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Ectoplasm - A strange, mystical material that flows out of any orifice and opening of a mediums body during a seance. This paranormal substance would sometimes take the shapes of faces, limbs, or even an entire figure but could not materialize until it had come out of the body of the medium. The typical color of ectoplasm is a creamy off-white. Quite often this substance was warm and life like but has also been known to be cold. This paranormal material could be doughy, sticky, airy, smoky, or thick and syrupy. This ghostly substance was also known to smell like ozone. Ectoplasm often seemed to form around believers of the paranormal and open minded, and not so much in the presence of the skeptical. Ectoplasm would form most of the time in the dark or in dim lighting. In bright light it would vanish completely or snap back violently. 

     When mediums in seances were first conjuring up ectoplasm, it would be often in the shape of a hand or sometimes a hand and an arm which was called a pseudopod. pseudopods could often move like a real arm or hand. They could hold things, pick stuff up, and shove things around. They shook the hands of those people taking part in the seance. Some of these ectoplasmic formations looked very realistic, while others looked nothing like a humans hand or arm. It could be because some mediums were better artists than others since many of these pseudopods were proved to be fakes created by the mediums before the seances. These ghostly hands felt ice cold when touched. Many mediums were caught creating their own, fake ectoplasm by using thin strips of muslin, egg white, mixtures of soap, chewed paper or gauze. Because of this you don't hear much about ectoplasm much these days but some that have witnessed this paranormal substance for themselves have said that it moves like it's alive and changes its' shape at will.
     Perhaps those mediums that were caught using fake ectoplasm were not completely fraudulent. If the substances were moving and changing in unexplainable ways, it could have been actually been controlled by spirits or even by the mediums own telekinetic abilities. The substance was man made but it might have been guided by some other means.   

     One theory of ectoplasm is that when it forms after or during the meeting of the medium and the ghost, it is really being created by the spirit of the medium by forming on his or her skin to give the ghost enough strength to completely materialize. Another theory on this strange substance is that it might come from the ghost itself and is the substance of its’ life force caught in the middle of its’ dimension and our own.


Ectoplasm photo from the early days of mediums
ectoplasm at a seance
A medium named Mina Stinson Crandon producing ectoplasm in seance.

     You might be wondering if ectoplasm is still being extruded by mediums today. I have been wondering that myself for  a while and have found out that it is still being created by mediums today, however there are very few who still do. I came across one medium I recently read about named David Tompson. Apparently he is known for exuding ectoplasm in order for spirits to directly communicate with the sitter much like in the old days. I also once came across a reference to ectoplasm in a book by Sylvia Browne but I can't recall which book of hers it was in. I will look it up soon so I can give you all a quote from that book. Ectoplasm practically disappeared for two reasons. One was the fact that physical mediumship died out in the 1930's. The other is that many mediums where caught faking ectoplasm back in the day and most people are incredibly skeptical on the subject. If you look hard enough though, you can still come across a medium that extrudes ectoplasm. I hope that helped to clear up the subject of modern day ectoplasm.


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