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Curious Objects : Ectoplasm

Curious Objects

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Ectoplasm is a substance believed to exude from a medium during a séance. It can materialise in different forms, being sometimes vaporous, sometimes viscous, sometimes a mass of fine threads and sometimes a cloth-like substance. It supposedly disintegrates when exposed to light or human touch. This example was captured during a séance given by the medium Helen Duncan and is part of the archive of the Society for Psychical Research. Duncan is noteworthy as one of the last people to be prosecuted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. In 1941 Duncan held a séance at which she claimed to have communicated with a recently deceased sailor, prior to the official release of information confirming the sinking of his ship. Alerted to what was seen as a security breach during a time of war, the authorities arrested Duncan. She was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to nine months in prison. In photographing the ectoplasm we have tried to recreate the atmosphere of some of the images of ectoplasm in the archive.</p>

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