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Photographer Shannon Taggart shoots intriguing and unique Images of Ectoplasm at Cassadaga Séances August 2013

By 23. August 2013Dezember 28th, 2022Uncategorized
Shannon Taggart

It was in 2001, when Shannon started a new project by photographing Lilydale, New York, the largest Spiritualist community in the world, where she had received a mediumistic message a few years before. She quickly immersed herself in the philosopy of spiritualism. She had readings, experienced healings, joined séances, attended a psychic college and sat in the mediums ‘cabinet’ – all with her camera!

She says she originally had expected to figure out during one summer the tricks of the spiritualist trade.
‘Instead I peered in something truly mysterious. I stumbled into a hidden world, an abandoned system with a storied hystory that became a ressource and a inspiration for my own photographic theory and praxis.”

How do you photograph the invisible?
“The answer came when I pushed my camera to the edge of its functionality and crossed the boundary of what is considered bad, wrong or unprofessional. Chance elements and the inherent imperfections of the photographic process (blur, abstraction, motion, flare) offer an agent for the immaterial.

Only a few of Shannons Images about Lilydale…
They all share unique moments, frozen in time…
…sometimes sharing private, even intimate moments!

The long exposure necessary to document seances are a catalyst, rendering the exchange between a veiled presence and a visible body. The resulting photographs are records that confirm that invisible correspondence.”

Of course there is a spiritualistic tradition, in which the unseen becomes at least partially material, Physical Mediumship, and thats why Shannon and the FEG-Chairman and deep trance medium Kai M. had an early correspondence about coming together and somehow try to photograph, what Kais consciousness techniques and deep trance do unleash: the contact to a group of ‘spirit scientists’, that trigger a long row of physical effects, the most spectacular in red light and thus photographable…!

Another excerpt from Shannons project showing mediums within the state of Trance
Especially the intimacy of the Cabinet provided many fascinating opportunities to grab unique moments with the Camera
‘…the inherent imperfections of the photographic process offer an agent for the immaterial!’
Different grades and tones of light always played a big role within the Séance Room. Gordon Garforth was one of the first Physical Mediums Shannon photographed. In green light she could document ectoplasmic extrusion from Gordons mouth.
Moreover Shannon documented another pretty rare phenomenon that is documented though through history and back into the era and mediumship of for example Daniel Dunglas Hume (Home), who demonstrated ‘elongation’ many times in front of high ranked observers and researchers, like William Crookes.
Today this is a very rare phenomenon. Judging from what the image shows, it seems as if the hand is emanating a substance-like material (ectoplasm?) that lets the hand unmistakenly grow in size. Fingers and palm ‘elongate’ so to speak…!

Finally this year in August Shannon sat with Kai M., close to Lilydale, in the State of New York, where the initial Spiritualism in the midst of the 18th century provided the strongest Physical Phenomena in History!

Hosted by Spiritual Minister and Physician Dr. Neal Rzepkowski, the séances in the tradition of the German Spiritists were held in his special private house, that provided a superb energy and space!

In a joint venture with the spirit scientists Shannon was enabled to photograph the one of the most infamous artifacts in parapsychological field research and in spiritualism, which initial roots are closely connected to!

Several philosophical precursors like for example Emmanuel Swedenborg had visions about what happened a few years later in regards to (quote) ‘a kind of “vapour” steaming from the pores of the body. It was a visible watery vapor and fell downward to the ground upon the carpet.’ (quote end)
Eugene A. D. Rochas compared the luminous vapor he saw arising from the breast of Elizabeth d’Esperance to the Milky Way. Paul Lecour likened the process to the condensation of a nebula. The same idea is suggested by Venzano’s description of a mass of swirling vapor at the side of Eusapia Palladino. Gustav Geley described a dimly phosphorescent column that formed beside him, out of which a luminous hand, perfectly formed and of natural size, appeared and patted him several times on the forearm in a friendly way.
Elizabeth Hope (Elizabeth D’Esperance) did write in her book that in the cabinet (quote) ‘my first impression is of being covered with spider webs. It seemed that I could feel fine threads being drawn out of the pores of my skin. Then I feel that the air is filled with substance, and a kind of white and vaporous mass, quasi luminous, like the steam from a locomotive, is formed in front of the abdomen.”

The Abdomen, the Solar Plexus, but also the mouth are alleged to provide a doorway or an entrance point from higher organised or parallely organised reality planes! The mouths rooftop through which in the FEG-Mediums case oral apports and ectoplasm are entering our realm of existence is already mentioned and described in thousands of years old vedic textes.
Until today Yogis, Vedic-Priests and so called ‘Wondermen’ (India) do facilitate these entrance points for Apport phenomena or for example the complete abscence of nourishment (entrance of the divine ‘Mana’).

Now featuring this article are the pictures, that were shot by Shannon during two Séances with the group of Spirit Personalities calling itself ‘the Chemists, channeled by the FEG Medium Kai M., at the 15th and 17th of August 2013 in Cassadaga, New York, hosted by Dr. Neal Rzepkowski!



The first visible ectoplasm of the evening, face of the medium barely visible, but already in this early instance several faces of spirit visitors were mirroring within the substance
Now having the flashlight illuminating another area, the face of the medium becomes visible, additionally a head-form to the lower right. Slightly left from the ecto-head is an embedded face in that medal-looking like form. Another face is embedded left from mediums head
The face of the medium inmidst this diverse display of ectoplasmic substance

Highlighted is the ectoplasmic head form
Highlighted is one of the areas, in which a face, nearly photolike, is embedded

A few instances later the fog like substance is presenting the mediums head, extruding a foam-like mass from its mouth, very probably showing more faces
Even though in the first Seance the faces came not out clearly because of the long exposure time, this photo lets you have an idea at least: the face is slightly above the middle of the photo
Again the mediums face becomes barely visible behind huge amounts of substance filling the cabinet
Several movement patterns become visible within the photos.

Finally one of the ectoplasmic classics facilitated by the chemists: the ectoplasmic hand buidling from the extruded mass


Shortly after the red light phase had begun, a huge mass fell from mediums mouth to the ground and builds up from there left to the medium and getting higher than its face
Slightly enlarged
Entranced Medium shows the interior of the dynamic multi-layered substance by ‘opening’ it…
…and drawing it over the whole upper body
A few instances later, the ‘spirit visitor’ can be displayed this time sharply and is identified – as in the Séance previously – by a sitter…
The embedded face lays directly in front of the mediums face, if you look closely you can see mediums bare forehead slightly above the faces ‘frame’
Another instance, another face…
A strange ectoplasmic whirl starts to encircling the medium…
…is hardly being seen…
…and presents itself on the last photo of it in its whole mysteriousness

Like a huge chewing gum…
…the entranced medium is now manipulating…

…the huge mass
A few minutes later the whole medium drips of ectoplasm, seemingly coming from the mediums ears…
And then Shannons pictures show the gradual buidling of a handform from the collected ‘material’, laying between the mediums feet..

The heap starts to move and flex on the ground and to build up something…
…until the first fingers start to become visible…
…protruding more and more…
…until finally a complete hand moves over the mass and erects slightly to wave to the sitters…!

 For this outstanding photographic documentation we want to thank extensively Shannon Taggart and to wish her good luck with all her future activities in the strange world of the Seance Rooms of the World…!