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Understanding the Terminology; A Glossary of Paranormal Terms in investigations

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A-Z of Paranormal Terms

The realm of paranormal investigations is filled with mysterious and often unexplainable phenomena. For those interested in delving into this field, having a solid understanding of the terminology is crucial. The vocabulary associated with paranormal activities helps investigators communicate their findings accurately and effectively, providing a common language to describe their experiences and observations.

Understanding these terms can demystify the investigative process, making it more accessible to newcomers and ensuring that discussions remain focused and productive. This comprehensive glossary of paranormal terms covers a wide range of terms from A to Z, providing essential definitions for both novices and seasoned investigators.

Comprehensive Glossary of Paranormal Terms


  • Apparition: A ghostly figure or image of a person that appears suddenly and is often seen as a supernatural manifestation.

  • Aura: An energy field believed to surround living beings, which some claim can be sensed or seen by those with psychic abilities.

  • Automatic Writing: The process of writing without conscious thought, often attributed to spiritual or paranormal influence.


  • Banshee: In Irish folklore, a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a family.

  • Basement Ghost: A common type of ghostly activity reported in basements, often associated with colder temperatures and eerie sensations.

  • Black Mass: A dark, shadowy form that appears and moves in a way that suggests intelligence, often interpreted as a negative entity.


  • Clairaudience: The ability to hear sounds or voices that are beyond the range of normal hearing, often attributed to spirits or paranormal sources.

  • Clairvoyance: The claimed ability to gain information about an object, person, location, or event through extrasensory perception.

  • Cold Spot: A localized area of cold air, often reported in haunted locations and believed to indicate the presence of a spirit.


  • Demon: A malevolent supernatural being often associated with evil and capable of possessing humans or objects.

  • Doppelgänger: A paranormal double or look-alike of a living person, often considered an omen of bad luck or death.

  • Divination: The practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means.


  • ECTO (Ectoplasm): A substance or spiritual energy that is said to be excreted by physical mediums during a trance state.

  • Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): Unexplained sounds or voices captured on audio recordings that are believed to be from spirits.

  • Exorcism: A religious or spiritual practice of expelling a spirit or demon from a person or place.


  • Familiar: A spirit or supernatural entity that assists witches or sorcerers in their practice of magic.

  • Full-bodied Apparition: A ghost or spirit that appears in a complete and detailed human form, often mistaken for a living person.


  • Ghost: The spirit or soul of a deceased person that appears to the living, often in a visual or auditory form.

  • Ghost Hunting: The practice of investigating locations that are reported to be haunted by spirits.

  • Grimoire: A book of magic spells and invocations used by witches and occult practitioners.


  • Haunting: The repeated manifestation of a spirit or supernatural phenomena in a particular location.

  • Hex: A curse or spell intended to bring bad luck or misfortune to someone.


  • Incubus: A male demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women.

  • Intelligent Haunting: A type of haunting where the spirit appears to interact and communicate with the living.


  • Jinn: Supernatural beings in Islamic mythology that can be good or evil and have free will, similar to humans.


  • Kirlian Photography: A technique that captures the "aura" or energy field around objects or living beings.


  • Ley Lines: Hypothetical alignments of ancient sites or places of significance, believed to have spiritual or supernatural significance.


  • Medium: A person who claims to communicate with spirits or the dead.

  • Mothman: A cryptid or mythical creature reported to be seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia.


  • Near-Death Experience (NDE): A phenomenon where individuals report experiences of the afterlife or out-of-body experiences after being close to death.

  • Necromancy: The practice of communicating with the dead to predict the future or gain hidden knowledge.


  • Orb: Spherical light anomalies that appear in photographs and videos, often believed to be manifestations of spirits.

  • Ouija Board: A board marked with letters, numbers, and other symbols used to communicate with spirits.


  • Paranormal: Events or phenomena that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.

  • Paranormal Photographic Capture (PPC): The act of capturing potential evidence of paranormal activity through photographs. These captures may include orbs, apparitions, shadow figures, and other anomalies that are believed to be manifestations of supernatural entities.

  • Poltergeist: A type of ghost or spirit that is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved.


  • Quija: A variation or misspelling of "Ouija," referring to the spirit board used for communication with the dead.


  • Residual Haunting: A type of haunting where the spirit or ghostly activity is a replay of past events and does not interact with the living.

  • Remote Viewing: The practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target through extrasensory perception.


  • Séance: A meeting or gathering where people attempt to communicate with the dead, usually with the help of a medium.

  • Shadow People: Dark, shadowy figures often reported in peripheral vision, believed by some to be supernatural entities.

  • Spirit Box: A device used in paranormal investigations to capture and communicate with spirits through radio frequency sweeps.

  • Spectre: A visible disembodied spirit or ghost, often used interchangeably with apparition but can include more ethereal or indistinct forms.

  • Spiritual Disturbance (SD): Any disruption or anomaly attributed to supernatural forces, including unexplained noises, movements, or feelings of unease.


  • Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with the mind, often considered a paranormal phenomenon.

  • Third Eye: A mystical concept referring to a speculative invisible eye that provides perception beyond ordinary sight.


  • Ufology: The study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related phenomena.

  • Unidentified Flying Object (UFO): Any aerial phenomenon that cannot be immediately identified or explained.


  • Vampire: A mythological or folkloric being that subsists by feeding on the vital essence of the living, typically in the form of blood.

  • Vortex: A spiraling column of energy believed by some to be a portal to other dimensions or realms.


  • Wendigo: A mythical creature or evil spirit from Native American folklore, often associated with cannibalism and winter.

  • Witching Hour: The time of night, usually around midnight, when supernatural events are believed to be at their peak.


  • Xenoglossy: The phenomenon of a person suddenly being able to speak or write in a language they have never learned.


  • Yurei: Ghosts from Japanese folklore, often characterized by their white clothing and long black hair.


  • Zombie: A reanimated corpse often depicted in folklore and popular culture as mindless and with a hunger for human flesh.

  • Zener Cards: A set of cards with five different symbols used in experiments to test for extrasensory perception (ESP).

By familiarising themselves with these terms, paranormal investigators can more effectively document and discuss their findings, contributing to a better understanding of the mysteries that lie beyond the ordinary.

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