RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Information icon.svg The 2018 moderator election has started! We are electing 6 moderators and 2 alternatives to serve in 2019. Nominate users here and read their campaign slogans here!

Ectoplasm

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
It's fun to pretend
Paranormal
Icon ghost.svg
Fails from the crypt

Ectoplasm is a physical substance supposedly created paranormally on the bodies of psychic mediums for spirits to take form in. Since World War II, reports of ectoplasm have declined and science has shown that the substance turned out to be a hoax, made of natural substances such as cheesecloth or fabric.

Definition[edit]

The term derives from ecto- (from Greek for outside) and plasm (from Greek for a molded thing), or more in other words something molded outside, i.e. something physical being "molded" externally to the body by use of psychic power. Sometimes the synonymous term exteriorization is used instead. Charles Richet (1850-1935) who had coined the term ectoplasm, did not actually believe the substance had anything to do with spirits. Similar to other psychical researchers who studied mediumship in the 19th century such as Camille Flammarion wrote that it was a mysterious force that could emanate from the body of the medium during seances.

The view that ectoplasm was an actual force or fluid was later dropped due to investigations into ectoplasm by scientific sampling. Evidence had shown from samples that ectoplasm was the result of fraud and trickery of the medium made from chewed paper, cloth, egg white or butter muslin. The photographs of ectoplasm show it to closely resemble cheesecloth and natural substances. Ectoplasm as spirits has been refuted by science and thankfully most modern paranormal researchers today accept this, the only modern-day supporters of ectoplasm being genuine are some spiritualists.