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In science, this word means the thin, watery cytoplasm near the plasma membrane of some cells.[1]

The word also has a completely different meaning in connection with spiritualism. Spiritualism is a religious movement which was popular around the turn of the 19th century. Spiritualists believe that there are people called mediums who can communicate with the spirits of the dead. In spiritualism, ectoplasm is a mysterious transparent substance exuded by mediums during a trance. The movie Ghostbusters, which makes fun of spiritualism, shows some depictions of ectoplasm.


  1. Wile, Dr. Jay L. Exploring Creation With Biology. Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 1998