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Paranormal Glossary

N - Z

{Go To A - M}

[ N ]

See "Near-Death Experience".

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 Experence (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.

Noise-Reduction Model
The idea that psi information may be more accessible if normal sensory information (sight, smell, etc..) is reduced to a minimum.

[ O ]

See "Out-of-Body Experience".

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

Object Reading
See "Psychometry".

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

A belief in occult powers and the possibility of bringing them under human control. [Also see "Occult" for more info.]

A sign that foretells events.

An answer to a question, believed to come from the gods; a shrine at which these answers are given.

A sphere or spherical object.
Something of circular form; a circle or an orbit.

A sphere of energy looking like "balls of light" on film, thought to be Spirit energy. Some people have been known to see them with their naked eye, but most are captured on film (photos and video). Be careful though.. Dust, Moisture (like rain), etc.. will come out to look like spirit orbs on film, so follow Standards and Protocols to help avoid these forms of false evidence. So you say, "If there's evidence of these natural causes producing orbs, why do you associate them with spirit?". Well.. We tend to get alot of orbs in places known to be haunted.. we also tend to get them in locations of EMF/Thermo meter fluctuations, we have captured video of them going around people/objects and even through objects (doors/walls/etc..), have captured them setting off motion detectors, and have even captured video of them hitting a ceiling fan (turned off) and making a "ping" sound each time. Dust can't cause these things that we have captured.

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

[ P ]

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 psychokinesis, that are inexplicable by science. (term coined by J.B. Rhine)

Past-Life Memories
Mental images that are believed to be memories of previous lives. [Also see "Reincarnation" and Past-life Regression" for more info.]

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.

See "Psychokinesis".

An inactive treatment often given to a control group. [Also see "Control Group" for more info.]

Place Memory
Information about past events that apparently is stored in the physical environment.

Plant Psi
Extra Sensory Perception exhibited by plants. [Also see "Extra Sensory Perception" and "Psi" for more info.]

A ghost/spirit that manifests itself by noises, rappings, 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 psychokinesis 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 statement that foretells future events. [Also see "Premonition", "Precognition" and "Prophecy" for more info.]

Belief that the personality or soul exists prior to birth. [Also see "Reincarnation" for more info.]

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.

Process Research
Research that aims to investigate factors affecting psi. [Also see "Proof Research" for more info.]

Proof Research
Research that aims to demonstrate the existence of psi. [Also see "Process Research" for more info.]

A prediction, usually resulting from a sense of spiritual revelation.
The ability to receive prophetic revelations.

Parapsychological phenomena or abilities considered as a group.

A letter in the Greek alphabet that denotes psychic phenomena.

Psi-Mediated Instrumental Response (PMIR)
Theory put forward by Rex Stanford that psi activity is used to serve an organism's needs.

The Greek word for “self”, “mind”, or “soul”.

Greek Mythology - Psyche was a young woman who loved and was loved by Eros and was united with him after Aphrodite's jealousy was overcome. She subsequently became the personification of the soul.

Literally "revealing mind". A class of plants and drugs (Example: peyote, psilocybin, LSD) that can produce florid Altered States of Consciousness. [Also see "Altered State of Consciousness (ASC)" for more info.]

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.] (Example of a Residual Haunting: When people see ghostly soldiers fighting battles on battlefields, etc..) 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. [Also see "Ghost" for more info.]

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. [Also see "Kirlian Photography", "Spirit Photography", and "Thoughtography" for more info.]

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.

Pyramid Power
Belief that pyramid shapes can produce paranormal effects.

[ Q ]

Qualitative Method
A research method involving the collection of non-quantitative data (Example: observations, interviews, subjective reports, case studies). [Also see "Quantitative Method" for more info.]

Quantitative Method
A research method involving the collection and statistical analysis of numerical data. [Also see "Qualitative Method" for more info.]

[ R ]

Theories based on the assumption that living organisms emit some kind of radiation or emanation that is capable of being detected using instruments. [Also see "Aura" for more info.]

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.

In Buddhism, the belief that there is some continuty of mind from one life to the next. Buddhism, however, does not accept the existence of the individual soul and therefore does not view rebirth as the soul's literal re-incarnation. [Also see "Reincarnation" for more info.]

See "Percipient".

Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK)
A technical term for poltergeist activity. [See "Repressed psychokinetic energy" and "Poltergeist" for more info.]

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.
Repressed Psychokinetic Energy:
A psychic force produced, usually unconsciously, by an individual undergoing physical or mental trauma. When released, the power causes paranormal occurrences, which often are thought to be poltergeist activity. [See "Poltergeist" for more info.]

When a person finds themself in a ‘time warp’ of the past, seeing or experiencing events of which they had no prior knowledge.

See "Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis".

[ S ]

A Cuban spiritist religion. [Also see "Voodoo" for more info.]

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.

Second Sight
Another name for clairvoyance. [Also see "Clairvoyance" for more info.]

Another name for agent. [Also see "Agent" for more info.]

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.]

Sensory Deprivation
Conditions of greatly restricted sensory input. [Also see "Ganzfeld Experiments" for more info.]

Serpent Power
See "Kundalini".

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.

A ‘wizard’ in tribal societies who is an intermediary between the living, the dead, and the gods.

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.

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

Name given to paranormal powers associated with the practice of Yoga. [Also see "Yoga" for more info.]

Results of an experiment are said to be statistically significant when they are very unlikely to be due to chance (and hence, in a psi test, are more likely to be due to psi).

Simultaneous Dream
A dream whose elements correspond closely with those in the dream of another person.

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. Paranormal Researchers are also skeptics to an extent, but with an open mind. Before we can say it's paranormal in nature, we must first prove that it's not something that can be explained by other means.

Sleep Paralysis
A condition in which a person seems to be awake/conscious but is unable to move.

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

See "Subjective Paranormal Experience".

Speaking in Tongues
See "Glossolalia".

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 Ghost Tracker 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.

See "Spiritualism".

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. [See our "Photos" page for examples of what you may capture on film.]

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.

Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC)
Refers to cases in which a badly burned human body has been discovered in circumstances suggesting that the fire originated spontaneously in or on the body of the victim.

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

Subjective Psi Experience (SPE)
See "Subjective Paranormal Experience".

Subliminal Perception
Perceiving without conscious awareness.

A female spirit supposed to descend upon and have 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 alot) 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.]

Super-ESP Hypothesis
The suggestion that people are capable of unlimited ESP. The super-ESP hypothesis is often presented as an alternative to the survival hypothesis in explaining mediumistic phenomena (the medium is believed to obtain information using super-ESP powers and not directly from the spirit of a deceased person).

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.

[ T ]

Mysterious movements of a table, usually occurring in a séance when a group of people place their hands on the surface of the table. Often the movements are interpreted as spirit communications. Also known as table-turning or table-tipping.

See "Table-Tilting".

A special deck of cards (usually 78) used in fortune telling. [Also see "Fortune Telling" for more info.]

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.

The supposed ability to change from human to animal form and back. [Also see "Shape-Shifting" for more info.]

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.

Paranormal ability to produce images on photographic film (Example: by concentrating on a mental image). [Also see "Psychic Photography" and "Spirit Photography" for more info.]

Thought Transference
See "Telepathy".

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.

Transcendental Meditation
A technique of meditation taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, involving the repetition of a sound (mantra).

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.

Traveling Clairvoyance
An early term for the out of body experience.

A conical tube (often luminous) used in séances to produce direct voice communication. [Also see "Direct Voice Phenomena" for more info.]

[ U ]


[ V ]

Truthful; veracious.

Information or experience that is confirmed by facts and events.

Veridical Dream
A dream that corresponds to real events (past, present or future) that are unknown to the dreamer.

A spiritist and ancestor religion, originating in Africa, and now found predominantly in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. Magical rites, trance states and possession all play a major role in Voodoo.

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.

[ W ]

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. [See "Thermometer/Thermoscanner" for more info.]

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 (used in Ganzfield experiments) [See "Ganzfield experiment" for more info.]

An apparition of a living person that appears as a portent just before that person's death.

[ X ]

The ability to speak or write in a language that has not been learned. [Also see "Glossolalia" for more info.]

[ Y ]

Religious philosophy originating in India. It advocates the use of physical and psycho-spiritual techniques to lead the person to higher consciousness. [Also see "Meditation" and "Siddhis" for more info.]

[ Z ]




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