This page is dedicated to terms that are commonly used in the paranormal field.
One of 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 Other World," and "The Other Side." Most ghost hunters avoid specific religious terms such as "heaven" when discussing ghosts, haunting's, and an afterlife.
A living person at the site of a haunting. Some human agents act only as witnesses to paranormal events while others are believed to be the method by which the haunting's occur.
An irregular event which does not fit a standard rule. An anomaly is something which cannot be explained by currently accepted scientific theories. Anything odd, abnormal or difficult to classify is considered an anomaly.
A special image that is sometimes referred to as a ghost, but is recognize it as a person or specific shape. They are usually connected to residual haunting's rather than spirit-related ones.
A physical object that can materialize and appear at will and can include coins, watches, jewelry, and even food. They are spirits that can make things disappear and reappear to make themselves known.
Astral Plane
A world that is believed to exist above our physical world.
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. 
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.
Automatic Writing
A method by spirits and mediums to receive information from the next world. The spirits take control of the medium to write down their message.
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A death omen or spirit that attaches itself to a certain family.
Battlefield Ghosts
Places with violence, trauma and intense emotion are typically subject to haunting's. There are no places more violent than battlefields, and it is rare to hear of a battlefield that isn't haunted. Most battlefield haunting's are residual haunting's where fragments of the battle are replayed over and over again. Other haunting's are from spirits who have not crossed over, most likely because they feel they can't due to the nature of their death. Some believe retro cognition is also an element in battlefield haunting's.
A spirit that is particularly antagonistic toward humans, traveling alone or in a group to cause trouble.
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Calling Ghosts
Ghosts that call out the names of the living to get their attention and lure them to their death. An example would be sirens of mythology.
A modern method of spirit communication where the spirits pass information on to the medium who then repeats the message for the living.
Clairaudience   Receiving the paranormal information through auditory impressions, voices, and whispers. Many psychics are said to receive information from the spirit world in this manner.
Clairoleofactor   To have an extraordinary sense of smell, as if you could smell flowers before they bloom or smell trouble before it occurs or death before it happens.
Clairsentience   The ability to clearly feel yours and/or another's emotions and sensations.
Is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses
Ridding a location of ghostly activity.
Cold Spots
Self-contained patches of cool air strewn about haunted locations. They are thought to be ghosts that cannot fully materialize.
Collective Apparition
A type of ghost sighting that occurs when one or more people see the same apparition.
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Deja Vu
Certain events and experiences seem as if you are re-experiencing the event or situation that has happened at another time. As familiar as the experiences are, you cannot recall nor figure out when they happened.
The sudden disappearance of a person or spirit in full view of witness.
An inferior deity often spoken of in religious text as pure evil. Historically, this term has included deceased individuals. However, since the early 18th century, it usually refers to an evil spirit, sometimes more powerful than man, but less than Deity. Today, we generally do not use this term to indicate a deceased human being. The female demon, very rarely mentioned, is a demoness.
One who studies and practices the art of demonology. An individual who specializes in the removal of evil or demonic forces from a given environment using the art of demonology. One who brings demonic forces out of their slumber to be cast away. Someone who uses the art of demonology to incarnate demons for ones use in battling them.
Direct Writing
Direct writing is when spirits actually write using any means. This can be done by slate writing or by pen and paper.
A word used to describe a spirit, meaning without flesh.
To obtain unknown knowledge or future events from omens. Astrology may be considered divination.
A word simply meaning double images. It is an exact spirit double of a living person. They are opposite in nature.
To be able to find underground water and/or underground minerals.
Dream Communication
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.
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An organic material that was supposed to exude by physical mediums during séances as a way of providing contact with the spirit world that would often take certain shapes.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (E.V.P.)
Voices and/or sounds that are from the dead recorded onto a recorder.
A term described as angry or malicious spirits. Others refer them as earth spirits.
Electro Magnetic Field, or Electro Magnetic Frequency. 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.
EMF Detector
An instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field typically used by paranormal researchers to detect a possible ghost’s magnetic energy.
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.
A conscious, interactive ghost, Any being, including people and ghosts.
Era Cues
The purpose is to use elements like music or objects from the alleged spirits time era to stimulate paranormal activity.
A ritual used by the catholic church to drive out demons or evil spirits from a living person, home, or location.
A shape or a face that is said to have supernaturally appeared on film and cannot be explained away as fraud.
Extra Sensory Perception (E.S.P.)
Paranormal sensing of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch separated into three categories: telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
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Fairies or Faerie's are said to be small, often invisible creatures. They can provide great help or great hindrance to people. The color green is sacred to them and they inhabit trees, hills and valleys. They are frequently also associated with ancient burial mounds or stone circles, similar in many respects to elementals.
Faith Healing
To know that you and others can heal yourselves by simply believing it.
Fireball (Light Ball)
Frequently reported in haunted locations, the fireball or light ball is said to move in a slow and smooth manner. They are also frequently reported near to stretches of water. They are believed by some to be the souls of the departed returning to Earth in order to guide the souls of the newly departed to the next world.
Frank's Box
A device used for contacting spirits through the use of radio frequency. These devices or so called Ghost box also known as Spirit box or Frank's box are used as an electronic medium for the purpose of direct communication with a spirit.
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A state of mild sensory deprivation, characterized by the presentation of homogenous sensory fields. Thus, a person in Ganzfield will have diffusive plastic hemispheres over their eyes while in a dimly red-lit room, be listening to white noise through headphones, and be seated in a comfortable, semi-reclined chair. Its use in parapsychology is based on a noise-reduction model.
Generic term used for a number of different supernatural entities.
Ghost Hunting
Various methods of investigating, reports of ghosts and haunting and determining their authenticity.
Ghost Lights
Strange balls of light that appear in specific locations but have no explanation. Most lights have a story or legend behind them. Usually involving a person who has been beheaded. Then the light is explained as this person searching for their missing head
From the common name for a ghost in Arabic. Nowadays commonly used throughout the World to define a nasty or viscous looking ghost. The ghoul is believed to gain sustenance from eating the flesh of corpses - hence ghoul is often used to describe ghost that haunt graveyards.
These have only appeared in recent times and the word is believed to have originated during WW2 when pilots often reported strange goblin like creatures in the aircraft with them. Gremlins were immortalized by Steven Spielberg in his highly entertaining film of the same name and today hardly a piece of machinery can go wrong without somebody blaming "A gremlin in the works."
Grey Ladies
Said to originate in Tudor times when the dissolution of the monasteries resulted in a great number of monks and nuns being made homeless. Nuns at that time were frequently habited in grey. Many other investigators subscribe to the theory that grey ladies are similar to white ladies, whilst others claim the color is related to the surrounding substance, wood, plaster, stone which may contribute to the ghosts appearance.
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A ghost of the future that brings warning of impending events.
A repeated manifestation of supernatural phenomena in a specific location. The activity may appear as physical apparitions, sights, sounds, smells, or cold areas. Haunting may continue for years or may only last for a brief period of time.
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.
Hot Spot
A site within a haunted location where the activity is prominent and/or energy fields are focused.
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Ghostly activity that appears non conscious and redundant.
Intelligent Haunting
Activity that takes place around people or location that is caused by an intelligent or conscious spirit. Best described as the personality of someone who has died and whose spirit has not crossed. The spirit will interact with the witnesses’ at the location and attempt to make contact or let their presence be known.
Act of knowing without the use of usual rational processes. Based partly on subconscious pattern association of known information, and partly on subconscious impressions.
An electrically charged atom or molecule.
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K2 Meter
A K2 meter is another form of an Electromagnetic field detector that picks up on the energy fields that spirits disturb when they are present in the environment.
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The rising of a physical person or object without assistance.
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.
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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.
The sudden appearance of a person or object in front of witnesses.
A person who channels a spirit, or through whom a spirit or entity communicates. 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.
A Photographed anomaly that appears as a blanket of light. There is no substantial proof that these are related to paranormal phenomenon.
A traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation. Especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
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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.
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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.
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).
Round, opaque lights that are captured on film and believed to be spirits, or some sort of paranormal activity. Although there is no scientific proof that orbs are in fact spirits.
Ouija Board
A piece of wood bearing the letters of the alphabet that is used as a "toy" to make contact with the spirit world. Sitters place their fingers lightly on the planchette where the spirits can spell out messages on the board. This method of contacting spirits is very dangerous...
Do Not Attempt!
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A word meaning "unknown" or beyond the normal. Events that are unexplainable.
Literally beyond psychology. The study of apparent new means of communication, or interaction, between organisms and their environment (commonly referred to as PSI, or psychic ability), beyond those presently understood by the scientific community.
Past Life Recall
To remember or have mental flashbacks about living in another century.
Is defined as an object mounted so that it can swing freely under the influence of gravity. It is also a tool many Mediums use to keep in contact with their spirit guides. A circle answer means "yes", a toward you, and away from you motion means "no", diagonally means "maybe", and side to side means "I don't know."
Another name for ghost or spirits referred to as have been seen wearing cloaks or robes.
Phantom Animals
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.
The word means "noisy ghost." It is actually referred to as the traditional ghost and haunting's. It can be used to describe the work of a human agent. Example Knocking and movements of objects.
Possessed Objects
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.

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.
Pre-knowing; where nondeductible information about a future event is acquired.
To be able to predict future events before they occur.
Objects, rituals, routines, tactics, or processes through which you guard yourself against psychic, demonic or paranormal intrusions and effects.
A general term for para psychological phenomena that includes informational (RV, ESP) and energetic (PK) effects. Psi, or Y, is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet.
A word used to describe a person who is allegedly sensitive beyond the normal means. Such a person may be able to see and hear things that are not available to most people.
Psycho Kinesis
The ability to move physical objects using only the power of the mind.
The ancient practiced art of foretelling future events by the appearance of ghosts or spirits and what their manifestation means to the living.
To touch an object with your hands and get information about the object, it's creator, its owner, or its history.
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Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP)
Receiving the voice of a deceased human being through a regular radio.
Refers to sound occurring at a location that is experiencing a haunting are supposedly one of the earliest forms of spirit communications. Mediums and spirits work out in code from questions being asked and answered.
Reciprocal Apparition
A rare type of ghost sighting. When both the spirit and the human witness see and respond to one another.
Concept that the soul returns after death to a new body. Explanation of past lives.
Remote Viewing (RV)
Ability to access distant or shielded information primarily of visual character, such as natural or structural features, via an unknown mental process. RV can include other sensory modes, such as feelings, motion, or sound. Some individuals associate specific approaches, or protocols, with RV. Other similar terms: remote perception, enhanced perception, extrasensory perception (ESP).
Residual Energy
Many paranormal investigators believe that emotionally charged events can leave an imprint or energy residue on the physical objects or places 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.

Residual Haunting
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 spirit is seen or heard performing a repetitive action—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 electro magnetically 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.
Displacement in time in which one apparently sees into the past.
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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.
A sitting that is held for the purpose of communication with the dead. At least one person in the circle is preferred to be a medium.
Shadow People   Shadow people are a kind of supernatural phenomenon reported by some individuals. Alleged eyewitness accounts of shadow people are fairly consistent. They are usually described as vaguely humanoid in shape, (but not always as they can be just a black moving mass), lacking any discernible features such as mouths or eyes, are completely black with little or no mass, and disintegrate or move into walls when noticed.
A word used to describe the faces and shapes that are often reported in photographs and every other kind of inanimate object including doors, buildings, clouds, trees, and bushes.
Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which people, either when falling asleep or wakening; temporarily experience an inability to move.
Another word for ghost.
A sudden and unexplainable jump on an Electro Magnetic Field Detector (EMF) causing it to quickly rise and fall or "peg" the meter.
A discarnate being, or ghost that exists in an invisible realm.
Spirit Board
The chosen communications board of mediums. While very similar in the "purpose" of a Ouija Board, its construction is what sets it apart from the Ouija. All materials in the making of a spirit board are natural. Also, during every step in the making of this board, every square inch of the board is blessed.
Spirit Guide
Often confused with a "Guardian Angel" a spirit guide is an invisible entity that stays with a person throughout their life. Every person has at least one spirit guide.
Spirit Photography
Legitimate attempts to capture ghosts and paranormal energy on film and also for the work of fraudulent photographers during the spiritual era.
Events or happenings that take place in violation of the laws of nature, usually associated with ghosts and haunting's.
Meaningful coincidences that often are mediated by subconscious psi activity. Our intuitive/psi faculty nudges our paths into meaningful intersections in times of need.
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Any object believed by the wearer or carrier to have the power to protect the owner from death or evil spirits. Talismans are also ascribed the power to bring good fortune, wealth or good health.
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.
To move an object without physical means, usually by thought.
An ability to read the minds and know the thoughts of other people, either close by or frequently at great distances.
The appearances, disappearance or movement of human bodies and physical objects through closed doors or over some amount of distance using paranormal means
An altered state of consciousness described as being somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. In this state mediums claim to be able to use their bodies or minds as a channel for waiting spirits or even healing energies.
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Urban Legend
An apocryphal, secondhand story told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific, embarrassing, ironic, or exasperating series of events that supposedly happened to a real person.
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The center of spiritual energy, where it is focused or concentrated. Usually accompanied by cold spots, electromagnetic disturbances, and increased paranormal activity.

Since the time of Descartes, this has indicated the rotation of cosmic energy around a central point or axis. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the word "vortex" has meant any whirling movement of energy or particles.

Some people use this term to explain lines or narrow cylinders that appear highlighted in ghost photos.

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An ancient custom thought to originate in Ireland, of sitting and watching over the dead whilst consuming large amounts of alcohol. This tradition is thought to help the spirit of the deceased in their journey into the spirit world. The practice of watching the body is done to prevent the dead body being entered by an evil spirit. The noise of music, singing and dancing at wakes also helps to scare evil spirits away.
Used wrongly by many writers to describe a male witch. Many such witches would find such a term insulting as in times past the word also described a traitor.
White Ladies
Are seen throughout the British Isles. Traditionally, they haunt castles, mansions and old halls. A large percentage also frequent water and are seen on bridges or near to open stretches of still or slow moving water.
White Noise
An Acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band.
A person, normally a woman who practices witchcraft. There are many forms of witches. Most worship nature and call upon gods of fertility to help them with their undertakings. Witches are normally forbidden to tell anyone what they are, or how they practice their art, believing silence is power and power brings knowledge. Modern witches would not use their powers to harm people, instead choosing to help and promote spiritual awareness and greater wisdom of life than what is obviously apparent.
A person, usually male possessed with amazing abilities and well versed in the art of magic. Many male witches prefer this title to the perhaps more mundane Warlock.
An Apparition that is generally supposed to be an omen of death.
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Zener Cards
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.