Anomaly: An occurrence or condition removed from ordinarily understood experience.
Apparition: The projection or manifestation of a semi-physical entity. (i.e. - Ghost, Spirit, Entity)
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.
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.
Demon: Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin.
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.
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.
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 subconscious level), residual (replay) and Demonic (non-human origin).
Kirlian Photography: Named after Semyon Kirlian who, in 1939, discovered - reportedly by accident - that when an organic or nonliving object is placed upon a photographic plate and subjected to a high electric current, a glowing "aura" forms around the object and is imprinted on the film. It is more accurate to say that rather than revealing a natural aura, this process produces such. However, fluctuations in the magnetic fields surrounding the subjects can be detected in this way, and Kirlian photography, the technique having been improved upon through the years, has recently come into use as a medical diagnostic device. It also has a popular market at psychic fairs as a sort of high-tech, more expansive version of the mood ring. Kirlian photography does produce some beautiful and interesting effects.
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 occurrence was that of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th century.
Matrixing: The natural tendency for the human mind to interpret sensory input, what is perceived visually or audibly as something familiar or more easily understood and accepted, in effect mentally "filling in the blanks."
Non-religionist: A materialist, one who embraces no formal religious beliefs; a more descriptive term than atheist or agnostic.
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 parlour 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: The realm of occurrences and phenomena removed from those to which people are accustomed and comprehend, and presently uncategorized by standard academia.
Parapsychology: The avenue of paranormal studies and research relating chiefly to psychic abilities (e.s.p., telepathy) and spiritual phenomena.
Poltergiest: German for "noisy ghost." This is an extremely rare occurrence 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 desecration 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, and then it's "We await a sign".
Spirit: Existence apart from, or transcending, the purely physical; also, the life-force of an organism. A spirit commonly refers to a ghost.
Vortex: pl. Vortexes or Vortices. An anomaly which sometimes shows up in still photographs taken at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as a translucent white, tube or funnel shaped mass. Some researchers believe this may be a porthole to the spirit realm.
Wicca: Witchcraft as a recognized religion, the practitioners 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.