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.
Apparition: The projection or manifestation of a quasi-physical entity.
Cleansing: 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.
Crypto-zoology: The branch of paranormal research which deals with the exploration of legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, lake and sea monsters, thunder birds, 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: Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin, which some believe to be “fallen (from grace) angels.
Doppelganger: German for “Double-goer.” A person’s duplicate or identical counterpart, seen as a result of bi-locational or astral travel. This phenomenon has been overshadowed by the more modern (and viable) concept of cloning, with its speculative ramifications
Ectoplasm: A filmy, quasi-solid substance which supposedly issues from the bodies of mediums (from the mouth, nostrils, eyes, ears, navel or nipples) during trance states. In photographs, this phenomenon seems to resemble soaked muslin fabric. Whether or not it has ever been genuine, curiously, virtually no ectoplasm has been reported in the past fifty years
Elemental: 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.
Electric Magnetic Field (E.M.F.): Many paranormal investigators use EMF meters as one of an array of environmental sensors. These investigators take baseline environmental measurements in an allegedly haunted location, which may include readings such as temperature, humidity, and electromagnetic energy. Then, throughout the course of the investigation, they watch for unexplained changes in the environmental data that appears to correspond with possible paranormal activity.
Empath: 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. Obviously, psychic empathy can be regarded as a mixed blessing, and the empath must learn to gain a measure of control over this ability.
Entity: A disembodied “consciousness” commonly referred to as ghost, spirit or (if of an apparently malicious or resentful nature) demon.
E.V.P: ‘Electronic Voice Phenomena.’ Disembodied “voices” and sounds imprinted on audio recording devices.
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.
Ghost: 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 dream-like state of semi-awareness, at times though not always cognizant of their human observers.
Haunting: The manifestation of a ghostly presence, or presences, attached to a specific locale. Hauntings can be categorized into four (usually) distinct types, these being Intelligent (responsive), Poltergeist (likely initiated by pent-up stress on a subconcious level), Residual (replay) and Demonic (non-human origin).
Hex: A magical working, or “spell,” cast to influence a person’s will or fate, most often refering to a curse rather than a blessing or healing.
Incubus: Stemming from medieval lore, a demonic entity capable of sexually arousing and sometimes assaulting human females. Cases of apparent incubus attacks continue to be documented, suggesting a germ of reality behind the myth.
Infestation: Repeated and persistent paranormal phenomena, generally centered around a particular location or person(s). Also known as a haunting.
Influence: An invisible entity of undetermined nature, effecting the inhabitants of a dwelling. This may initially manifest as an inexplicable feeling of uneasiness, then be followed by more definite signs which reveal 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. “We were talking, I turned to face her again, and she was just gone!” 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 historcally documented occurance was that of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th century.
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.
Magic: The practice of directing psychic ability, or “supernatural” forces to effect changes and fulfill desires.
Metaphysics: Said to have been instituted by Aristotle, the line of philosophical thought which seeks the “why and wherefore,” the intrinsic meaning of existence and human endeavor.
Materialization: A ghost appearing visually, suddenly or gradually, sometimes indistinct, sometimes seemingly quite solid.
Orb: Spherical image, usually translucent white, though sometimes of a reddish or bluish hue, which inexplicably registers on photographic film and videotape.
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” which, when the fingers of two participants are lightly placed along its edges, is intended to glide across the smooth surface of the inscribed platform and indicate messages. Conceived of as a parlor game in the wake of popular spiritualism, this is potentially a very dangerous tool for inviting in unpredictable, invasive forces. Experienced researchers vehemently advise against their usage.
Paranormal: Claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, aspsychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.
Pentacle/Pentagram: The traditional five-pointed star design, with its interior pentagon dilineated, generally representing both spirituality and protection when point “up”; when inverted, it is said to signify diabolism.
Poltergiest: German for “noisy ghost.” This is an extremely rare occurance wherein random objects are moved and sounds produced by an unseen force, the sole purpose of which seems to be to draw attention to itself. The phenomenon always involves a specific individual, frequently a child or adolescent.
Possession: 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.
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.
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.
Satan: Hebraic term for “Adversary,” the “Tester” in the Biblical Book of Job, the most familiar name of the Devil, the “Falled 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.
Shaman: A tribal priest who, following much preparation and rite of initiation, uses the forces of magic to effect healings and divinations.
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.
Succubus: “Female” counterpart of the incubus, a demonic entity said to inspire lust in men (and most inconveniently!), sometimes capable of physically attacking and inflicting injuries (bruises & slashes).
Table-tipping: An experiment 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…” 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.
Telekenisis: A psychic phenomenon where-in objects are remotely displaced and moved around, solely by the powers of the mind.
Voodoo: 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).
Warlock: Term originally meant “deceiver” or ” one who misleads,” in more modern parlance has become associated with a male witch.
Wicca: Witchcraft as a recognized religion, the practiioners 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.
Witch: 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 practitioner of the Wicca craft.
Wizard: A male sorcerer and conjurer who is especially adept and experienced in his craft.
Vortex: In the paranormal field, a vortex/wormhole/portal is often described as a space where spirits travel freely between our world (or plane) and the other side(dimension)