Ectoplasm or teleplasm is a substance that is produced by a medium in order for a spirit to materialize.
The name ectoplasm was given by parapsychologist Charles Richet and is taken from the Greek words ektos meaning outside and plasma meaning something formed or moulded.
Ectoplasm comes from the mediums eyes, nose, mouth, ears and genitals and has been described as being similar in appearance to cheesecloth, egg white and tissue paper.
Ectoplasm is produced under certain conditions normally in a cabinet under red light as this colour reflects the ectoplasm easily. The medium is usually in a deep trance but this is not always the case.
In order to produce ectoplasm you need sitters who are extremely dedicated as this phenomenon often takes a while to occur.
In A Survey of the occult in 1935, S.G. Soal wrote;
Some observers describe it as being inert while others declare that it squirms and wriggles. It is said to be plastic, to mold itself into hands and heads and even into the complete forms of animals and human beings. It can also organize itself into rigid rods, which are used to produce loud raps and into cantilevers, which support heavy tables in the air. In fact the variety of its functions is as amazing as the alterations in its appearance. It is a most chameleon-like form of matter. And, strange to say, all mediums that produce it are sooner or later accused of fraud.
Two of the most famous mediums known to have produced ectoplasm are Helen Duncan and Mina (known as Margery) Crandon. Both mediums were accused of fraud and Helen Duncan was even tried as a witch! Although Margery Crandon was also accused of being a fraud she produced ectoplasm in a controlled experiment in 1924, which was attended not only by psychical researchers but my magician and skeptic Harry Houdini. Details of the experiment are recorded in J. Malcolm Bird’s book Margery the medium (1925).