Here is a list of some of the more commonly used paranormal terms. We have listed their meanings, some may not have their complete definitions listed and others may have more than one relevant definitions.

Amorphous – Without form or shape. 

Amulet – A charm, usually, worn around the neck that is supposed to ward off evil.

Angel – A non-human entity who's believed to be aligned with god.

Anomaly – An experience, occurrence, or object outside of the normal.

Apparition -- A ghostly figure; specter. A spirit that a witness can see.

Apports – Objects that were lost a long time ago, or objects that are unfamiliar, simply show up or appear somewhere (like a tabletop or desk drawer).  These types of events are thought to indicate the presence of a ghost.

Astral Body – A body that a person occupies during an out-of-body experience.

Astral Plane – A world, believed to exist above our physical world.

Astral Projection – An intentional act of having the spirit leave the body, causing an involuntarily out-of-body experience.

Astrology – The theory and practice of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies (stars) in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs.

Aura – An invisible emanation of light that seems to surround a person or thing, often thought to reflect a person’s personality.

Automatic Writing – Method of obtaining information from disembodied spirits, used by mediums in which the spirit takes control over the medium causing them to translate unconscious information to paper without being aware of the contents.

Autoscopy – Visual hallucination or image of one’s body looking back at themselves from a position outside of their body.

Ball Lightening – A rare form of lighting in the shape of a glowing ball that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.  Typically associated with thunderstorms, these spheres are thought to consist of ionized gases.

Banshee – A wailing spirit or “death omen” that will appear to be in two different places at the same time.

Bilocation – The presence of a person or object in two places at once.

Black Shuck (See also: Hellhound) – A spectral death omen in the form of a ghostly dog.

Channeling – Communication by a spirit through a human being where the spirit comes through the channeler.

Channeler – (see also medium) A person who can bring forth a ghost, allowing it to use their own body and voice.

Clairaudient – A person who can hear “psychic” sounds and voices that no one else can hear.

Clairvoyance – The ability to communicate with the other side, see the future, or be given other information using only the mind.

Clairvoyant – A person who receives detailed mental images and/or pictures of people or events that they could not possibly have known.

Cleansing – Using the occult or nontraditional means to remove something supernatural from a place.

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 questions, along with other statements and answers.

Cold Spots – A relatively small area of localized coldness or sudden decrease in ambient temperature believed to be connected to paranormal phenomenon.

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

Corpse Light – A glow sometimes seen around the spirit of the departed.

Crisis Apparition – A one-time paranormal experience where the spirit is seen at the time of its death by a loved one as a way of saying goodbye or communicating information.

Curse – also referred to as (Jinx, Hex, or Execration) depending upon which region it is used. A curse is a wish to hurt or harm another by means of supernatural powers such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, magic, witchcraft, god, a natural force, or a spirit.

Jinx – is continual or repeated bad luck, derived from African American Hoodoo rituals.

Hex – is a spell derived from German and Pennsylvania Dutch, Hexe in German meaning Witchcraft.

Execration – an oath, a declaration, to loathe, detest, professing great hatred for, denounce, to curse, damn.

Cursed Objects – is an object intended to do harm upon the owner through a curse done by a god, devil, demon lord, alchemist or extremely high-level member of the clergy. Most common in Hoodoo rituals.

Debunk -- To investigate and analyze. To prove the truth about an event.

Demon – One of many non-human spirits. Although the term is commonly used in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the term applies to many different spirits and traditions.

Demonologist – A person who studies ghostly phenomena to determine if it is the work of a demon, rather than a ghost.

Discarnate – Another name for a ghost.

Disembodied Voice – An audible voice with no apparent source.  It can be compared to an EVP, except an EVP is picked up on a recording device, and a disembodied voice is heard with your own ears as it happens.

Djinn (Jinn) - The word Djinn comes from the Arabic jinn, a plural noun that means either “demons or spirits" and also, "hidden from sight." The word genie shares the same Arabic root. An intelligent spirit of lower rank than the angels, able to appear in human and animal forms and to possess humans, described as being made of a smokeless fire.

Doppelganger– (1) An exact double or mirror image of a person which is considered to be very negative. (2) The spirit of a living person viewed by that person. Doppelgangers are seen as a bad omen, usually a sign of impeding death.

Dowsing – Locating objects by the use of a divining or dowsing rod.

Ectoplasm – Anything physical left behind by a ghost or other entity. Many believe that spirits use it to actually make themselves take some kind of physical form.

Ectoplasmic mist -- a physical substance that supposedly manifests as a result of "spiritual energy" or "psychic phenomenon".  Ectoplasm is said to be associated with the formation of ghosts, and hypothesized to be an enabling factor in psycho kinesis.

Elementals – Spirits who watch over the (4) four elements of nature. Nature’s angels, referred to by various names like Fairies, Elves, Devas, Brownies, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Sprites, Pixies and many others. 

EMF’s – Electromagnetic Field – These are both a natural and man-made physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. The electromagnetic field extends indefinitely throughout space. It is one of the four fundamental forces of nature (the others are gravitation, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction). EMF’s can be caused by things like old or improper wiring.  EMF’s can cause a person to feel emotional distress’s like claustrophobia, the feeling of being watched, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, or general uneasiness.

Empathic – A person who has the ability to feel the emotions of others, dead or alive.

Entity – a thing with distinct independent existence, being, separate, contained.

EVP’sElectronic Voice Phenomena – The capture of a voice or sound on a device such as a digital voice recorder or video recorder.  These voices or sounds are only heard when listening to the recording and were not heard by the investigators or other people when the recording was being taken.

EVP Ears  -- A sense of hearing state of mind where a person has listened to so many EVP’s that they can hear things on tape much easier than most others.

Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) – Communication or perception by means other than physical senses.

Exorcism – The banishment of an entity or entities (spirits, ghosts and demons) that is thought to possess or haunt a location, person or animal.  The ritual, which can be religious in nature, is conducted by an exorcist who will call upon a higher power to cast out any evil forces that may reside there.

Familiar – Any animal who is used by a witch for surveillance or for casting spells. A familiar can also be the witch in an animal’s form.

Fear Cage – A confined area or room with a high EMF reading. This can cause hallucinations as well as headaches, body aches, nausea and paranoia.  It is also thought to be an area conductive to strong paranormal activity.

Ghost – (1) A visual manifestation of a spirit or entity. (2) The residual energy of a person or animal which is visible in some form.

Ghostbuster -- A person who investigates a haunted location with the intent of contacting a ghost and “releasing it to the light”, freeing it, removing it from that location.

Ghosthunter -- A person who studies paranormal phenomena in an attempt to understand the causes of that phenomena.

Ghost light(s) – Lights that are anomalous, usually seen at night.  Most sightings have been in mountainous regions.

Ghoul – A demonic or parasitic entity that feeds upon human remains.

G.R.A.S.P.P. – Gathering Research And Stories of Paranormal Phenomena. A group of paranormal investigators.  A group dedicated to honest research of paranormal events.

Haunting(A) An interaction between the paranormal and the normal. (B) To inhabit or frequent as a specter; to visit as a ghost or apparition. In reference to paranormal investigation there are 3 types of haunting - 1) Residual, 2) Intelligent and 3) Poltergeist:

Residual – An event or manifestation (visual, sound, smell or any combination of) that will replay itself as if it were a recording, not being effected by any other surroundings.

Intelligent -- An event or manifestation that shows some sort of intelligence, able to interact or communicate with the investigator(s).

Poltergeist -- A ghost that manifests itself by noises, rapping’s, and the creation of disorder.

Hellhound – A spectral death omen in the form of a ghostly dog. (See also: Black Shuck)

House Cleansing – is a ritual done to cleanse your home of any negative energies or spirits. This is usually done through a series steps including burning sage, incense, spreading sea salt about, and by chanting prayers. Methods differ with each individual depending on religious beliefs.

Incubus – (the male form of the demon) [See Succubus] Derived from medieval folklore; who seeks to impregnate unsuspecting women while they sleep.

Infestation – A haunting that implies multiple spirits or something demonic. The word is also associated with a rise in the intensity of a haunting.

Ignis Fatuus – A phosphorescent or spectral light that is alleged to be an indication of death.  This phenomenon is thought to be caused by spontaneous combustion of gasses emitted by rotting organic matter.

Inhuman Spirit – A spirit that is not of human nature usually referred to as a poltergeist, demon or devil.

K2 Meter – A meter that is used for detecting weak Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). Ghosts (in theory) emit an electromagnetic field as they move about. This meter can detect the field. If the ghost is interactive, its movements can act as a response to a question being asked.

Living Ghosts -- 2 definitions – 1) When a person is visited by, and interacts with, a person, often a family member or close friend, at the moment that they die. The observer does not usually know at the time that the person has died and they often find out later that the visit took place at the exact time of death. 2) When a person is visited by a friend or family member who is alive but in need of help.  They could be ill or suffering in some way and are making a psychic connection to help them get through the problem they’re having.

Lucid Dreaming – A dream state in which one is awake enough to recognize that one is in the dream state and is then able to control the dreams events.

Manifestation - An event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea. A sudden appearance of an apparition/ghost/spirit.

Marian Apparitions – Any event in which the Virgin Mary is seen.

Matrixing -- The minds ability to find something familiar in an image that it doesn’t quite understand or recognize.

Medium – 1) A person thought to have the power to communicate with the spirits of the dead.  2) A person who can bring forth a ghost, allowing it to use their own body and voice.

Metaphysics – A field of study dedicated to the nature of reality and an individual's distance from it.

Mocking Of The Trinity – Belief that demons do things in three's to mock or ridicule the holy trinity (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit). [Example; scratching someone in 3's, knocking or banging 3 times.]

Near Death Experience(NDE) – The experiencing of temporary death or loss of biological life where the subject goes through an archetypal event.

Necromancy – Speaking to the dead, most frequently used to determine the future.

Night Terror – The sudden overwhelming of a person during a nightmare or unexplained nocturnal occurrence.

Obsession – The process by which a demon gains its initial access to a targeted human. The subject literally becomes obsessed with the demon.

Occultism – Is the study or practice of supernatural powers. Including magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, religion, and divination. The word “occult” is generally associated with secret knowledge and practices dealing with the supernatural or psychic phenomena, often used for personal gain. [Examples; Alchemy, Astrology, Automatic speaking, Calling up the dead, Clairvoyance, Demon worship, Fortune telling, Freemasonry, Horoscopes, Magic, Mediums, Omens, Ouija boards, Runes, Santeria, Spiritualism, Tarot cards, and Witchcraft.]

Omens - Is a phenomenon that is believed to portend a good or evil event or circumstance in the future, often signifying the advent of change.

Old Hag Syndrome – A nocturnal phenomena that involves a feeling of immobilization, suffocation, odd smells and/or feelings and is sometimes accompanied by strong feeling of fear.

Orbs – Orbs mean different thing to many people.  Certain groups will totally omit orb evidence because it can be recreated.  Still others believe that orbs are spirits trying to manifest themselves.  Some believe that they are balls of energy used by spirits to manifest or even just balls of energy which are naturally in the atmosphere.  In order to believe in orbs as evidence, some say that there are certain requirements they must have to be called an “Orb”…

          Orbs must be spherical.
          Orbs must generate their own light.
          Orbs must show an intelligent flight path.
     Some people believe that an orbs color is a key to the characteristic of that spirit…

            Pink – openness

            Red – stress, restlessness

            Dark red – anger, pain, psychological impairment

            Clear red – high energy

            Peach – ability to comfort

            Orange – healing energy

            Gold – free flowing energy, tolerance

            Yellow – caution

            Yellow green – psychic growth

            Green – healing, fertility

            Turquoise – amusement, neutrality

            Light blue – tranquility

            Pilot light blue – shielding

            Dark blue – shielding, shyness, survivor instinct

            Lavender – at peace with God

            Purple – stored information

            Violet – seeking spiritual

            White – high frequency, protection, shielding

            Silver – telekinetic power

            Brown – connection to the earth

Out-of-body-experience – Leaving one's body during an unexplained event, most times during a near death experience.

Paranormal – a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack an obvious scientific explanation or phenomena alleged to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.

Parapsychology – The study of phenomena, real or supposed, that appear to be inexplicable to presently accepted scientific theories.

Parapsychologist – A psychologist who studies the evidence of phenomena like clairvoyance, ghosts, psycho kinesis, telepathy.

Pendulum – A crystal or rock suspended from a chain; used for divination or spirit communication.

Phantom – Something that is seen, heard or sensed, but has no physical reality.

Phasmophobia/Spectophobia - Fear of ghosts.

Phenomena -- any observable occurrence. In popular usage, a phenomenon often refers to an extraordinary event.

Physical Mediumship – A form of mediumship in which the spirit communicates using both the physical energies and consciousness of the medium.
Planchette – A pointing device used in conjunction with a channeling board.

Poltergeist – A non-human spirit or entity which literally means “noisy ghost”, but it is usually more malicious and destructive than the ghosts of a dead person.  Traditionally, poltergeist activities are thumping and banging, levitating and / or moving of objects, stone throwing and starting fires.  It is thought that poltergeist activity in some cases may be brought on subconsciously by an adolescent or females under the age of 25.

Possession – The result of a demonic attack where a demon may take complete control of its victim for an unknown purpose.

Precursor Noise – Any noise or signal recorded during an EVP signaling the beginning of a communication.

Preternatural – Phenomena caused by inhuman spirits considered possessed of a negative, diabolical intelligence.

Progression Hypnotherapy – The act of visiting past lives through the use of hypnosis.

Prophets - In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or god to speak for them. The message that the prophet expresses is called a prophecy.
Provocation – is an action or speech that deliberately makes someone annoyed or angry to elicit a particular response or reflex. It is a highly controversial manner to communicate with spirits among the paranormal community.

PSI – A term used to describe psychic ability or power.

Psychic – A person who has the ability to perceive things that can’t be perceived by normal use of the senses.

Psychokinesis– The ability to move objects using only one's mind.

Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP) – Receiving the voice of a deceased person through a regular radio.

Remote Viewing – Used by some psychics, this is a procedure in which the percipient or psychic attempts to become physically aware of the experience of an agent who is at a distant, unknown location through ESP.

Residual Haunting – A term used to describe a spirit that is trapped in a continuous emotional loop in a specific location.

Rods Phenomenon - are said to be flying creatures, from a few inches to a few feet in length, which are invisible to humans, but visible to cameras.

Seer – a person able to see the future through supernatural insight.

Sensitive – a person uses extra-sensory abilities to detect spirits.

Shadow People -- (also known as shadow men, shadow folk, or shadow beings) are supernatural shadow-like creatures of both modern folklore and traditional Native American beliefs. According to folklore, they appear as dark forms in the peripheries of people's vision and disintegrate, or move between walls, when noticed. Reports of shadow people occupy a similar position in the popular consciousness to ghost sightings, but differ in that shadow people are not reported as having human features, wearing modern/period clothing, or attempting to communicate. Some individuals have described being menaced, chased, or in some rare instances, attacked by shadow people. There have also been reports of shadow people appearing in front of witnesses and lingering for several seconds before disappearing. Witnesses report that encounters are typically accompanied by a feeling of dread.

Shaman – A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who also practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination and control over other natural events.

Sixth Sense - A term used to describe psychic ability or psi.

Sleep Paralysis - A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. Commonly mistaken for a paranormal phenomenon.

Specter – A ghostly apparition; a phantom (See Ghost).

Spectrophilia – is a phenomenon and a fetish, depending on how the term is being used. The fetish is a sexual attraction to ghosts. The phenomenon is sexual encounters between ghosts and humans. Willing or non-willing.  (See Incubus/Succubus)

Spirit – The living essence or soul of a person which remains after the body has died. Some people believe that spirits can and do communicate with the living.  Using visual means, emotional impressions or physically moving or touching people or objects.

Spirit Rapper – Mediums who communicate with spirits through knocks on a table.

Spiritualist – A person who believes that the living can contact the spirits of the dead to seek their guidance or advice.

Spiritual Guide – A spirit that watches over a living person & offers wisdom or guidance. Some may refer to one as a guardian angel.

Spirit Manifestation – A manifestation is when a spirit gathers enough energy to form a visual object which can be seen or recorded.  In order for a spirit to manifest itself, it will gather energy from things like batteries in recording devices, people (sometimes causing the person to feel nauseous or dizzy), or the surrounding environment itself causing cold spots that can be felt or detected.

Succubus – (female form of a demon) [See Incubus] Derived from medieval folklore; A women able to change her appearance to seduce men while they sleep to steal their seed. She feeds on their energy. Draining the male until exhaustion or death. This legend was an explanation for the phenomena of wet dreams and sleep paralysis.

Supernatural – Activity caused by any force or agent that is not part of the physical, earthly realm.

Synchronicity – a term coined by Carl Jung meaning "meaningful coincidences." The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

Table Tipping – One of the original forms of spiritualist ghost communication where the responses of the spirit are related through the movement of a table or similar device.

Telepathy – Communication from one mind to another through means other than the senses.

Time Slip– A displacement where the witness experiences a different time, usually while in the same place.

Trance Mediumship a form of mediumship in which the medium shares there energy with a spirit through the use of a trance.

Trigger Objects – is an object, or person, believed to be familiar or cherished by an entity to elicit a response.

Urban Legend
– Any story told as having happened to a friend of a friend. Many reported haunting are recycled urban legends.

Vortex – 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. 

White Noise – An acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band.

Witching Hour (or Dead Time) – 3am is an inversion of 3pm and that is considered to be the Miracle Hour. Three AM is also supposed be mockery of the holy trinity in which Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. Believed to be when creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are their most powerful. Many believe that the hours of 11pm to 3am are the prime times to investigate the paranormal for these reasons.

WraithScottish word for “ghost” or “spirit,” It usually is used to refer to a rather unpleasant and grotesque version of a human ghost seen before or shortly after their death. A Wraith is similar to the grim reaper but they have a different connotation.

Xenoglossy The ability to write or speak in a language not known.

When we first started GRASPP, we really didn't know a lot about what we were getting into. Over the years we managed to learn the skills and tech involved in paranormal research. We also picked up on a lot of the lingo that you hear in the field. We felt it would be helpful to others seeking answers so we put together this of terms and phrases for everyone to reference as needed.

We don't bust ghost, we research them!



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