This glossary of paranormal terms and definitions is a curated collection of terms that you are sure to encounter while delving into the world of paranormal topics. Whether you’re interested in ghostly encounters, haunted locations, or exploring UFO sightings, our paranormal glossary will help you better clarify and understand related subjects.
There are currently 119 term in this directory
An individual supposedly abducted or alleging to be held captive by extraterrestrials or non-human entities against his or her own will during an alien abduction or an abduction phenomenon.
Also known as austromancy, arologie, or aerology, it entails artistic divination via the interpretation of atmospheric and weather conditions such as clouds, wind, or birds.
Life after death or reincarnation; An existence in which a person’s spirit, identity, soul, sentience, or stream of consciousness perseveres after the body has passed away.
An extraterrestrial; A being originating from another world or planet other than earth and sometimes exhibiting physical, physiological, cognitive, or technological characteristics different from people on earth.
A supernatural and spiritual being of superior intelligence and power to humans, or a guardian spirit. It can also describe a human figure with white robes and wings.
Used to describe something different, unusual, or peculiar. In the paranormal world, an anomaly is often used to suggest something is unidentifiable or strange. Mysterious orbs of light are commonly referred to as anomalies.
Used to describe the appearance of something unexpected, or strange. It’s also commonly used to refer to the visitation of a ghost or something of a spectral form. It may be someone you claim to have seen but was not there in physical form.
In occultism, Apport refers to a material object which arrives mysteriously through the intervention of a medium. Apports can usually arrive through a séance and may appear through either living or inanimate objects.
Refers to an alternate realm, non-physical in existence, in which the human body is said to have an equivalent. In differing beliefs, various psychic and paranormal phenomena are attributed to this realm.
A spectral counterpart of the physical body that is made up of ethereal material, which isn’t physical, and can separate from the physical body to travel to other places, or realms of existence.
This is the event that allows the Astral body, or spirit form of a physical body, to be able to travel to different places or realms of existence. Unlike a near-death experience, astral projection allows a person to have an intentional out-of-body experience.
A popular spiritual belief in which a person’s physical body emanates colorful spiritual energy. Each color of a person's aura indicates their state of emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Aura readings are popular in New Age circles.
A creature of Irish folklore - the Banshee is said to be a harbinger of death. If heard, the wailing of a Banshee symbolizes the impending death of a relative or somebody in the same household.
This is a term that is used to indicate that a person will be, or has been targeted by witchcraft. If an enchantment or spell has been cast upon a person with the intent of influencing them, it usually means they have been bewitched.
This refers to the phenomena of one person, existing in more than one place at the same time. In popular Christian belief, the Holy Mother of God, and Saint Padre Pio were two of the most prominent people attributed to the ability of bilocation.
This involves the use of magical abilities to cause harm to someone, usually through the invocation of demonic spirits. It’s for this reason that black magic is more commonly associated with the Devil.
Card guessing is when a deck of 52 cards is laid out, and a person must try and guess which card has been pulled from the deck before it's revealed. Card guessing is commonly used in magic tricks.
A type of fortune telling, which involves a person being able to tell the fortunes of another by reading and interpreting a random selection of playing cards. Cartomancy is thought to originate from 14th century Europe and is one of the oldest forms of fortune-telling.
This refers to the relationship between action, and the outcome. It’s the process of causing something to happen.
This is an ancient practice in which a person with psychic abilities, enters into a meditative state, in order to relay messages between a deceased person or spiritual guide and someone who is living.
This is the ability to be able to hear things that are inaudible to other people. With this ability to be able to hear what most people cannot, it’s also claimed that people who experience Clairaudience can hear the voices of the dead.
A psychic ability in which a person can acquire knowledge by means of feeling. The word originates from the 17th-century French word Clair (“clear”) and Sentience (“feeling”).
Used to describe the ability in which a person can gain knowledge about an event, place, object or person, beyond regular sensory perception. Clairvoyance is used to perceive things that will happen in the future.
A Clairvoyant is someone who can harness their abilities in clairvoyance to gain insight into future events or knowledge about someone who is not there in physical form.
This is the act of clearing a location of paranormal activity, such as removing a ghostly entity from a reported hot spot or object.
When two events occur at the same time in a reasonable manner, which happens purely by accident but seems to be connected in some way. For example, if two friends just happened to cross each other's path on the street without prior organization, this would be considered a coincidence.
This is when a sudden drop in temperature occurs. In paranormal terms, when a place, or spot, is found to be colder than the standard room temperature. This usually indicates a ghostly presence nearby. The energy of a ghost is theorized to be below normal temperatures.
Another manner of referencing a magician, or illusionist. Someone that practices magic, or attempts to summon spirits on demand through the use of magical techniques is considered a conjurer.
The act in which a person attempts to summon a spirit, or bring an entity into existence through the practice of magic. Conjuring something would usually defy natural laws and understanding.
A correlation refers to the relationship between two or more variables. It can be used to describe any similarities between two or more different things.
An assembly, group, gathering, or meeting of witches that is usually secret and often consisting of, or limited to, thirteen witches. The term is derived from the word covenant meaning an agreement or a coming together.
Mysterious circular, geometric, or more complex crop formations that often appear overnight in an area of standing crops. They are attributed to various unorthodox and natural explanations such as ancient spirits or UFOs although most are considered hoaxes.
A French phrase meaning “already seen,” an illusion, uncanny sensation, or intuition that creates a sense of familiarity to a place, an experience, a person, or an object despite no previous encounters.
A supernatural being that manifests as an evil spirit and is regarded as a conveyor of evil, ruin, harm, or distress. It also describes a supernatural Greek mythological being or an attendant spirit.
An individual who studies demons or beliefs about demons and evil spirits. An expert in demonology – the study of demons.
A device used to record sounds or videos on magnetic tape, magnetic disk, compact disk, or any other medium by sampling audio or video waveforms at regular intervals, usually from 40,000 to 50,000 times per second.
Direct Voice Phenomena (DVP)
Sometimes referred to as the Audible Voice Phenomena, DVP is the disembodied and audible voices heard at haunted locations, during paranormal investigations, or at seances. During DVP, spirits speak via mediums that facilitate rather than produce the phenomena.
A voice that seemingly originates from nowhere or from an unseen or unidentifiable place/person. A spooky, ghostly, and likely terrifying voice that is not attached to any physical form or body.
The art or practice of foretelling the future or discovering hidden knowledge, or determining the cause or significance of events using supernatural, occultic, or ritualistic means.
A form of forked rod or stick used in a form of divination called dowsing to locate gravesites, buried ores or metals, and other movements/materials by picking malign earth vibrations, energy waves, and vibrations in the air, among others.
A spiritual or ghostly apparition of a living individual is considered a deathly omen or a harbinger of bad luck and evil. Sometimes also describes a biological double of another person.
The strange material or substance occasionally considered spiritual energy exteriorized or produced by spiritual/physical mediums in spiritualism. The substance flows from the affected medium.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)
An electromagnetic field is a classical field produced when an electrical charge moves or accelerates. An emf can be either anthropogenic or natural and is usually used by ghost-hunters to predict haunting activity.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)
Unexplained voices captured either intentionally or unintentionally on electronic recording devices and interpreted as spirit voices, particularly within parapsychology or ghost hunting circles.
An emotion-driven nature spirit or a guardian connected residing on earth but in a different realm. They are connected to and able to manipulate the four elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Supposedly manifested via occult.
It measures electromagnetic fields emitted by electrically charged objects in motion. Used by ghost hunters to detect changes in electric currents, which can seemingly indicate the presence of a spirit being.
The act, art, or instance of unexplained or mysterious captivation, delight, or bewitchment triggered by a magical effect. Witches, wizards, or fairies normally perform them through speech, chants, or songs.
Supernatural and non-material beings such as spirits, gods, and angels have a distinct and separate existence and characteristics withdrawn from the observable universe.
Two moments in a year when the earth’s equator is on the same lane as the sun disk’s geometric center, placing the sun above the equator. Day and night are equal, symbolizing life and death and light and darkness to spiritualists. And further held as the Mabon and Ostara sabbats.
A body of facts, information, or anything availed to prove something or support an assertion, belief, or ideology. Evidence confirms the existence of paranormal activity or supernatural entities such as spirits.
A ritual, spiritual or religious practice, performed on an individual haunted or possessed by a non-material or supernatural entity such as a devil, demon, or spirit. Exorcism is meant to evict this entity.
Extrasensory Perception (ESP)
Extrasensory perception sometimes called sixth sense, entails the claimed reception or awareness of information not garnered via the normal sensory channels but through other means such as precognition, clairvoyance, and telepathy.
The soul or spirit of a dead individual inhabiting the unseen world and sometimes appears to the living in the deceased person's bodily likeness.
Also known as a paranormal investigator, an individual who investigates areas reportedly haunted by ghosts and attempts to document the evidence. An individual involved in ghost hunting.
A state of sleep paralysis where one feels immobilized by a malevolent entity. It can also describe a witch, a supernatural being, a female demon, or a frightening spirit that resembles a disheveled older woman.
The state of being visited, tormented, or possessed by a spirit, devil, demon, or any other supernatural entity. Can further describe a location inhabited or regularly frequented by ghosts or spirits.
Act of inhabitation, possession, or visitation by a ghost, spirit, devil, or any other supernatural entity.
A male demon or malevolent spirit that attacks women while they are sleeping to have sex with them. The attacking entities are unseen and are sometimes compared to hags.
Describes a non-contact device that measures temperature by detecting the infrared energy transmitted, reflected, or emitted by animate or inanimate materials. It is used by ghost hunters to detect spirits, ghosts, and other entities.
A haunting that involves the spirit or a ghost of an animal or a person trying to communicate or interact with the living intelligently. The spirit is aware of people and can communicate with or even touch them.
Originating from prehistoric Islam, the term describes a supernatural shape-shifting malevolent spirit that can interact and communicate directly with human beings. Also referred to as a genie.
The act of rising from the ground and hovering in mid-air, usually with the aid of magical, or unseen powers that seem to defy the natural laws of gravity.
In classical mythology, Lucifer could refer to the planet, Venus. However, the name is more commonly associated with the Devil, as one of his most common names, the other being Satan. Lucifer was an archangel who rebelled against God and fell from Heaven.
Lycanthropy is the name assigned to a mental illness, in which a person claims to be a wolf, and takes on animalistic behaviors. Lycanthropy is associated with the act of a person turning into a wolf-like form through witchcraft or magic. In pop-culture references, it’s most commonly associated with the mythological creatures of werewolves.
This is to show, or prove something through signs or actions. It may also refer to something that comes into being. “The illness first manifested itself as severe stomach pains.”
This refers to a person who claims to have the ability to intercede as a messenger between the living and the dead. A medium can see the spirits of the deceased and communicate with them to pass messages on to the living.
A MEL Meter is a piece of equipment used in ghost hunting. It measures the presence of electromagnetic fields, as well as sudden temperature changes.
Near Death Experience (NDE)
This refers to the experience a person is said to have on the brink of death. They sometimes recount a story of what happened - usually an out-of-body experience or the vision of a tunnel of light.
Necromancy is when a person engages in magic to reanimate the dead or communicate with their spirit to predict future events.
This is a general term used to describe things involving magic, mysticism, the supernatural, practices, or phenomena.
Orb is used to reference a mysterious light anomaly or ball of light, often seen on camera floating around a room. The movement of an orb is characteristically different from bugs, dust particles, or other natural phenomena.
This is a board game that is used to communicate with spirits. The board is decorated with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0-9, the words “yes” and “no,” as well as “Hello” and “goodbye.” A small planchette is used to indicate which words, numbers, or letters a spirit wishes to communicate. A hand is placed on the planchette, and the energy of the spirit is used to move the planchette to the desired symbol.
Out of Body Experience (OBE)
An out of body experience is where a person believes their soul has left their body. An OBE allows a person to observe the world from outside their physical presence.
This is a piece of equipment used in ghost hunting. It has an in-built dictionary of words from which spirits pull from to convey a message. The words a spirit uses are shown on the screen. It is currently one of the most popular pieces of equipment used in paranormal research.
A pagan refers to an individual that holds differing beliefs to the world's main religions. It also refers to those who follow a polytheistic religion, like in ancient Greece or Scandinavia.
This refers to beliefs or practices in religion, either ancient or different from the main world religions.
This refers to anything beyond the scope of what we perceive to be explainable by scientific methods. It’s also referred to as the supernatural. Paranormal is a term that covers a wide range of phenomena.
This refers to travelers who venture to different places in the world attributed to paranormal phenomena. Curious people travel to mysterious places to learn about the supernatural history of these locations.
An area of research surrounding the evidence for paranormal psychological phenomena, like telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis.
This is the diagram of a 5-pointed star and is usually associated with witchcraft, Satanism, and other magical practices. They were mainly used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia.
This is someone who can receive and send telepathic messages or refers to an individual whom has good insight and understanding.
This refers to something which is perceived through the senses rather than by thought or intuition. It can also be used to describe something unexplainable through science.
This when a person has the ability to move objects using the mind without any physical aid. It was a practice researched by governments heavily in World War I & II.
Place Memory was a term used by French historian Pierre Nora between 1984 and 1992. It may refer to any place, object, or concept with historical significance in the popular collective memory, such as a monument, a museum, or an event.
This is a ghost or spirit associated with the moving of objects or the cause of an unseen physical disturbance. Poltergeists are usually associated with aggressive spirits, but this isn’t always the case.
Demonic, spirit, or devil possession entails the holistic possession of an individual's body by devils, aliens, demons, spirits, or other supernatural entities. This episodic behavior disruption is usually dealt with through exorcism.
Closely related to clairvoyance and a form of extrasensory perception, it is an alleged psychic ability to see future events. Also known as future vision or future sight, precognition is widely associated with the parapsychology community.
Premonition or foreboding, this a feeling that something, probably unpleasant or evil, will or is about to happen. Of key importance to paranormal researchers, it is a warning of future occurrences.
The aggregate of or the occurrence of parapsychological functions of the mind such as precognition, premonition, perception, and/or psychokinesis. Closely related, or an alternative to ESP.
An individual who uses ESP to identify things hidden to normal sensory channels via sensitivity to supernatural or nonphysical influences leading to mysterious perception, vision, or understanding. Can further describe something spiritual, immaterial, or moral lying beyond the scope of physical science.
Also known as telekinesis, it is a supposed psychic ability that allows an individual to influence, move, or deform physical systems or inanimate objects through mental concentration or power of the mind.
A form of ESP that allows people to make connections or divine facts about certain objects, people, or events by making physical contact or coming close with an inanimate object.
The belief that some aspects of human beings such as the soul, consciousness, mind, or spirit continue to exist even after the physical body has passed away and ultimately gets reborn in a new physical form or body. Also referred to as rebirth or transmigration.
Common with ghost hunters or paranormal investigators, this a ghost-hunting gadget that emits its own EMF and thus able to identify field strength differences within its EM field. Essentially, it detects the movement of spirits and ghosts.
Similar to ectoplasm, this a form of echo or energy left by a paranormal event in some sort of glow and heat. Paranormal investigators try to find residual energy while investigating supernatural entities.
It describes repetitive and consistent paranormal activity emanating from the negative or positive energy imprint or stamp of an event or person in a certain time. Stress and trauma can sometimes cause this haunting.
A French word meaning "the returning", it is a corpse or a dead body that has risen from death as an undead creature to haunt the living after being possessed by a vengeful spirit, demonic entity, or a ghost.
A logical and systematic approach using mathematical and experimental means with well-defined steps utilized to answer questions and explore observations.
A sit-down or meeting where participants try to make contact or communicate with spirits of the dead using a medium. A huge part of spiritualism
Also known as a shadow person, shadow-like humanoid figures of supernatural origin that believers in the supernatural or paranormal view as spirits, demons, or other entities.
An instance of seeing something unusual, rare, or supernatural particularly when the sighting is unexpected or unplanned for i.e., the sighting of UFOs, ghosts, or spirits.
A Strained Layer Superlattice Camera is a highly sensitive and extremely fast ghost hunting gadget that uses short or long-wave thermal imaging to try and identify paranormal entities.
An individual who practices malevolent magic giving him or her the ability to acquire information, accomplish set tasks, bewitch, or enchant using occult or supernatural means. A person who practices sorcery.
Practicing malevolent magic or exercising supernatural powers derived from evil spirits. Also known as witchery, black magic, or necromancy and categorized as part of occult practices and beliefs.
The immaterial essence of humans that is thought to incorporate one's consciousness, mind, or character and usually considered immortal; living even after the body has died.
Usually describes a supernatural, bodiless, and invisible being or entity, often of malevolent nature but sometimes considered good and pure. The spirit can possess and control a human being.
Also known as a ghost box, it is a ghost or spirit hunting device that allegedly communicates with spirits and senses EVPs using a frequency scan mode.
An occult, religious practice, a belief in the existence of the spirits of the dead which desire to and communicate occasionally with the living usually using a medium. It also describes the belief that the spirit is a key element of reality.
A manifestation of unexplainable, unknown, and unidentifiable order of existence that traverses or transcends the observable universe or laws of nature. It can be considered ghostly, magical, or divine for instance a god, demigod, devil, spirit, or demon.
A form of extrasensory perception that allows vicarious transmission from one person’s mind to the other without physical contact or utilization of any normal sensory channels.
Thermal Imaging Camera
A camera built on thermal imaging science and uses infrared radiation to identify infrared energy or heat which is then converted into a visual image. It is used by ghost hunters to detect ghosts or spirits.
An object related or connected to a certain environment or person that is placed at a specific spot and left unattended in hopes of luring a supernatural entity to interact with it. The subsequent interaction is captured and used as evidence.
Short for Unidentified Flying Object, it describes a scientifically unexplainable and mysterious flying object observed in the sky. It is often assumed to originate from extraterrestrials.
A supernatural entity or creature, common in paranormal and parapsychology circles that appear in the form of a magically reanimated dead body and feed by sucking the vital essence or blood of humans.
Also known as enchantment, black magic, or black arts, it is a form of occultic religion practiced differently in various parts of the world and usually entails magical and religious rites characterized by spirit possession and witchcraft.
Occurring in geometric patterns, the vortex describes a sought of an interdimensional portal where an enhancement of psychic ability occurs. It also describes special sites on earth where energy either enters into or shoots out of the earth.
Unvarying, unobtrusive, and steady noise derived from a mixture of soundwaves heterogeneously and extending over a certain frequency range. The occurrence of white noise is known as the electronic voice phenomena.