Paranormal Investigators glossary

This is a quick glossary to help you understand some of the insider terms that are occasionally used in some of the listings by the various paranormal investigators, all of whom take a slightly different approach to their research.

Apparition—a recognizable manifestation of spirit energy, such as a semi-translucent figure of a human or animal or a recognizable part of a human or animal.

Dowsing—using tools such as bent wires, a forked stick, or a pendulum to facilitate spirit communication. The practice was originally used for finding underground water sources but has been adapted by practitioners for finding more subtle energies.

Ectoplasm—a smoky film of residue believed to be left behind by spirits. Also known as “spirit matter” or “mist.” Also referred to as the shortened version of “ecto.”

Electromagnetic Field Detector (EMF)—a handheld device used to measure electromagnetic fields in the immediate vicinity of the device. Many paranormal investigators have adapted this device for supernatural investigations because they believe spirit energy affects EMF readers. EMF detectors measure in milligauss—some investigators believe a reading between 2.0 and 7.0 milligauss indicates spirit presence.

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)—unexpected, oftentimes unexplainable, disembodied voices captured via audio-recording media. Many paranormal investigators will use standard recording devices to try and capture these mysterious voices as part of evidence collection during an investigation.

Ghost—a recognizable, non-interactive figure that is witnessed in a specific area performing the same actions over and over. Also known as a “residual haunting.”

Medium—a person who can act as a go-between for the living and the spirit world.

Orb—a spherical ball of light often thought to be spirit energy. Orbs often appear in photographs (especially digital photographs), but are sometimes witnessed with the unaided eye.

Planchette—the device used to indicate letters/messages on a channeling board (also known as a Ouija board). Original planchettes had small holes in them that held writing implements. The user would place their hands on the small table-like device, and messages would be written out by the pen.

Poltergeist—German for “noisy ghost,” this is a phenomena during which the physical environment is interacted with by an unseen force. It can include loud knocks, objects breaking, or other malevolent events that are more often heard than seen.

Psychic—a person who can see, hear, and/or sense spirits.

Residual haunting—a psychic impression left on a location by a specific event. A ghost may appear regularly and perform the same actions over and over like a movie playing.

Seance—a meeting involving a medium or channeling device with the purpose of spirit communication.

Sensitive—a person who is psychically intuitive and can pick up vibrations from spirits.

Spirit—an interactive, intelligent entity not from our physical plane.

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