[Steampunk] Ectoplasmic Secretions

So, the psychic/medium power called Ectoplasmic Secretions is an interesting and bizarre power. I'm wondering what the inspiration for that came about? Any literary sources? Movies? What? Where'd that idea come from? Ghostbusters? It's a weird one.
 

TheAuldGrump

Mongoose
El Diablo Robotico said:
So, the psychic/medium power called Ectoplasmic Secretions is an interesting and bizarre power. I'm wondering what the inspiration for that came about? Any literary sources? Movies? What? Where'd that idea come from? Ghostbusters? It's a weird one.

No, 19th century spiritualism. (Which is where Ghostbusters stole it.) Take a look around at the subject, Google Spiritualism, Ectoplasm, Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky, and Astral projection. Be warned - you will be buried beneath a ton of results.

The Auld Grump, the truth is out there - the lies are all inside.

*EDIT* One of the more amusing (at least to my skeptical soul) reponses is here: http://www.takeourword.com/TOW139/page2.html

Note the easily visible stick holding up the 'ectoplasmic' head... Frauds have gotten better since then. (If you look at the original 'faerie pictures' that fooled Arthur Conan Doyle you can see the hat pins that are holding a few of them up too...)
 

Palliard

Mongoose
... if you want to talk about 19th Century mysticism, the Theosophical Society is an excellent starting place. A lot of what I'd call modern mythology (Lemuria, Astral Devas, etc etc) got its popular start there.

For practical examples of that sort of mysticism in a semi-appropriate setting, I'd recommend any of Manly Wade Wellman's "Silver John" stories, particularly the early short stories. "O Ugly Bird" makes use of ectoplasm in an interesting way.
 

TheAuldGrump

Mongoose
Palliard said:
... if you want to talk about 19th Century mysticism, the Theosophical Society is an excellent starting place. A lot of what I'd call modern mythology (Lemuria, Astral Devas, etc etc) got its popular start there.

For practical examples of that sort of mysticism in a semi-appropriate setting, I'd recommend any of Manly Wade Wellman's "Silver John" stories, particularly the early short stories. "O Ugly Bird" makes use of ectoplasm in an interesting way.

I second the John the Balladeer series. (The writer hated the name 'Silver John'.) I know a few people that knew him, he wrote some of the songs that his character John sings (the people I know had no idea that he also wrote fiction - they knew him through his music.). M.W.W. died in 1986 at the age of 83.

One of the John the Balladeer stories can be found here: http://scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/wellman2/wellman21.html

His books are now coming back into print after a hiatus following his death.

Sorry about that, but M.W.W. was one of my favorite authors.

The Auld Grump
 

TheAuldGrump

Mongoose
Just in case anybody needs to know - our mutual accquaintance is Sandy Ives of the Anthropology Dept. at the University of Maine at Orono. He even ended up being mentioned in one of the John the Balladeer novels.

The Auld Grump
 
I just finished reading The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul DiFillipo, and the last story had ectoplasmic secretions in it (the medium in said story secreted ectoplasm from her... uh... nipples).

For anyone who hasn't read it, I recommend the book. It's irreverent and amusing. In places I laughed out loud.
 
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