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This page contains definitions and reference material which
every paranormal researchers should know. 
We hope you find them both enjoyable as well as informative.



"Messenger of God", a celestial being, benevolent in nature and if visible, appearing in human form and possessing miraculous abilities such as teleportation, healing powers and knowledge of future events.


An occurance or condition removed from an ordinarily understood experience.


The projection of manifestiation of a quasi-physical entity.


In parapsychology, false evidence of paranormal phenomena, due to some extraneous normal influence.


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: (Aura-World):

A reflection of our own sphere of existence, composed of the electromagnetic emanations of physical matter and probably influenced by throught and emotion.  This usually surrounds all living things and can be seen by gifted humans.

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.


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.


Formal ceremonial procedure effecting to cast an invisible presence or influence out from an area.  This term can refer either to a spiritual cleansing or the closing of a portal.


Omen spirits of Scotland or Ireland.  A female spirit in Gaelic folklore believed to presage by wailing a death in a family.

Bogey: (Bogey-Man):

A grim spectral figure who delights in menacing mortals with rather gruesome pranks and abductions.  Dreaded in Celtic religions and said to prowl fields, marshes and moors looking for hikers and travelers who stray from the path.


Case Study:

An in-depth investigation of an individual subject.  ParaHaunt refers to their case studies as Paranormal Investigations.


A Brazilian spiritist religion.

Cerebral Anoxia:

Lack of oxygen to the brain, often causing sensory distortions and hallucinations. Sometimes used to explain features of the near-death experience.  


Receiving messages and inspiration from discarnate entites.


A group of people who hold seances.  ParaHaunt usually engages in this practice when nesessary.


The 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 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.

Collective Apparition:

A rare type of sighting in which more than one person sees the same apparition or phenomena.


Using trickery to simulate paranormal effects, generally for the purpose of entertainment.

Construct Psychic:

It has been theorised, and experimentation has been conducted to support this premise, that through directed psychic energies a responsive spirit-like entity can be created, continuing for a time to exist independently.

Cleansing: (also Psychic Cleansing):

A less ritualized form of exorcism, where-in a dwelling or site is purified and manevolent influences are banished through prayers, spoken as the petitoner moves through the subject location.


A group of witches.


The branch of paranormal research which deals with the exploration of legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, lake and sea monsters, thunderbirds, etc...  It should be noted that Giant Squid, Komodo Dragons and gigantic Nepalese elephants were all formerly included in the roster of fabled creatures.


Words spoken or written in order to influence others paranormally, causing them harm.



Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin, which some believe to be "fallen (from grace) angels".  Wiccan's may refer to these as 'angry spirits'.


The paranormal detection of underground water or mineral deposits (or lost persons and objects) using a divining rod or pendulum.


A Celtic priest of the Bronze or Iron Age, trained in healing, divination and astronomy, whose tradition was passed on to successors by oral tradition.



A filmy, quasi-solid substance which supposedly issues from the bodies of mediums during trance states.  In photographs, this phenomenon seems to resemble soaked muslin fabric.  No ectoplasm has been reported or observed in since the 1950's, and then in question.


In magical tradition and ceremony, spirits which govern the four corners of the Earth and are associated with , or reside within, the four basic elements.  they are called Sylphs (the East, air), Salamanders (the South, fire), Undines (the West, water) and Gnomes (the North, Earth).

Empath: (Empathy):

An individual who is particularly sensative to the psychic emanations of his or her surroundings, even to a degree of telepathically receiving and experiencing the emotions of others in their proximity. 

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP):

Refers to noises and voices which are recorded onto an audio recorder device using either digital or iron oxide tape recorders.  During the recording, these voices are not heard until playback.

ElectroMagnetic Field Meter:

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 a ghost, spirit, or (if of an apparently malicious or resentful nature) demon.


The summoning of (often evil) spirits using a magical incantation or ritual.


Ceremonial expulsion of invading spiritual/demonic entities from a person or dwelling, present in virtually every worldly culture.  The Jewish and Catholic Christian faiths each have a formal 'Rite of Exorcism' to be conducted by the respective Rabbi or Priest.

Extra Sensory Perception (ESP):

Communication or perception by means other than the physical senses.


Life forms originating on planets (or moons) other than our own.  This term usually refers to highly advanced visitors from other worlds who journey to our sphere in space crafts with the probable intention of observing and studying our species.



A spectral double of a living person.

Floating Orb:

Spherical image, usually translucent white, thought sometimes of a reddish or bluish hue.  Inexplicably, these images register on photographic film, videotape or any sort of infrared video camera.  Some may contain images of faces or animals.  They move with purpose and intelligent intent, frequently moving against wind currents and other external forces.

Focal Person:

Person who is at the centre of poltergeist activity, usually a child.

Fortean Phenomena:

Strange phenomena, especially those which challenge conventional scientific knowledge. Named after the American researcher and writer Charles Fort. Fortean phenomena include those generally considered paranormal, but also bizarre non-paranormal events such as monsters and prodigies, extraordinary coincidences, and unusual rains.



The image of a person witnessed after his/her death, reflecting the appearance of the living, physical body yet less substantial.  These forms often seem to exist in a deam-like state of semi-awareness, at times thought not always cognizant of their human observers.  Also defined as the visual manifestation of a soul, spirit, life force or life energy.

Ghost Hunting:

A carefully controlled research project in which various methods and equipment are used to investigate reports of ghosts and hauntings.


Unintelligible speech generally uttered in a dissociated or trance state. Also known as "speaking in tongues".


Name given to a subject in a psi test who does not believe in the phenomenon.


A rare anomaly seen in videotape recordings at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as bright white or yellowish lines which rapidly move across a room.  Also referred to as Vortex.

Guide: (Spirit Guide):

A spirit who is believed to assist a person's spiritual journey.  See also angel. 


Halloween: (also Hallowe'en):

'The Eve of All Hallows', as known by Pagan Celts and Wiccans as 'Samhain' (pronounced 'Sow'-an).  October 31st, the night preceeding the Catholic Church's 'All Saints Day'.  Throughout history, in much of Europe and the British Isles, this was held to be the night when departed relatives were expecially remembered.  Jack-o-Lanterns, carved from pumpkins or gourds, were placed on stoops and window-sills to frighten off malicious spirits.  Halloween is presently celebrated as a night of revels and masquerading.  In Mexico it is part of a traditional annual festival known as "El Dia De Los Muertos" ('The Day Of The Dead').


The manifestation of a ghostly presence, or presences, attached to a specific location.  Catagorized in 4 distinct types which include: Intelligent (responsive), Poltergeist (child or mentally ill spirit), Residual (replay, non-responsive), and Demonic (non-human origin).

Hellhound / Black Shuc:

A spectral death omen in the form of a ghostly dog.


A magical working, or "spell", cast to influence a person's will or fate.  This is most often refering to a curse rather than a blessing or healing in Wiccan tradition.


An Hawaiian religious practice involving clarvoyance, precognition, healing, miracles and magic.



A rendering or image of particular (often religious) significance.

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.


Various beliefs based on the assumption that some aspect of personal existence survives death.


Non-paranormal knowledge that is gained through a perceptive insight.


In the Wiccan calendar, February 2nd is celebrated as the day when winter's end is in sight and the return of the sun's warmth is anticipated.  Very similar to Ground Hog's Day.  Also known as 'Candlemas'.


Stemming from medieval lore, a demonic entity capable of sexually arousing and sometimes assaulting human females.  Accounts of this have been historically documented suggesting credence to the myth.


Repeated and persistent paranormal phenomena, generally centered around a particular location or person (s). 


An invisible entity of undetermined nature effecting the inhabitants of a dwelling or local.  This may initially manifest as an inexplicable feeling of uneasiness, then followed by more definate signs which lead to a haunting.  With respect to Demonic entities, this is one of the first steps of possession.


Jersey Devil:

In the Pine Barrens region of Northern New Jersey and New York, for more than two and a half centuries, there have been reports of a strange and sigular creature described as having an equine head, glowing reddish eyes, stork's legs, forelimbs with claw-bearing paws, a unique scream, and has been sighted rifling through garbage, standing in paths and roads and flying just above tree tops.  Only one photo of the creature exists which has fueled documentaries and study.


Hindu and Buddhist ethical doctrine of "as one sows, so shall one reap".

Kirlian Photography:

Named after Semyon Kirlian who in 1939 discovered (by accident) that when organic or nonliving object is placed upon a photograhic plate and subjected to a high electric current, a glowing "aura" forms around the object and is imprinted on the film.  His finds are used in current medical diagnostic devices today.  One off-shoot of his study became the 'mood ring'. 


In Yogic belief, a source of tremendous vital energy that may be stimulated by various practices. Kundalini, or the "Serpent Power", is believed to provide energy for paranormal phenomena.



Spiritual manifestation.  A ghost which has the appearance of a solid, living person who may even converse with someone, then suddenly vanish.  Such apparitions are most often reported to have been encountered within, or immediately outside of cemeteries.


A phenomenon sometimes encountered in hauntings, particularly with Poltergeists.  Rare yet credibly reported, solid objects, including persons, are moved and lifted by an unseen force.  The first historically documented occurance was that of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th Century.


Devil of Sumerian origin and later included in Hebrew beliefs.  Believed by some occultists to be a vampire goddess and a powerful succubus.


Collective beliefs and legendry relating to a subject, as in "Vampire Lore" for example.


Name taken from the latin "Luci" (light) and "Fere" (to bear).  Originally a Roman lesser deity, "Son of the Morning", formerly the name for the planet Venus when observed at dawn.  Christian theology identified name with the Devil: Arch regent of fallen angels.  Lucifer is sometimes called upon in Pagan ceremonies and rituals.

Luminous Phenomena:

The experience of strange lights or glows, often around objects or people.


A person who projects a frenzied display of their innate savagery for periodic episodes, believing themselves to be overcome by the spirit of a beast or entity.



The practice of directing psychic ability or "supernatural" forces to effect changes and fulfill desires.  Many modern practitioners have adopted the archaic spelling of 'magick' in the tradition of author and occultist, Aleister Crowley (1871-1947).

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.


A sacred sound or sacred syllables used in meditation.


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.


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.  ParaHaunt has debunked a few in our day, we are proud to say.


Said to have been institited by Aristotle, the line of philosophical thought which seeks the "why and wherefore", the intrisic meaning of existence and human endeavor.


A wonderous and beneficial event apparently brought about by a supernatural event or a devine intervention.


A ghost or entity appearing visually, suddenly or gradually, sometimes indistinct, sometimes seemingly quite solid.


The natural tendancy for the human mind to interpret sensory input, what is perceived visually, audibly or tactiley as something familiar or more easily understood and accepted, in effect 'filling in the blanks'.

Moon Madness:

As the Lunar cycle waxes to its full point, incidents of psychotic behavior, violence and crime seem to escalate.  To a lesser degree, the phase of the New Moon seems correlated to a rash of abnormal behavior.  Current understanding of human psychology and phychology and physiology refutes the observation that our moon can exert significant influence on the human mind 'though statistics support it'.  "Lunatic" is a term taken from this point of view refering to someone who is crazy because of the unseen influence of the particular cycle of the moon.


Native American Indian spirit which behaves in the same manner as a Poltergeist.


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. 


The practice of communicating with the dead to obtain knowledge of the future, others' secrets, etc...  An archaic term, the Necromancer was said to employ magic spells and conjuration to summon, then banish the spirits of the dead.

Necronomicon (also Necronomicon Spellbook):

A collection of ancient sigils and incantations of nebulous origins discovered in the 8th century by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, said to be capable of opening a chasm to the "Dread Dimension" and unleasing the wrathful power of the timeless "Elder Gods". 


The transitional, or joining point, connecting physical matter and pure energy and containing properties of both definites.  This concept is the basis for much conjecture and postulating.


Slavic old world term for Vampire meaning "Undead".



A prophet, seer and visionary, especially one of renown.  Also a special device which aids in prognostication such as a crystal ball.

Oui-ja (Oui-ja Board):

A divining implement consisting of a small, round or more often rectangular platform with letters, numbers and various symbols printed upon it, and a "Plancette".  When the fingers of two or more participants are lightly places along the edges of the 'plancette', supposibly unseen forces act upon it, gliding it across the smooth surface of the inscribed platform therefore indicating messages from entities.  Conceived of as a parlour game in the wake of popular spiritualism, this is potentially a very dangerous tool for inviting in unpredictable and invaasive forces.  Experienced researchers vehemently advise against their usage!

Out-of-Body Experience (OBE):

A sensation or experience in which ones self or spirit travels to a different location than their physical body.



The belief, prevalent in the late middle ages through the Renaissance Period, that someone could trade his or her soul in return for worldly gain.


The realm of occurances and phenomena removed from those to which people are accustomed and comprehend, and presently uncategorized by standard academia.


The avenue of paranormal studies and research relating chiefly to psychic abilities (ESP, telepathy) and other spiritual phenomena.

Pentacle (Pentagram):

The traditional five-pointed star design, with its interior pentagon delineated, generally representing both spirituality and protection when point "UP"; when inverted, it is said to signify diabolism.

Phantom Lights:

Attributed to blue methane flame produced by swamp gas or electrical discharges in the form of what is termed "ball lightning" or perhaps even misplaced fireflies.  The phenomenon of floating lights observed over water, the edge of woods, lonely backroads and in the windows of darkened houses just cannot be dismissed by ordinary explanation.  Possibly could be Globules (Orbs) which coalesce and intensify in luminosity to the point where they become visible in dark surroundings.


The reading of character and mental ability from the shape of a person's skull.

A Jamaican spiritist religion.


German for "noisy ghost".  This occurence surrounds random objects being moved and sounds which are produced by unseen forces mainly to draw attention onto itself.  The phenomenon mainly involves a specific individual frequently a child or adolescent.
Owner of ParaHaunt Scott Hattis adds: "One theory on the subject is that a poltergeist is a manifestation caused by living people who unknowingly have psychic or telekinetic abilities.  My theory is that a Poltergeist is actually the spirit of a young child or possibly the spirit of an insane adult.  I'm lead to believe this because most poltergeist incidents surround pre to mid teen people ...or those with a history of mental troubles."


Invasion of the human mind by a spiritual or Demonic entity where the invading agent for a span of time influences, or entirely subverts the personality of the human host.  It is in these instances that the boundaries of psychology, religion and spiritualism are rendered less distinct.


The psychic perception of future events or conditions.  Research has show this to be non scientifically measured among family members.


A letter in the Greek Alphabet which denotes psychic phenomena.


Relating to the 'psyche' of the mind or soul rather than the mundane.  Psychic is the most familiar and bandied-about term encountered in paranormal research.

Psychic Vampire:

This is a term for individual who seem to instinctively draw and absorb the psychic energies from others, usually while conversing with, or at, them.

Psychical Research:

Term coined in the late 19th century to refer to the scientific study of the paranormal. Now largely superseded by "parapsychology".


A psychic phenomenon where-in objects are remotely imprinted or displaced and moved around solely by the powers of the mind (psychic force).


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


Qualitative Method:

A research method involving the collection of non-quantitative data (e.g., observations, interviews, subjective reports, case studies).  ParaHaunt uses this type of method during they're paranormal investigations.

Quantitative Method:

A research method involving the collection and statistical analysis of numerical data.


Radiant Child:

The apparition of a child which is seen glowing or surrounded by a bright aura.


Theories based on the assumption that living organisms emit some kind of radiation or emanation that is capable of being detected using instruments or by dowsing. See also aura.


The name given to unexplained knocking sounds associated with phycisal mediumship and poltergeist activity.


The belief that a person's soul will, following bodily death, inhabit a new body in a long cycle of rebirths, purportedly for the soul's evolution through gaining experience. 

Risidual Haunting:

Psychic imprint of a scene which is repeatedly played out, where the witness of such phenomenon essentially is peering into the past.  The ghostly participants of these time-displacements often seem unaware of their living observers.


The psychic perception of past events or conditions that the person would have no prior knowledge of.  Sometimes the person actually sees and experiences the event.


An entity which projects and appearance of being distressed or misplaced.



A person exhibiting vampiric tendencies (the desire to ingest blood) and other attributes.  These may be either contrived or pathological in nature.


A Cuban spirtist religion.


Hebraic term for "Adversary", the "Tester" in the Biblical Book of Job.  The most familiar name of the Devil, the "Fallen Angel" and the "Evil One".  Investigators sometimes come across evidence of the activities of Satanic cults who perform animal sacrifices and apparently believe that desecrations and obscenities are devotions to their dark lord.


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 phenomena studied by parapsychologists.


A meeting or gathering of people, usually lead by a medium to receive spiritualistic messages, manifestations or communication with the dead.


Another name for a psychic.  It is widely believed that everyone has this gift to some extent but do not develop it. 


An entity resembling a once living being (human or animal).


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.


Name given to a subject in a psi test who believes in the phenomenon. See also "goat".

Sheep-Goat Effect:

Effect, discovered by the parapsychologist Gertrude Schmeidler, in which "sheep" score higher than mean change expectation (MCE) on psi tests, while "goats" score lower than MCE.


Name given to paranormal powers associated with the practice of Yoga.


This is a word used to describe the seeing of faces, figures and images in ordinary, everyday object such as rocks, foliage, etc.


The spiritual element of a person, generally believed to be immortal.


A ghostly apparition; a phantom (See Ghost).


Existence apart from, or transcending, the purely physical; also the life force of an organism (See Ghost).

Spirit Rescue:

Attempting contact with entites, intended to alleviate the entities' distress and aid them in the resolution of their conflicts.  ParaHaunt prides itself on this, including helping the entity to "cross over" to a higher spiritual plane.


The belief system that the dead are able to communicate with the living, through an intermediary or medium.


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.


"Female" counterpart of the 'incubus', a demonic entity said to inspire lust in men, sometimes capable of physically attacking and inflicting injuries.  Victim will always feel ill and depleted of vitality and inexplicably 'un-clean' feelings after an attack.


Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.  As opposed to paranormal, the term "supernatural" often connotes divine or demonic intervention.



An exeriment in psychokenisis which can fairly easily be replicated.  Three or four participants lightly place their fingers along the edges of a small table top, then in unison chant "table move, table move...".  Another form of communication with enties.

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.


Irish name for a ghost which can appear in either human or animal form.  Also called Thevshi.


The paranormal movement of objects by scientifically inexplicable means.  Some believe it is the power of the mind.


Communication from one mind to another through means other than the senses.  Also called Thought Transference.

Quasi-religious and philosophical system of the Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 by Madame Blavatsky. Its paranormal claims were controversially and damningly reported upon by the Society for Psychical Research in 1885.


A hypnotic, cataleptic, or ecstatic state in which one becomes detached from their physical surroundings.



Beings who appear human and visit our plane of existance with some form of message or mission, then inexplicably vanish.  ....can you imagine???

A Brazilian spiritist religion.



A demonic entity in the form of a deseased person which perpetuates itself by draining the blood of psychic enerty of the living.   There are people (ex: California) which perpetuates this lifestyle including dental work and gothic rituals.


A religious apparition.


African magic traditions with a veneer of imposed Catholicism from the new world, taking root in the Carribean, particularly the dark populous of Haiti.  Similarities in origin and practices exist in the beliefs of "Obia" (Jamaica) and "Santeria" (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic).


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.  Many thoughts persist as to how they are formed and exist.


Norse guardian spirit.  This name is the source of the word Wraith.



Term originally meant "deceiver" or "one who misleads" in more modern parlance has become associated with a male witch.

White Noise:

An Acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band.


Witchcraft as a recognized religion, the practicioners of which refer to their system as "The Old Way" and "The Ancient Religion".  Wiccans in their rituals align themselves with elementals and the Earth's natural magnetic fields, personified by the names of ancient Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian deities.


Broadly, a practitioner of the magic arts, spec. a woman who employs charms, herbs and incantations to effect the workings of her will.  Also a practitionier of the Wicca craft.   Sometimes belonging to a covenant of witches.


A male sorcerer and conjurer who is especially adept and experienced in his craft.


The image of a person appearing shortly before or after his or her death.  Term can also be applied to a ghost, spiritual guide, apparition, etc...



From the Greek word "Xeno".  The observation/speculation of the biology of very uncommon or unverified creatures.  This term has usage in the research categories of cryptozoology and other worldly aliens.


The ability to speak or write in a language that has not been learned.



Religious philosophy originating in India. It advocates the use of physical and psycho-spiritual techniques to lead the person to higher consciousness.



A manevolent spirit which attacks people while they are asleep, inspiring nightmares and sometimes even inflicting minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and what appear to be finger marks.  Name is possibly Slavic in origin.

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 and the Five-pointed Star.


A corpse that has been partly brought back to (soul-less) life by magic.