When you go to a sÃ©ance, it is highly likely that at some point jets of ectoplasmic goo will spurt around the room, and startle you. It is important in these circumstances to maintain your insouciance. Instead of waving your arms around and shrieking, go and lean against the mantelpiece and regard the scene with an air of amused nonchalance, as if you are an actor in a 1930s drawing-room comedy. If you smoke a pipe, this is the perfect time to light it. The ectoplasmic goo will soon disperse, or even vanish entirely, and your fellow sÃ©ancees, cowering and trembling, will be mightily impressed by your unruffled elegance. Then, as they recover their wits with an air of embarrassment, you may intone a litany of awful dread in a booming voice from beyond the grave, expose the horns upon your head hidden until now by your bouffant, snap your fingers, and consign your chums to the fiery flaming pit.
Thanks to David Thomson for the picture.
I read in “Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon” by Peter Washington that observers of the famous fraud’s sÃ©ances would often find small quantities of ectoplasm remaining in the room once the lights had returned. Quite what substance this goop really was, Mr. Washington does not speculate.
Perhaps a reader of Hooting Yard will suggest a recipe for fake ectoplasm?
Incidentally, Blavatsky believed that the Earth was governed by spirit-beings such as Koot Hoomi ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuthumi ), an ascendant being whose previous incarnations included Pythagoras and St Francis of Assisi.
“Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon” is a fantastic book, wholeheartedly recommended to all readers.
I thought a ‘spirit cabinet’ was de rigueur at a sÃ©ance?
It would be a handy place to hide the ectoplasmic goo spurting nozzles and attendant paraphernalia such as a novelty pipe-lighter and bowl scrapper…