Ghost Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Agent
A person who either: (a) sees a ghost or apparition, (b) is the focus of poltergeist activity, or (c) attempts to communicate information to another during an ESP experiment.
Anniversary Imprint
A type of residual haunting or imprint that manifests about the same time each year.
Apparition
Visual appearance of something that is not physically present. Apparitions may be the spirits of humans, animals or objects (such as trains, cars, houses, etc.) They may also be the disembodied spirit of a living person. Pictures of apparitions are difficult to get and easy to fake.
Apport
A solid object that appears from nowhere during a haunting or séance, usually in the presence of a medium.
Asport
A solid object that disappears during a haunting or séance, usually in the presence of a medium.
Automatic Writing
Writing that occurs without the writer's conscious knowledge. Some believe that a ghost or spirit is taking control of the person's hand while others believe that it is an expression of the subconscious thoughts of the writer.
Automatism
Unconscious or involuntary muscular movements caused by ghosts or spirits. Automatic writing may be an example of automatism.
Autoscopy
Looking at your own body from a position outside of it (usually during an out of body experience) or seeing one's double.

B

Banshee
A wailing spirit that is believed to appear before a person's death in order to welcome them into the afterlife. Originated from the Irish term "bean sidhe" which means female spirit.
Bilocation or Bi-location
Being or appearing to be in two different locations at the same time. Similar to autoscopy.

C

Channeling
The process during which a spirit or ghost passes information directly to a medium or channeler. This is sometimes done by the spirit possessing the body of the medium.
Clearing
Riding an area of unpleasant energy or ghostly activity.
Cold Spots
A cold spot is an area where the temperature is several degrees lower than the surrounding area. It is believed that these are caused by ghosts or spirits that are attempting to manifest themselves by drawing energy (via heat) out of the location.


D

Dematerialize
To lose or appear to lose physical substance; to disappear or fade from sight.
Demon
An evil spirit or being. Demons are generally considered more powerful than man but less powerful than God.
Demonology
The study of demons.
Direct Voice Phenomenon (DVP)
A "spirit" voice that speaks directly to people attending a séance, but not through the mouth of the medium.
Disembodied Voice
A voice that is heard but has no known source or explanation.
Doppelganger
A mirror image or double of a living person. It may be living or a spirit. A doppelganger is different from bilocation in that the doppelganger behaves differently than the living person. This term was made popular in the 19th century by Shelly and Byron.
Dowsing
Using a pair of rods, usually metal, or pendulums to locate sources of energy or water.
Dream Communication
An experience in which a deceased individual manifests itself in a dream in order to communicate with the living. Dream communication usually occurs very recently after a person has died.
DVP
See Direct Voice Phenomenon

E

Earthbound or Earthbound Spirit
A spirit bound to the Earth, unable to "cross over to the other side" (go to heaven) after death. This can be caused by fear, unfinished business or because the spirit does not realize it is dead.
Ectoplasm
A solid or vaporous substances that is associated with the materializing or dematerializing of a spirit or ghost. It is a physical residue of psychic energy. It was often produced by mediums during séances (but was often a hoax done by the medium).
Electro Magnetic Field or Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF)
a field that is made up of both electric and magnetic components. It can be found around working computers, high-voltage power lines, fuse boxes, microwave ovens, etc.
Electrodermal Response
A measure of skin conductance or resistance related to sympathetic nervous system arousal. This response can be elicited by external stimuli (light, sound), or by internal activity (emotions).
Electromagnetic Energy
A form of energy that is reflected or emitted from objects in the form of electrical and magnetic waves that can travel through space. Examples include: gamma rays, x rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves and radio waves.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)
Unexplained voices or sounds picked up by an electrical audio recorder. They are usually not heard by the paranormal investigator or person recording at the time they are made.
EMF
See Electro Magnetic Field.
EMF Detector
An instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field typically used by paranormal researchers.
Entity
A generic term used to define a paranormal spirit, ghost, or object. Usually refers to a conscious, intelligent ghost that interacts with people.
EVP
See Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

F

False Awakening
An experience in which a person believes he or she has woken up but is still dreaming.

G

Ghost
The visible disembodied soul of a dead person or animal.
Ghost Lights
Mysterious lights that appear in the distance but have no known cause. They are usually blue or yellow. Also known as will"will-'o-the-wisps."

H

Hallucination
A perception of sights and sounds that are not present.
Haunting
Any repeated appearance of paranormal activity in a location.
Hoax
A staged or planned event designed to give the illusion of paranormal activity.
Hot Spot
A location where paranormal activity occurs frequently or at a higher level

I

Incubus
A demon or evil spirt which takes the form of a male in order to have sexual intercourse and/or impregnate females. See also Succubus.
Ion
A electrically charged atom or molecule.

J



K

K2 Meter
A device that picks up energy fields. It is believed that spirits disturb these fields when they are present.

L

Levitation
To lift or raise a physical object in apparent defiance of gravity.

M

Manifestation
Tangible signs of a haunting that may including tactile, auditory, olfactory, and/or visual.
Medium
A person who claims to be able to communicate with or channel spirits.
Mist
A photographic anomaly that appears as a "blanket of light."

N

O

Occam's Razor
The principle that we should always prefer the simplest explanation of events. Often stated as, "When you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras."
Orbs
Any sphere of light that appears in pictures. They are usually white or pastel colored and translucent. Although many believe orbs are evidence of spirit activity, orbs can be caused by environmental things such as dust, rain, pollen, insects, etc. See Orbs: Spirits or Natural? for more information.
Oujia Board
Pronounced "wee gee." A board with pre-printed letters, numerals and words used to communicate with the dead.


P

Paranormal
Events or occurrences above or outside the natural order of things that cannot be readily explained by known conventional reasoning or commonly accepted science.
Parapsychology
The branch of science that studies mental abilities and effects outside the usual realm of psychology. Parapsychology includes the study of ESP, ghosts, luck, psychokinesis, and other paranormal phenomena.
Pareidolia
A psychological phenomenon during which the brain perceives random stimulus as specific or significant.
Poltergeist
A German word meaning "noisy ghost." Unlike ghosts, poltergeists can move from one location to another and may be attached to a person.
Portal
Literally, a doorway or gate, this term suggests a theoretical doorway of energy through which spirits may be able to enter or exit a location.
Psychic
A person who tunes into phenomena beyond their five senses. The talents of psychic include, but are not limited to, hearing voices, seeing spirits and knowing what might be happening in the future.
Psychokinesis (PK)
The ability to move objects with the power of the mind.

Q

R

Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP)
Receiving the voice of a deceased human being over a regular radio.
Residual Haunting
A haunting that appears to playback a past event that occurred in that location.

S

Séance
A gathering of people in an attempt to communicate with the dead.
Simulcra
This is a word used to describe the seeing of faces, figures and images in ordinary, everyday object such as rocks, foliage, etc.
Skeptic
A person who has an attitude of doubt toward a particular set of beliefs.
Spirit
The energy or soul of a living or deceased person or animal.
Spirit Photography
A photo that contains a face or form believed to be that of a deceased person.
Spiritualism
The belief system that the dead are able to communicate with the living, usually through an intermediary or medium.
Succubus
A demon or evil spirt which takes the form of a female in order to have sexual intercourse with males. See also Incubus.
Supernatural
Something that exists or occurs through some means other than any known force in nature. As opposed to paranormal, the term often connotes divine or demonic intervention.

T

U

V

Vortex
A photographed anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image. It is believed to represent a ghost or a gateway for spirits.

W

Will-o'-the-Wisp
A ball of flame that floats in mid air.
Wraith
A spirit or ghost that returns to avenge their own death.

X

Y

Z