Ectoplasm Was Animal Mush Covered In Spit
What's the creepiest way that a ghost could make contact? Writing on your bathroom mirror? Hovering over the bushes outside your window? Auto-writing an inappropriate message about your dress? No, it has to be ectoplasm, the gooey essence with which the undead inform you of their unfinished business by finishing their business all over your living room.
In the middle of the 19th century, a slew of mediums were suddenly afflicted by embarrassing discharges. During seances, a Slimer-like ooze would drip out of their orifices, often pooling together to form the faces or bodies of the very deceased they were trying to contact. Mediums explained this phenomenon as spirits leaving behind some of their essence while interacting with the material world. A physiologist by the name of Charles Richet coined the term "ectoplasm," not realizing that the proper name for the phenomenon is "ghost jizz."
Ronald Edwin Cockersell"Do you need a Kleenex? A beach towel?"
Quite coincidentally, mediums discovered this magical ability around about the same time that biologists came up with the idea of protoplasm, a supposedly life-giving substance that exists within our cells. Protoplasm's bad science stuck around for over a century, giving crackpot ghost biologists around the world plenty of time to piggyback on its popularity by pretending "plasms" also proved the physical existence of ghosts. Of course, protoplasm was eventually disproved, at which point mediums had nowhere to turn when someone asked them what nasty shit they were spewing out of their orifices.
As it turns out, what they were vomiting up was vaguely sinister-looking household items that they used to fake some plasm like they were making a horror movie on a budget. On occasions when they needed a little extra pizzazz to seal the deal, mediums would regurgitate everything from cheesecloth and muslin to strands of offal, and hold this spit-coated vomit up mid-seance. But the grossest ectoplasmic con artist of all had to be Mina Crandon, as her trick was producing an "ectoplasmic hand" from her navel. It turned out to actually be a shriveled piece of animal liver. And if your life's work of cheating grieving families out of money requires you to walk around with spoiled animal meat in your purse all day, maybe it's time to reconsider your career choices.
Mina CrandonAnd good god, have a doctor check out your navel.
Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook. He also has a newsletter about depressing history, if you're into that sort of thing. You are. Just admit it to yourself.
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