Ectoplasm: Myth or Reality – A Lecture on February 16

As part of the Parapsychology Foundation’s Perspectives Lecture Series, Walter Meyer zu Erpen, historian, Archivist and President of the Survival Research Institute of Canada, will give a talk based upon photographs of ectoplasm taken by Dr. T. Glen Hamilton during experiments conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1918-1935. From the press release:

“In trying to decide whether ectoplasm is myth or reality he will discuss the authenticity of the T.G. Hamilton archival collection and the question of photographic fraud highlighting the integrity of the Hamilton family and other researchers.”

The lecture will be held at the New York Open Center, 22 East 30th Street, New York, NY, 10016 with doors open at 6:45 p.m., the lecture begins at 7:00. Donations in support of non profit Parapsychology Foundation at the door of $10 are welcome.

(The photograph below is not from this series, this is from my collection and originally from the Rhine Research Center archives.)


4 thoughts on “Ectoplasm: Myth or Reality – A Lecture on February 16

  1. Interestingly, I was just reading one of Christopher Isherwood’s books, My Guru and His Disciple (Isherwood was a disciple of Ramakrishna).

    He wrote, “The Atman in man is said to be covered by a number of koshas, sheaths. The outmost of these is the gross body, which is visible and tangible to other human beings at all times. Beneath this is the subtle body, not ordinarily visible to others, which vitalizes and holds together body and mind.”

    In the esoteric tradition, this subtle body (there are others) has been written about in many different ancient traditions. And it’s seen by the esoteric tradition as the vehicle responsible for ectoplasm.

    Mediums are automatically said to have a loose vehicle of vitality, and it is one of the factors that causes them to have mediumship capacity in the first place.

    It is said that a portion of this vehicle of vitality emanates from the medium’s physical body an has the ability to clothe a visiting spirit with this gossamer form.

    This is also seen to be the case with these old sorcerers in the village churchyard summoning a spirit to visible appearance. Once again the vehicle of vitality, or etheric double, or Nepesh, was said to seep out of the sorcerer’s body and temporarily clothe the spirit for the purposes of visibility.

    It is hard to sort out the particulars about ectoplasm, except to say that there is probably some validity to the esoteric theory as long as the theory is not stretched too far.

    Of course it is regrettably also true that many fraudulent mediums faked this material with chiffon in a darkened room frequented by gullible or bereaved sitters. However, my experience suggests to me that usually there is a percentage of real truth to many spiritualists’ claims, despite the admission of a lot of fraud.

    Some people say that it gives off the scent of ozone.

  2. Yeah, of all things I learned about I had the most trouble with ectoplasm. It just seemed so … hokey. I’m sorry! If it exists there must be a way to get a sample and study it. Does anyone still say they can produce it?

  3. That’s sort of the point, Stacy.

    If the esoteric tradition is correct, the ectoplasm is actually a malleable part of the medium’s etheric double. They claim that all the energy derived from food ultimately goes into the etheric double, and energy emanating from spiritual sources also goes into the etheric double.

    They assert that the etheric double is actually the real physical body and has a potential of lasting somethin like 130 years.

    So although part of this flexible and malleable body can emanate from the medium to temporarily throw a sheet of ectoplasm over the spirit, it must return to the formal body of the etheric double after the manifestation is completed.

    So I don’t know if it would be possible to grab some, because it might be like chopping off a piece of plastic man’s index finger or something.

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