These are a few of the terms that MVPI use frequently when talking about experiences and investigations. They are by no means exhaustive nor are they exclusive to MVPI as they are terms already used by various groups around the world.
To search for a specific term press CTRL+F together to bring up a search field, then type in the term and press enter
Agent - (1) Person who attempts to communicate information to another in an ESP experiment. (2) The subject in a psychokinesis experiment. (3) Person who is the focus of poltergeist activity.
ALP - Anomalous light phenomena, not to be confused with 'orbs'. ALP are light anomalies captured by photography but seem to give off their own light. These are more spectacular when captured by non flash photography
Alpha Rhythm - Electrical activity in the brain (about 10 cycles per second) associated with a state of mental relaxation.
Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) - A term used to refer to any state of consciousness that is different from "normal" states of waking or sleeping. ASCs include hypnosis, trance, ecstasy, psychedelic and meditative experience. ASCs do not necessarily have paranormal features.
Apparition - The visual appearance of a person whose physical body is not present.
Apport / Asport - An apport is a solid object that seemingly appears from nowhere in the presence of a medium. Asport is any object the ‘spirits’ or medium makes disappear or teleports to another location.
Astral body - The body a person seems to occupy during an out-of-body experience.
Astral plane - A world some people believe exists above the physical world.
Astral projection - An out-of-body experience.
Auditory Matrixing - Where external background sounds can be perceived as being anomalous voices
Aura - A field that some psychics see surrounding the living body.
Automatic writing - Writing without being aware of the contents, as when a medium apparently transcribes written messages from disembodied spirits.
Automatism - Any unconscious and spontaneous muscular movement caused by ‘the spirits’. (Automatic writing).
Autoscopy - Seeing one's 'double', or looking back at one's own body from a position outside the body (OBE).
Bilocation - Being (or appearing to be) in two different places at the same time (similar to autoscopy).
Call - Response made by a subject in a card-guessing or other ESP test.
Case study - An in-depth investigation of an individual subject.
Channeling - The process by which a medium apparently allows a spirit to communicate through his or her person.
Clairaudience - Auditory form of ESP (compare with Clairvoyance).
Clairsentience - Physical sensations (or smell) form of ESP. Sometimes used as a general term for clairvoyance and clairaudience.
Clairvoyance - A subset of ESP. The viewing of distant scenes not apparent to the eye, may appear externally - either replacing the normal visual scene (visions) or being incorporated into it (as could be the case with apparitions) - or internally, in the form of mental imagery and intuition.
Cold reading - A technique using a series of general statements, questions, and answers that allows fake mediums, mind-readers, and magicians to obtain previously unknown information about a person. (Reader has no prior knowledge).
Collective apparition - An unusual type of ‘ghost’ sighting in which more than one person sees the same phenomenon.
Control - In experimental parapsychology a procedure undertaken in order to ensure that the experiment is conducted in a standard fashion and so that results are not unduly influenced by extraneous factors.
Control Group - A group of people whose performance is compared with that of experimental subjects.
Correlation - An association between two or more events or variables.
Correlation Coefficient - A mathematical index of the degree of association between two or more measures.
Crisis apparition - An apparition seen when the subject is at the point of death or is the victim of a serious illness or injury.
Cross-correspondences - Interrelated bits of information received from ‘the spirit world’ by different mediums at different times and locations. The communications must be joined together to form a complete message from ‘the spirit(s)’.
Déjà vu - The feeling of having experienced something before.
Direct voice phenomenon (DVP) - A ‘spirit’ voice, spoken directly to sitters at a seance. The sound usually seems to come from a point near the medium, or through a spirit horn or trumpet, but not from the mouth of the medium.
Dissociation - Activity performed outside of normal conscious awareness, or mental processes that suggest the existence of separate centres of consciousness.
Doppelganger - A mirror image or double of a person.
Double Blind - An experimental procedure in which neither the subject nor experimenter is aware of key features of the experiment.
Empathy - Rarely used in modern parapsychology, the popular usage of this term refers to a low-level form of telepathy wherein the empath appears to be aware of the emotional state of a distant person. An empath may also be able to “broadcast” emotions to others.
Empiricism - The premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation.
Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) - There are many theories behind EMF and experiences of hauntings, however after trawling the internet I came across a document on http://www.publicparapsychology.org/hauntingsandmagnetismprimer.pdf, this is a very scientific report on EMF and its detection during investigations.
ESP - Extrasensory perception. (receptive psychic) The ability to gain knowledge through means other than the five physical senses or logical inference.
Electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) - The capture of ‘spirit’ voices on magnetic tape as an audio recording. Many times, no sound is heard while the tape is recording. It’s only upon playback that the harsh, hushed voices can be heard. There is a lot of theory on this one, and as investigators we have captured phenomena that defies to date any explanation. There are some control issues that you must always consider on investigations and that is 'tagging'. Tagging is just simply introducing yourself into an area so that any noise picked up on your digital devices is not later confused with 'paranormal activity'.
Analysing EVP's can be done easily with free software downloads from NCH using their 'Audacity' audio facility. This is a really good quality sound mixing software with some useful filter/amplifier features built in. I have also found that this program eliminates a lot of the white noise associated with live open mike recording, lets face it there is nothing worse than listening to hours of white noise.
EVP's should in order to stand up to integrity be clear enough to not leave any listener in any doubt as to what has been captured. Also it is essential on reviewing not to contaminate other reviewers with your concept of what has been said. There are several camps on EVP as well, but I'm sorry I don't buy into the 'it could be a voice from the distance carried on the wind' theory, not when you are in the middle of nowhere at 2am.
EVP's can be captured on pretty much anything with a microphone output, so you don't need market leading tech to do EVP work, this also dispels the above theory if your kit is only good for say 50ft. From experience try to put a wind cover over the device if there is no external microphone, it really makes for irritating listening does wind.
Experiment - A test carried out under controlled conditions.
Experimental Group - A group of subjects who undergo a specific experimental procedure. Often results from this group are compared with those of a control group.
Experimenter - The person who conducts the experiment.
Experimenter Effect - Influence that the experimenter's personality or behavior may have on the results of an experiment.
False Awakening - An experience in which a person believes he or she has woken up, but actually is still dreaming.
Ghost - A form of apparition, usually the visual appearance of a deceased human’s ‘spirit soul’ or that of a crisis apparition.
Ghost hunt / Ghost investigation - A ghost hunt is an informal attempt to simply sight or record a ‘ghost’ in a location similar to others known to be haunted. A ghost investigation, on the other hand, is a carefully controlled research project, set up to record paranormal activity, usually at a location known, or presumed to be haunted.
Hallucination - Perception of sights, sounds, etc., that are not actually present. Ghosts, as we define them, are not hallucinations, because they have a real, external cause.
Haunting - Recurrent sounds of human activity, sightings of apparitions, and other psychic phenomena, in a location when no one is there physically.
Hit - A choice that proves correct.
Hot Reading - A reading given in which prior knowledge of the sitter has been obtained, often using devious or fraudulent means.
Hypnosis - State like sleep in which the subject acts only on external suggestion.
Illusion - A distorted perception of objects or events causing a discrepancy between what is perceived and what is reality. (sometimes confused with hallucination)
Intuition - The non-paranormal ability to grasp the elements of a situation or to draw conclusions about complex events in ways that go beyond a purely rational or intellectual analysis.
Kirlian Photography - A photographic method involving high frequency electric current, discovered by S.D. & V. Kirlian in the Soviet Union. Kirlian photographs often show colored halos or "auras" surrounding objects.
Levitation - The lifting of physical objects by psychokinesis (PK).
Life Review - Flashback memories of the whole of a person's life, often associated with the near-death experience.
Lucid Dreaming - Dreaming in which the person is aware that the experience is a dream. Often associated with feelings of aliveness and freedom, and with the ability to control dream events.
Magnetometer (EMF detector, gaussmeter) - A device to measure the presence of a magnetic field as well as its strength, direction, and fluctuation. Paranormal researchers use the device in an attempt to detect a ghost’s magnetic or energy aura.
Medium - A person who professes to be able to communicate with spirits.
Medium (direct voice) - A trance medium who apparently acts as a transmitter for the voices of disembodied spirits.
Medium (materialization) - A medium who seems to be able to give physical form to the deceased from a substance called “ectoplasm”.
Medium (physical) - A medium who is the centre of moving objects and other physical incidents supposedly caused by spirits.
Miss - A choice that proves incorrect.
Mist - A photographed anomaly (not seen at time of photo) that appears as a 'blanket' of light. Theory suggests that this is the appearance of a 'ghost' or 'spirit' of the dead. As with other photographed anomalies there is environmental issues that are of concern to the validity of their existence (moisture, reflection, dirty lens, etc.). There has been no substantial proof that these are, or are related in any way, to 'ghosts' or paranormal behavior.
Motor automatism - Bodily movement of an intelligent and purposeful kind of which the person is not aware, as with automatic writing.
Objective apparitions - Apparitions or phenomena that appear independent of our minds, thoughts, or feelings.
Occam's Razor - The principle that we should always prefer the simplest explanation of events.
Orb - A photographed anomaly that, in theory, represents an ongoing 'spirit' of a deceased person. It appears as a ball of light and may occasionally seem to be moving. This is a highly controversial subject since there are many reasonable circumstances that identify this as environmental. There has been no substantial proof that these balls of light are associated with 'ghosts', the dead or any paranormal behaviour. Not to be confused with ALP.
Ouija Board - A board pre-printed with letters, numerals, and words used by mediums to receive spirit communications. Usually a planchette (palm-sized triangular platform) is employed to spell out words or point out numbers or letters. MVPI do not endorse the use of Ouija Boards.
Paranormal - Above or outside the natural order of things as presently understood.
Parapsychology - The branch of science that studies psychic phenomena. (term coined by J.B. Rhine)
P.E.I - Paranormal Experiential Index - Method of categorising paranormal incidents as they are found/reported.
Paranormal Experiential Index
Category 1 - Actual physical contact with a spirit or entity, including physical touching or interaction in any form with a person
Category 2 - Anomalous Encounters, including unexplained EMF, ALP's or mists
Category 3 - Personal Experiences (client or investigator)
Percipient - A person who sees (i.e., perceives) an apparition or ghost.
Poltergeist - A German word meaning 'noisy or rowdy ghost'
Place memory - Information about past events that apparently is stored in the physical environment.
Precognition - The ability to predict things beyond present knowledge.
Psi - A letter in the Greek alphabet that denotes psychic phenomena.
Psyche - The Greek word for “self”, “mind”, or “soul”.
Psychic - A person with above average ESP abilities.
Psychic healing - A mode of healing affected by the psychic abilities of the healer.
Psychic surgery - The supposed ability to paranormally perform invasive surgery using no conventional medical tools.
Psychometry - ESP of events associated with inanimate objects.
Qualitative Method - A research method involving the collection of non-quantitative data (e.g., observations, interviews, subjective reports, case studies).
Quantitative Method - A research method involving the collection and statistical analysis of numerical data.
Remote viewing - (1)Another term for clairvoyance.(2)An ESP procedure in which a percipient attempts to become aware psychically of the experience of an agent who is at a distant, unknown target location.
REMs - Rapid eye movement during sleep that indicates dreaming.
Retrocognition - A ‘time warp’ in which one finds themself in the past, seeing or experiencing events of which they had no prior knowledge.
RSPK - Recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis. A possible cause of apparent poltergeist activity.
Sceptic (skeptic) - A person inclined to discount the reality of the paranormal and to be critical of parapsychological research. Generally seeks rational or scientific explanations for the phenomenon studied by parapsychologists.
Score - Number of hits in a psi test.
Scrying - A term used to cover a wide range of divination techniques which parapsychology would tend to classify as types of ESP. Most scrying techniques involve some degree of fixation on a surface with a clear optical depth (crystal ball, a pool of ink or deep water) or on an area which shows random patterns (flames in a fire, smoke), the idea being that subconscious information available to the scrying will be manifested in their interpretation of the imagery or random patterns they see.
Séance - A group of people who gather in an effort to communicate with the dead.
Series - A sequence of runs in a psi experiment.
Shaman - A ‘wizard’ in tribal societies who is an intermediary between the living, the dead, and the gods.
Spirit photography - A spirit photograph captures the image of a ghost on film. Many of these are supposedly intended as a mere portrait of a living human being, but when the film is developed, an ethereal ghostly face or figure can be seen hovering near the subject. This may also incorporate orbs, vortexes, and mists to some degree.
Spiritualism - A belief system that ‘spirits’ of the dead can (and do) communicate with living humans in the material world. (Usually through a intermediary known as a medium).
Subjective apparitions - Apparitions or phenomena that are hallucinations created by our minds.
Supernatural - Something that exists or occurs through some means other than any known force in nature. As opposed to paranormal, the term ‘supernatural’ often connotes divine or demonic intervention.
Statistics - Mathematical techniques for analyzing and interpreting data.
Telekinesis - Paranormal movement of objects.
Telepathy - The direct passing of information from one mind to another.
Teleportation - A kind of paranormal transportation in which an object is moved from one distinct location to another, often through a solid object such as a wall.
Temporal Lobe Activity - Electrical activity in the temporal lobes of the brain. Often associated with strange sensations, time distortions and hallucinations. Sometimes used as an explanation for seemingly paranormal experiences such as apparitions.
Trance - A sleep like state in which there is a change of consciousness.
Vortex (vortice) - A photographed anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image (sometimes creating a shadow) that is not seen at the time of the photograph that supposedly represents a 'ghost'. Other theories include; a collection of orbs, a 'gateway' to where orbs originate or travel to or a wormhole in time-space. No substantial evidence has been found for any of these theories.
White noise - A hiss-like sound, formed by compiling all audible frequencies (used in Ganzfield experiments).
This by no means is a complete dictionary of terminology. This is meant to provide you with words to aid basic understanding of parapsychology and the ghost hunting world.
Information for this glossary taken from Michael Daniels, PhD., Psychic Connections: A Journey Into the Mysterious World of Psi by Lois Duncan and William Roll, PhD.(Bantam Doubleday Dell Books, 1995), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden (Alpha Books 1999), Psychology Themes and Variations second edition Wayne Weiten (Brooks/Cole Publishing 1989)