Glossary of Paranormal Terms
Agent– A living person who is the focus of poltergeist activity.
Apport – A physical object that can materialize and appear at will in the presence of a medium.
Asport – A physical object that a spirit teleports to another location or makes disappear.
Astral Body – The body that a person occupies during an out-of-body experience.
Astral Plane – A world that is believed to exist above our physical world.
Astral Projection – The intentional act of having the spirit leave the body, whereas an out-of-body experience will happen involuntarily. (See out of body experience).
Astrology - 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.
Aura – An invisible emanation of light that seems to surround a person or thing which is often thought to reflect a person’s personality.
Automatic Writing – 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.
Automatism – An unconscious or involuntary muscular movement caused by spirits. (See automatic writing)
Autoscopy – The visual hallucination or image of one's body looking back at themselves from a position outside the body. (See out of body experience).
Ball Lightning - 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.
Banshee – A wailing spirit or “death omen” that will appear to be in two different places at the same time.
Call – A call is the response that is made by a subject during a card-guessing test or during any other type of ESP test.
Card Guessing – Card guessing is used as an experimental test for ESP in which a subject tries to guess the identity of a set of cards.
Case Study – An in-depth investigation of an individual subject.
Channeling – In this modern day method of spirit communication, a spirit will pass information directly to a medium or channeler who will then relay the information on to the listener(s).
Clairaudience – An auditory form of ESP paranormal information is received outside the range of normal perception through voices, whispers and auditory impressions.
Clairsentience – A general term for clairvoyance and clairaudience. Clairsentience typically occurs in the form of ESP through physical sensations or smells.
Clairvoyance – An acute insight or perceptiveness that enables you to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses in the form of mental imagery and intuition. (See ESP)
Closed Deck – A set of cards used in a card guessing deck in which each card will appear a fixed number of times. The statistical analysis obtained from a closed card deck differs from that of an open card deck. (See Card Guessing).
Cold Reading – This is a technique commonly used by fake mind readers, mediums and magicians which allows them to obtain previously unknown information about a person by asking a general series of statements, questions and answers.
Control – 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.
Control Group – A group of outside subjects whose performance or abilities are compared with the experimental subjects.
Collective Apparition - A rare type of sighting in which more than one person sees the same apparition or phenomena.
Crisis Apparition – An apparition that is seen when a person is seriously ill, seriously injured or at the point of death.
Dematerialization – 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.
Déjà vu - An impression or dull familiarity of having seen or experienced something before.
Demon - An inferior deity often spoken of in religious text as pure evil.
Direct Voice Phenomenon (DVP) – An auditory “spirit” voice that is spoken directly to the sitters at a séance.
Dice Test – An experimental test in which a subject attempts to influence the fall of dice. This study is used for the investigation of psychokinesis.
Doppelganger – An exact spirit double or mirror image of a person which is considered to be very negative.
Earthbound – 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.
Ectoplasm – An immaterial or ethereal substance associated with spirit manifestations.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) – Voices and sounds from beyond that are captured and recorded on magnetic tape.
Elementals – Spiritualists commonly refer to this term to describe mean or angry spirits sometimes also called “Earth Spirits”.
EMF Detector – (See Magnetometer)
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) - Communication or perception by means other than the physical senses.
Exorcism - The banishment of an entity or entities i.e. spirits, ghosts and demons that is thought to possess or haunt a location or human being or animal. The ritual, which can be religious in nature, is conducted by an exorcist who will call upon a Higher Power to cast away any evil forces that may reside there.
False Awakening – The event in which a person believes they are awake but are actually dreaming.
Ghost – A generic term referring to a form of apparition or supernatural entity which is typically the visual appearance of a deceased human's spirit soul.
Ghost Hunting – A carefully controlled research project in which various methods and equipment are used to investigate reports of ghosts and hauntings.
Goat – An experiment in which the subject does not believe in the ability for which they are being tested.
Ghoul – Demonic or parasitic entity that feeds upon human remains.
Hallucination – The perception of sights and sounds that are not actually present.
Haunting – Reoccurring ghostly phenomena that returns to a location where no one is physically present. Ghosts generally haunt places and not people.
Hellhound / Black Shuck – A spectral death omen in the form of a ghostly dog.
Hot Reading – A devious or fraudulent reading in which the reader has been given prior knowledge of the sitter.
Hypnosis – A technique that induces a sleep like state in which the subject acts only on external suggestion.
Ignis fatuus - A phosphorescent or spectral light that that is alleged to be an indication of death. This phenomenon is thought to be caused by spontaneous combustion of gases emitted by rotting organic matter
Illusion – A delusional perception between what is perceived and what is reality.
Intuition – Non-paranormal knowledge that is gained through a perceptive insight.
Levitation – To lift or raise a physical object in apparent defiance of gravity.
Life Review – A flashback of a person’s life that is typically associated with near-death experiences.
Lucid Dreaming - 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.
Magnetometer (EMF, gaussmeter) - An instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field typically used by paranormal researchers to detect a ghost’s magnetic energy.
Marian Apparitions – The event in which the Virgin Mary is seen.
Materialization – The act of forming something solid from the air. One of the most difficult and impressive materializations is when part or all of a ghost or spirit can be seen, especially if the face is recognizable.
Medium - Someone who professes to be able communicate with spirits on behalf of another living being, acting as a midway point halfway between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Mesmerism – A hypnotic induction of a sleep or trance State (See Hypnotism).
Mist – A Photographed anomaly that appears as a blanket of light. There is no substantial proof that these are related to paranormal phenomenon.
Motor Automatism – Bodily movement or functions that are accompanied but not controlled by consciousness (See automatic writing).
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.
Old Hag Syndrome – A nocturnal phenomena that involves a feeling of immobilization, suffocation, odd smells and feelings and is sometimes accompanied my immense fear (See Sleep Paralysis).
Orb – A photographed anomaly that theoretically represents the “spirit” of a deceased person. It will appear as a ball of light on film though is some cases; they are not seen at the time of the photo. Since there are many reasonable circumstances (dust, snow, rain, insects, reflection, lens flare, etc.) orbs still remain a highly controversial subject.
Ouija Board - A pre-printed board with letters, numerals, and words used to receive spirit communications. Typically a planchette is employed to spell out words and point out numbers or letters.
Out-of-body experience (OBE) – A sensation or experience in which ones self or spirit travels to a different location than their physical body (See Astral Projection).
Paranormal – Referring to something that is beyond the range of normal human experience or scientific explanation.
Parapsychology - The study of the evidence for psychological phenomena that are inexplicable by science.
Percipient - A person who sees (i.e., perceives) an apparition.
Phantom - Something that is seen, heard, or sensed, but has no physical reality (See Ghost).
Poltergeist - a non-human spirit entity which literally means "noisy ghost" but is usually more malicious and destructive than ghosts of dead human beings. Traditional poltergeists activities are thumping and banging, levitating or the moving of objects, stone throwing and starting fires. It is thought that poltergeist activity in some instances may be brought on subconsciously by an adolescent agent or females under the age of 25.
Precognition – The ability to predict or have knowledge of something in advance of its occurrence, especially by extrasensory perception (See Clairvoyance).
Psi – A letter in the Greek alphabet that denotes psychic phenomena.
Psychic - A person who is responsive to psychic forces with above average ESP abilities.
Psychokinesis (PK) - The power of the mind to affect matter without physical contact, especially in inanimate and remote objects by the exercise of psychic powers.
Psychometry - The ability or art of divining information about people or events associated with an object solely by touching or being near to it.
Pyrokinesis – The ability to unconsciously control and sometimes in rare cases produce fire with their mind only.
Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP) - Receiving the voice of a deceased human being through a regular radio.
Reciprocal Apparition - An extremely rare type of spirit phenomenon in which both the agent and percipient are able to see and respond to each other.
Remote Viewing – 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.
Retrocognition – 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.
Séance - A meeting or gathering of people, usually lead by a medium to receive spiritualistic messages, manifestations or communication with the dead.
Shaman – A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.
Sheep – An experiment in which the subject believes in the ability in which they are being tested.
Simulcra – This is a word used to describe the seeing of faces, figures and images in ordinary, everyday object such as rocks, foliage, etc.
Specter – A ghostly apparition; a phantom (See Ghost).
Spiritualism - The belief system that the dead are able to communicate with the living, through an intermediary or medium.
Stigmata – Unexplained bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain corresponding in location to the crucifixion wounds of Christ.
Subjective Apparitions – Hallucinations of apparitions or other phenomena that are created by our own minds.
Supernatural - Of or relating to existence outside the natural world. As opposed to paranormal, the term "supernatural" often connotes divine or demonic intervention.
Tarot Cards - A set of (usually 72) cards that include 22 cards representing virtues and vices, death and fortune etc. used by fortunetellers to help predict future events.
Telekinesis - The paranormal movement of objects by scientifically inexplicable means.
Telepathy – Communication from one mind to another through means other than the senses.
Teleportation - A method of transportation in which matter or information is dematerialized, usually instantaneously, at one point and recreated at another.
Thought Form – An apparition produced solely by the power of the human mind.
Trance - A hypnotic, cataleptic, or ecstatic state in which one becomes detached from their physical surroundings.
Vortex – An anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image in photographs. These images are sometimes thought to represent ghosts, collections of orbs or gateways which travel to a wormhole in time-space. There has been no substantial scientific evidence to support any of these theories.
White Noise – An Acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band.