What is it about this time of year that melts even the hardest disinfonaut scepticism? Sure, Santa Claus might be the old shamanic magic mushroom cult incarnate repackaged to dupe us all into developing a Pavlovian response to the Baron Samedi of consumerism that he has now become, but I’ve always suspected the rabbit hole went down deeper.
And then I came across this blog post by paranormal researcher Jeff Belanger:
My friend Al told me he was struggling with telling his four-year-old daughter about Santa Claus. “It’s the only lie I’ve ever told her,” he said. I too have a four-year-old daughter and am currently in the thick of Santa Fever at my house, where we’ve been lauding Père Noël for the last three Christmases. He’s a legend I’m honored to propagate.
I study legends for a living. Monsters, ghosts, extraterrestrials, and ancient mysteries swirl around me like smoke from a smoldering campfire. If there’s one thing that’s certain: it’s that all legends have a solid foundation in someone’s reality. From there the story grows and evolves; it becomes part of a collective human experience. Legends are real. The point can’t be argued.
His bio page proclaims him to be “the founder of the new legend tripping movement” (www.legendtripping.com), so at first glance he might know something whereof he speaks. The post is full of high and cheerful Christmas strangeness – especially his theory that Old St Nick is a benevolent dybbuk, normally a malevalent type of spirit possession from Jewish folklore – so I recommend you read it in full.
For my part, I’m haunted by the slightly different possibility that Father Christmas might be what is known in the Himalayan shamanic and Buddhist traditions as a tulpa - a being or object created through willpower, visualisation, concerted intentionality and ritual; a materialized thought that has taken physical form.
This may seem even more far fetched, but I’d be in good company. Alvin Schwartz, the man synonymous with the creation of Superman comic strips in the 1940s and ‘50s, wrote in his 1997 autobiography An Unlikely Prophet (a book that according to Neil Gaiman, who no stranger to gods old, new and American, is “one of the great Odd Books of our time”, and again he should know) that Superman had become a tulpa and that a Hawaiian kahuna told him Superman once traveled 2,000 years back in time to keep the island chain from being destroyed by volcanic activity. Schwartz went on to tell of his own encounter with Superman in a New York taxi.
I’ll leave you with Belanger’s final thoughts on the subject:
Believe in Santa … His legend is real. He’s real. He’s you. He’s me. He’s a bit of all of us. And next year he’ll be back, because we’ll never stop needing him.
If that doesn’t sound like a job for a Superman, I’ll eat my mistletoe.