featuring a series of video blogs about a young couple in California and their decidedly... slender problems. Empathize with their real world problems. Feel your spine tingle at the strange happenings that become more and more frequent. Gasp in horror at the shocks that will leave your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping. Do you dare watch the entire series?
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Girl's V-Blogs Chronicle Her Boyfriend's Obsession With Slender Man
The channel is called "Tulpa Effect." The players? A girl named Marissa and her boyfriend Roger. She's started recording herself and her goings-on to keep tabs on Roger's latest (and more than a little dangerous) obsession—Slender Man. It seems he can't get enough of the suited freak of nature, looking up theories and info and visiting forums. He even decides he wants to make his own Slender Man fan video.
...until suddenly, one day, he wants nothing more to do with Slender Man.
Or so he says.
According to Marissa, he's still just as obsessed with Slender Man (as evidenced by his search history), but he's simply not talking about it any longer. His reasoning? Something about the "Tulpa Effect," which, as Marissa's researched, is something where "if you believe [in something], it becomes real."
She records constantly. She make video logs talking about her own research (as well as strange things that have been happening), and also records various events on her phone, allowing us to see some of Roger's stranger quirks in real-time. It's all incredibly believable, too. Nothing about it looks staged, the performances of the "actors and actresses" are wonderfully off the cuff, the emotions feel real, and the inclusion of pointless, unrehearsed moments from their lives give it that authentic YouTube level of quality and reality.
In fact, it starts so slowly, building up over the course of video upon video upon video, that it'll feel more like you're watching someone's home movies than something that's supposed to be scary. Which is why it's so successful—when the creepy moments start to trickle in, they're all the more effective.
A Slow Descent into Madness: That Feeling You're Being Watched
The more Marissa records her life, the more her life begins to derail, and the more strange... eccentricities begin working their ways into her videos. Mysterious cutting and editing of the videos themselves. Static-like noises that drown out all other sound. And Roger's behavior grows even worse! Unexplainable memory wipes, seemingly unbelievable teleportation, streaks of uncharacteristic violence... and also rampant paranoia.
Over the course of the videos, you'll learn about them and their lives, you'll be given answers before being left with even more questions, you'll constantly feel like you're only being given part of the story. At first, Marissa and Roger can't seem to understand (or believe!) each other, but somewhere around the halfway mark, they begin working together, only for everything to derail even further. It's actually as much a delightful (if not somewhat disturbing) study on character as much as it is a well-fleshed-out creepypasta, and you'll find yourself rooting for them in more ways than one.
Two Sides of the Same Coin: Roger's Video Blog
Where it really starts to get intriguing and convoluted (and might I say masterfully well-done) is when Marissa offhandedly mentions Roger's own YouTube channel, which does, indeed, exist! Navigating there will reward you with mostly thirty-to-sixty-second clips of Roger glancing around furtively in the dark as though searching... but just like on Marissa's channel, things take an unsettling turn.
Besides the few surprises that turn up in a number of his videos, you get some shots of Marissa. The kind of shots she wouldn't have wanted you to see on her own channel, and even a few clips that were cut from Marissa's videos themselves. For the first time, we're unsure about what we've been told, we're even more puzzled about what's going on, and we're equal parts scared and excited to see how the story will unfold.
I've been having these weird thoughts lately.... Like, is any of this for real... or not?
Watching through the entirety of the "Tulpa Effect" is no light undertaking. The videos on the main channel alone make up over two hours of footage, and Roger's channel adds another twenty minutes or so. But it's worth it. Only by watching through the story in chronological order will you be able to connect with these characters, with their story. By the time you get to the end, you'll feel like you know them, and you'll have that emotional connection that will make the scares seem all the more real and all the more terrifying. Like they could even happen to you.
Which begs the question—could it possibly be real? Perhaps this isn't just a (well-constructed) creepypasta made to simultaneously garner and creep out fans. Indeed, enough of it looks believable enough to be real. Nothing looks scripted. The "actors" don't look like they're acting. The emotions are incredibly convincing. And even the fact that it was made over such a long period of time—who in their right mind would keep this up for five years?—lends to its credibility.
Whether you believe it or not, it makes for a slow-building, highly entertaining story that will creep its way into your brain and summon all sorts of horrors just as you're trying to get to sleep. If you're a fan of Slender Man or simply enjoy a good creepypasta, you'll want to check this one out when you have the time. Hollywood itself could probably gain a few pointers about how to produce a good "found footage" movie with proper build-up and believability.
And if it is real, and the Tulpa Effect isn't just a theory, maybe we're all playing right into Slender Man's hands...