The paranormal glossary below is a list of paranormal terminology which is commonly used pertaining to paranormal investigators during investigations and within the paranormal community.
One of the several terms used interchangeably to refer to life after death. The word "afterlife" has been used since 1615 and is generic enough to use in almost any setting and culture. Other terms include "crossing over," "the Otherworld," and "the other side." Most ghost hunters avoid specific religious terms such as "heaven" when discussing ghosts, hauntings, and an afterlife.
An “agent” is the ghost/spirit/demon causing the paranormal activity.
An occurrence or condition removed from ordinarily understood experiences.
The projection or manifestation of a quasi-physical entity.
The theory and practice of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs.
The seeming connection a haunting or entity may have with an item or person.
Interpreting random sounds as voices in their own language. The human mind is always searching for patterns to make ordered sense out of random chaos.
Energy or life force surrounding all living individuals. The color of an aura can determine the mood or physical condition of an individual. Spirits can sometimes use a physical aura for energy, thereby depleting the person whose energy was taken.
Expressing subconscious thoughts or influences by doodling. This method of obtaining information from disembodied spirits is used by mediums in which the spirit takes control over the medium causing them to translate unconscious information on paper without being aware of the contents.
AUDIBLE VOICE PHENOMENON(AVP):
Disembodied voices which are able to be heard without the use of equipment.
A rare form of lightning in the shape of a glowing red ball that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Typically associated with Thunderstorms, these spheres are thought to consist of ionized gas.
To force or drive out an unwanted spirit from a person or place.
A wailing spirit or “death omen” that will appear to be in two different places at the same time.
The process in which a medium allows a spirit to communicate through him or her.
CLEARING OR SPACE CLEARING:
Ridding an area of lingering unpleasant energy. It does not "kill" a ghost. Space clearing may encourage ghosts to cross over, or at least leave the haunted location.
A form of ESP wherein a person is able to gather and hear sounds that are out of the natural range of hearing.
A form of ESP wherein a person acquires psychic knowledge primarily by feeling.
A form of ESP wherein a person accesses psychic knowledge through the physical sense of smell.
A form of ESP wherein a person has the ability to know something without a physical explanation of how one knows it.
A form of ESP wherein a person has the ability to taste a substance without putting anything in one’s mouth.
Being able to get information on events out of the natural range of vision.
This is a technique commonly used by fake mind readers, mediums and magicians which allow them to obtain previously unknown information about a person by asking a general series of statements, questions, and answers.
Self-contained patches of cool air commonly felt in haunted locations. They are thought to be spirits using the energy in the surrounding area.
This is a procedure in paranormal psychology that ensures that the experiment is conducted in a standard fashion so that the results will no be influenced by any extraneous factors.
A group of outside subjects whose performance or abilities are compared with the experimental subjects.
When more than one person witnesses a ghost or spirit phenomenon, independently or simultaneously, it is classed as a collective apparition. Nearly ten percent of reported cases of apparitions fall into this category, and once fraud has been ruled out, they are more likely to be genuine sightings.
An apparition that is seen when a person is seriously ill, seriously injured or at the point of death.
The study of creatures that have yet to be discovered or recognized by science.
This word is used to describe a spirit or specter meaning to deprive of or lose apparent physical substance or in simpler terms, without flesh.
An impression or dull familiarity of having seen or experienced something before.
A supernatural, often malevolent entity. Often spoken of in religious text as pure evil.
Usually associated with certain religious beliefs.
A haunting that is strictly evil in nature.
DISAPPEARING OBJECT PHENOMENON (DOP):
A relatively common phenomenon in which an object disappears from view and later inexplicably returns. It may be related to Poltergeist phenomena.
A ghost of the present that looks identical to a living person but behaves differently.
A ghost of the present that looks and behaves identically to a living person.
Interpreting the motions of rods, sticks, pendulums, and other such instruments to obtain information (also called divining).
Experience in which the departed individual (spirit) can manifest in the form of a dream in order to communicate with the living. Usually associated with the very recent death of the individual attempting to make contact in order to inform the dreamer of his or her death.
A term referring to a ghost or spirit that was unable to cross over to the other side at the time of death and is therefore stuck on earth.
An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost.
ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD, ELECTROMAGNETIC FREQUENCY (EMF):
As the name suggests, it's a combination of electrical and magnetic fields. You'll find high EMF levels around power sources, fuse boxes, electrical outlets, computer monitors, microwave ovens, etc. Unexplained EMF fields often indicate something paranormal. EMF fields can be measured with various tools, including an EMF meter or a hiking compass.
A hybrid of electrical charges and magnetic fields that binds nature.
ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENON (EVP):
Sounds or voices found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices that have been either unintentionally recorded or intentionally requested and recorded. These voices are not usually not heard by the human ear when the recordings are captured.
An inhabitant of one of the four elements (fire, earth, air, and water). Elementals exist somewhere between the realm of the human and spirit worlds. They are often associated with forces of nature rather than the souls of the deceased, but they are nevertheless powerful metaphysical entities which sometimes inhabit the bodies of the living and possess them. Another definition of elementals is spirits which can change into solid matter and back again at will.
An instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field typically used by paranormal researchers to detect a ghost’s magnetic energy.
A disembodied “consciousness” commonly referred to as ghost, spirit or (if of an apparently malicious or resentful nature) demon.
Person or persons that a poltergeist or haunting tends to focus on. Paranormal phenomena usually increase when the epicenter is present.
EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (EPS):
The ability to perceive information with the mind without using the five senses.
A layer of the physical body, mimicking its design but composed entirely of energy.
A shape-shifting non-human spirit that usually appears after being summoned, either with an Ouija board or through satanic worship. It can appear as a monster or may disguise itself as a friendly spirit, but it is dangerous and seeks to harm and cause destruction.
Ceremonial expulsion of invading spiritual/demonic entities from a person or dwelling. Almost always revolving around the Catholic/Christian religion.
A term used to describe a confined area such as a walk-in closet, hallway, or basement with very high EMF readings. The combination of being close and confined within an area of strong EMF often brings out extremely great feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, paranoia, and/or uncontrollable fear.
A spectral double of a living person. See also: Doppelganger and Wraith
Aside from the modern sexual connotation, a fetish is a shamanistic tool in the form of a figurine, animal part or a pouch containing items with magical associations.
Spherical image, usually translucent white, though sometimes of a reddish or bluish hue, which inexplicably registers on photographic film and videotape, also known as "Globule."
A device used for contacting spirits through the use of radio frequency. These devices or so-called Ghost box is also known as Spirit box or Frank's box is used as an electronic medium for the purpose of direct communication with a spirit.
The image of a person witnessed after his/her death, reflecting the appearance of the living, physical body yet less substantial.
A device used for contacting spirits through the use of radio frequency. These devices or so-called Ghost box is also known as Spirit box or Frank's box is used as an electronic medium for the purpose of direct communication with a spirit.
A person who investigates haunting to find explanations for possible paranormal phenomena involved. There are two types of ghost hunters. The first kind is the scientific hunter who uses scientific methods and equipment in order to make accurate calculations and observations about a haunting. The second type is the psychic or intuitive ghost hunter, who uses psychic impressions or intuition to learn about a haunted area.
These have been sighted all over the world and in many cultures. They are mysterious lights, seen at a distance, usually appearing as blue or yellow spheres, which can appear to blink. Some reports liken them to a bobbing candle flame. This phenomenon is also known by its Latin name ignis fatuus, or "foolish flame," because anyone attempting to follow or catch one of these lights is thought to place him or herself in mortal danger. Skeptics attribute it to swamp gas, magnetism, or electricity. Ghost lights have been reported for centuries and were once known as "will-'o-the-wisp," an omen of death representing the ghost of a sinner condemned to wander the earth forever.
A grotesque, flesh-eating demon that robs graves to satisfy its evil hunger for the recently buried. It has its origins in Arabic folklore and is best known today as the living dead, a reanimated corpse inhabited by evil spirits. Ghouls are rumored to live near graveyards and are nocturnal; some believe they are vampires that have degenerated into inarticulate and ravenous automatons, robbed of freewill, intelligent thought, or the ability to feel pain. They are commonly described as having long arms, sunken gray faces, bulging eyes, and sharp teeth and nails.
An experiment in which the subject does not believe in the ability for which they are being tested.
A ghost of the future that brings warning of impending events.
The perception of sights and sounds that are not actually present.
A spectral death omen in the form of a ghostly dog.
A technique that induces a sleep-like state in which the subject acts only on external suggestion.
Paranormal activity such as spirits, apparitions, unexplained sounds, or moving objects that are consistent wth a particular location.
A restaged or preplanned series of events to give the impression that something paranormal has been occurring in any given place. Usually made by people who wish to draw attention to themselves or to debunk or test ghost hunters and parapsychologists.
A devious or fraudulent reading in which the reader has been given prior knowledge of the sitter.
A site within a haunted location where the activity is prominent and/or energy fields are focused.
A delusional perception between what is perceived and what is reality.
Ghostly activity that appears non-conscious and redundant.
A male demonic spirit that is said to have sexual intercourse with women during sleep. Almost always associated with the Catholic/Christian religion.
A haunting that will interact with the people by any means of communication. Noises, voices, touching, moving objects, and so forth.
The non-paranormal knowledge that is gained through a perceptive insight.
An electrically charged atom or molecule.
A K2 meter picks up on the energy fields that spirits disturb when they are present in the environment.
To lift or raise a physical object in apparent defiance of gravity.
A flashback of a person’s life that is typically associated with near-death experiences.
A dream state in which one is conscious enough to recognize that one is in the dream state and is then able to control dream events.
The tangible signs of a haunting, including tactile, auditory, olfactory, and visual. These can be measured in an investigation and can be used to support the evidence that a place is indeed haunted. (See also Apparition)
The act of forming something solid from the air. One of the most difficult and impressive materialization is when part or all of a ghost or spirit can be seen, especially if the face is recognizable.
A natural tendency for the human mind to try to interpret sensory data into recognizable patterns and shapes. Such as seeing faces or animal shapes in clouds.
A person who channels a spirit, or through whom a spirit or entity communicates. Someone who professes to be able to communicate with spirits on behalf of another living being, acting as a midway point halfway between the worlds of the living and the dead.
A hypnotic induction of a sleep or trance State (See Hypnotism).
A Photographed anomaly that appears as a blanket of light. There is no substantial proof that these are related to the paranormal phenomenon.
A rare phenomenon that appears ghostly but in fact is created by some scientifically known property of the present nature.
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE (NDE):
An experience that is reported by people who clinically die, or come close to actual death and are revived. These events often include encounters with spirit guides, seeing dead relatives or friends, life review, out-of-body Experiences (OBE), or a moment of decision where they are able to decide or are told to turn back.
Interacting with the dead, particularly for the purpose of communicating or resurrection.
The transitional, or joining point connecting physical matter (which, in a sense, is energy condensed) and pure energy, and containing properties of both definites, i.e. the physical brain producing a mind through its network of dendrites and firing axioms', or the body's connection to the spirit. The concept of the Nexus is the basis for much conjecture and postulating.
A materialist, one who embraces no formal religious beliefs; a more descriptive term than atheist or agnostic.
From the Latin, meaning something that is concealed or covered. Since the 16th century, it has meant anything that is mysterious. Today in America, it generally refers to magical, mystical and experimental studies.
A ball of energy that may or may not be related to a paranormal event. Many believe this energy is spiritual in nature, while others recognize that it may just be environmental energy such as dust, snow, rain, insects, reflection, lens flare, etc. orbs still remain a highly controversial subject.
OLD HAG SYNDROME:
A nocturnal phenomenon that involves a feeling of immobilization, suffocation, odd smells, and feelings and is sometimes accompanied my immense fear (See Sleep Paralysis).
Demonic oppression is the work of evil spiritual forces that urge us to sin, to deny God's word, to feel spiritually dead, and to be in bondage to sinful things. Once again almost always associated with the Catholic/Christian religion.
The initial force or energy necessary to create motion telekinetically.
Its name comes the French and German words for "yes," this is a pre-printed spelling board with letters and numbers on which a planchette (or marker) is placed in order to communicate with spirits of the dead. The device is intended to communicate with and through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions. Many ghost hunters don't include them in scientific investigations, and some people object to them on principle...
OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE (OBE):
When one's consciousness exits the restrictions of the physical body. Sensation or experience in which one’s self or spirit travels to a different location than their physical body (See Astral Projection)
A psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (usually an image) being mistakenly perceived as recognizable. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, seeing the man in the moon, and hearing messages on records played in reverse.
The realm of occurrences and phenomena removed from those to which people are accustomed and comprehend, and presently uncategorized by standard academia.
A group of individuals dedicated to discussing, investigating, or exploring possible explanations to a haunting and other paranormal or supernatural events.
The study of phenomena currently considered unexplainable by the mainstream sciences.
A branch of psychology that deals with spirits, psychic phenomena, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. (PSI)
A small weight at the end of a cord or chain that is usually about six to ten inches long. The movement of the weight, when uninfluenced by other factors, can be used to detect areas of paranormal energy.
An individual involved with or observing a paranormal event.
Many corporeal ghosts take the form of animals rather than humans. It may be the benign spirit of a loved pet or faithful companion which appears to its master and is often seen performing a habitual act, such as lying in front of the fire or waiting by the front door. However, there are many sightings of strange and malevolent beasts such as ghostly black dogs, phantom birds, or horses.
Spirits that resemble a human so closely, that you don’t notice it is a spirit until it does something paranormal.
Acronym for "psychogeneses" see Telekinesis).
An apparent manifestation of an invisible but noisy, disruptive or destructive entity.
A theoretical doorway of energy, through which spirits may be able to enter or exit a location.
Inanimate objects that move, change appearance or make noise. Sometimes an episode occurs while a person is watching, or they return to find that a disturbance has taken place while they were away. They include vehicles such as ghost ships or phantom trains heard bumping along tracks that were removed many years earlier. This phenomenon is often associated with the influence of a ghost that is emotionally attached to a place or objects and may be showing anger or disapproval of how the present-day occupants or owners have changed it. Ghost vehicles are often linked to a fatal accident.
POSSESSION (OF A PERSON BY A SPIRIT):
The entry of a spirit into the body of a willing or unwilling host, in which the spirit takes control of the individual's motor and cognitive functions.
Seeing or knowing activity received from the future using ESP.
A psychic awareness of future events, often with a negative outcome.
The initial measurements of energy taken at a haunted location, used for establishing an investigation's direction.
Objects, rituals, routines, tactics, or processes through which you guard yourself against psychic, demonic, or paranormal intrusions and effects.
A general, all-encompassing term for "psychic phenomena."
The study of paranormal phenomena in relation to the application of electronics.
From the Greek word meaning of the soul, or of life (Paul uses it in the Bible, I Cor ii, 14), this word usually refers to the world outside the domain of physical law. "Psychic" can relate to the spirit or the mind, depending on the context. When someone is described as a psychic, it usually means that he or she is able to perceive things that are outside traditional physical laws and perceptions.
A form of idea or message that a percipient may encounter about an area, a person, or an event. Usually associated with precognition, retrocognition, or psychometry.
The popular British term used as an adjective or adverb, for what Americans call "psychic."
To move something with the powers of one's mind, alone. It may be a factor in some hauntings, and particularly in poltergeist phenomena. It's usually called "PK." (Also see telekinesis.)
QABBALA (ALSO CUABBALA OR KABBALA):
A very ancient and complex system of Jewish mysticism, probably influenced by Assyrian-Babylonian and Macedonian beliefs and existing as the basis of an underground cult during much of the middle ages.
RADIO VOICE PHENOMENON (RVP):
Receiving the voice of a deceased human being through a regular radio.
An extremely rare type of spirit phenomenon in which both the agent and percipient are able to see and respond to each other.
Used by some psychics, this is a procedure in which the percipient or psychic attempts to become physically aware of the experience of an agent who is at a distant, unknown location through ESP.
Designed exclusively for paranormal investigators by the company Professional Measurement, it has an EM Radiating antenna that detects energy disturbances & fluctuations around the antenna and displays the field disturbance using multi-colored light columns and audible tones.
Many ghost hunters believe that emotionally charged events leave an imprint or energy residue on the physical objects nearby. What distinguishes residual energy from an active haunting is that the energy/impressions repeat consistently, as if on a loop. The energy levels may increase or decrease, but the content remains the same with each manifestation. By contrast, in what we term an active haunting, the ghost may respond to environmental stimuli and direct contact.
This is the playback of a past event, trapped in a continuous loop. It is often associated with past events involving great trauma and tragedy. A person is seen or heard performing a repetitive action such as walking down a flight of stairs, crossing a garden, screaming in agony at the same time or place and by many different independent witnesses. Researchers believe that it is possible for certain building materials to retain the energy of an event, and "record" it electromagnetically in a similar way to modern video or audio tape, and then replay the eerie fragment when the atmospheric conditions are right, or when a person who is especially sensitive to its bizarre energy passes by.
Seeing or knowing activity from the past using ESP. An experience in which a person finds themselves in the past and is able to see and experience events in which they had no prior knowledge.
An entity that comes back only a few times after death.
A meeting of individuals in order to contact the spirit of a deceased loved one or other person (usually consisting of a medium, assistants, loved ones of the departed, or other interested individuals). Many séances were exposed as hoaxes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Easily confused with normal shadows, these dark ghostly apparitions are often spotted at a distance or in peripheral vision and are between two and ten feet long. They are often experienced as a small darting essence in the corner of the eye, or as a larger and more menacing humanoid presence.
This is a word used to describe the seeing of faces, figures, and images in ordinary, everyday object such as rocks, foliage, etc.
A visual effect described as the sparkle of embers falling immediately after a fireworks display. These small, sparkling lights usually occur no closer to the camera than ten feet. They are often 20 to 50 feet away, or more. Sparkles are seen during and especially immediately after the flash on a camera is used. Even the most vivid sparkles will not show up on film. (If they do, check for dust or insects.) Sparkles are paranormal phenomena. "Sparkles" is a proprietary term developed in the 1990s by Fiona Broome during research for Hollow Hill. Other researchers have adopted the term to describe this unique phenomenon.
A ghostly apparition; a phantom (See Ghost).
A sudden and inexplainable jump on an Electromagnetic Field Detector (EMF) causing it to quickly rise and fall or "peg" the meter.
The actual consciousness or soul of an individual that has passed on and continues to be observed in an area. There are four main reasons that spirits exist:
(1) The person does not realize that he or she is dead;
(2) there is unfinished business or a unkept promise after death;
(3) the spirit is simply saying goodbye to a loved one; and
(4) the spirit has returned to offer advice.
A device used for contacting spirits through the use of radio frequency. These devices or so-called Spirit box is also known as Ghost Box or Frank's box is used as an electronic medium for the purpose of direct communication with a spirit.
Attempting contact with entities, intended to alleviate the entities’ distress and aid them in the resolution of their conflicts, and in “crossing over” to a higher, spiritual plane.
Spiritualists believe in communicating with the spirits of discarnate humans. They believe that spirit mediums are humans gifted to do this, often through séances. Anyone may become a medium through study and practice
Unexplained bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain corresponding in location to the crucifixion wounds of Christ.
Hallucinations of apparitions or other phenomena that are created by our own minds.
A female demonic spirit that is said to have sexual intercourse with males during sleep.
Of or relating to existence outside the natural world. As opposed to paranormal, the term "supernatural" often connotes divine or demonic intervention.
The product of numerous, seemingly unrelated variables joining to create a common event or remarkable "coincidence."
A set of (usually 72) cards that include 22 cards representing virtues and vices, death and fortune etc. used by fortune tellers to help predict future events.
The ability to control one's physical environment without using physical manipulation or force (also known as psychokinesis, TK, or PK.
Being able to communicate through one mind to another. Mind to mind communication, without using any of your senses.
An apparition produced solely by the power of the human mind.
A hypnotic, cataleptic, or ecstatic state in which one becomes detached from their physical surroundings.
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT (UFO):
Any unexplained moving object observed in the sky, especially one assumed by some observers to be of extraterrestrial origin.
Ultraviolet Light is a long wave length low frequency light coming from the upper end of the electromagnetic spectrum. As with Infrared light, UV light is normally not visible to the naked human eye without the use of special viewing or photography equipment. Some paranormal investigators have experimented with using UV light to take still photos and video of ghosts and other paranormal entities.
UNIDENTIFIED SUBMARINE OBJECT, UNIDENTIFIED SWIMMING OBJECT, UNIDENTIFIED SUBMERGED OBJECT (USO):
Used to designate any sea-born object that does not fit the known descriptions of existing underwater vessels.
An anomaly which sometimes shows up in still photographs taken at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as a translucent white, tube, or funnel-shaped mass. Some researchers believe this may be a porthole to the spirit realm.
A location where the known laws of physics do not always apply and space/time may be distorted.
This refers to the principle that to prove White Crows exist, you only have to have one. Therefore, it justifies spending considerable resources on a single case, if the investigator believes that case can be definitive.
Random noise from a wide range of frequencies usually sounding like static.
A window area is a region with an unusually high number of paranormal/UFO reports over a significant period of time.
Sometimes a person sees a loved one appear briefly to them, or hears their voice offering a warning or advice. The loved one needn't be a ghost; they are often alive and many miles away. In some cases, these appearances coincide with the death of the loved one or occur during a time of crisis for the witness
Pronounced (ya-way) a form of the Hebrew name of God used in the Bible. The name came to be regarded by Jews (c. 300 BC) as too sacred to be spoken, and the vowel sounds are uncertain. It was deemed forbidden to pronounce, or even seek to learn, the full, true name of the Absolute. The more archeological evidence uncovered which tends to support Biblical accounts, the more arises suggestion and speculation that, approx. 3,000 years ago, a powerful extra-terrestrial presence took a particular interest in a nomadic, mercantile, tribal group of desert dwellers who would come to be known as the Israelites, the "People of God."
A malevolent spirit which attacks people while they're asleep, inspiring nightmares, and sometimes even inflicting minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and what appear to be finger marks. The name is possibly of Slavic origin.
A set of 25 cards for use in card-guessing tests of ESP. Each set contains 5 of each of the following cards: Circle, Square, Greek Cross, Three Wavy Lines, Five-pointed Star.
Spirit borne upon, governing, or manifesting as the western wind.
Prevalent in Haitian lore, a cadaver disinterred shortly after burial and reanimated through the use of Voodoo, its sole purpose thereafter being servitude as a mindless slave. Combine secret pharmaceuticals inducing simulated death with oxygen deprivation in a tomb, then a hasty exhumation in the dark of night, and there emerges the horrid premise behind the myth.
Representation of a deity or devil with animal attributes.