Ectoplasm

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
I am suprised that we don't have a specific thread for it although see this IHTM:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/ectoplasm.15076/

and as it came up at UnCon (yes I will stop going on about it eventually) in Marina Warner's talk:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/uncon-2004-reviews-discussion.18546/

I thought it worth throwing the discussion open.

What really interested me wer the variety of things photographed and she had a lot of them. There was ectoplasm being vomitted out (looking like classsic cheesecloth), passing through other objects, hardening into other shapes, forming faces and impressions, forming whispy smoke-like forms. It is clear that the simple sceptical dismissal as it just being cheesecloth is not completely satisfactory (although I am inclined to think that is just because they employed a range of tricks).

So thoughts?

Anyone know the names of the books she used as she seemed to imply one or two were essentially just books of these photos.

She is working on a book along these lines so that should help answer some questions but in the meantime.........

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectoplasm

http://www.skepdic.com/ectoplasm.html

and this is a good entry on the idea of aether which also helped set the background of ectoplasmic appearances:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether
 
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Min Bannister

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#2
The one where stuff was coming through the womans veil was quite impressive. I'd like to know how she did that. The picture could simply have been posed for the camera I suppose. The other thing which is odd is stuff coming out of peoples ears. I mean I can see how you can hide a piece of cloth in your mouth and push it out but your ear? That IS a neat trick!
 

pintquaff

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#5
What a laugh, they arnt genuine...... are they??? ;)

Strange how you dont seem to get any images these days of people producing faces out of there orafaces. Ok so we get Ectoplasmic fog (or cigarette smoke as most peeps call it) in many photos but it dont look anything like those pics. IMHO Ectoplasm can be put right there up with those bleeding orbs.
 

Semyaz

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#6
I read somewhere...can't remember where..I'll have to look it up (I'm sure it's in one of my books at home) that ectoplasm derived from or was similar to a chemical or substance found in the human body.

Something to do with cellular stucture, I think...but there wasn't nearly enough in a single human to amount to the levels (supposedly) produced during seances and the like...

I'll get back to you if I can find it....
 

akaWiintermoon

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#7
After watching 'Science and the seance' today (UK, BBC 2, 9.00 pm.) I was reminded of the apparent phenominon of ectoplasm. I say reminded as I first heard of this in my early teens (Quite a while ago now unfortunatly! :cry: ) and, er, I can't recall since. I don't know if there is a thread in here anywhere on it (Probibly, and I've probibly commented in it. :roll: ), but I can't remember any?
Anyway, what I'm asking is, is ectoplasm out of fashion now?! I do believe in life after death and contact but how can an apparent 'real' phenominon exist for a few decades then suddenly dissapear? It would be like EVP fading out in a few decades time. Does ghostly contact evolve with the times?! I mean, there are also reports of messages on videos, answer machines, computers and such like (Haven't heard one about a mobile phone yet. Mind you they can be damn hard to get a signal on. ;) ).
Any thoughts, ideas, stories, links, ect, please post here: :)
 

krobone

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#8
akaWiintermoon said:
how can an apparent 'real' phenominon exist for a few decades then suddenly dissapear? It would be like EVP fading out in a few decades time.
I don't think it will even take that long. The reason this kind of stuff goes in and out of favor is that it gets debunked. No one ever managed to produce convincing samples of ectoplasm, so it faded from popularity. Same thing will happen thing w/EVP.

I'm surprised no one's come up with some 'proof' of spooks using a GPS device yet. Dissapearing ghost towns, anyone? :roll:
 

Rrose_Selavy

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#9
I think it may move with the technology - ie "sprit" photographs", ectoplasm - captured by the camera only - which rarely if ever remained after the seance - lest it be analysed and found to be muslim cloth or similar - then EVP with the increased use of tape recording -
We now have so called "orbs" captured mostly by digital cameras - just dust particles - more pictures taken - more opportunity to create the phenomenon.

Expect Anne Boleyn through your wireless PC network anyday now.

-
 

konajinx

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#11
Sadly, ectoplasm hasn't gone out of style, at least not with some folks. I'll use the Ghoststudy site as the usual culprit once again for this example. Anytime anyone submits a photo over there with fogging or smoke, they categorize it as ectoplasm, completely ignoring the fact that back in the Spiritualist days, the junk was debunked as nothing more than cheesecloth, etc. How this later got twisted into being a label for fogged pictures is anyone's guess.

And lest we forget, in good old Ghostbusters, the ecto was that damn goopy slime! ;)
 

OldTimeRadio

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#12
I'm well aware of the fraudulent ghoststuffs which have been foisted upon the public by so-called "materialization" mediums down the decades, especially in the United States and the UK - from regurgitated cheesecloth to garishly-painted paper mache "spirit faces" (often with cheap drapery material tacked on for "robes") which in subdued lighting are passed off as the sitters' beloved mothers, sisters, wives or daughters but which in revealing bright light look much more like the clear loser in a prize fight.

But when Baron van Schreck-Notzing studied the noted medium Eva C. in the 'Teens of the century just past he managed to obtain samples of the ectoplasm which had been extruded from the medium's breasts.

This material was analyzed by aid of the best German chemical tests of the day and found to (I quote from memory) "resemble most closely egg albumen but with even less clearly delineated cell structure."

I can't imagine even the world's poorest analytical chemist confusing cheesecloth (regurgitated or not) with what seems to have been a discharge of some pretty basic protoplasm.

This is the best evidence I've yet seen that there is indeed a "real" ectoplasm, and that Eva C. was capable of producing it.

One day in a skeptical mood I tried to dope out how Eva C. could have faked this discharg from her nipples. Perhaps she could have back- pumped some milkly/eggy substance into her milk-ducts?

But I think this entire scenario is dubious for several reasons:

1. I've never been able to find any evidence that such back-pumping is even possible.

2. Even if such a substance could be forced back into the breasts, could it easily be released again?

3. If possible, it still sounds as dangerous as hell.

4. What substance did she use that chemists could not fully type and had apparently not seen before?

5. Eva C. did her sittings in the nude and had a complete medical (and body orifice) examination beforehand. Wouldn't the physicians have noticed and recorded that her breasts were extremely swollen, especially around the nipples? They would likely also have been extremely painful to the touch.

So I'm willing to accept that "ectoplasm" of the Eva C. type MAY be extruded from the body, as a real but obviously very uncommon physiological process.

However that doesn't neccessarily make "ectoplasm," per se, either paranormal or supernatiural!
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#13
Ultimately we can't really be sure of the setting, collection procedures, chain of evidence or the analysis at such a remove.

If such things are still happening today then it should be easy enough to materialise such substances in better controlled environments, with better collection procedures and analysis.

Anyone know of anyone up for the challenge?
 

OldTimeRadio

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#14
Mighty_Emperor said:
"Ultimately we can't really be sure of the setting, collection procedures, chain of evidence or the analysis at such a remove."

Emperor, from everything I've read about Dr. Schreck-Notzing's work it seems to have been state-of-the-art German science of the early 20th Century. So we're dealing with the 20th Century and not the 10th.

And surely any trained, qualified Western physician of circa 1915 should have been able to competently observe and accurately report on the discharge of a protoplasmic substance from the nipples of a human female. Indeed, I suspect that he/she would have been as qualified to do this relatively simple thing as a physician from 2015 or 2115.

And as for someone qualified to carry out a scientific study of the creation of ectoplasm TODAY - how about Michael Roll and a team of medical and chemical-analytical observers and technicians he would be able to assemble?

By the way, it's been suggested that certain "athletic sweats" (which are more emotional than physical) may be closely related to traditional "ectoplasm."

Again, IF ECTOPLASM ACTUALLY EXISTS (which I regard as strongly indicated but not yet proved), I am still by no means certain that it need neccessarily be a paranormal or superanatural phenomenon.
 

EnolaGaia

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#16
... But when Baron van Schreck-Notzing studied the noted medium Eva C. in the 'Teens of the century just past he managed to obtain samples of the ectoplasm which had been extruded from the medium's breasts.

This material was analyzed by aid of the best German chemical tests of the day and found to (I quote from memory) "resemble most closely egg albumen but with even less clearly delineated cell structure."

I can't imagine even the world's poorest analytical chemist confusing cheesecloth (regurgitated or not) with what seems to have been a discharge of some pretty basic protoplasm. ...
The murky conclusion that the exudate resembled egg albumen doesn't give much weight to the notion it was a paranormal substance that was captured.

Without details of the chemical analysis, one cannot rule out the notion the sample contained any or multiple of the albumin proteins - of which there are many, and with which the entire human body (particularly the blood stream) is thoroughly infused.

Furthermore ... Egg albumen is the hallmark component of egg whites, and egg white is one of the substances most commonly included in mixing up demonstrably fake ectoplasm (back in the early 20th century).
 

paulsamfreya

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#17
The amazing mr Achora has said that he will be able to produce ectoplasm sometime in the near future :rofl: well if his efforts in trying to communicate with the dead are anything to go by this is most certainly worth watching.
Acora has certainly produced copious amounts of bulls*it in his time, still no sign of ectoplasm though, as far as I'm aware!
 

suburban wolf

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#18
Ectoplasm - not something we hear much about these days.

In all of the ghost hunting media out there on TV and Youtube, it's never mentioned.
Was it ever 'captured' or 'sampled' in it's heyday when full trance mediums seemed to produce copious quantities?
Is there any left somewhere that could by scientists to determine the composition?

Or is it like the phenomena of alien implants -once big news but now overlooked and forgotten?

Far too many questions I know, fuelled by strong tea and sweet biscuits. :)

Obligatory quote:
"Egon! Your mucus...."
 

EnolaGaia

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#19
(1) Latest post above moved / merged into this existing thread.

(2) AFAIK the situation remains as noted earlier in this thread - ectoplasm largely disappeared as a claimed phenomenon back around the 1930's, following a series of skeptical analyses and exposés in the 1920's.
 

suburban wolf

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#20
(1) Latest post above moved / merged into this existing thread.

(2) AFAIK the situation remains as noted earlier in this thread - ectoplasm largely disappeared as a claimed phenomenon back around the 1930's, following a series of skeptical analyses and exposés in the 1920's.
Thanks for shuffling this into the appropriate place in the pack, EnolaGaia.

I do recall reading somewhere (possibly The Unexplained in it's omnibus book form) that some samples were found to be cheesecloth or other material which were produced by sleight of hand rather than via paranormal means during various seances by debunked mediums. However if I remember rightly there were apparently actual apports of something they called ectoplasm. I did wonder if SPR or Harry Price ever collected it and tested - and if any sample remained.

It seems to have been a forgotten artefact until a certain film in 1984 when ectoplasmic residue featured rather heavily.
 

AlchoPwn

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#22
I guess it's not really mentioned now because there were so many frauds associated with it. There is no evidence of any real ectoplasm. Or is there?
Wikipedia on Ectoplasm
I think it has been determined that most ectoplasm is substantially, if not completely composed of muslin cloth, which raises interesting questions. I am of the opinion that we have everything wrong. Clearly this is the "spiritual" universe and the other side is the "material" universe based on these findings. I might also say that I have coughed up better evidence of the supernatural when I have a cold than the presented images on the wiki page.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#23
There is no evidence of any real ectoplasm. Or is there?
I have seen a photo of a specimen in a glass display case somewhere, though I can't find it online at the moment. A quick look through The Unexplained has not been fruitful, though the index of that part-work is not altogether reliable. The Library of Congress has photographs which purport to be ectoplasm, drawn from their holdings on the related subject of spirit photography.

As a youngster, I was morbidly fascinated by the images of bound ladies emitting cheesecloth and printed faces from every orifice. The whole subject was treated in some places with great solemnity. These monstrous births were, somehow, more frightening than anything perfectly-formed could be.

Ectoplasmic hands were invited to dip themselves into wax as evidence of their visitations. I had not seen these praying? hands before. They seem to be a double set?

Franek Kluski featured in some of the accounts I read as a boy.

There were tales of malodorous apes unleashed during his sittings and I dimly recall a murky photograph of a half-formed bird emerging from the medium's head. Eek! It is online and seems to have a half-human face!

Naturally, there were accusations of fraud; the Wikipedia article has the tale of Kluski's buttocks. :willy:
 
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EnolaGaia

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#24
The hand molds are a good example of something relevant to this topic - i.e., the fact that some of the most apparently compelling evidence for the ectoplasm phenomenon didn't capture (and didn't even claim to capture) any ectoplasm per se. The hand molds represented the imprint or silhouette of alleged ectoplasmic interaction with physical materials (in this case, paraffin), not any ectoplasm itself.

The hand molds were credibly debunked by one Father C. M. de Heredia, as illustrated in Popular Mechanics (July 1923; pp. 14-15):

https://books.google.com/books?id=F...UwAQ#v=onepage&q=Heredia spirit hands&f=false

Here (attached) are those two pages illustrating how it's done ...

PM-1923-Ecto-A.jpg

PM-1923-Ecto-B.jpg
 

JamesWhitehead

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#26
If being a medium meant having to simulate regurgitating stuff like that, they earned their money!
The class issues of mediumship in those years have been much explored, the confinement and bondage of the mediums viewed by some as a metaphor. For a while, they could earn the patronage of a higher social class but they were soon expected to repeat their tricks under tighter conditions, before the eyes of investigators and professional magicians, who were, in a sense, their competitors. The atmosphere of the seance-room with its darkness and opportunities for physical contact has also been interpreted as an arena for sexual adventure in a society which allowed few such outlets. The sexuality of the male mediums, especially, has been regarded as an attraction for some of their admirers, in the circles which promoted them. Their "negative capability" of receiving messages and becoming possessed was notably "other" in a society of muscular Christianity, empire-building and competitive sports. The sufferings of the medium were an essential part of the performance.

Meanwhile, here is Eva Carrière in the process of squeezing out King Ferdinand of Bulgaria:

Cardboard_cut_out_with_Eva_C.png
 
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