Question: How is it that you can speak to us on earth?
Answer: By materializing my etheric mouth and tongue.
Question: Can you tell me something of the method by which this is done?
Answer: I shall do my best to make you understand how this is done, but remember you cannot get a proper grasp of the difficulties we are faced with until you yourself come across to our side. However, I shall explain our methods as clearly as possible. From the medium, and those present, a chemist in the etheric world withdraws certain ingredients which for want of a better name is called ectoplasm. To this the chemist adds ingredients of his own making. When these are mixed together a substance is formed which enables the chemist to materialize his hands. He then, with his materialized hands, constructs a mask resembling the mouth and tongue. The spirit wishing to speak places his face into this mask and finds it clings to him, it gathers round his mouth, tongue and throat. At first, difficulty is experienced in moving this heavier material, but by practice this becomes easy. The etheric organs have once again become clothed in matter resembling physical matter, and, by the passage of air through them, your atmosphere can be vibrated, and you hear his voice.
Question: But how do you get this air? Are the lungs also materialized?
Answer: In a full materialization, yes.
Question: I have often heard two, or sometimes three, voices speak at once. Are other masks used in these circumstances?
Answer: Yes, on these occasions conditions are good, and the chemist has sufficient ectoplasm to construct several masks, which are all sometimes used at the same time. That accounts for your hearing more than one voice speaking.
Question: Where is this mask placed?
Answer: Usually in the centre of the circle. The chemist keeps as much ectoplasm as possible within the circle, but, when the quantity given off by the medium and sitters is small, it gathers about the floor, which accounts for voices coming from the floor when conditions are poor. On the other hand, when conditions are good and we have an ample supply, we can build right up to the ceiling, which accounts for the voices on these occasions coming from high up in the room.
Question: After the mask is completed, what do you do?
Answer: The person wishing to speak takes up his position in the centre of the circle, and presses into the ectoplasmic materialization and then commences to speak, moving his mouth and tongue just as you do when you speak.
Question: What about the trumpet?
Answer: This is used, not only to magnify the voice, but to enable it to be directed towards the person we wish to speak to. The trumpet is moved by materialized rods, and is controlled by one on this side whom we term the trumpet operator (Gallacher)
Question: Good evening, I take it that you are Irish.
Answer: Yes, sir, right first time.
Question: Well, my friend, I want to know all you can tell me about your work in helping those on your side to speak to us on earth.
Answer: When a spirit wishes to speak to you he takes on earth conditions from your surroundings. We always know when your meetings take place, when you are meeting. I am responsible for manipulating the trumpet. I have been standing beside you waiting to speak to you, and I am glad of the chance to tell you what I can.
Question: So you are responsible for the megaphones or trumpets?
Answer: Yes, I deal with them entirely. When there is going to be a meeting, the chemist whom I work with generally lets me know when it is going to occur, and asks me to come along at the specified time. He supplies a substance, and also obtains a certain amount from the medium and the other sitters. It is the combination of this spirit—substance with ectoplasm, drawn from the medium and sitters, which enables us to materialize. If there is enough it allows the metallic instrument to go to all parts of the room, and voices to be produced. When I came tonight I first looked to see where I could best gather the most ectoplasm. The chemist gets it from me and adds his ingredients, and it is then conveyed to the most suitable place. I also speak for those who cannot do so, and also for those who may be a long distance away. These latter send me their messages as you send messages by wireless; these are picked up by a receiver and given to me; I then pass them on, giving the person’s name. I merely act as an Exchange.
Question: Does that account for what is sometimes thought to be impersonation?
Answer: I am the one who passes the message through, but you may sometimes think that I am not the right person speaking. I am the messenger to you from those who cannot speak.
Question: I am glad of that explanation, not that I have ever experienced impersonation, but it is interesting and helps me to understand your difficulties. Now can you tell me anything more?
Answer: When spirits come into the circle to speak they actually, for the time being, partially materialize; their mouth and tongue being coated by the substance we make. There is a nexus between the medium’s larynx and the materialized mouth and tongue of the spirit speaking, which enables the words the speaker forms to be heard by you. We then feel as we did when on earth. The organs of speech take on a thicker form, our tongue thickens and so do all the other materialized organs. We cannot be heard by you until we again put on matter of slower vibration, and it is only when we find someone like the medium, who can supply us with this ectoplasm, which we fashion to our requirements, that we can again make you hear us. Ectoplasm alone, however, would be of no use without the chemical substance we supply from our side. It would not materialize without it.
Question: What is this substance?
Answer: The chemist is standing beside me, and tells me to say it is no use giving you its ingredients as they would mean nothing to you on earth. He says, however, that the finished product is a substance by which material things can be moved. Nothing can be moved without it. All physical bodies are composed of many different ingredients from which we draw the substance you call ectoplasm.
Question: I once put my ear right up to the medium’s mouth when a voice was speaking, and heard a hissing sound. My father’s voice was speaking at the fat end of the circle to my brother, yet no words came from the medium’s lips, only a soft hissing sound. At other times, when I have done the same thing when a voice was speaking, I have heard nothing. What was that hissing sound I heard?
Answer: From the medium’s mouth is projected a materialized ectoplasmic tube to carry the vibrations of his larynx to the spirit speaking. The medium’s larynx is used to vibrate the atmosphere,
the spirit’s materialized mouth, throat and tongue to form the words. You were fortunate to hear this hissing. Your scientific men interested in the phenomena would have been glad to have had your experience, as it is something to give you a start in getting some real knowledge of how the voice is produced.
Question: Can you tell me something more about the mask which you enter when you wish to speak?
Answer: You can call it a mask or a dummy. We gather the ectoplasm from the sitters into what I might term an urn; not a physical urn. If you wait a moment I shall try and show you it. (Sloan’s hands and feet were still controlled. I waited, and gradually there appeared high above his head a luminous object which assumed the shape of a large flower-pot, and then faded away.) Did you see it? (Yes, I replied.)
Well, we gather the ectoplasm into this, and the chemist adds his ingredients. The finished product is matter slow enough in vibration to vibrate your atmosphere. The mask, until it is entered by the spirit wishing to speak, is incapable of speaking itself. The spirit has to tune down his organs of speech, and thus contact between these and the mask becomes established. When the magnetic or psychic power is strong enough, there is no difficulty in obtaining sufficient cohesion between the speaker’s organs and the mask. When cohesion is established, the ectoplasmic material moves with the vocal organs of the spirit. It is exactly as if we coated our mouth and tongue with this material. It sticks to them and moves with them.
Question: Has this mask weight; would it affect a balance?
Answer: Yes, it has. The ectoplasm taken from the sitters has weight, and the sitters’ weight is reduced in proportion to the amount that is withdrawn. If you were to sit on a weighing-machine during the sitting you would find your weight decrease. The ectoplasm is returned to the sitters at the end of the séance and they become normal. [This has been proved correct by experiment.]
Taken from On the Edge of the Etheric by Arthur Findlay