I'm pretty sure the concept of a 'tulpa' from Tibetan mysticism appeared in the TV series 'Twin Peaks' and I'm trying to find references and if possible the exact quote.

I think it was Agent Cooper (which would make sense given his fascination with Tibet) that proposed the idea. I'm not sure if the word was mentioned more than once in the series, but I'm interested all the references if possible.

  • @AntonChanning I can't begin to guess at specific episodes, however, I would wager it's more likely to be found in season one.
    – user977
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:45
  • @user13095 Thanks for the help anyway. My friends on twitter suggest the opposite, that its probably season 2. One thought early season 2. I may have to rewatch these until I find it.
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 15:50
  • I would be surprised if that were the case, season 2 is post murder and Cooper takes on a less dominant role. Also, in season 1, he has numerous conversations with Harry about eastern philosophy and religion. But if you find out, and you're question is still open, be sure to leave an answer.
    – user977
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 1:19
  • 1
    You'll be happy to know that "tulpa" appears in the Return, Part 14. (August 13 2017) Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 4:06
  • I must have been prescient! No spoilers, I haven't watched the return yet. Planning to rewatch all the original episodes again first to make it a marathon...
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 10:13

3 Answers 3


For the very first time, the term is mentioned in Twin Peaks: The Return, part 14 at 06:04.

It's the briefing of agent Preston by agent Rosenfield.

- What's the one question you should ask me?

- What's the significance of the blue rose?

- And the answer?

- The blue rose does not occur in nature. It's not a natural thing. The dying woman was not natural. Conjured. What's the word? A tulpa.

- Good.

Then it is mentioned again in Twin Peaks: The Return, part 16 at 41:49

Agent Preston speaks of a certain person


- That was a real tulpa

Later, MIKE tells the very same certain person


- uoy bɘɿuƚɔɒʇunɒm ...ɘnoɘmoƧ


The quick answer: The word 'Tulpa' does not appear anywhere in the Twin Peaks series.

The long answer: If the word doesn't appear in the series why would I have such a strong memory of hearing it? In series 2 episode 20, Major Briggs shows Cooper a video tape of Windom Earle where he uses the word 'Dugpa', also of Tibetan origin:

... these evil sorcerers, dugpas, they call them, cultivate evil for the sake of evil and nothing else. They express themselves in darkness for darkness, without leavening motive. This ardent purity has allowed them to access a secret place of great power, where the cultivation of evil proceeds in exponential fashion. And with it, the furtherance of evil's resulting power. These are not fairy tales, or myths. This place of power is tangible, and as such, can be found, entered, and perhaps, utilized in some fashion. The dugpas have many names for it, but chief among them is the Black Lodge.

But you don't believe me, do you? You think I'm mad.

Overworked. Go away.

It seems I misheard the unfamiliar word 'Dugpa' for a word I was at least vaguely aware of.

Having said that, a Tulpa in Tibetan Buddhism and Bon shamanism refers to a thought-form created through the discipline of sorcery such that it appears as a being or object that can be seen and interact. The initiates of the Dugpa sect would certainly be included in the list of sorcerers that can reputedly do this.

If the magician characters in Twin Peaks were based on the real Dugpas they were named after, it would certainly be a possible explanation for some of the phenomenon they manifest...

  • 1
    It was mentioned in the most recent episode last week.
    – Hugh
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 14:41
  • @Hugh I'm getting the impression that this new series may mean there is an opportunity for someone to write a revised answer. I'd upvote and change the accepted answer if they do...
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 10:51
  • 1
    I'll wait till you've seen them!
    – Hugh
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 10:52
  • Well, I have caught up to Episode 16 now, so write away!
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 9:47

You might try episode two - that's the one where mentions Tibet, having a dream and then throwing the rocks to narrow down suspects.

  • 1
    No. Definitely not in that episode. I've been rewatching trying to find this and so far I've got up to the third episode of season 2 and it hasn't appeared yet. I'm beginning to wonder if the word appears in the series at all! Still, their is the whole 'with chemicals he points' episode with Mike the one armed man, and the later discussion about what 'Bob' might have been still to come...
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 20:33

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