Ectoplasm, what is it? Ectoplasm is understood to be the life force of the medium, it has properties that enable it to be become a physical matter by manipulation conducted by the spirit team. I don't believe it is fully understood yet how this is achieved but there is plenty of evidence and living witnesses of the phenomenon.
Ectoplasm when manipulated into physical form becomes similar in structure to that of melted cheese, although it feels cool to touch and can feel slightly sticky. It can feel like the rougher grip part of a household rubber glove. It is pale in appearance and has a creamy tone to it, I have also seen it when luminous, a soft green tinged glow is within it and around it.
It will emanate from an orifice of the medium, who is usually in deep trance when this occurs because the experiment is delicate and the medium's body needs to be in a state of complete relaxation. I believe that the ectoplasm will be made up of matter and cells from the medium's body that the spirit team add energy to in order to give it form. It is extruded from the medium by the spirit team and moulded into a form, rather like a puppet that the spirits can then use to communicate or manipulate. A spirit will also don the ectoplasm like a cloak or mask as it will then lie in the contours of the framework they are providing and give the observer a face, hand, pair of hands, upper body formation or whole manifestation. The ectoplasm may also act as a screen for an image to be projected upon. I think of this as a screen that spirit can project their thoughts on to or their science allows them to print on to it like we would print a photograph.
The victorian era is when experiements with ectoplasm seemed to be at their highest but there are still physical circles that sit today for further understanding of this phenomena. Conditions need to be right and the circle is not always successful in their attempts at producing ectoplasm. There have also been many accusations of fraud regarding the production of ectoplasm in the past which has caused doubt over its existence but there are many genuine photographs on the net as well as in private collections that show its structure. Sometimes it is quite thick and has weight to it and at others is almost weblike and light as silk. Its use is simply as a means of creating physical objects and body parts that can be touched and held by the sitters, powerful evidence if you are present. It may also be used to manufacture a voicebox outside of the medium that spirit will then speak directly from. More tantalising evidence if you recognise a relative's voice.
There are dangers for the medium associated with producing ectoplasm and so the spirit world has been developing new techniques over time to make the creation of materialisation safer.
A spirit can materialise without the use of ectoplasm but it takes a great deal of energy to form a physical body and can't be sustained over a long period, whereas ectoplasmic materialisation can go on for a couple of hours if the medium is in good health.
Ectoplasm is a difficult material to believe in if you haven't experienced it for yourself. It seems too crazy, too convenient to explain the pictures of mediums sitting trance-like covered in a cheese cloth material, but it does exist and is real.