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999 ectoplasm

Black Books

The physical substance purportedly formed by physical mediums in a trance state. In a seminar on March 21, 1934, Jung stated,

“Ectoplasm is exactly like whitish worms; when photographed it looks like that, most gruesome, and it has the touch of a reptile.

Quite independently of each other, people have described the strange feeling it gave them; they said one could compare it to the touch of a reptile’s skin, soft, and yet tight, no bones in it, like rubber.

Flournoy once described to me a hand he had touched: it was not exactly like a hand, there were only three fingers, and it was not a human touch, there were no bones in it, yet it was hard and elastic.

He took hold of it and it gradually melted in his grasp; that impressed him the most, the fact that it actually melted, changed its quality, becoming thinner and thinner until finally there was nothing left.

These are strange phenomena which we cannot explain” (VS , vol. 2, pp. 1376- 77). ~The Black Books, Vol. VII, Page 238, fn 250

Miss Hannah: Do you suppose it has anything to do with ectoplasm?

Dr. Jung: A number of cases have been observed where the ectoplasm started from the genitals, and it may be that it is the double; I don’t
know, I have not had enough experience in that respect to decide.

At all events it is a symbol. Now that child is a monster, and that is like what figure we have already spoken of? ~The Visions Seminar, Page 828

If, however, you can believe that a so-called ghost is an exteriorization of a living being, it is at once perfectly possible, for as it is a possibility that you perceive something which surely you have not seen or heard or smelt or touched, so truly objective effects are possible which you cannot possibly have produced.

For instance, it is utterly impossible for me to knock against that wall from my place here because my arm cannot extend so far, but if you assume that there is a possibility of exteriorization, as in a telepathic vision, you can assume that I am able to exteriorize a part of myself-whatever force it may be-and that that thing can knock against the wall.

You might think it was a ghost, but a photograph taken in that moment shows a stream of ectoplasm going out from my hand or any other part of my body, which reaches the wall and knocks there.

You may have seen the photographs of the Crawford experiments.

Now those things are by no means a swindle; although very peculiar, they are facts, but observation shows that it needs a medium from whom those effects issue and by whom they are produced.

So there is a certain objectivity about it, but that does not prove that it is the ghost of a dead man or an elemental; we cannot prove the existence of objective ghosts because we simply cannot find any evidence for it.

If you study the theory of cognition, say Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, you know why it can never be proved; there is as little possibility of a proof in that case as there is of proving that the world is infinite; it cannot be proved because it is simply beyond our means.

You may have more or less convincing subjective experiences, but you cannot prove that they are what you take them for.

Those gruesome pictures of ectoplasm prove an objectivation that does exist, it is something tangible and even accessible to physical
experimentation, it can be photographed and weighed, but that it is a ghost one cannot say with absolute certainty. ~Carl Jung, The Visions Seminar, Page 1186-1187

Many years before I ever heard of ectoplasm, before the war, a patient had a very peculiar dream.

It was a borderline case of schizophrenia where there was a high degree of libido withdrawal, and then these phenomena of duplication, or abnormal life of dead things, can occur in the individual. But instead of projecting this duplication of life into objects,

in her dream it came out of her own body; she dreamt that a whitish mass, like foam, issued from her neck, and gradually formed into
a face which was as if plastered or stuck onto that foamy mass, exactly like the photographs in the books by Schrenck-Notzing.

She had never seen such things, because they were then not known.

But in the same week I got the first publication of the kind. I could only understand that dream psychologically, I did not think it had anything to do with parapsychology, but it struck me very much.

I thought it must be typical because I had seen similar things in dreams before.

In the work of artists who are on the borderline, Picasso for instance, you see these peculiar figures with the duplication of forms, a head, perhaps, sticking out in the wrong place; that is the same phenomena-a snake could stick out of the figure just as well. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminars, Page 1376-1377.