Terminology

A

Afterlife

One of several terms used interchangeably to refer to life after death. The word “afterlife” has been used since 1615, and is generic enough to use in almost any setting and culture. Other terms include “crossing over,” “the Otherworld,” and “The Other Side.” Most ghost hunters avoid specific religious terms such as “heaven” when discussing ghosts, hauntings, and an afterlife.

Agent

– A living person who is the focus of poltergeist activity.

Aliens

Visitors from other planets. We differentiate aliens from visitors that might live in parallel worlds, the otherworld, or what’s generally characterized as the afterlife.

Amulet

– An object that is thought to bring good luck or have the power to protect from ghosts or spirits and ward off evil.

Anniversary Imprint

– An imprint that usually manifests around the same time each year. (See Residual Haunting).

Anomaly

– Irregular or unusual event that does not follow a standard rule or law or that cannot be explained by currently accepted scientific theories.

Apparition

– “Apparition” is a blanket term used to describe many different types of unexplained visual phenomena. An apparition, more commonly referred to as a ghost, is the actual visible manifestation of a being. These are usually appearances of people or animals who are no longer living. Although, there are many cases claiming the appearance of a living being appearing to others, when they were known to be in an entirely different location. This too, could be considered an apparition. Apparitions can appear to be solid (by solid we mean they can be indistinguishable from a living person in appearance), or almost transparent. Some believe that apparitions are an imprint left by the living on the atmosphere around them, that can still be seen long after their death.

Apparitions can be roughly divided into the following categories:

•Ghosts (phantoms, or phantasms): These are the disembodied manifestations of the spirits or souls of deceased humans or animals that survive after death
• Hauntings: Occurrences of paranormal activity associated with a particular location or structure and usually attributed to the activities of an anomalous entity.
•Orbs: A type of anomaly that appears in photographs, in which mysterious objects appear floating in the air (Not to be confused with dust particles).
•Doppelgänger: A wraith or apparition of a living person; a “spirit double” or exact replica of a person.
•Bilocation: The phenomenon of a person appearing in more than one place simultaneously.

Apport

– A physical object that can materialize and appear at will from apparently no where.

Artefact

– Term used to describe the slight noises or residual images produced by the internal mechanisms of equipment which could be misinterpreted as paranormal sounds or images.

Asport

– A physical object that a spirit teleports to another location or makes disappear.

Astral Plane

– A world that is believed to exist above our physical world.

Astral Projection

– The intentional act of having the spirit leave the body, whereas an out-of-body experience will happen involuntarily. (See OBE – out of body experience).

Aura

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

B

Banshee

– A wailing spirit or “death omen” that can appear to be in two different places at the same time. It is said to fortell the death of a family member or loved one. Tradition says, that if you see a Banshee your death will follow shortly thereafter.

C

Case Study

– An in-depth investigation of an individual subject.

Channeling

– This is when a spirit will pass information directly to a medium or channeler who will then relay the information on to the

Clairalience

– This is the ability for a person to acquire psychic knowledge by means of smelling. They can sometimes smell cigarette, tobacco,  food smells, perfumes, or a deceased persons favourite flower.

Clairaudience

– An auditory form of ESP paranormal information is received outside the range of normal perception through voices, whispers and auditory impressions. Some will hear voices audibly and others receive them through mental impressions.

Clairgustance

– The paranormal ability to taste a substance without putting anything in one’s mouth. It is claimed the those who possess this ability are able to perceive the essence of a substance from the spiritual or ethereal realms through taste.

Clairsentience

– A clairsentient is a person who receives information from spirit, primarily in the form of physical sensations. This can involve being physically touched – feeling physical sensations that belong to the spirit, or in the form of strong feelings within the body.

Clairvoyance

– The term clairvoyance (comes from the French “clair” meaning “clear” and “voyance” meaning “vision”) refers to the ability to gain visual telepathic information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses.  Often this takes the form of mental imagery and intuition It is often called ESP or extrasensory perception. For some clairvoyance is innate, while for most people it can be developed to a degree, through various psychic development exercises, meditation, and yoga.

Cleansing

–  A non-religious ritual used to cleanse a house of unwanted entities or energies.

Cold Spots

– These are small self-contained air pockets that feel colder than the ambient temperature, they have been recorded between 10-40 degrees lower than the ambient air. They are usually found in the location at the approximate time of a manifestation. Witnesses frequently describe cold spots, or relate that they felt a chill upon entering the area (of a manifestation). It is theorized that these cold spots are the result of the manifestation using the heat energy of the surrounding air as fuel.

Collective Apparition

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

Crisis Apparition

– An apparition that is seen when a person is seriously ill, seriously injured or at the point of death.

D

Dematerialization

– This word is used to describe a spirit or specter that disappears or seems to lose apparent physical substance.

Déjà vu

– An impression or dull familiarity of having seen or experienced something before.

Demon

– An entity often spoken of in religious text as pure evil.

Direct Voice Phenomenon (DVP)

– An auditory “spirit” voice that is spoken directly to people (often called a Disembodied Voice).

Dream Communication

– An experience in which a spirit can manifest in the form of a dream, in order to communicate with the living. Often, but not always this can be associated with the recent death of the individual who is attempting contact – sometimes this is to inform the dreamer of the spirits demise, or to let them know they are ok, or to pass on information that the family member may be needing to know.

E

Earthbound

–  A term referring to a ghost or spirit that was unable to cross over to the other side at the time of death and is therefore stuck on earth.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

–  Electronic voice phenomena – or EVP – is a mysterious event in which human-sounding voices from an unknown source are heard on recording tape, in radio station noise and other electronic media. Most often, EVPs have been captured on audiotape, but more commonly these days they are caught digitally. The mysterious voices are not heard at the time of recording; it is only when the recording is played back that the voices are heard.

The quality of EVP also varies. Some are difficult to distinguish and are open to interpretation as to what they are saying. Some EVP, however, are quite clear and easy to understand. EVP often has an electronic or mechanical character to it; sometimes it is natural sounding. The quality of EVP is categorized by researchers:

  • Class A: Easily understood by almost anyone with little or no dispute. These are not necessarily the loudest evp.
  • Class B: Usually characterized by warping of the voice in certain syllables. Lower in volume or more distant sounding than Class A. Class B is the most common type of EVP.
  • Class C: Characterized by excessive warping. They are the lowest in volume (often whispering) and are the hardest to understand.

Elementals

–  Spiritualists sometimes refer to this term to describe mean or angry spirits sometimes also called “Earth Spirits”. But not all are mean or angry and can often be very helpful, so long as you respect them. Elementals exist somewhere between the realms of the human and the spirit worlds. They are often associated with forces of nature rather than souls of dead people. Nevertheless, these are powerful metaphysical entities which can sometimes possess the bodies of the living.

EMF Detector

–  (See Magnetometer)

Entity

–  A conscious, interactive ghost or any being, including people and ghosts.

Extra Sensory Perception (ESP)

–  Communication or perception by means other than the physical senses.

Exorcism

–  The banishment of an entity or entities, i.e. spirits, ghosts and demons, that are thought to possess, or haunt a location, or human being, or animal. The ritual which generally is religious in nature, is conducted by an exorcist who will call upon a Higher Power to cast away any evil forces that may reside there.

F

Frank’s Box

–  (Otherwise known as a Ghost Box, Spirit Box) A device used for contacting spirits through the use of radio frequency. These devices are used as an electronic medium for the purposes of direct communication with a spirit

G

Ghost

–  See Apparition

Ghost Box

–  See Frank’s Box

Ghost Investigation

–  (Sometimes called Ghost Hunting). A carefully controlled research project in which various methods and equipment are used to investigate reports of ghosts and hauntings.

Ghost Hunter

–  A person who investigates a haunting or paranormally active home or business or location to find explanations for possible phenomena involved. There are three basic types of ghost hunters.

  1. The scientific hunter, who uses scientific methods and equipment in order to make accurate calculations and observations about hauntings. They also look for any physical reasons for activity before spiritual reasons.
  2. The second type is the medium/clairvoyant, or intuitive ghost hunter, who uses their sensitivity to learn about a haunted area.
  3. This type of ghost hunter is just in it for the thrills and is not really looking for any validation of anything. They are the ones who are likely to break into private property and disregard trespassing notices.

The Shadowlands Paranormal Investigations Team, combines the first two elements into our research and investigations. We believe that they compliment each other and can very often give validation for either what the sensitive picks up or what the instruments pick up.

H

Hallucination

– The perception of sights and sounds that are not actually present.

Haunting

– Reoccurring ghostly phenomena that returns to a location where no one is physically present, (see also Apparition).

Hot Spot

– A site within a paranormally active location where activity is prominent, and /or energy fields are focused.

I

Illusion

– A delusional perception between what is perceived and what is reality.

Imprint

– Ghostly activity that appears non-conscious and redundant, kind of like a video recording looping all the time.

Intuition

– Non-paranormal knowledge that is gained through a perceptive insight, (see also ESP, Clairvoyance).

K

K2 Meter

– A K2 meter picks up on the energy fields that spirits disturb when they are present in the environment.

L

Levitation

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

M

Magnetometer (EMF, gaussmeter)

–  An instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field typically used by paranormal researchers to detect a ghost’s magnetic energy.

Manifestation

–  The tangible signs of a haunting, including tactile, auditory, olfactory, and visual. These can be measured in an investigation and can be used to support the evidence that a place is indeed haunted. (See also Apparition)

Materialization

–  The act of forming something solid from the air. One of the most difficult and impressive materializations is when part or all of a ghost or spirit can be seen, especially if the face is recognizable.

Medium

–  Someone who professes to be able communicate with spirits on behalf of another living being, acting as a midway point halfway between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Mist

–  A Photographed anomaly that appears as a blanket of light. There is no substantial proof that these are related to paranormal phenomenon.

N

Natural:

–  A rare phenomenon that appears ghostly but in fact is created by some scientifically known property of the present nature.

Near Death Experience (NDE)

–  An experience that is reported by people who clinically die, or come close to actual death and are revived. These events often include encounters with spirit guides, seeing dead relatives or friends, life review, out-of-body Experiences (OBE), or a moment of decision where they are able to decide or are told to turn back.

O

Occult

–  From the Latin, meaning something that is concealed or covered. Since the 16th century, it has meant anything that is mysterious. Today, it generally is used to refer to magical, mystical and experimental studies.

Old Hag Syndrome

–  A nocturnal phenomena that involves a feeling of immobilization, suffocation, odd smells and feelings and is sometimes accompanied my immense fear (See Sleep Paralysis).

Orb

–  A photographed anomaly that theoretically represents the “spirit” of a deceased person.  It will appear as a ball of light on film though is some cases; they are not seen at the time of the photo.  Since there are many reasonable circumstances (dust, snow, rain, insects, reflection, lens flare, etc.) orbs still remain a highly controversial subject.

Ouija Board

–  A pre-printed board with letters, numerals, and words used to receive spirit communications. Typically a planchette is employed to spell out words and point out numbers or letters. We do not suggest people play with ouija boards.

Out-Of-Body Experience

–  When one’s consciousness exits the restrictions of the physical body (also called OBE).The sensation or experience in which ones self or spirit travels to a different location than their physical body (See Astral Projection)

P

Paranormal

–  Referring to something that is beyond the range of normal human experience or scientific explanation.

Parapsychology

–  The study of the evidence for psychological phenomena that are inexplicable by science.

Percipient

–  A person who sees (i.e., perceives) an apparition.

Pareidolia

–  The imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, for example considering clouds to have human features, or a face of Jesus on toast.

Phantom

–  Something that is seen, heard, or sensed, but has no physical reality (See Apparition).

Poltergeist

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

Possessed Objects:

–  Inanimate objects that move, supposedly change appearance, or make noise. Sometimes an episode occurs while a person is watching, or they return to find that a disturbance has taken place while they were away. They include vehicles such as ghost ships or phantom trains heard bumping along tracks that were removed many years earlier. This phenomenon is often associated with the influence of a ghost that is emotionally attached to a place or object.

Possession (of a person by a spirit)

–  The entry of a spirit into the body of a willing or unwilling host, in which the spirit takes control of the individual’s motor and cognitive functions.

Precognition

–  The ability to predict or have knowledge of something in advance of its occurrence, especially by extrasensory perception (See Clairvoyance).

Premonition:

–  A psychic awareness of future events, often with a negative outcome.

Primary Readings:

–  The initial measurements of energy taken at a haunted location, used for establishing an investigation’s direction.

Protection:

–  Objects, rituals, routines, tactics, or processes through which you guard yourself against psychic, demonic or paranormal intrusions and effects.

Psi

–  A letter in the Greek alphabet that denotes psychic phenomena.

Psychic

–  From the Greek word meaning of the soul, or of life, this word usually refers to the world outside the domain of physical law. “Psychic” can relate to the spirit or the mind, depending upon the context. When someone is described as a psychic, it usually means that he or she is able to perceive things that are outside traditional physical laws and perceptions. A person who is responsive to psychic forces with above average ESP abilities.

Psychic Impression

–  A form of idea or message that a percipient may encounter about an area, a person, or an event. Usually associated with precognition, retro cognition, or psychometry.

Psychokinesis (PK)

–  The power of the mind to affect matter without physical contact, especially in inanimate and remote objects by the exercise of psychic powers.

Psychometry

–  The ability or art of divining information about people or events associated with an object solely by touching or being near to it.

Pyrokinesis

–  The ability to unconsciously control and sometimes in rare cases produce fire with their mind only.

R

Radio Voice Phenomenon (RVP)

–  Receiving the voice of a deceased human being through a regular radio.

Reciprocal Apparition

–  An extremely rare type of spirit phenomenon in which both the agent and percipient are able to see and respond to each other.

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 Energy

–  Many ghost hunters believe that emotionally charged events leave an imprint or energy residue on the physical objects nearby. What distinguishes residual energy from an active haunting is that the energy/impressions repeat consistently, as if on a loop. The energy levels may increase or decrease, but the content remains the same with each manifestation. By contrast, in what we term an active haunting, the ghost may respond to environmental stimuli and direct contact.

Residual Haunting

–  This is the playback of a past event, trapped in a continuous loop. It is often associated with past events involving great trauma and tragedy. A person is seen or heard performing a repetitive action—walking down a flight of stairs, crossing a garden, screaming in agony—at the same time or place and by many different independent witnesses. Researchers believe that it is possible for certain building materials to retain the energy of an event, and “record” it electromagnetically in a similar way to modern video or audio tape, and then replay the eerie fragment when the atmospheric conditions are right, or when a person who is especially sensitive to its bizarre energy passes by.

Retrocognition

–  An experience in which a person finds themselves in the past and is able to see and experience events in which they had no prior knowledge.

S

Séance

–  A meeting or gathering of people, usually lead by a medium to receive spiritualistic messages, manifestations or communication with the dead.

Shadow People

– Easily confused with normal shadows, these dark ghostly apparitions are often spotted at a distance or in peripheral vision. They are often experienced as a small darting essence in the corner of the eye, or as a larger and more menacing humanoid presence. Sometimes seen with or without a hat.

Shaman

–  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.

Sheep

–  An experiment in which the subject believes in the ability in which they are being tested.

Simulcra

–  This is a word used to describe the seeing of faces, figures and images in ordinary, everyday object such as rocks, foliage, etc.

Specter

–  A ghostly apparition; a phantom (See Apparition).

Spike

– A sudden and unexplainable jump on an Electro-Magnetic Field Detector (EMF) causing it to quickly rise and fall or “peg” the meter.

Spirit

– The actual consciousness or soul of an individual that has passed on and continues to be observed in an area. There are four main reasons that spirits exist:
1. The person does not realize that he or she is dead.
2. There is unfinished business or an un-kept promise after death.
3. The spirit is simply saying goodbye to a loved one.
4. The spirit has returned to offer advice.

Spirit Box

– See Frank’s Box.

Spiritualism

–  The belief system that the dead are able to communicate with the living, through an intermediary or medium.

Subjective Apparitions

–  Hallucinations of apparitions or other phenomena that are created by our own minds.

Supernatural

–  Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.  As opposed to paranormal, the term “supernatural” often connotes divine or demonic intervention.

T

Tarot Cards

–  A set of (usually 72) cards that include 22 cards representing virtues and vices, death and fortune etc. used by fortune tellers to help predict future events.

Telekinesis

–  The paranormal movement of objects by scientifically inexplicable means.

Telepathy

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

Teleportation

–  A method of transportation in which matter or information is dematerialized, usually instantaneously, at one point and recreated at another.

Thought Form

–  An apparition produced solely by the power of the human mind.

V

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.  There has been no substantial scientific evidence to support any of these theories.

W

White Noise

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