Paranormal Terms And Definitions
This page is courtesy of:
Long Island Paranormal Investigators
There are many terms used to describe the paranormal
and paranormal investigations. Some of the phrases and abbreviations
can be very confusing to someone unfamiliar with ghosts and the
paranormal. This list is provided by Long Island Paranormal
Investigators to help you understand some of the more common terms,
phrases, and acronyms commonly used to describe ghosts, spirits and
If there is a term or phrase you think we
should add to this list please
APPARITIONS: The supernatural appearance of a
deceased person or animal. It is often too distant to be in the
normal range of a persons view and is uncommon to see an appearance.
A full bodied apparition shows the entire body of an animal or person.
A partial bodied apparition are shown more often but only show part of
a body such as; torso or arms. They often appear as white (or
various shades of white/gray) or solid black. Usually apparitions can
appear to hover in the air. It is rare that apparitions show their
legs or feet.
WRITING: The ability to write intelligible
messages without conscious control of what is being written. Often
used in conjunction with trying to channel a spirit or entity into
yourself. This can be a very dangerous method! As with all
channeling methods (Ouija boards, crystals, etc.) you are opening a
door way and have no control over who or what may come through, and no
way to be sure to make it leave and "close the door".
A small, defined area of intense cold (at least 10 degrees colder than
the surrounding area) that can not readily be explained by other
natural or mechanical causes (e.g. air conditioning, a drafty window,
ice or snow). In paranormal research the prevailing theory is that
when an entity is trying to manifest itself it draws on many sources
of energy. One of those sources is the heat energy in the air. As the
entity draws the heat out of the air the area in that specific
immediate location becomes unusually cold.
The ability to hear things not audible within normal hearing ranges.
This is an example of Extra sensory perception. (ESP) It includes the
audible perception of ghosts, spirits, and those who are on the astral
realm. Clairaudience is essentially the ability of hearing the
paranormal as opposed to seeing it.
(DEBUNKING EVIDENCE or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY):
Reported paranormal evidence or paranormal activity is said to be
"debunked" when a simple, logical and non-paranormal explanation can
account for the reported event(s). Even if the activity is genuinely
paranormal, if a simple and reasonable explanation can also be
applied, because of this ambiguity a prudent paranormal investigator
has to side with the debunking explanation until further evidence of
paranormal activity can be obtained. Care has to be used since it is
easy to be skeptical of any report or evidence. Usually if the
non-paranormal explanation is complex or requires many assumptions it
may be over analyzing the situation.
According to the Catholic faith demons are angels that were cast out
of Heaven by G-d during the rebellion against G-d lead by Lucifer.
There are several levels or hierarchies of demons, each with different
powers. Other faiths may have different concepts of what demons are.
DEMONIC HAUNTING: A haunting by a nonhuman
entity. Can be very dramatic, even violent. Demonic hauntings often
start out with subtle and relatively simple paranormal activity, then
quickly increase to stronger activity. Most often effects people or
families that are already under great personal stress from conditions
such as alcohol or drug use, psychological or emotional problems,
family or marital problems, etc. It is believed the nonhuman entity
takes advantage of people in such weaken psychological and emotional
condition. Persons who believe they and/or their families are the
subject of a demonic haunting should immediately seek both
professional paranormal assistance and counseling help. Click Here to
read more about demonic hauntings.
DEMONOLOGIST: A person who actively pursues
demons and other nonhuman entitles both for study and to help people
rid them from their lives. Usually demonologists are very religious
people as they believe strongly that only faith has the power to
combat a demon. They are also usually schooled and or experienced in
the field of psychology and mental health. IMPORTANT: Active
pursuit of demons and demonology is not something to be tried for fun
or kicks. Serious injury - both physical and mental - can occur!
DIVINING): The ability to use a pair of rods
(often metal) held in the hands to locate objects, most commonly
water. A Y-shaped tree branch can also be used fro finding water. In
the paranormal investigation field Dowsing Rods are sometimes used to
locate energy sources that could be paranormal in nature.
A professional clinical word that means to repeat back what you hear.
As applied to the paranormal field it means when a ghost or spirit
repeats back something you have just said in order to show they are
there and are trying to communicate with you. The words repeated back
could be EVP questions or just casual conversation. It is not clear
why an entity might repeat back your words rather than respond on
their own. Perhaps it is easier/simply for an entity to repeat what it
has heard rather than form new words.
The substance left behind when an entity tries to manifest itself.
Although still largely theoretical (none has yet been collected for
chemical analysis) it has been photographed on many occasions.
Ectoplasm often appears in photographs as a thick white mist or smoke
in nearly straight lines. Vapor and humidity is often mistaken for
ectoplasm. It is rarely seen with the naked eye. It can, however, be
felt as a dense area of cobweb-like strands.
EMF - Electro
Magnetic Field: In it's natural form it is the
natural electric field (sometimes thought of an an aurora) that is
generated by all living things and many inanimate objects such as
metals and certain minerals. EMF is also generated by man-made
electric sources such as lights, radios and wires. In paranormal
investigations the theory is that entities are largely composed of
energy which may be electrically based. By trying to detect EMF it may
be possible to locate an otherwise unseen entity. The stronger the EMF
detected the potential greater the paranormal phenomena. See our
article on EMF Theory.
EMPATHIC ABILITIES: Some people are sensitive to
the typically stronger feelings a paranormal entity gives off. They
may also be able to see people and events that have occurred years in
the past at a given locations. While feelings are hard to confirm or
deny, when recorded along with other paranormal evidence that can be
documented, empathic ability can be a helpful investigation tool.
generic all-encompassing term used to describe a paranormal
object/being that is presumed to be a ghost or spirit. Since no one is
yet 100% sure what paranormal objects really are the term "entity" is
used as a pronoun to include any and all possible things such as
ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, non-human spirits etc.
EVP - Electronic
Voice Phenomena: The hearing of unexplainable
voices during the playback of a recording made on a electronic
recoding device. The voices can not be readily identified as persons
speaking or events (mechanical sounds, background noise etc) that took
place while the record was being performed. Can be encountered on both
tape and digital recorders. Sometimes also found on video recorders
(not film however). See our articles on EVP theory and classification.
FEAR CAGE: A
term used to describe a confined area such as a walk in closet,
hallway or basement with very high EMF readings. The combination of
being close and confined with in an area of strong EMF often brings
out extremely great feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, paranoia and/or
uncontrollable fear. When this occurs the best thing is to quickly and
calmly leave the area and go to a more open area with lower EMF.
spirit or shade of a dead person believed to haunt people or previous
habitats/locations. The spirit remains of a living being,
strongly attached to the living realm by some form of emotional force.
Often ghosts do not realize that they are in fact dead. Others
live out the routine of the day they died, and continue this in a
cycle. Other ghosts interact with everyday life of the living.
HALF REAL OBJECTIVE:
When you perceive nothing subjectively but obtain objective
HALF REAL SUBJECTIVE:
When you subjectively perceive something that was not documented via
(IMPRINTING): It is theorized that events and
strong feelings/emotions can leave a copy or record of themselves on
places (tunnels, rooms, fields etc) and objects (furniture, buildings,
personal affects etc). Most notably this occurs when a sudden and
violent death occurs such as a powerful accident, a murder or other
crime, a war or battle area etc. The energy that is left can result in
a non-intelligent haunting, usually a residual haunting. In these
cases people often report seeing and hearing the same thing over and
over like a tape playing, rewinding and playing again. Sometimes the
event seems to be recorded on the specific location rather than a
building, room or object. There have been cases reported where an
imprint haunting has occurred in a building, the building is later
totally demolished and a new one built (or the area just left vacant)
but the haunting still continues. In the situation of imprinting on an
object the haunting can follow the object through several owners. This
is often reported with items purchased at a yard sale or flea market.
Infrared light is light from the lower end (long wave length/low
frequency) of the electromagnetic spectrum (between the visible light
spectrum and microwaves). IR light is not visible to the naked human
eye without the use of special equipment. IR is not to be confused
with thermal imaging. While IR and thermal energy are both on the
short end of the electromagnetic spectrum they are not the same thing.
There is evidence that ghosts/spirits and other paranormal entities
may be more susceptible to being viewed (including video and image
photography) using the IR light spectrum. IR sensors are also often
used for measuring temperature and detecting movement.
ENERGY: Energy needed to force an object at rest
into motion. Objects in motion have kinetic energy. Energy is
neither created nor destroyed. As the kinetic energy diminishes
it changes into potential energy.
(aka LEY): The theoretical lines that can be
drawn to connect ancient (and some modern) sites across a country,
even around the world. The term "Ley Line" ("Ley" being a Saxon word
meaning meadow or cleared strip of ground) was first coined by Alfred
Watkins in the early 1920's. He noticed that many ancient and
prehistoric structures (e.g. mounds, stone circles, temples, river
crossings, ceremonial hilltops, etc.) could be connected by straight
lines. Often these lines exactly fit compass directions, and sometimes
at certain times of the year match up with star alignments. He also
noticed that many of these lines intersect and where they intersect
are significant other structures such as churches, temples, and burial
grounds. Some people believe Ley Lines also follow the natural
magnetic forces of the Earth and therefore are very powerful for
spiritual and mystic activity. Ley lines are also known as corpse
ways, church paths, church lines, and coffin lines.
OUT" INVESTIGATION: A paranormal investigation,
usually conducted indoors and at night, where all the light sources
and other electronic devices in the building have been turned off.
The equipment used for paranormal investigations is typically more
sensitive at night and in the dark. Having lights off reduces the
possibility of false or misleading evidence caused by reflections and
GHOST: The manifestation of a ghost or entity,
usually a living close family member or friend, that appears a long
distance (sometimes hundreds or event thousands of miles away!). This
event usually coincides when the other person (the one manifesting) is
facing an immediate great stress or life-threatening danger. Examples
include a aircraft pilot or crew flying through a storm, a soldier on
the battle field, an automobile driver or passenger during a sever
accident, etc. Some believe this is related to astral projection and
out-of-the-body experiences. This phenomena is related to the moment
of mortality manifestation.
With paranormal ghost/spirit activity it is possible that a small
concentrated area of high paranormal activity may briefly alter the
physical environment such that time slows down or stops altogether.
For example, a person in such an effected area may be in the area for
20 minutes as measured by a clock outside the area. But the person's
watch only shows them in the area for 15 minutes. What happened to the
5 minutes difference? This phenomena is similar to what
sometimes in reported UFO cases.
MANIFESTATION: The act of an entity trying to
make it self appear in our world. Entities are believed to exist
mainly as energy with no physical form. When an entity is trying to
make itself appear or make it's presence known in our world it is said
to be manifesting itself; trying to make itself into some form of
An energy field that looks like a cloud or haze but has a paranormal
ectoplasm substance. There may or may not be any particular
shape, color (typically white or light colored), thickness, or
MORTALITY: A ghostly manifestation that occurs
when someone is at the exact moment of their death. A ghost, spirit or
other apparition appears to a close friend or family member. Can
happen over great distances (hundreds, even thousands, of miles away).
This phenomena is similar to the living ghost and Death Bed Visions
(NECROMANCE): The attempt to conjure, summon or
raise the dead in order to learn secrets and insights from the
spirits. Usually intended to gain personal advantage or fortune over
others. The person who is trying to perform the necromancy process is
called a Necromancer. This deals heavily into the
unsavory realm of magic, spells, and dark/forbidden witchcraft
rituals. Can also be attempted with Tarot cards and Ouija boards.
Regardless of the process used, necromancy is highly dangerous from
the point of view that you are opening a doorway and have no idea what
thing may come through and into your life!
A setting common on hand held video cameras. Originally it was a term
used to describe the night vision (total darkness) recording
capability of the Sony Handicam series of camcorders. This term has
since become synonymous with meaning any night vision/total darkness
video camera or recording device regardless of the manufacturer.
The night shot feature uses a built-in IR (infra red) illumination
source. An external IR illuminator can often be attached for
additional viewing range. Click Here to read our discussion of using
alternate light spectrums for paranormal investigations.
INHUMAN SPIRIT: An entity (ghost or spirit) that
is not the result of a human person that once lived on Earth. This
category also includes angels, demons, devils etc. It is not known
exactly where these kinds of entities come from but it is reasonably
well accepted by the paranormal community these spirits are not from
people who had lived on Earth and have since died. Encounters with
non-human spirits is rare and usually dramatic. Extra care should
always be used if dealing with a potential inhuman spirit!
Orbs appear to be a form of energy of an unknown origin. An orb can
take different shapes. They can also be seen by the naked eye, but
most of the time you only get orb sightings in photographs, and on
video tape (VHS). They seem to defy gravity and change directions
quickly. They seem to also twinkle. The presence of people make them
react. They appear both indoors and outdoors. False orbs tend to be
transparent and pale white, or blue. Real genuine orbs tend to appear
dense or brighter on film. To increase the probability of you getting
a photograph of a genuine orb, it is good to take the photograph at
the same time as other unusual phenomenon are experienced, such as
sharp changes in temperature, and increases in electromagnetic energy.
In a genuine orb there is a nucleus. It has concentric circles
or bands within. It can be active in visible realm, but more active in
infrared. They appear abundantly in supposed haunted locations. Drops
of rain, specks of dust, insects, reflections, as well as many other
things can be mistaken for orbs.
PARANORMAL: Events above the normal or everyday
experiences. Events that can not be readily explained by known
conventional reasons and/or commonly accepted science. Not to be
confused with Supernatural that implies a deity explanation.
POLTERGEIST: Term is German for "noisy ghost". It
can be dependent on a certain individual or group of individuals. They
usual make the biggest impact on physical objects. They tend to be
temporary. In some instances a poltergeist can appear as the psychic
extension of a person, usually most common in adolescent females. Tend
to be mischievous and like to play pranks. More recently developed
theories move away from ghost activity to the realm of spontaneous and
unconscious (unintended) telekinesis.
HAUNTING: Non conscious and unintelligent (no
thought or purposely actions), usually appear as person but can
sometimes be a group of people, and animal or any non living thing. An
example is the famous "Flying Dutchman" legend. There are no
interactions with observers. They stay in same location replaying the
same event over and over usually on some rhythmic cycle or pattern
(though what the pattern is can be hard to determine). Sometimes
causing electrical environment interference to occur. Often compared
to a video recording that automatically plays itself over and over.
(Shadow Beings, Shadow Entities) Shadows refer to the possible
paranormal apparition which appears as a dark human-form
manifestation. We say "possible" paranormal apparition since the true
nature of this type of paranormal event is still unknown and the
subject of much research. Click Here for more information about
An unusual line of light, often comet-like, that appears on
photographs taken in potential paranormal activity areas. Happens with
both 35mm film and digital cameras. Occasionally seen on video cameras
and DVR units as well. Can often be the result of a shaky camera
especially when using a digital camera.
SUPERNATURAL: Events or happenings generally
attributed to the will of a deity. Usually includes the concept of
angels, demons/devils, and other G-d-like creatures.
TELEKINESIS: (Telekinetic power) The
ability to manipulate physical objects using the body’s static
electrical charges. Chi is the Asian term for telekinesis. Psychic
extension of the person transported through the electrical field
surrounding the individual. More commonly known as a persons' ability
to move object with just their mind and thoughts.
The act of experiencing physical contact from a ghost, spirit or other
paranormal entity. Can be as simple as a tug in your shirt or pressure
on a part of your body to scratches, burns or being pushed/shoved.
However, serious physical injury is very rare.
ULTRAVIOLET (UV): Ultraviolet
light is light from the upper end (long wave length/low frequency) of
the electromagnetic spectrum. As with Infrared light, UV light is
normally not visible to the naked human eye without the use of special
viewing or photography equipment. Some paranormal investigators have
experimented with using UV light to take video of ghosts and other
paranormal entities. The results have been indeterminate. Other
paranormal investigators have claimed UV light is an effective barrier
to block demonic entities. Click here to read our article about using
alternate light spectrums for paranormal investigations.
Vortices, Vortexes: A concentrated yet brief area
of high electromagnetic energy often found in photographs taken at
paranormally active locations. The often appear as sold (opaque) white
or silver tubes, rods, or elongated ovals. They can also appear to be
braided like a rope or chain (care has to be take to ensure it is not
a rope, chain, camera strap etc). A vortex is not an entity. However,
some paranormal researchers believe a vortex is a momentary doorway or
portal to another realm that allows entities and other paranormal
phenomena to come into our world. Some researchers also believe
vortexes are linked to the Earth's own electromagnetic field which at
least in part help determine when these portals open/close. It is also
believed that some locations are more prone to having active vortices
due to the alignment of the Earth's magnetic field and local
Two possible meanings:
Areas where conventional laws of physics can break down,
linear time may not always apply. They can be locations infested
with entities, imprints, and barrage of other paranormal
activities. They may be unpredictable areas that can twist
perceptions beyond the understanding of logic.
Areas of paranormal activity so intense that time itself
changes. Time may speed up, slow down (Lost Time) or briefly stop
altogether. The area effected is very small and of short duration.
NOISE: White noise is the random non-descript
static sound produced by various electronic devices. The sound covers
and combines all wavelengths and frequencies. In this way it is like
the color white which is really a combination of all colors. Hence the
name white noise – the combination of all sounds. Examples of common
white noise sources are the radio or television static when set to an
empty channel, the hum of an electric fan motor and the babbling sound
of a fast moving stream or brook. Click here for our article that
discuss using white noise for paranormal investigations.
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Posted: September 24, 2014