News » Features

Ghostly Glossary


Agent--The spirit or being that wills itself into visibility.

Apparition--The visual appearance of any spirit phenomenon.

Apport--When a solid object appears with the help of a spirit.

Cold Spots--Cold areas of homes, without any explainable reason such as a draft, may indicate the presence of a spirit. Sometimes, these temperature variations, even on hot days, can vary as much as 30 degrees. You may even see your breath.

Discarnate--Existing outside the physical body.

Disport--When objects disappear due to the actions of a spirit.

Earthbound--Refers to spirits that are unable or unwilling to move into a different plane of existence and prefer to remain here on Earth among us.

Ectoplasm--If you saw Ghostbusters this is the slimy goo the characters were "slimed" with. Originally, it referred to an unknown substance that emanated from the bodies of mediums who interacted with supernatural phenomenon. Today it refers to the white mist or fog, which indicates the presence of a spirit.

Exorcism--Removing or expelling a spirit from a person, place or thing through spiritual or ceremonial means.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)--The recording of voices, allegedly from spirits, on analog or digital medium. In practice, investigators ask questions of the spirits in the areas where they are alleged to be hanging out, and when the tapes or digital files are analyzed later, voices can sometimes be heard. Oftentimes, they must be enhanced to understand what the spirits may be saying, but clear voices have been recorded by some. How to record your own EVP: Get any old tape recorder and put in a fresh blank tape. Or use a digital recorder. Walk around the site of an alleged haunting or even in your own house. Ask the spirits questions. Ask for specific spirits such as dead relatives. Sometimes, investigators say, if you ask permission to record you might get better results. The questions allow responses and also mark on the recordings specific places to go back to. Playback and analyze the data. If you are able to download the recording to a computer, you can analyze the data using sound editing software such as Garage Band.

EMF--Electro Magnetic Field. Some devices are used to detect variations in EMFs. An EMF detector will register high near electronic devices and can also allegedly detect differences in rooms that may indicate the presence of spirits.

Ghost--The visual appearance of a deceased spirit or life force (see apparition). Among paranormal investigators, a ghost is one type of apparition. This is usually associated with the imprint or impression type of haunting where the ghost replays the same "scene" over and over.

Haunting--The presence of an entity that has attached itself to a person, place or thing and is associated with apparitions, noises or physical manifestations.

Imprint or Impression--Something that occurred, either tragic or otherwise, that leaves an energy that tends to get "replayed" over and over like a movie. This could happen nightly, randomly or on an anniversary of the occasion.

Medium--A living, breathing person who is trained to make contact with spirits or entities.

Orbs--Small circles of light, sometimes like small comets, that appear on both digital and standard film. While most "orbs" can be explained by dust and pollen reflecting the flash from a camera, some cannot be and are explained as energy from spiritual manifestations. One way to determine if you have caught an "orb" is to take a sequence of photos and compare. If you do not have orbs in some photos while others show strange points of light you may have one. The accompanying photo taken at the old pen shows a point of light on an otherwise blank stone wall. While some material may reflect the flash, in this instance there was nothing there to reflect the flash. It could be a possible "orb" photograph.

Parapsychology--The study of supernatural phenomenon.

Poltergeist--Usually associated with telekinetic activity, things moving around seemingly on their own. The prevailing theories say that poltergeists are usually associated with people, mostly young women, who during puberty manifest subconscious telekinetic energy. This usually last between a few hours and a few years.

Precipient--A person who sees an apparition.

Preternatural--Associated with inhuman, diabolical spirits or even demonic forces.

Psychometry--The ability to acquire information about people by touching objects associated with them such as keys, jewelry, clothing or photographs.

Radio Voice Phenomenon--similar to EVP, but voices come through the speakers of a radio station.

Sensitive--A person with psychic abilities.

Spirit--Associated with the living essence of a person who has died. Spirits are usually interactive with the living in the case of a haunting. There are usually three reasons associated with why a spirit may be around. One: They don't realize they are dead, as in the case of a sudden accident. Two: They stuck around to fulfill an unkept promise. Three: They may have unfinished business or wish to rectify something, such as solve their own murder.