Spit Up Blood, When You Cough
I've been sitting on this one for a few days because I've just been too busy to write about it. I also probably should have waited to post it with color so you could make out the text but whatever. This is a shirt for my buddy Carol's store. I made one for her last year and she thought it would be cool to have another design for this summer (her store is at the shore, so she gets summer business). I'm always happy to do things for friends who tell me to draw whatever I want and pay me in records!
I decided to do a drawing of a medium expressing ectoplasm through her nose and mouth. Here are some close ups:
The whole design is supposed to be roughly heart-shaped which you can see a little better in this photo:
The practice of producing "ectoplasm" was fairly common for physical mediums and is supposed to be a physical manifestation of a spirit presence. It's often described as "gauze-like" because....it was gauze, produced from the nose, mouth, ears and well...crotches of mediums garnishing their showmanship with something physical, and was often the subject of spiritualist trick photography. Here are some of those photographs:
This is the medium who was an avid spiritualist and active participant in the movement.
"These emanations are reportedly warm to the touch and often are reported as thick, clotted, mucus-like substances. They can be rubbery and dough-like and emerge from a body orifice, such as the mouth, ears or nose but can also come from the eyes, navel, nipples and even the vagina. The structure of the ectoplasm varied from clouds and veils, to thin rods, membranes and heavy masses. Ectoplasm was also reported to disappear when exposed to light and would snap back violently. Touching the ectoplasm, or exposing it to light, was said to be able to cause injury to the medium. This was one of the reasons that mediums insisted that séances should take place in near darkness and that sitters should not approach the mediums or the emanations that had formed. "
-from "The Haunted Museum"
The practice of producing ectoplasm was investigated and declared a fraud by Harry Houdini who made it his mission to uncover spiritualist hoaxes using his personal knowledge of the art of illusion. Most famously he made an arrangement with his wife to contact her through a medium and deliver a secret code phrase ("Rosabelle believe") post mortem, an arrangement which she upheld for ten years after his death. Naturally his spirit never appeared, proving his point. He had also contacted H.P. Lovecraft about writing a piece debunking superstition together but it was never completed. However, if you're interested in the extremely weird results of their collaboration in fiction check out Under the Pyramids, a short story based on a "real life experience" Houdini claims to have had. You can listen to the H.P. Podcraft podcast on the story here.
If you're interesting in ghost photography, this is a really good website to poke around in (I actually saw a corresponding exhibit of this photography in NY about 5 years ago), and if you're interested in the bizarre, fraudulent and occasionally thoughtful and earnest attempts made by science and the spiritualists to quantify, explain, and make contact with spirits in the afterlife I would recommend Mary Roach's book Spook (I probably have already).
If you're in Philadelphia, or will be soon check out Mike's show at Grindcore House (opening tonight). It's all work from his ongoing obsessive project where he draws basically every creature ever mentioned by Lovecraft.
You can also follow this project on his blog, http://www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com/.
Hey this is my 100th post!