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Paranormal Info

Below is a list of terms used in paranormal research. If you happen to watch any of the paranormal TV shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost adventures, Haunted Collector etc. you may hear some of these terms.

Paranormal Glossary

Afterlife -  Many cultures believe that after one dies they are born into another life similar to ours.  There are people that believe we are reborn and live other lives on this planet. It is also referred to as The Other Side and The Great Beyond

Amulet – A charm that is used as protection from malevolent ghosts, demons and supernatural powers. It is usually made from silver, gold, platinum and gems. Jewelry and religious items are considered amulets.

Anomaly - An irregular or unusual event that doesn't fit a standard rule or law. An anomaly is something which cannot be explained by accepted Scientific theories. Anything weird, abnormal, strange, odd or difficult to classify.

Apparitions – The most sought after phenomenon in the paranormal investigation community. They are basically the transparent image of a person who has died. The apparition will usually be followed by a scent or a sound , such as perfume or the sound of footsteps. It is believed that an apparition will make its presence known where there is a high electro-magnetic field or surge.

Astral Being - Another term that is used for a ghost or a spirit.

Astral Plane - A world researchers believe exists beyond our world. The otherside.

Bogeyman - Everyone who has seen Halloween, Nightmare on Elm St. and so forth have heard that term. It is based on the British legend  a Bogey is thought to be an evil spirit that causes mischief and only appears at night.

Buruburu- I found this to be an interesting one. It is based on Japanese legend, it is a spirit that hides out in graveyards and forests, posing as an old man or woman. It then attaches itself to the backs of the living and causes a chill to run up and down they’re spine. So you might want to think about this one the next time you are on an investigation and report that you just got a chill up and down your spine.

Channeling - A process by which a psychic/medium allows a spirit to communicate  thru his or her person.

Clairvoyant – A person who has ESP powers to see things that we don't. They have no control over what they see or how long the vision will last.  It is a French word for “Clear Seeing”, also the mind’s eye.

Demons – Evil spirits who were never human beings that can enter a home by means of a Ouija Board or through a medium at a sťance. They are said to attach themselves to a person and not necessarily the home and will follow the person wherever they go. A theorized sign that a demon is present is said to be three scratch marks on ones body.

Doppelganger – A double or apparition of a living person. The doppelganger is an exact duplicate of a living person, down to their same clothes, hair style and feel. They are thought to be omens of death or out of body phenomenon. Other people don't even know they are communicating with one.

Ectoplasm – The term is derived from Greek, ectos meaning outside and plasma meaning something formed or molded. It is believed to be the formation of a spirit entity or ghost. Science does not regard ectoplasms as paranormal, while some paranormal researchers have asserted ectoplasms to be an enabling factor in psychokinesis. Photos of what look like mist has been thought to be actual ectoplasm and the formation of a ghost.

Electromagnetic Fields – As electrical current travels thru wiring or into an appliance it produces an electromagnetic field. It consists of the ever present electrical field(even when the appliance is turned off) and the magnetic field when the appliance is turned on. While the electric field is believed to be harmless, the magnetic field it thought to cause health problems. In the paranormal community we believe an excessive amount will cause a person to feel ill (nausea, chills etc.) , paranoia and other feelings that might be mistaken for paranormal activity.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon – Also called EVP,  the process of recording a spirit voice on a digital voice recorder.  During an investigation a series of questions are asked with space for an answer is left. During review sometimes a response will be heard.  The voice recorder can also be left in an empty room while the investigators are at different locations.  On occasion a voice can be heard by the investigators in real time during the EVP session.

EMF detector – A device that is used by paranormal investigators to determine Electromagnetic fields in areas that people believe are haunted. Investigators get base readings at the start of an investigation in order to determine if there are electromagnetic fields prior to investigating. There are different types of meters, KII, Ghost Meter and Tri-Field just to name a few.

Exorcism – The process or ritual that is used to remove a spirit, ghost or demon that is possessing a person or a place. A priest is usually called in to do an exorcism.

Ghost – The spirit of a once living person who either died violently or didn’t know that they died. Possibly the person had unfinished business or didn’t want to leave someone. A ghost is believed to remain in the place that they died or were killed, but some cases state that an entity followed them to different places. They are generally not dangerous or to be feared.

Ghost Hunt - An informal investigation to find evidence of the paranormal in a location where no activity has been reported.

Haunting - The recurring sounds of human activity, apparitions and paranormal phenomona at a location where no one is physically there.

Intelligent Haunting – There are two different types of haunting. An intelligent haunting is when communication can be made with the spirit or entity. This is usually done with EVP sessions or if the investigator can ask questions and then get an immediate response, it is usually through a response by a sound or a reading on a tri-field meter or KII meter.

Malevolent – A spirit is often considered malevolent when a malicious supernatural force causes or can cause bodily harm to a person by pushing or scratching them.

Materialization – In the paranormal field and in religion the term materialization refers to the creation or manifestation of solid matter from an unknown source. It is the transformation of something abstract or virtual into something concrete or tangible.

Medium A practice by which a person with psychic ability acts as an intermediary between the physical world and the spiritual world.

Mist - An anomaly usually photographed but not seen at the time the photo was taken. A smokey form that is presumed to be a ghost or spirit.

Orbs – Orbs are  believed to be balls of energy or spirits not yet materialized. They are usually captured on photographs and occasionally seen with the naked eye. Orbs are usually multi-colored or different solid colors such as blue or green or red, in some photos they appear to be moving and leave a vapor trail and can be very bright. Skeptics believe they are specks of dust or moisture droplets.

Paranormal Investigation - Unlike a ghost hunt an investigation is a carefully controlled research experiment to record paranormal activity in a location with reported activity and presumed to be haunted.

 Poltergeist – Comes from German poltem , which means “to rumble” and geist which means “ghost” or “spirit” denotes an ostensibly paranormal phenomenon attributed to the presence of an invisible entity that manifests itself by creating noise or moving objects. Poltergeist manifestations have been reported in many cultures such as The United States, United Kingdom, India and Japan.

Psychic - A person that has above average ESP abilities.

Residual Haunting - Repeated playbacks of auditory, visual, olfactory, and other sensory phenomena that are attributed to a traumatic event, life-altering event, or a routine event of a person or place, like an echo or a replay of a videotape of past events.

Seance - A ritual where a group of people gather together at a table and try to communicate with the otherside. They are usually conducted by a psychic/medium.

Skeptic - A person who believes there is a logical explanation for reported paranormal activity. They are critical of paranormal research.

Smudging – A ritual used to remove negative energy from a home by burning sage in each room and reciting a prayer or chant to expel unwanted spirits, or negative energy. It is often referred to as a cleansing.

Spirit – See ghost.

Trigger Object - A toy or a prop used to try and bring out a spirit. A ball or a toy is used to communicate with a child spirit, A personal object belonging to a person is used to bring forth an adult spirit.

Vortex - It is believed to be a hole or break in the time/space continuum. A gateway for spirits from the otherside to enter our world. They appear in photographs as a dark funnel like anomaly not visible to the naked eye.


Growing up we were always afraid of the dark. There was always that monster under the bed. Dont forget that thing in the closet. Watch out for that dark damp basement. I remember grandma's eerie cobwebbed attic. Oh how I feared walking by that creepy old cemetery on my way home from school. All these things from our childhood, was it just our imagination or is there a basis for our fear. Things that go bump in the night, the creaking of the floor above. All these are what experts say is the house settling or is it?

Paranormal Research

What are those in my picture?

We all like to take pictures at family gatherings, special events. Outdoors, or on an investigation... the fun part is looking at the pictures afterward. You flash thru the pictures, and then you come across the family photo and stop, what is that round object over Uncle John’s head or on Aunt Sophie’s dress? It’s those pesky little things we call orbs. Yes I say pesky because they are popping up all over. As an investigator I see them quite a bit and quite frankly I don’t get all excited about them, because 9 times out of 10 they are dust particles stirred up shuffling around an old building that is reported to be haunted. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way a skeptic when it comes to the paranormal. I have experienced the paranormal my entire life and that didn’t include orbs, I even grew up in a house I believe was haunted. I have taken it upon myself to do some research on a subject that I am ever so tired of hearing about. There seems to be more orb pictures than any other real phenomenon. The following is information that I have found during my research.

As a paranormal investigator I search for solid evidence of paranormal activity and pictures of orbs in my opinion isn’t solid evidence. There are some that are not dust particles and they defy a logical explanation. For example: those that are extremely bright or those that leave a trail which indicates swift movement. There are those that are more solid and different colors, such as red, blue and green, and some are transparent prismatic; those are a little harder to explain. They have been called moisture and pixilation which I don’t agree with but I’ll get to that later. First you have to understand what exactly the definition of an orb is. According to the Merriam-Webster New Collegiate Dictionary, an orb is from the Latin word orbis, circle or disk. 1: any of the concentric spheres in old astronomy surrounding the earth and carrying the celestial bodies in their revolutions. 2: Archaic: something circular, orbit. 3: A spherical body; exp: A celestial body. 4: Eye. You can see that the definition says nothing about orbs being ghosts or energy; we call them orbs because they are circular. Keeping this definition in mind lets first be clear on what is a ghost? A ghost is the disembodied soul of a dead person that appears in their bodily likeness. I would like to believe that these orbs are paranormal and be amazed like some people are but I cant, yes there are some like I said earlier that defy a logical explanation, which is what paranormal is. They cannot be scientifically explained. I stop short of calling them ghosts and refer to them as light anomalies. I brush them off as insignificant to the goal that I am trying to achieve by investigating the paranormal. Let’s look at what we know so far, before we analyze different explanations of orbs. We know that orbs are pretty commonplace in photography and video. We know what the definition of an orb is, and we know the definition of a ghost.

The one explanation of orbs I really want to dig into is pixilation as explained by some investigators. Pixilation is defined as animation of people where performers change their positions slightly between exposures of one or two frames each, to obtain a comic effect of jerky movement when the film is played at normal speed. If you have ever noticed playing a DVD or on a television show the picture breaks up and you see small square dots, that’s pixilation. In digital photography the image or picture is made up of thousands of pixels. A pixel is defined as the smallest element of an image in a video display system. It doesn’t mention a photo image but, as you increase the size of a photo you can see the pixels. Thinking back on the video pixilation distorting the picture I would think that pixilation of a photo would also distort the picture not show up as a perfectly round transparent circle. So I think we can safely rule out pixilation.

Orbs are also believed to be the soul of a person. They take on the form of an orb or sphere because, it takes the least amount of energy to form, and again this is not my belief. On the other hand in order to form a complete or partial apparition it would take the most energy. Energy absorption seems to be the main consensus among paranormal investigators, it is believed that the soul will take on more different forms from mist/ectoplasm or full body forms in the colder months from October thru February, when there is more static-electricity in the air. I tend to agree with this theory as my own encounters with full bodied apparitions and ghosts have all occurred in the colder months of the year. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that these theories about orbs sound good but, cannot be scientifically proven. There are the other proven factors that can cause an orb in a picture, it’s the environmental cause of orbs. Dust, moisture (not only rain), humidity and other environmental factors.

Now I would like to delve into an area of research that I have not seen in the articles and theories from all the orb-o-philes out there. Remember these are my theories and opinions that are not scientifically proven. Look at the facts, 9 times out of 10 your investigation or ghost hunt will be an old run down building or a cemetery. Old abandoned buildings are generally in the process of decay i.e., rotting wood, leaking roofs, and falling plaster. The dampness and humidity causes mold and mildew. Ghosts or allergens? I’m getting to the point. Let’s look at the environment; cemeteries have grass, flowers, trees, leaves and weeds. Your probably thinking, “We know this, but what does it have to do with orbs?”, what I’m getting at is spores. Pollen and mold is comprised of spores. Without getting to technical spores are reproductive bacterial micro-organisms that are already in our environment. You have probably seen the weather reports on television about pollen and mold counts; there is also a weather page in the newspaper that shows the pollen and mold count. Spores are spherical in shape. If you look at a drawing diagram of a spore you can see the many cells within it that eventually get released into the atmosphere. Anyone with allergies knows what I’m talking about. Remember now I’m not getting all excited and jumping all around saying, “Yeah! That’s what orbs are! Spores!” I just think it’s an area of orb research that anyone who is obsessed with orbs should look into. I’m quite surprised that this subject hasn’t come up in previous orbology. Maybe this will encourage orb-o-philes to do some more research on the subject. Maybe someday we can get to the bottom of this phenomenon. Okay, what can I say…orbs, they are a pain in my A**. Sorry for the outburst but I’m sick and tired of hearing about orbs. PEOPLE! There’s no reason to get all excited and crazy just because a dust particle floats by the video screen. Let’s focus on our main objective and do some real paranormal research. Once again I apologize; I just had to vent my frustration about this subject.

In retrospect what do we know? Orbs are believed to be the soul of a once living person using energy to manifest or they are balls of energy drawn by the environment and electronic equipment. Theories that are not scientifically proven. On the other hand tests were done using the environment to take the pictures and they have been mostly dust, raindrops and moisture in the air and lens reflection. This all sounds more credible and easier to believe, although there is a very small percentage in the back of my mind that doubts these explanations about a couple orb pictures I’ve seen. All in all I think it’s time to put this subject to rest and do some real paranormal investigating and research. For the seriously interested investigator utilize the time spent on an investigation and quit wasting it on orb photos and videos. Remember also, the investigation doesn’t end when you leave the location; there is still the evidence to analyze.


Merriam-Websters New Collegiate Dictionary

The Shadowlands