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A glossary of terms commonly used by paranormal investigators.
Benevolent Kind or good.
Cold Spots Commonly associated with haunted sites, a cold spot is said to result from a ghost absorbing the necessary energy to materialize from its surroundings. They are usually quite localized and are 10 or more degrees cooler than the surrounding area.
Ectoplasm A dense fog-like bio-energy used by spirits to materialize as ghosts.
EMF The electromagnetic field meter detects changes in the electromagnetic field. It has been well documented that when the spirits of the dead are present, the EMF detects changes in the electromagnetic field. (Usually a variation of 7 milligaus or greater)
ESP Extrasensory Perception describes the ability to perceive and receive information without the use of any of the normal five senses.
EVP Electronic Voice Phenomena is a process through which the voices of the dead are captured on audio recordings.
Exorcism A purging of a person, place or thing that has been possessed by a demon or other unnatural force. It is normally carried out under the close supervision of a religious official that is thoroughly trained and capable.
*Contrary to popular belief, ghosts cannot be exorcised.
Geiger Counter An instrument that detects and measures radioactivity or the spontaneous emission of energy from certain elements. This device searches for fluctuations in Alpha, Beta, Gamma and X-ray radiation, which point to a disturbance in spirit energy.
Ghost Derived from the German word for "geist" and Dutch word for "geest," a ghost is the physical manifestation of an individual's disembodied spirit. It may appear as a figure, but a ghost can also manifest itself through smells, sounds and other sensations.
IR Thermometer Infrared Thermometer is a thermometer that sends out an infrared beam that will bounce back when it hits a surface. The scanner will display the temperature of the surface that reflected the infrared beam. When a spirit is present, there is sometimes a significant variation.
Malevolent To be bad or of evil intent.
Materialization The process through which seemingly solid objects or individuals appear out of thin air.
Motion Sensor The motion sensor is an effective tool for sensing the movement of the spirits. Sensors go off to support evidence, photographic or otherwise, of paranormal activity.
NDE - Near Death Experience The recollection of the afterlife which those who have been at death's door have experienced.
OBE - Out of Body Experience The phenomenon in which a person leaves his/her body and travels temporarily outside of it, but is attached by an astral cord in order to return.
Orbs Though they may vary in shape and size, orbs are most commonly round in shape and whitish gray in color. They may be found in photographs taken during a haunting or at a haunted site.
Ouija Board An instrument that allegedly can be used to contact or channel spirits of the deceased. It is usually a wooden or cardboard device inscribed with the alphabet, the words "yes" and "no" and the numbers 0 - 9. It also includes an apparatus known as a pointer.
Paranormal Any event that cannot be explained or defined through accepted scientific knowledge is said to be beyond what is normal. It is therefore, paranormal.
Permeation The action whereby an investigator and/or client experiences the sensation of a spirit or entity permeate or pass through the physical body.
Poltergeist A combination of two German words, Polter (to 'knock' or 'noisy') and Geist (spirit). A poltergeist is characterized by its bizarre and mischievous behavior. Activities of a poltergeist include, but are not limited to, the moving of furniture, the throwing of objects and the rapping and knocking of walls.
Possession A condition in which all of an individual's faculties fall under the control of an external force such as a demon or deity. An individual possessed by a demon may alter his or her voice, even his or her appearance and be fearful of religious symbols.
Residual Haunting A spirit becomes trapped in an emotional whirlpool that is never-ending. A replay of events the spirit has experienced while living and now, after death, is trapped within a loop of repetition.
Revenant From the French, revenir (to return) a revenant is a ghost that appears shortly after its physical death. Usually it will only appear a few times, perhaps even just once, before disappearing from the earth forever.
Sleep Paralysis A natural condition that occurs when people fall asleep. The brain shuts down signals to the muscles in the body so we don't act out what we are dreaming. In sleep paralysis, it does not shut down properly and leaves the sleeper in a half-awake state unable to move. Since they are still partially awake and dreaming, yet paralyzed, dream hallucinations can occur because of the fear it creates. The brain will usually fill in the reason for the happening. This gives way to stories of demons, aliens, dark entities, ect. that are attacking the "victim" while they are in their beds.
Thermograph A self- recording thermometer that traces temperature variations over time.
Vortex Thought to be a doorway that spirits use from the afterlife into ours.