First a little catch-up for those who might not be familiar, lest this article fails to make sense to you. I created a character called “The Rook” for a play in 2015. I intended it to be a one-time-only deal. It was a murder mystery, and while I have done fictionalized biographies of infamous serial killers and their victims, I’d never done an out-and-out mystery before. But upon completing the play, I found that the character wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept intruding on my thoughts, insistent, as if he *wanted* me to keep writing about him. I’ve learned not to question inspiration when it comes knocking, so I obeyed. There have now been four Rook plays, with two, along with an audio drama, planned for next year. Am I exaggerating when I say it almost felt, and continues to feel, like the character is demanding my attention? No. And now I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something to it after all.
We just wrapped up production on my latest Rook play, THE TRIAL OF THE ROOK. All the costumes have been folded and put away, the set pieces stored, the lights dimmed. Our theatre home is the Historic Lowry House in Huntsville, Alabama, where we perform most of my original works. It is haunted. People have seen spirits there. People have *not*, however, previously reported seeing a figure that in every respect looks like me or one of the other actors in the Rook costume—but since production wrapped, they have been. Only they’re seeing The Rook when the house is otherwise empty, when there are no actors (or anybody else) around.
I can’t help thinking about the Gay Street Phantom of Greenwich Village, New York City, who may really be The Shadow(!). Writer Walter Gibson, who lived at the residence in question, believed he had created a “tulpa,” a sentient entity composed of pure “thought energy”, while working on his Shadow stories. The entity remained after Gibson left the residence, and is still seen today. By pouring so much of his emotions and energies into the creating of this “fictional” character, did Gibson in fact give life to a tulpa?