Fact or Faked: Ectoplasm Photos

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files is a television show that takes different paranormal myths or specific instances and aims to either prove that they are possible (fact), or prove that it is most likely faked. One of their episodes (episode 203) covers the topic of ectoplasm photographs taken in the 1920s and 30s.

Image 1: (the original photo) Recreated with a smoke test
Ectoplasm is a term that means a substance or spiritual energy exteriorized by physical mediums (or a materialization of the dead). Dr. Thomas (TG) Hamilton was a Canadian doctor that was well know for his paranormal investigations, and the photographs he took at seances he held at his home in the early 1900s. His photos of ectoplasm are the most well known and four of his photos are the focus of this episode.
During the episode, the team takes the four photos and tries to replicate them. They travel to Dr. Hamilton’s house, where the photos were originally taken, and set up a darkroom and shooting space. The Fact or Faked photographer uses a Leica film camera with a Nikon Speedlight, and develops the film and prints right there after each shooting experiment. 
Image 2: (the original photo) Recreated with a cotton test
(You can view the Fact or Faked episode by checking the SyFy channels schedule for episode 203, or you can purchase the episode on Amazon for $1.99 (It is not available on Netflix or Hulu). The episode starts with “Raining UFO’s” where they try to re-create a UFO video and use an IR camera to capture it. Part 2, on the ectoplasm photos starts around 26:15 of the video.)
In each of the four photo experiments, the team uses four different materials to recreate the photos. Image 1: Smoke Test; Image 2: Cotton Test; Image 3: Dry Ice Test; Image 4: Foam Test. After the photos are taken, they compare their photographs with the originals. 
Image 3: (the original photo) Recreated with a dry ice test
It’s a fun episode that includes elements of photography, history, and paranormal myth. So if you’re interested in any of those topics (obviously you are in photography!), I definitely suggest watching the episode. 
Resources and links:

* More about ectoplasm
* More about Dr. Hamilton
* SyFy Channel Listing
* Buy the episode on Amazon



  1. Its real

  2. Because something CAN be faked does not mean it IS faked. Does the fact that they stage car accidents in movies mean there are no real car accidents? No, of course not. This is the type of faulty logic professional “skeptics” rely on.

  3. I myself am not a believer in these specific photos, but i do belief in ghosts. For a mater of fact, i am Lead-Investigator in a Dutch Ghost Hunting program. But my point: The reason these people do this is to try and find something that definitively cant be hoaxed. Something that will proof to the world there is more then we can see.

  4. They say in the episode that this was done in a very scientific method by TG Hamilton. Even going to say he frisked the members of the seance. Wouldn’t he have noticed a cigar? The smell of smoke? Cotton in someone’s blouse? How did she get them to coincide with the pictures so perfectly if it was a hoax? Nor did they show the first picture in it’s entirety with the smoke going far above her head.

    I was disappointed with this episode as the other ones they at least give plausible explanations. These were completely overlooked and it was almost like they were trying to be the first to debunk these amazing pictures.

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