Paranormal Glossaray of Terms



ALCHEMY - The Science of turning base metals into gold or silver by chemical means. The byproduct, "Quicksilver," was thought to have magical powers. This was a very perfected science in Egyptian times and lasted all the way up into the 14th-16th Century A.D. when some of the alchemy methods were lost due to war and fire.

ANOMALY - Something that cannot be explained by currently accepted scientific theories. Anything difficult to classify is considered an anomaly.

APPARITION - An apparition may be visible to both the naked eye and appear in photographs. It is a supernatural manifestation of the soul of a deceased human or animal, or of a living person too distant to be within the normal perception of the observer. Some apparitions can seem quite normal and solid in appearance to the observer while others may see just faint images, blobs, streaks or patches of light.

ASTRAL PROJECTION (see Out-of-Body Experience)

AURA – An energy field of radiant light believed to surround all living creatures. Each color represents a different aspect of that person or object. Every time a person comes into contact with someone new, the aura reacts to the other person. If the aura's frequency are close to the same, a person would feel an immediate bond.

AUTOMATIC WRITING or AUTOMATIC ART – The ability to freely channel words, music, or art without the interruptive interference of the mind.

AUTOS-COPY - The viewing of one's physical body while experiencing astral projection.


BANSHEE - An omen spirit from Ireland and Scotland that appears to people to warn them of impending violent and untimely death.

BI-LOCATION - Appearing to be in two locations at one time. Often associated with astral projection.

BOGEYMAN -  these are classed as horrible or evil spirits that love to be mischievous. Sometimes synonymous with the devil, in the past the threat of calling upon the bogeyman was used by parents to frighten children into good behavior.



CHANNELING - Channeling is a process where information from an external source of consciousness is accessed and expressed. People can channel entities, their Higher Self or energy.

  CLAIR-AUDIENCE– The ability to hear voices, astral music or discarnate beings. This is considered a form of channeling. A person may actually hear spirits talking or singing in their head while there are no auditory sounds.

CLAIR-OLEO-FACTOR – Having an extraordinary sense of smell, as if you could smell flowers before they bloom or smell trouble before it occurs.

– Having the ability to clearly feel another person's emotions and sensations.

CLAIRVOYANCE – The ability to have lucid mental perceptions and keen insights about people and life situations and to have clear visual mental images, pictures, to "see" auras and other psychic phenomena. The visions may also be in the future, and some times in the past. Clairvoyance is an umbrella term that often refers to telepathy, spiritualism, psychic research, second sight, prophetic visions, and dreams.

CLASSIC HAUNTING - The spirit of a once living person that for some reason did not cross over at the moment of death. A Classic Haunt involves a spirit that has the ability to interact with you and vice versa.

COLD SPOT - Believed to be an area of psychic energy with a considerable amount of temperature change from the surrounding area. May be free floating or stationary. All other possibilities for the temperature change must be ruled out before this is to be considered authentic.

- The witnessing of an apparition by two or more persons.

CRISIS APPARITION - The appearance of an apparition within moments of a crisis such as death, sudden illness, or accident.

CROSS-SPECIES COMMUNICATION - To have a special rapport and understanding with animals, plants or alien beings.

CRYSTALLOGRAPHY- The art of gazing into a crystal globe, a pool of water, a mirror, or any transparent object to see visions or summon forth spirits.


DEJÀ VU - Certain events and experiences that seem as if you have experienced them before. As familiar as the experiences are, you cannot recall nor figure out when they happened.

DE MATERIALIZATION- The disappearance or fading of a physical object.

– This is when spirits actually write using any means. This may be done by slate writing or by pen and paper.

DISCARNATE - Having no physical form or body.

DIVINATION – The ability to obtain unknown knowledge or future events from omens. Astrology may be considered divination.

DIVINING ROD - A forked rod used to indicate the presence of water or minerals underground.

DMILS - Abbreviation of Direct Mental Interaction with Living Systems. Used to denote instances where one person is attempting to influence a distant biological system, usually the physiology of another person. As it is unclear whether this represents an influence (see psychokinesis), a case of ESP on the part of the influence (see ESP) or an opportunistic selection process, the term 'interaction' has been adopted.

DOPPELGANGER - A spirit of a living person or animal outside of the physical body. Being exact duplicates of the living person including dress, this could possibly be an projected out of body experience either consciously or unconsciously or a death omen. Typically "double-goers" are seen by others in distant locations just as the individual in question is about to die or has died.

DOWSING - To be able to find underground water and/or underground minerals.


ECTOPLASM - A product of psychic energy that usually forms as a fog like mist, solid white mass, or vortexes.

EKIMMU - The legendary evil ghost of an individual who was denied entrance to the underworld and is doomed to walk the earth for eternity. Ekimmu means "that which is snatched away." One could become an Ekimmu by dying a violent death such as murder, drowning, or any other unsavory death.

- This tool detects changes in the Electromagnetic Field found around just about everything, from TVs to power lines. The normal reading for paranormal activity is between 2.0 and 8.0, anything above this is usually man-made in origin.

EMPATHY - Rarely used in modern parapsychology, the popular usage of this term refers to a low-level form of telepathy wherein the empath appears to be aware of the emotional state of a distant person. An empath may also be able to "broadcast" emotions to others.

ESP - Extrasensory perception
- (ESP) is the knowledge of external objects or events without the aid of the senses. It is most commonly called the "sixth sense" as it is sensory information an individual receives which comes beyond the ordinary five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.) Many people have experienced dreams, visions, or unexplained feelings where they could predict some future event, sense a spirit or presence of something or someone, or even read someone else's mind.

EVP - (Electronic Voice Phenomena) -The practice of recording spirit voices on tapes, usually audio. Usually nothing is heard at the time of the recording, it is only during playback that the hushed and gravely voices are heard. Discovered by Konstantin Raudive. Usually recorded in a range from 0 – 300 Hz (Human speech is generally within 500-2000 Hz, and has never been recorded below 300 Hz).


GANZFIELD EXPERIMENT- A state of mild sensory deprivation, characterized by the presentation of homogenous sensory fields.

GHOST - Usually the visual appearance of a deceased human's spirit soul or the spectre of a dead person. This is the most popular term used to describe paranormal oddities. Generally ghosts make there presence known through mysterious smells, noises, cold breezes, and the movement of objects.

GHOST HUNTER - A person who uses protocol set by researchers to search for haunted areas.

GHOST LIGHT - An unexplainable light visible to the naked eye. It may be seen traveling in a conscious manner, giving the appearance of intelligence.

GHOST MIST/FOG - This is a fog or mist that is visible on photographs but was not visible to the naked eye. A feeling of a presence, cold chill, smell, or phantom footsteps may be felt prior to capturing these phenomena on photos.

GHOUL - A demon thought to feed on the dead.


HAUNTING - Paranormal experiences occurring over a period of time in a specific location. May include apparitions, sounds, smells, moving / disappearing objects, etc.


INTELLIGENT HAUNTING - When spirits seem to live in a specific area and act with free will and/or show intelligence. Spirits don't necessarily haunt the place they die at, but might haunt the most comfortable place for them to stay (i.e., their old home, favorite getaway, etc.)

INTUITION - The act of knowing without the use of usual rational processes. Based partly on subconscious pattern association of known information, and partly on subconscious psi impressions. To get information without knowing where it came from.


KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY - A type of high-voltage, high-frequency photography developed in the Soviet Union by Davidovich Kirlian, which captures an individual’s aura.


LEVITATION -The raising or suspension of persons or objects in the air in such a means as violates the known physical laws of motion and gravity.

LUCID DREAM - A dream in which the dreamer is conscious of the fact they are dreaming.


MANIFESTATION - When an entity takes form or makes an appearance. Can also mean the outbreak of activity.

MATERIALIZATION - The deliberate, though usually temporary, visible and/or physical formation of a spirit.

MEDIUM - A psychic who communicates with spirits.

METAPHYSICS - Derived from the Latin word Meta which means beyond. Literally means that which is beyond the laws of physics.


NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE (NDE)  - Term applied to experiences undergone by persons who either seem to be at the point of death (or who are even formally declared dead) but then recover, or who narrowly escape death (as in an automobile accident) without being seriously injured; most NDEs feature certain common elements, such as a feeling of indescribable peace, a sense of being out of one’ s body, a movement into a dark void or down a tunnel, seeing a brilliant light, and entering that light; reports may also feature seeing one’s life “flash” in front of them, the encountering of an unseen presence, or being greeted by deceased relatives or religious figures.

NECROMANCY - A form of prophecy, in which the seer or sorcerer/sorceress raises the spirit (though not usually the corporal remains) of the dead in order to have the wraith foretell future events. It was thought that upon entering eternity, the spirit would have full knowledge of the past, present, and future.


ORB - An orb is a sphere like object generally captured in photographs only. Orbs are airborne particulates such as dust, pollen, moisture etc.

OUIJA BOARD - A board with the alphabet and other symbols on it, and a planchette that is thought to move in such a way as to spell out spiritualistic and telepathic messages.

OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE (OBE) or ASTRAL PROJECTION - To be able to leave your physical body and project your soul, consciousness or what appears to be your mind to another place and return via a silver cord. OBE is the most reported and documented type of astral projection. When the consciousness leaves the body in this fashion it is virtually always in the here/now plane, and close to the physical body. Most OBEs have common features. For instance, the subjects often see their own physical body during the experience, like any other object in the room. They usually report having "ghostly" bodies that can pass through solid objects during the experience. There have even been reports of other people witnessing the person as they astral project.


PARANORMAL - Something that is beyond the range of normal human experience or scientific explanation.

PARANORMAL RESEARCHER - Someone who uses their own theories/ideas to test new research methods, protocols, and equipment. A true researcher is not biased to an old idea, but works to disprove or prove further the old idea, to expand the knowledge of the community. Typically, a researcher does not work to prove a paranormal occurrence as genuine, but to disprove the occurrence legitimately. Only when all possible false-positive contaminants have been ruled out can something be defined as a true anomaly.

PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION - The act of going to an allegedly haunted location, gathering data such as photos, audio recordings, video, electromagnetic field monitoring, etc., and summarizing your data in reports.

PARAPSYCHOLOGY - Derived from the Latin word Para, which means beyond, parapsychology literally means beyond psychology. It is generally defined as the scientific study of paranormal phenomena. Term coined by J.B. Rhine.

PAST LIFE RECALL - To remember or have mental flashes about previous lives.

PHANTASM - Vision of absent person.

PHANTASMAGORIA - A crowd of dim or unreal figures. It is also a device used for ghost making as a popular entertainment in the 18th century developed by E.G. Robertson around the 1790's for projecting convincing figures before an audience.

- An apparition or specter that exists only as an energy form.

POLTERGEIST - (German for "Noisy Ghost") A general term applied to a variety of site or person specific physical phenomena. These may include temperature variations, anomalous sounds, and movement of physical objects. Currently, poltergeist phenomena are usually considered to be related either to unusual physical conditions at the affected site, or to be related to psychokinesis. Anecdotal reports suggest that many poltergeist focus on an individual under some form of emotional stress. Poltergeists have also been blamed for violent actions such as throwing stones or setting fire to clothing and furniture. Such events are said to be sporadic, unpredictable, and often repetitive. According to popular belief, a poltergeist's activity appears to concentrate on a particular member of a family, often an adolescent, and its object being harassment. When strangers are present, the unusual phenomena often cease.

POSSESSION - When a person's mind or body are believed to be taken over by ghosts, spirits, or other supernatural entities.

PRECOGNITION - Pre-knowing; where nondeductible information about a future event is acquired.

- To have dreams of events or incidents before they happen.

PREDICTION - To be able to predict future events before they occur.

PSI - A general term for parapsychological phenomena that includes informational (RV, ESP) and energetic (PK) effects. Psi, or Y, is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet.

PSYCHIC - Popular term used to denote a person who regularly uses or appears to be especially gifted with psi abilities. Also refers to general phenomena related to the mind (from Greek psyche.)

PSYCHOKINESIS (PK) - See Telekinesis.

PSYCHOMETRY - To touch an object with your hands and get information about the object, it's creator, its owner, or it's history.


REMOTE VIEWING (RV) - The ability to access distant or shielded information primarily of visual character such as natural or structural features via an unknown mental process. RV may include other sensory modes, such as feelings, motion, or sound. Some individuals associate specific approaches, or protocols, with RV. It is the ability to produce information that is correct about a place, event, person, or object located somewhere in time/space, which is completely blind to the remote viewer.

RESEARCH SITE - A true research site is when a controlled environment is established and then visited frequently (normally on a regular basis, weekly, biweekly, etc.) to test new theories and research ideas. To a researcher, the benefits of a long-term research site is the ability to find out what is normal for that location, therefore deviations from that norm may be recorded as data. This is not possible on an investigation where one may only visit a site a few times.

RESIDUAL HAUNTING - This type of haunt generally occurs at the same time every time and is the same scene over and over. There will be no interaction for the spirits don't even see you. These hauntings usually involve a visual sighting of a past traumatic event that occurred at that location. It may not be technically referred to as a haunting, but more of an energy imprint.


SCRYING - A term used to cover a wide range of divination techniques which parapsychology would tend to classify as types of ESP. Most scrying techniques involve some degree of fixation on a surface with a clear optical depth (e.g. a crystal ball, a pool of ink or deep water) or on an area which shows random patterns (e.g. flames in a fire, smoke), the idea being that subconscious information available to the scrying will be manifested in their interpretation of the imagery or random patterns they see. Techniques using a clear optical depth are actually very similar to the idea behind the homogenous visual field used in Ganzfeld ESP research.

SÉANCE - A séance generally involves communication between the physical realms and one or more entities from other dimensions. A 'medium' usually is the vehicle that contacts the spirit world. A group of people mentally calling to spirits will create a stronger energy field than one person. It is a sitting organized for the purpose of receiving spirit communications or paranormal manifestations via the services of a medium.

SKEPTIC - In parapsychology, one who insists on ruling out all possible natural causes for a phenomenon before calling it paranormal.

SHADOW MEN - These ghosts usually appear as a shadow normally seen from the corner of your eye or in a mirror. It is difficult to distinguish shadow men from regular shadows on film or in photography, that's why it is important to see if it is possible to recreate the shadow.


SPIRIT - The principle force within a living being. The soul. Also, a supernatural entity.

- Sensory impressions below the threshold of conscious awareness.

SUPERNATURAL - Something that exists or occurs through some means other than any known force in nature. As opposed to paranormal, the term "supernatural" often denotes divine or demonic intervention.

SYNCHRONICITY - Meaningful coincidences that often are mediated by subconscious psi activity. Our intuitive/psi faculty nudges our paths into meaningful intersections in times of need.


TELEKINESIS, PSYCHOKINESIS, LEVITATION - To move an object or your body without physical means. A common theory is that TK works by energy fields (magnetic or electric) or by "waves" of psychic energy that are actually dense enough to push/repel an object or draw it inward. Most people's only encounter with TK is accidental-something mysteriously falls over or objects fly around a room, a phenomena often mistaken for a poltergeist when it may actually be a person with spontaneous telekinetic powers.

TELEPATHY - To know what others are thinking; thought transference including the sending and receiving of thoughts.

TONE HEALING - Your tone of voice affects others by disturbing, catalyzing, soothing, lulling, inspiring and quite often healing them.

TOUCH HEALING - To impart through your hands soothing and healing vibrations of energy.

- To have severe personality shifts.


U.F.O. Unidentified Flying Object – an (apparently) flying object whose nature is unknown; especially those considered to have extraterrestrial origins.

URBAN LEGEND - A story that is too good to be true and takes on a life of its own, usually told from the angle of “this happened to a friend of a friend.” Paranormal urban legends include the vanishing hitchhiker, the devil baby and the hook and the boyfriend’s death.


VORTEX - In photography this is the appearance of a vortex in a photo. It may appear in several shapes. One might resemble a telephone cord, another a twisted Birthday Streamer, ropes, striped ropes, or smooth tubular shapes.


WHITE NOISE - A hiss-like sound, formed by combining all audible frequencies. Often used as a background to EVP recordings.

WITCH - One who follows an Earth-based religious path that may or may not be poly-theistic. Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans. Witches do no worship Satan.

Witching hour A slang term for the time of night when ghosts are the most active, usually placed at between midnight and 3 a.m.


XENOGLOSSY -  The act of speaking in a language ostensibly unknown to the speaker. To be distinguished from glossolalia.