Paranormal Glossary

Afreet In Arabic lore, the vengeful spirit of a murdered person which arises from the victim’s shed blood.

Akashic Records – Originally a Hindu concept of a vast, and ever increasing, psychic repository of every thought and emotion – human or otherwise – which has ever been, and into which some individuals seem able to tap.

Alchemy – The exploration and application of the sciences, particularly chemistry and the pseudo science of astrology, such as they were understood during the middle ages and early Renaissance period. Alchemists were chiefly dedicated to the worthy pursuit of producing gold from baser metals and various materials.

Angel – “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. There have been accounts of angels aiding people in times of crisis throughout the ages, albeit with no real consistency to their ‘modus operandi.’

Anomaly – Something that is different, abnormal, peculiar or not easily classified within a scientific aspect.

Anthropomorphize – The human centric tendency of imposing human perceptions and priorities upon spirits and other worldly creatures or forces, assuming that all consciousness must be akin to ours on some basic levels.

Apparition – An apparition is the ghostly appearance of a person who is no longer living.

Astral Travel – Belief or theory that a person’s spiritual awareness can temporarily detach itself from the physical body, remaining connected by what is called the “silver cord,” and experience things in other locations, time frames or dimensional planes. Some refer to this as “Astral Projection” or “Mind Projection.”

Astral Projection – Astral Projection: Astral projection is an ‘out of body experience’ (AUBE). It is thought that the ‘astral body’ is our life force, and that we can travel in this form, out of our physical bodies. The ‘near death experience’ (NDE) is an example of astral projection, but it is also thought that we can make this journey at will.

Aura-world – A reflection of our own sphere of existence, composed of the electromagnetic emanations of physical matter, and probably influenced by thought and emotion. It is another dimensional plane proceeding from one in which we exist.

Automatic Writing – Writing that takes place while in a free, open state of mind/consciousness. Some believe that a spirit guide influences these writings by channeling his/her thoughts for you to communicate for them, in writing.

Avatar – Hindu belief in divine incarnation.

Baphomet – Demon character supposedly worshiped by the Knights Templar in 14th century France. Some present day practitioner’s of the black arts regard Baphomet as a “god” of lust and regeneration, or as symbolic of the Devil.

Banishing – Formal, ceremonial, procedure effected 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 magical rite, when the invoked powers are dismissed.

Banshee – An Irish myth, the Banshee’s scream is said to be a forecast of death for the person hearing it. The are normally female. Banshees are pale and always look haggard and sad when they come with their morbid news of death.

Bogey Man – A grim spectral figure who delights in menacing mortals with rather gruesome pranks and abductions. Although the lore of this character has degenerated into a familiar device used to threaten rambunctious children, the ‘Bogey’ was formerly soundly dreaded in Celtic regions, and was said to prowl the stretches of fields, marshes, and moors, looking for hikers and travelers who had strayed from their paths.

Channeling – Uses communication with the paranormal through a state of trance. Some channelers allow the spirit to use their vocal cords to communicate. Others chose to let the spirit through by allowing them to use their hearing, vision and intuition.

Chupacabra – Spanish for Goat sucker. In Puerto Rico, for twenty some years, numerous livestock and stray pets have been found with throats torn out, drained of blood and bearing mysterious puncture wounds. On the scene sightings of the creature supposed responsible are exceedingly rare, and descriptions always include “glowing red eyes.” Locale and the absence of distinct tracks rule out either wolverines or monitor lizards, both of which always drag off their prey. The most feasible suggestion is a coyote or feral dog, but again, the behavior doesn’t match. Whatever is the true culprit, Chupacabra has become a popular sensation on the island.

Clairvoyance – The ability to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by th five senses. (Some times referred to as a six sense)

Cleansing (Psychic) – A less ritualized form of exorcism, where-in a dwelling or site is purified and malevolent influences are banished through prayers, spoken as the petitioner moves through the area.

Cold Spot – Found in locations thought to have ghostly activity, these are the phenomena of sudden, recordable temperature drops, usually by several degrees, in certain areas of the haunted location. Can be free floating, or stationary. All other possibilities must be ruled out before this is to be considered.

Continuance – Commonly referred to as life-after-death, survival of the psyche post cessation of the biological organism which had generated it.

Crypto-Zoology – 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 the Giant Squid (the “Kraken”), orangutans (the “Red Men of the Forest”), Komodo Dragons and gigantic Nepalese elephants all were formerly included in the roster of fabled creatures!

Demon – An evil inhuman spirit. An entity or spirit spawning from the devil that is, or was not of this earth. They have the capability of human possession, and the strength greater than any flesh and blood creature. Usually demonic spirits are distinguished by their dark, or black masses of psychic energy. These spirits can be seen with film, video, and sometimes with the naked eye.

Doppelganger – These are ghosts that are the spitting image of a person who is alive and often present when they appear. Sometimes these mysterious doubles look so muck like their living, that it’s very hard to tell them apart.

Ectoplasm – A substance which emanates from the body of a medium during a trance. This often appears as a mist-like substance.

Electromagnetic Field – A field with a combination of electric and magnetic energy which radiates from radio and light waves to gamma and cosmic rays.

Elementals – Elementals are those mystical creatures that dwell within the spirit realm of the elements, watched over and controlled by the Lords of the Watchtowers (the Mighty Ones, Old Ones, or the Guardians).  Elementals can be related to “nature spirits” and the old favorite, ever written about “witches’ familiar”.  These are the spirits that govern all nature, the “forces of life” that may be summoned to assist in working magic.  It’s important therefore that we understand “who they are” and “what they represent”.  Earth spirits are known as Gnomes, Air spirits as Sylphs, Fire spirits as Salamanders, and Water spirits are called Undines.  This is an entity that is not unlike a demonic spirit – it is MALEVOLENT by nature – causing horrific fear when it appears. It seeks to frighten and bestow evil intentions among the intended victims. It may be seen as a beast like, hairy, foul smelling, or simply a dark mass/shadow. This spirit is commonly summoned using tarot cards or Ouija boards – unintentionally by persons seeking dead entities it comes out of terrifying circumstances surrounding the dwelling, and is “awakened” by the occult activities of the aforementioned contact attempts of humans

EMF Detector – Device that measures the electromagnetic energy in a room or place.

Empath – An individual who is particularly sensitive 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. Obviously, psychic empathy can be regarded as a mixed blessing, and the empath must learn to gain a measure of control over this ability.

Enochian – A magical, “angelic” language first translated by Dr. John Dee, and used in the rituals of both the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” in the 19th century and the “First Church of Satan” in the 20th century.

Entity – A disembodied “consciousness” commonly referred to as ghost, spirit or (if of an apparently malicious or resentful nature) demon.

EVP-Electronic Voice Phenomena – Voices captured on audio tape when no one is present. Captures very high pitched noises only ghosts can produce. Many times, no sound is heard while the tape is recording. It’s only upon playback that the harsh, hushed voices can be heard.

Exorcism – 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-Terrestrials – Life forms originating on planets 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.

Gauss Meter – Another device used to measure electromagnetic fields.

Ghost – The spirit of a dead person which is believed to appear to or haunt living persons; a spirit.

Ghost Hunt – An informational attempt to site or simply record a host in a location that has no history of a haunting.

Ghost Hunter – A person or group who tries to record spirits or ghosts. This may be done by means of photography, video tape, or other means. Sometimes the source of a haunting can be found.

Ghouls – Ghouls are more or less in the same class of unpleasant supernatural beings as vampires and were beasts. The vampire only drinks blood. Werewolves eat their “victims”flesh as well. Ghouls hang around graveyards and eat their decaying remains.

Golden-Rod – A rare anomaly seen in videotape recorded at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as bright, white or yellowish lines rapidly moving across a room.

Human Spirit – A spirit, or soul, that once was a flesh and blooded person who is earthbound for some reason. Most of them are lost and just need some guidance to the other side. Others have unfinished business, or important messages to give to the living. Then there are some what don’t realize that they have died.

Haunted -A person or place in which spirits could be attached.

Hex – A magical working, or “spell,” cast to influence a person’s will or fate, most often referring to a curse rather than a blessing or healing.

Ignis Fatuus – Literally meaning “foolish fire” and any of a variety of ghost or spectral lights. According to some folkloric traditions, the lights are souls of the dead; in other legends, they are imp-like spirits.

Imbolc – 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. Also known as Candlemas and the familiar Ground Hog Day.

Incubus – In Western medieval legend, an incubus (plural incubi) is a demon in male form supposed to lie upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have sexual intercourse with them. The Incubus drains energy from the woman it performs sexual intercourse upon in order to sustain itself. In most cases it either kills the victim or leaves the victim in very weak or fragile condition. A female version was called a succubus.

Infestation – Repeated and persistent paranormal phenomena, generally centered around a particular location or person(s). Also known as a haunting.

Lepke – A very unique and interesting type of spiritual manifestation, a ghost which has the appearance of a solid, living person, may even converse with someone, then suddenly vanishes. Such apparitions are most often reported to have been encountered within, or immediately outside of cemeteries.

Levitation – A phenomenon sometimes encountered in hauntings, particularly with Poltergeists, rare yet credibly reported, where solid objects (including persons) are moved and lifted by an unseen force. The first historically documented occurrence was that of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th century.

Lilith – Devil of Sumerian origin and later included in Hebrew beliefs, believed by Quabbalists to have been the first wife of Adam, later excluded from the Talmud, and held by some occultists to be a vampire goddess and a powerful succubus.

Lucifer – 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, in Christian theology identified with the Devil: arch regent of fallen angels. Lucifer is sometimes called upon in pagan ceremonies and rituals.

Lurking Enigma – “Lurk” means to furtively move about a type of entity which can be visible to human observers, yet appears in distorted, unidentifiable forms. Common traits reported by witnesses include glowing red or silver eyes, dark color (fur or feathers), startling speed and agility, in some cases winged and capable of flight, as with the ‘Jersey Devil.’ Although such nebulous creatures seem to mean us no harm, encounters with them can be terrifying, and provoke much curiosity. As one would expect, they are extremely elusive.

Lycanthrope – 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.

Manifestation – The appearance or taking the form of an entity. Also can mean the outbreak of (an) activity. One of the forms in which someone or something, such as a divine being, is revealed; the materialized form of a spirit.

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

Matrixing – The natural tendency for the human mind to interpret sensory input, what is perceived visually, audibly or tactilely, as something familiar or more easily understood and accepted, in effect mentally “filling in the blanks.”

Medium A person thought to have the power to communicate with the spirits of the dead or with agents of another world or dimension. Also called psychic.

MistA photographed anomaly that appears as a wall of light that is not seen at the time of the photograph; believed to be the appearance of a ghost or spirit of the dead.

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 physiology refutes the observation that our moon can exert significant influence on the human mind, ‘though statistics support it. (Hence the term “lunatic” for crazy person.) Naturally, it is during the nights of the full Moon when cult activities will be at their zenith.

Mumiai – Native American Indian spirit which behaves in the manner of a Poltergeist.

Necromancy – 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 Spellbook – A toned-down, elegantly printed companion book to the ‘Necronomicon,’ also by Avon Books.

Nosferatu – Slavic, old world term for vampire, meaning “undead.”

ORB – A sphere of electromagnetic energy produced by spirits. Also called be referred as a globule.

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

Ouija Board – A trademark used for a board with the alphabet and other symbols on it, and a planchette that is thought, when touched with the fingers, to move in such a way as to spell out spiritualistic and telepathic messages on the board.

Paranormal – Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.

Parapsychology – The study of the evidence for psychological phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis, that are inexplicable by science.

Phantom – Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality; a ghost or an apparition.

Phantom Lights – Sometimes they can be 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. Yet, in other instances, the phenomenon of floating lights observed over water, the edge of woods, lonely back roads and in the windows of darkened houses just can’t be dismissed by ordinary explanations. These might be globules which coalesce and intensify in luminosity to the point where they become visible in dark surroundings.

Poltergeist – A mischievous ghost or spirit which makes a lot of noise.

Precognition – The psychic perception of future events or conditions.

Psychic – 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 ( “a psychic,” “psychic investigation,” etc.).

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

Quabbala (also Cabbala, Kabbala) – An ancient and complex system of Jewish mysticism, probably influenced by Assyrian-Babylonian and Macedonian beliefs and existing as the basis of an underground cult during much of the middle ages.

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

Regents – In medieval European lore, chief spirits who preside over the four regions of the earth: ‘Oriens’ is Regent of the east, ‘Amemon’ is Regent of the south, ‘Boul’ is Regent of the west, ‘Eltzen’ is Regent of the north.

Reincarnation – 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.

Residual 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.

Retro Cognition – The psychic perception of past events or conditions.

Revenant – An entity which projects an appearance of being distressed or misplaced.

Rune – An archaic character inscribed upon a stone or clay tablet, signifying some virtue or property, as with the Norse Runes, and used for divination and as a talisman.

Satan – 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.

Séance – A group effort to contact the spirit world. In standardized format, the lighting of the chamber in which the séance is conducted is subdued, and the participants sit around the table, either holding hands or with hands palm down, flat against the table’s surface and with fingertips touching those of the adjacent partners. A candle generally is set on the center of the table. The appointed director or “medium” addresses the spirit(s) with whom contact is sought.

Shade – An entity resembling a once-living being

Shaman – A tribal priest who, following much preparation and rite of initiation, uses the forces of magic to effect healing’s and divinations.

Sigil of Baphomet – Leit-motif if Satanism, this emblem is composed of an inverted pentagram containing a goat head, encompassed by two, concentric circles, in between which are placed five Hebriac characters.

Silky – A female ghost which is attired in a rustling silk garment (sometimes seen, other times just heard) and performs domestic chores for a household after the occupants have retired for the night.

Spirit – Existence apart from, or transcending, the purely physical; also, the life-force of an organism. A spirit commonly refers to a ghost.

Spirit Rescue – Attempting contact with entities, intended to alleviate the entities’ distress and aid them in the resolution of their conflicts, and in “crossing over” to a higher, spiritual plane.

Sliders – These are people who walk past lamp posts and they go off! When they walk away from them they go back on! Some people say this has something to do with mind power.

Spook – Benevolent spirit exclusively of America which comes from the legends of the Red Indians.

Spunkies – The sad spirits of unnamed, unchristened or unbaptized children, believed by old Gaelic and English tradition to wander country roads in search of someone who will name them.

Stigmata – Persons have been observed periodically bleeding from points on their bodies corresponding to the wounds of the Crucifixion. Although the physiological mechanisms which produce this effect are not understood, it is apparently and externalization of religious fervor. Stigmata has been thought to be an indication of sanctity. St. Francis of Assisi was said to have displayed the stigmatic bleeding, and the best documented case is that of Padre Pio (b. 1887, d. 1968).

Streaming Lights – Steams of light that appear on developed film, but were not seen by the naked eye at the time of the exposure. They resemble small bright globules with pale white transparent trails streaking across the picture.

Succubus – In medieval legend, a succubus (plural succubi) is a demon which takes the form of a female to seduce men (especially monks) in dreams to have sexual intercourse. They draw energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death of the victim. From mythology and fantasy, Lilith and the Lilin (Jewish), Lilitu (Sumerian) and Rusalka (Slavic) are, in redactive Christian fables (folktales not part of official Christian theology), considered succubi.

Supernatural – Not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material.

Table-Tipping – An experiment in psychokinesis 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…” With sufficient cooperation and concentration, and after several minutes of chanting, the table should start to wobble, pivot on its legs and possibly even lead the participants on a scurry about the room.

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

Telekinesis – A psychic phenomenon where-in objects are remotely displaced and moved around, solely by the powers of the mind.

Thought Transference – Telepathic transmitting of images and messages from the mind of one person to that of another.

Time-Displacement – The experience of a time span separate from the native time span of the observer. The phenomenon is sometimes merely viewed and not participated in; sometimes a person seems to actually time-travel to another era.

Vortex – A photographed anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image that is not seen at the time of the photograph; believed to represent a ‘ghost’.

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

Wraith/Wrayth – The image of a person appearing shortly before or after his or her death; term can also be applied to a ghost.

Zarcanor – A malevolent spirit which attacks people while they’re asleep, inspiring nightmares, and sometimes even inflicting minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and what appear to be finger marks.  The name is possibly of Slavic origin.

Zephyr – Spirit borne upon, governing, or manifesting as the western wind.

Zombie – Prevalent in Haitian lore, a cadaver disinterred shortly after burial (ere it spoils) and reanimated through the use of Voodoo, its sole purpose thereafter being servitude as a mindless slave. Combine secret pharmaceuticals inducing simulated death with oxygen deprivation in a tomb, then a hasty exhumation in the dark of night, and there emerges the horrid premise behind the myth.  

Zoomorphism Representation of a deity or devil with animal attributes.

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