Understanding the Ectoplasm

A brief discussion of what ectoplasm is in both the scientific and paranormal and occult senses.

Many occurrences that are deemed “paranormal” are usually viewed by the general public with an air of skepticism. The general consensus on psychics and mediums is also still quite skeptical in regard to their legitimacy. Sometimes you just have to see something with your own eyes, experience something with your own senses before you acknowledge it to be true.

This article will be discussing the occurrence of ectoplasm. What is ectoplasm? The word has two different definitions that are actually intertwined. At the basic scientific level ectoplasm is defined as the cytoplasm of the one-celled organism, the amoeba, which moves by extruding portions of itself and flowing into space. Ectoplasm is the outer portion of an amoeba’s cytoplasm, while endoplasm is the inner portion of the cytoplasm. Similarly, ectoplasm when spoken about in the general paranormal sense refers to a substance that secretes off spirits or more commonly from the mediums that were in communication with them.

The latter definition has been scrutinized since it was coined by Charles Richet in the era when false mediums were extremely common (the late 19th and early 20th centuries). The ectoplasm was said to be seen excreting from the mediums’ mouths, ears, and other orifices such as their vaginas (being that most mediums were females) while they were in trance-like states. Samples of ectoplasm were even collected for scientific testing; some were composed of linen type materials while other samples were found to be human tissue.

In the book Psychic Self-Defense: The Classic instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack author Dion Fortune describes ectoplasm coming from a different state. She does not discuss it as just coming from a medium communing with spirits but from an etheric double, which is formed of a certain kind of matter which, while still somewhat physical in nature, is an exact counterpart of the physical body to which it belongs to.

Fortune explains one such experience she had with her own ectoplasm when her inner vengefulness inadvertently produced the projection of an etheric body in the form of a wolf:

“From it to me stretched a shadowy line of ectoplasm, one end was attached to my solar plexus, and the other disappeared in the shaggy fur of its belly, but I could not see the actual point of attachment.”


By: Alexandria Addesso, Kean College, Elizabeth, New Jersey USA.

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