“Ectoplasm: Myth or Reality?”

A presentation based upon photographs taken by Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Lecture Overview

In his day, Canadian medical doctor T. Glen Hamilton was internationally recognized for his careful study of the table levitations (known as telekinesis or psychokinesis) and materializations (teleplasm or ectoplasm) that manifested in his seance room in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Through use of a bank of 11 cameras and a hand-held remote control apparatus, Dr. Hamilton was able to ignite the three magnesium flashlights to capture on glass-plate negatives these amazing phenomena from different angles. Over 300 photographs survive in the T.G. Hamilton collection at the University of Manitoba. This presentation is intended to help viewers decide whether the ectoplasm photographed in the Winnipeg experiments was real or fraudulent and whether it can be accepted as evidence of life after death.

The Speaker

For almost 20 years, Canadian historian and archivist Walter Meyer zu Erpen has studied the psychical research experiments that Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (1873-1935) conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, between 1918 and 1935.

The Presentation

The lecture is profusely illustrated with images of the table levitations and teleplasmic manifestations (ectoplasm) photographed by Winnipeg medical doctor Glen Hamilton and his research associates in the Hamilton seance room. Walter’s extensive knowledge of Dr. Hamilton’s experiments is based upon interviews he conducted beginning in 1991 with members of Dr. Hamilton’s family and associates and upon careful study of the T.G. Hamilton collection at the University of Manitoba archives. Walter has appeared in several Canadian television documentaries about Dr. Hamilton’s research.

The purpose of the presentation is to help viewers decide whether the ectoplasm photographed in Winnipeg was real or fraudulent, and whether it can be accepted as evidence of life after death.

To explain the context in which the Hamilton experiments were conducted, Walter will:

  • share biographical information about the Hamilton family members and some of Dr. Hamilton’s research associates
  • explain the historical context of the Hamilton experiments
  • discuss Dr. Hamilton’s study of physical mediumship, the role of intentional actions by trance personalities, and the reaction of Dr. Hamilton’s medical colleagues and other Winnipeg residents

To help you decide whether ectoplasm is myth or reality, he will:

  • discuss the authenticity of the T.G. Hamilton archival collection and the question of photographic fraud
  • highlight the integrity of the Hamilton family and the other researchers
  • examine the relationship between psychic research and belief in personal immortality, and the value of physical phenomena as evidence of life after death
  • share his conclusion about the ectoplasmic manifestations photographed by Dr. Hamilton

Duration: 90 minutes including time for questions.

This presentation was originally prepared in 1992 for the Manitoba History Conference. Since then, variations of the lecture have been presented to Canadian Spiritualist church congregations and psychic societies, the International Spiritualist Federation Congress (Toronto, 2002), the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research conference (Philadelphia, 2002), the Spiritualist Church of Canada AGM (Milton, Ontario, 2008), and Basler Psi-Verein (Basel, Switzerland, 2009), the Parapsychology Foundation (New York City, 2010), and the Oesterreichische Gesellschaft fuer Parapsychologie und Grenzbereiche der Wissenschaften (Vienna, Austria, 2010).

Past Presentation Info

THURS., 27 September 2012 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Open Space Arts Society (2nd Floor), 510 Fort Street, Victoria, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Cost: By Donation
For other events during Susan MacWilliam’s “Flammarion” exhibit, see the Open Space website.

SAT., 24 July 2010 – 2:15 to 4:00 pm
Summerland North Spiritualist Summer Camp Meeting:
The Salvation Army Conference Centre, Fireside Chapel, 1890 Metro Road North, Jackson’s Point, ONTARIO
Cost: This all-day event (10:30 am to 6:30 pm) is sponsored by the Batten Gale Spiritualist Trust. It is an Open Event; all are welcome and there is no admission fee. However, please contact the Batten Gale Spiritualist Trust to confirm your attendance. Coffee and tea will be available, but be sure to bring a picnic lunch. Download the programme here.

MON., 10 May 2010 – 20:00 to 22:30
University of Vienna:
Institut fuer Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie Neues Institutsgebaude, Universitaetsstrasse 7, Universitaet Wien, 1010 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Cost: 7 Euros for guests; free admission for members and students

TUES., 16 February 2010 – 7:00 to 9:00 pm
New York Open Centre, 22 East 30th Street, New York, New York 10016
Donation: $10 at the door
Information: www.parapsychology.org 1-212-628-1550 (Parapsychology Foundation)

THURS., 10 September 2009 – 19:30 to 21:00
Basler Psi-Verein, Neuweilerstrasse 15, Basel, Switzerland
Cost: 20 Swiss Francs / 10 Swiss Francs (for non-members)

SAT., 1 November 2008 – 2:00 to 3:30 pm
Halton Room, Best Western Hotel (previously Ramada Inn), 161 Chrisholm Drive, Milton, Ontario, L9T 4A6
Cost: $110 for two-day Spiritualist Church of Canada AGM: Celebrating 80 Years in Spiritualism (includes membership for non-members)