These are definitions of words that paranormal researchers use most. We have added them for you so you can understand the terms we use most.


  A means by which something is done or caused. A force or substance that causes a change. An agent in paranormal research is usually a person who unknowingly causes poltergeist activity (poltergeist activity seems to be between the categories of ghost and psi (the term applied to unusual abilities of human origin such as ESP/psychokinesis/etc.. and investigating "exceptional human experiences" such as out of body and apparitional experiences).

  A typically benevolent celestial being that acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, especially in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. An Angel is a spiritual or celestial being sent to earth to relay a message to a person, serve as a protector or help them in their transition into the afterlife.

    Anomalous Experience:
  A term referring to unusual experiences that cannot be explained in terms of current scientific knowledge.

    Anomalous Phenomena: 
  Natural phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of current scientific knowledge.

  One that is peculiar, irregular, abnormal, or difficult to classify.
An irregular image that appears on photos, video, or digital media. [See "Orb", "Ectoplasm", Vortex", and "Apparition" for more info.]

  An unusual appearing ghostly figure. A ghostly figure; a specter. Spirit energy that is usually seen in the form of the entity that has passed. Some psychics, mediums and clairvoyants see them on a regular basis. Catching an apparition on film is what every ghost hunter aspires to do. They show up in a transparent human form and usually wear the clothing of their period. Also note that people have been known to see animal apparitions also.

    Astral Projection:
  An out-of-body experience.

  An invisible breath, emanation, or radiation.
A distinctive but intangible quality that seems to surround a person or thing; atmosphere.
It's believed that everything and everyone has an auric field around them. These can often be seen by those who are clairvoyant.
In Kirlian photography when the film is developed, an aura like a halo of colors can be seen around the object or person. The colors in the photographs belie show several factors such as stress, ill health in living organisms, and the state of your soul. It is analogous to Spiritual Healing which can also be felt but not seen. Example: See The Spirit Research Society Matt Ferrell's Auric photo here. [Also see "Kirlian Photography" for more info.]

  To establish the authenticity of; prove genuine.
The verification of facts and details surrounding an occurrence of paranormal phenomenon. This can be independent statements from witnesses, written documentation, or other corroborative evidence supporting the report made by the subject concerning their experience and the events to which was apparently related.

    Automatic Writing:
  This is when you write something without being aware of the contents. Some people use this method to receive messages from Spirit.

  To exist in actuality; have life or reality. The state or quality of having existence, a living entity.

  When a medium apparently allows a spirit to communicate through them.

  The supposed power to hear things outside the range of normal perception.
Auditory form of ESP (compare with Clairvoyance).

  The supposed power to feel or smell things outside the range normally perceived by the senses.
Physical sensations (or smell) form of ESP. (compare with Clairvoyance).

  The supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses.
Acute intuitive insight or perceptiveness.
A subset of ESP. The viewing of distant scenes not apparent to the eye, may appear externally - either replacing the normal visual scene (visions) or being incorporated into it (as could be the case with apparitions) - or internally, in the form of mental imagery and intuition.

  The act of eliminating ghostly phenomena from a location.

  A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.
An occurrence, within a short space of time, of two or more meaningfully related events and without any apparent causal connection between them. Coincidences are sometimes bizarre and extraordinarily improbable.

    Cold Spot:
  An area or place that for an unknown reason seems to be cooler than the surrounding areas. Paranormal investigators usually use thermometers to detect the fluctuations of temperature in a location.

    Collective Apparition:
  This is when more than one person sees a phenomenon at the same time & location. Collective apparitions are good in proving that what was seen was really there, and wasn't just the person's mind playing tricks on them, since more than one person saw it.

  In mediumship, a message purported to be from a discarnate entity.

  A discarnate entity from whom the medium receives messages. See also drop-in communicator.

    Crisis Apparition:
  An apparition that's usually seen by a person when he/she is at the point of death or is the victim of a serious illness or injury. Also apparitions that are seen in places of traumatic events (Like battlefields) are known to be called Crisis Apparitions. 

    Daemon (Daimon)
  A guardian spirit who communicates inspiration and advice. See also guardian angel.

  The act of dying; termination of life. The termination or extinction of something.
Generally understood to be the extinction of an organism's life. Many doctrines assert some form of mental or spiritual survival of physical death.

    Deathbed Experience:
  A dying person's awareness of the presence of dead friends or relatives.

  To deprive of or lose apparent physical substance; make or become immaterial. To suddenly disappear. Example: an object or spirit.

  An evil supernatural being; a devil. An evil spirit or being which is said to have not ever lived on earth in human form.

  The study of demons.

  The paranormal movement of objects out of a secure enclosed space.

    Discarnate Entity:
  A spirit or non-material entity. Often used to refer to the personality of a deceased individual.

    Disembodied Voice:
  A voice or sound heard or recorded that comes from no physical body or known source. [Also see "Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)" for more on capturing voices of Spirit on recordings.]

  A spiritual or ghostly double or counterpart; an apparitional double of a living person. A mirror image or double of a person. 

    Drop-In Communicator:
  An uninvited communicator who 'drops in at a sitting.

  An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost. A semi-fluid substance exuded by a physical medium from which materializations may form. Ecto is also what we call the smoky mist like substance we capture on film that we believe to be spirit energy.

    Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) Meter/Detector:
  Also called a gauss or magnetometer, these let you know the Electro Magnetic Field readings in an area. The presence of spirit has been known to often produce/disturb electro magnetic energy in the area. Lots of things throw off EMF's though (Lamps, TV's, etc

    Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP):
  This is the capturing of disembodied voices on audio devices.

    Elemental Spirit:
  A lesser spirit bound to the fundamentals of nature (earth, wind, water, and fire).

  A real being, whether in thought or in fact; being; essence; existence.
A disembodied or preternatural spirit. 

  See "Electronic Voice Phenomena".

  A religious or quasi-religious right to drive out evil spirits. [Also see "Possession" for more info.]

  A test carried out under controlled conditions. A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried.

    Extra Sensory Perception (ESP):
  Communication or perception by means other than the physical senses.
The ability to gain knowledge through means other than the five physical senses or logical inference.

    Focal Person:
  Person who is at the center of poltergeist activity. [Also see "Poltergeist" for more info.] 

  People tend to put Ghost and Spirit in the same category and definition even with The Spirit Research Society we have found ourselves switching back and forth from Ghost to Spirit when talking about them because they both basically get the same idea across.. But most paranormal researchers distinguish the two by these definitions:

  A Ghost usually refers to a residual energy of a person, animal,      or even an inanimate object that has been imprinted in the location, only to be played over and over again like a recording in time. Unlike Spirits, Ghosts don't seem to interact. [See "Spirit" for more info.] When a person has preformed events over and over again in a location they tend to leave a psychic impression on the area, which sometimes stays in the location long after that person has passed on. Traumatic events in a location may also leave a strong psychic impression on the area (Like people seeing soldiers fighting battles on battlefields, etc.)

    Ghost Hunter/Investigator:
  A person or group who tries to record evidence of spirit or ghosts. This may be done by means of photography, video, EMF (Electro Magnetic Field)/Thermo readings, trying to capture EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) on recordings, and other means.

    Ghost Hunt/Investigation:
  A ghost hunt is an attempt to capture spirit activity in a location not known to be haunted. A ghost investigation is an attempt to capture spirit activity usually at a location already known, or presumed to be haunted.

  To inhabit, visit, or appear to in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.
This can be sounds of activity, objects being moved, sightings of apparitions, etc. in a location when no one is there physically.

    Hot Spot:
  An area or place where frequent paranormal activity occurs, such as hauntings.

  The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief. An appearance that leads the person to draw mistaken conclusions.

  The use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas. The ability to perceive images in the mind. These may be visual, auditory, tactile, etc.

  Endless life or existence. The belief that some aspect of personal existence survives death. 

  A spirit supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep.

    Indirect Voice Phenomena (IVP):
  Phenomenon in which an entity appears to speak using the vocal apparatus of a living person. Often the voice will sound very different from the person’s normal voice. [Also see "Direct Voice Phenomena (DVP)" for more info.]

  A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing something without the use of normal senses.

  To rise or cause to rise into the air and float in apparent defiance of gravity.
This is a form of telekinetic activity, sometimes associated with poltergeist type hauntings. It is when a person or object is raised off of the ground and sometimes thrown by an unseen force.

    Luminous Phenomena:
  The experience of strange lights or glows, often around objects or people. [Also see "Aura" for more info.]

  To cause to become real or actual; To cause to become materialistic. The appearance of spirits in material form.

  A devotional exercise of or leading to contemplation. Meditation is the process of relaxing, emptying your mind of all thought or reaching a different state of consciousness. Meditation can aid in spiritual development and/or inner peace. There are many types of meditation.

  A person who professes to be able to communicate with spirits.
A person thought to have the power to communicate with spirits of the dead or with agents of another world or dimension.

  Activity of a medium.

    Mental Mediumship:
  The paranormal obtaining of information by a medium.

  An anomaly (not usually seen at the time with the naked eye) that appears on photos/videos as a "cloud of smoke" thought to be Spirit energy, also called Ecto [See Ecto/Ectoplasm for more info.]

    Near-Death Experience (NDE):
  The out-of-body and other experiences people report having when they are close to death.
Events within NDE include: An Out-of-body Experience (OBE), life review, a tunnel experience, encounters with spirit guides, seeing dead relatives or friends, a moment of decision (or being told) to turn back.

  The practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future. A form of prophecy, in which the seer or sorcerer/sorceress raises the spirit 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.

    Objective Apparitions:
  Apparitions or phenomena that appear independent of our minds, thoughts, or feelings.

 Of, relating to, or dealing with supernatural influences, agencies, or phenomena.

  A sphere or spherical object. Something of circular form; a circle or an orbit. A sphere of energy looking like "balls of light." The Orb theory is represented by the soul of a departed person. It is theorized by many that an orb is a spirit that has a willingness to stay. True orbs have different appearances, sizes and more than one type and colors exist. The human spirit or ghost type Orb are usually the most seen. At times they contain figures and/or faces. They can be completely transparent or display themselves in a bright solid form. The consensus is that small orbs take up the least amount of energy and apparitions and other fuller shapes take up the most. They are also known as ball of lights or ghost lights.

    Out-of-Body Experience (OBE or OOBE):
  The experience that the self is in a different location than the physical body.

  Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation. Above or outside the natural order of things as presently understood.

    Paranormal Dream:
  Dreams in which the dream imagery provides paranormal knowledge (e.g., ESP or precognition). [Also see "Announcing dream" and "Lucid Dreaming" for more info.]

  The branch of science that studies psychic phenomena. The study of the evidence for psychological phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and psycho kinesis, that are inexplicable by science.

    Past-Life Memories:
  Mental images that are believed to be memories of previous lives.

    Past-Life Regression:
  A technique of hypnosis involving regressing people to supposed previous lives. [Also see "Reincarnation" and "Past-life Memories" for more info.]

  Having the power of perceiving, especially perceiving keenly and readily. A person who sees (i.e., perceives) an apparition or ghost.

  A phantom or an apparition. Also called phantasma. [Also see "Apparition" for more info.]

  The Fear of Ghosts.

  An approach to research that aims to describe and clarify a person's own experience and understanding of an event or phenomenon. A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.

  A ghost/spirit that manifests itself by noises, rapping’s, and the creation of disorder. Poltergeist, German for "noisy spirit", seems to be between the categories of ghost and psi (the term applied to unusual abilities of human origin such as ESP and psycho kinesis and investigating "exceptional human experiences" such as out of body and apparitional experiences). As the name suggests, they are noisy, often throwing objects around, pinching and prodding residents and generally disrupting the residence. They may not be "mean" or "evil" just active, wanting to let people know they're there.

  The state of being possessed. The complete control by an entity of the body of a living person.

  The ability to predict things beyond present knowledge. Knowledge of something in advance of its occurrence, especially by extrasensory perception; clairvoyance.

  A presentiment of the future; a foreboding. A warning in advance; a forewarning. A forewarning of a future event.

  The state or fact of being present; current existence or occurrence. A supernatural/paranormal influence felt to be nearby. The feeling that an unseen person, spirit or being is nearby.

  Parapsychological phenomena or abilities considered as a group. A letter in the Greek alphabet that denotes psychic phenomena.

  A person with above average ESP abilities. Capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy.

    Psychic Impression:
  Energy left in an area that can later be "played back" like a recording in time. Psychic Impressions left in an area are not interactive and are often associated with a haunting, called "Residual Hauntings". [See our "Types of Spirit" page for more on Residual Hauntings.]

    Psychical Research:
  A term coined in the late 19th century to refer to the scientific study of the paranormal. Now largely known as 'parapsychology'.

    Psychic Photography:
  General term used to refer to paranormal photographic images

    Psychokinesis (PK):
  The power of the mind to affect matter without physical contact. The production or control of motion, especially in inanimate and remote objects, purportedly by the exercise of psychic ability.

  ESP of events associated with inanimate objects. The ability or art of divining information about people or events associated with an object solely by touching or being near to it.

    Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP):
  Receiving the voice of a deceased human over a regular radio. [For more info on hearing spirit voices see "Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)".]

  The name given to unexplained knocking sounds associated with physical mediumship and poltergeist activity. [Also see "Haunting" for more info.]

    Raudive Voices:
  Intelligible voices recorded on magnetic tape under conditions of silence or white noise which are heard only when the tape is played. A phenomenon discovered by Konstantin Raudive. [Also see "Electronic Voice Phenomena" for more info.]

  To receive or comprehend. To attribute a certain interpretation or meaning to. To have the ability to examine and grasp the meaning of. Information given to a person by a psychic or medium.

    Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK):
  A technical term for poltergeist activity.

  A statistical technique that enables predictions to be made from a set of data. A technique used in hypnosis, involving suggesting to hypnotized persons that they are returning to an earlier time. Sometimes the regression occurs spontaneously, without suggestion. [Also see "Past-life Regression" for more info.].

  A reappearance or revitalization in another form; a new embodiment. The rebirth of a soul into a new body.

    Remote Viewing:
  An ESP procedure in which a percipient attempts to become aware psychically of the experience of a person, event, of other info located at a distant, unknown target location.

  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 (crystal ball, a pool of ink or deep water) or on an area which shows random patterns (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.

  A meeting of people to receive spiritualistic messages. A group of people who gather in an effort to communicate with the dead. 

  Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses; Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others. A person who frequently experiences ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). [See "Extra Sensory Perception (ESP)" for more info.]

    Shadow People:
  Spirits or ghosts which are usually black in appearance and have no discernible features. People usually see them out of the corner of their eye, and have also been known to be captured on film.

  Paranormal ability to assume the form of another person, an animal or other entity. 

    Sixth Sense:
  Grasping the inner nature of things intuitively. An ability of perception seemingly independent of the five senses (touch, smell, sight, feeling, taste); keen intuition. [Also see "Extra Sensory Perception (ESP)" for more info.]

  One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions. A person inclined to discount the reality of the paranormal and to be critical of parapsychological research. Generally seeks rational or scientific explanations for the phenomenon.

  The spiritual element of a person, generally believed to be immortal. [Also see "Ba" and "Spirit" for more info.]

An unusual appearing ghostly figure or image. A ghostly apparition; a phantom. A haunting or disturbing image or prospect.

  People tend to put Ghost and Spirit in the same category and definition, even at The Spirit research Society we have found ourselves switching back and forth from Ghost to Spirit when talking about them because they both basically get the same idea across.. But most paranormal researchers distinguish the two by these definitions: A Spirit refers to an actual living essence, or soul, of a person that has remained after their physical body has died which usually still retains the entities traits and personality and can communicate with the living, unlike Ghosts which tend to just be psychic impressions left in an area, or "recordings" of time in a location that don't seem to interact and are played over and over. [See "Ghost" for more info.]

    Spirit Guide:
  A spiritual being who is assigned to a particular person to assist them in their spiritual or life journey. It is said that each person can have more than one spirit guide. These guides can be highly evolved spirits of people who have lived before.

    Spirit Photography:
  Capturing evidence of spirit on film. Spirit photographs, when developed, show anomalies that were not seen at the time the photo was taken. Examples include orbs, vortexes, ecto/mists and, on a more rare scale, apparitions.

    Spiritualism (Spiritism):
  The belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium. A belief system that spirits of the dead can (and do) communicate with living humans in the material world.

    Spontaneous Cases:
  Paranormal phenomena that occur in everyday life, unsought and unexpected.

    Subjective Paranormal Experience (SPE):
  Or Subjective Psi Experience. An experience that the person who has it believes to be paranormal.

    Subliminal Perception:
  Perceiving without conscious awareness.

  A female spirit supposed to descend upon and has sexual intercourse with a man while he sleeps.

    Supercharged Orb:
  These are orbs that tend to leave long streaks behind them, probably from them moving so fast. Watch for light sources in the area though.. Moving the camera around quickly will usually produce streaks of light on the photo of whatever light sources are present. Keep your camera steady and try not to move it around too much. If the rest of the photo is clear (as in the camera was being shaken around a lot) and there weren't any light sources in the area of the streaks of light, Yet you get them in your photo, You may have caught some super charged orbs. [Example photo of this: Linda and Betty's Anomaly in St. Augustine, Florida.]

  Of or relating to existence outside the natural world. Something that exists or occurs through some means other than any known force in nature. As opposed to paranormal, the term "supernatural" often connotes divine or demonic intervention.

  The belief that some aspect of the person (e.g., consciousness, mind, personality, soul) lives on after death of the body.

  Paranormal movement of objects. The ability to move something by thinking about it without the application of physical force.

  The direct passing of information from one mind to another. The sympathetic affection of one mind by the thoughts, feelings, or emotions of another at a distance, without communication through the ordinary channels of sensation.

  A hypothetical method of transportation in which matter or information is dematerialized, usually instantaneously, at one point and recreated at another. A kind of paranormal transportation in which an object is moved from one distinct location to another, often through a solid object such as a wall.

  An instrument that takes instant temperature changes. Used in ghost research to detect cold or warm spots and temperature fluctuations in an area.

    Thought Form:
  An apparition produced by the power of the human mind.

  A dissociated state of consciousness, generally involving reduced awareness of surroundings and external events.

    Trance Medium:
  A person who enters a state of trance in order to produce mediumistic phenomena.

    Transpersonal Psychology:
  The study of experiences, beliefs and practices that suggest that the sense of self can extend beyond our personal or individual reality. The subject matter of transpersonal psychology overlaps to some extent with parapsychology, but the two disciplines tend to have different approaches and emphases. Parapsychology is primarily concerned to investigate evidence for and against the reality of paranormal phenomena. Transpersonal psychology, on the other hand, is more interested in investigating the transpersonal significance of such phenomena. 

    Vortex (Vortices):
  A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it. A photographed anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image (sometimes creating a shadow) that is not seen at the time of the photograph that is thought to represent spirit. Other theories include; a collection of orbs, a 'gateway' to where orbs originate or travel to or a wormhole in time-space. Sometimes camera straps in the way of the lens can produce what looks like a vortex, so to not have false evidence it's best to remove you camera strap.

    Warm Spot:
  An area or place that for an unknown reason seems to be warmer than the surrounding areas. Paranormal investigators usually use thermometers to detect the fluctuations of temperature in a location.

    White Noise:
  Acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band. A hiss-like sound, formed by compiling all audible frequencies.



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