Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Researh Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Antonio Leon, who I know via email, presents in this book, Sessões de Ectoplasmia: Experimentos com Ectoplasma na França de 1920 no Instituto de Metapsíquica Internacional [Ectoplasm Seances: Experiments with Ectoplasm in France in the 1920s at the International Metapsychic Institute] (Epígrafe, 2019) a study of ectoplasmic experiments conducted in France at the Institut Métapsychique International. He has a masters degree and a doctorate in history from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Antonio Leon

The book focuses on studies by Gustave Geley and others with the famous mediums Eva C., Franek Kluski, and Jean Guzik.

Materialized Head with Eva C. and Moulds of Materialized Hands with Franek Kluski

Table of Contents

  1. Background of the Foundation [of ] IMI]
  2. The Context of Ectoplasm in the Decade of 1920
  3. Eva Carriere
  4. M. Franck Kluski
  5. Jean Guzik
  6. Final Considerations

Appendix A: Letter of Rocco Santoliquido to Charles Richet – October 3, 1918

Appendix B: Letter of Oliver Lodge to Charles Richet – October 16, 1918

Appendix C: Letter of Rocco Santoliquido to Charles Richet – November 6, 1918

Appendix D: Decree of Recognition of the Institut Metapsychique as a Public Utility


Can you give a brief summary of the book?

The book aims to be a reconstruction of the institutional history of the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI), based on ectoplasm experiments conducted by the Institut in the 1920s and by its predecessor Gustav Geley’s laboratory, located at the Suffren Avenue in 1918. This study suggests the existence, in that period, of two schools of metapsychique, the French School and the English School. Its objective is to question the veracity of the experiments and, based on primary sources, identify if there was any evidence of fraud. This paper also aims to understand the reasons for the subsequent decrease in research on ectoplasm. The applied methodology analysed primary sources such as letters, documents, speeches, magazines and books from that time. The results pointed out two metapsychique schools, the French one linked to the phenomena called objective, and the English one linked to the phenomena called subjective or intellectual.

Gustave Geley

What is your background in parapsychology, and with the topic of the book specifically?  

I am a psychologist by profession. I carried out historical and epistemological research in parapsychology and anomalous phenomena during my master and PhD degrees in the Program of History of Science and Techniques and Epistemology the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

What motivated you to write this book?

My interest in developing this study started with a seed planted in my early childhood observing the work done by both my paternal and maternal grandmothers. Both were highly respected as healing mediums at the time they worked. Sylvia de Oliveira Leon, my paternal grandmother, once had an article written about her deeds as a medium in a widely circulated magazine called “Fatos e Fotos” in the 1970s. About the same time, she wrote a series of books of various themes under the same title: “Nós a Vocês, Obreiros Mediúnicos Grandeza Astral” (1971). Zélia de Carvalho Sucena, my maternal grandmother, recognized as a healing medium, was studied by some American researchers, including Lindsay Hale, a professor at the University of Texas, who mentions Zélia in his book published in 2009. Throughout my childhood and youth talking about paranormality, parapsychism and the use of energies was part of my routine. At the beginning of adulthood I had contact with the books of researchers with a scientific approach such as Charles Tart, Charles Richet, Waldo Vieira, and was determined to go deeper into the study of parapsychology from a scientific perspective. In my book I opted to view the 1920s through a magnifying glass, in Paris, and at the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI). At that place and time the investment in research on ectoplasm was paramount and highly regarded by researchers interested in the subject in question. My desire was to delve deep into the primary sources, not only through research, but also to feel what that period was like and what actually happened back then.

Why do you think your book is important and what do you hope to accomplish with it? 

I think that historical research is important so that we can understand what truly happened in the past. My main objective was to research the ectoplasmic experiments carried out during the 1920s, in France at the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI). By that I mean, to investigate their experiments, their organization, their care to avoid fraud, their control procedures, their phenomena, their description and also who the mediums and researchers were involved in the whole process. My goal was to verify the various aspects that permeated the experiments in the 1920s, to explore the values and rules in research on ectoplasm as well as the context in which the experiments were inserted. Somewhat quoting Latour (1987), I felt like opening the black box of these experiments.

Jean Guzik