Ectoplasm is most often thought of in the scope of scary movies and silly shows about ghosts where a thick, slimy fluid is left behind by apparitions and other ghostly things. Really, however, popular culture appropriated the term from its original uses as something summoned by psychic mediums in the late 1800’s. The original term referred to substances or spiritual energies that were summoned during séances or other similar trances. In fact, in its original form, ectoplasm was a substance much like gauze or spider webs that would form on the body of the medium, and the energies or entities they were speaking with would take the ectoplasm and drape it over their bodies so that they had a form that was semi-physical.
Does Ectoplasm Exist?
As with so many things associated with the paranormal, whether or not ectoplasm truly exists is difficult to prove and almost all the research around it has been done to prove that it doesn’t exist rather than that it could exist and might exist. In fact, the research to prove that it doesn’t exist has been almost solely focused around proving that psychics and mediums are a lie, and that those in the height of paranormal interest were frauds and cheats who used muslin, cheesecloth, egg whites and other tools to fake ectoplasm. These frauds were quite adept at tricking their clients, even managing to convince a Nobel Prize winning physiologist into believing that these excretions were real!
Is it Physical?
So if ectoplasm isn’t a physical excretion that we can touch what is it? One idea behind ectoplasm is the idea of ectenic force. The idea of ectenic force is that the stress of connecting with the spirit world caused an internal reaction that, while it couldn’t be seen by the naked eye, the psychics could feel it. It is very possible that since it was something the psychics felt, that they attempted to express the feeling of this ectenic force by faking the appearance of ectoplasm. While this was, perhaps, a poor decision on the part of these psychics and mediums, it is somewhat understandable considering the time. So many things were just being discovered scientifically and psychics were very much in vogue at the time.
Discover the secret!
The belief in ectoplasm is much like ones belief in any other paranormal object. Whether or not it can be scientifically proven doesn’t mean it doesn’t actually exist. The world beyond the veil is difficult for the doubtful to see or recognize. But just as it takes some measure of faith to believe in ghosts and spirits from beyond, it also takes some measure of faith to believe in the existence of ectoplasm. If it is something that we cannot see, but can feel, it means that while it may not have a physical presence we can touch it will still affect us in physical ways. If you really want to discover the secrets of ectoplasm then it might be worth developing your own psychic skills to see if you can connect across the veil!