Saturday, March 5, 2011


There are many terms used to describe the paranormal and paranormal investigations. Some of the phrases and abbreviations can be very confusing to someone unfamiliar with ghosts and the paranormal. This list is provided by Cold Spots to help you understand some of the more common terms, phrases, and acronyms commonly used to describe ghosts, spirits and paranormal activity.

APPARITIONS: The spirit of a deceased person manifesting itself. The rarest form of paranormal phenomena, an apparition can appear as a full bodied person, part of a person, or as a white to gray to black mist. These are so rare, that only a handful have ever been documented.

AUTOMATIC WRITING:Generally attributed to external or supernatural forces. This phenomena can occur in an alert waking state or in a hypnotic trans, usually during a seaonce. Psychics and mediums are know to use this method when making contact with the dead.

COLD SPOT: A small, defined area of intense cold (at least 10 degrees colder than the surrounding area) that can not readily be explained by other natural or mechanical causes (e.g. air conditioning, a drafty window, ice or snow). In paranormal research the prevailing theory is that when an entity is trying to manifest itself it draws on many sources of energy. One of those sources is the heat energy in the air. As the entity draws the heat out of the air the area in that specific immediate location becomes unusually cold.

CLAIRAUDIENCE:A version of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) where a person has the ability to hear things beyond the range of a normal person. People with this ability have the ability to "hear" the dead and is much less common than the claimed ability to see the dead.

DEMON:Religions and paranormal investigators have very different concepts of what demons are. The catholic faith defines demons as angels who fell from heaven and now reside in hell and have no greater purpose than to drive the living insane. Some paranormal research groups however believe demons to be a being from outside our realm of existence, they never walked the earth as most other spirits but they choose to torment people.

DEMONIC HAUNTING:A demonic haunting is caused by a non human spirit. These spirits tend to be violent and want nothing more than to cause trouble. Signs of this type of haunting usually start with the same signs of an intelligent or poltergeist haunting, simple banging and knocking and simple noises, but rapidly increase to far stronger activity. They seem to target people under extreme emotional stress, or who have their cognitive abilities impaired by alcohol or drugs. These non-human entities like to take advantage of people in these states, and will torment them to no end.

DEMONOLOGIST:A type of paranormal researcher who specializes in demons and non-human entities. Demonologists are usually tied to a religious group, as faith is believe to be able to rid people of these types of haunting's.

ECHOLALIA: A professional clinical word that means to repeat back what you hear. As applied to the paranormal field it means when a ghost or spirit repeats back something you have just said in order to show they are there and are trying to communicate with you. The words repeated back could be EVP questions or just casual conversation. It is not clear why an entity might repeat back your words rather than respond on their own. Perhaps it is easier/simply for an entity to repeat what it has heard rather than form new words.

EMF - Electro Magnetic Field: In it's natural form it is the natural electric field (sometimes thought of an an aurora) that is generated by all living things and many inanimate objects such as metals and certain minerals. EMF is also generated by man-made electric sources such as lights, radios and wires. In paranormal investigations the theory is that entities are largely composed of energy which may be electrically based. By trying to detect EMF it may be possible to locate an otherwise unseen entity. The stronger the EMF detected the potential greater the paranormal phenomena.

ENTITY: A generic term used to describe any ghostly being. Because its uncertain exactly what type of being causes each of the different types of haunting's, entity is used to describe all of them.

EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomena: The hearing of unexplainable voices during the playback of a recording made on a electronic recoding device. The voices can not be readily identified as persons speaking or events (mechanical sounds, background noise etc) that took place while the record was being performed. Can be encountered on both tape and digital recorders. Sometimes also found on video recorders (not film however). See our articles on EVP theory and classification.

FEAR CAGE: A term used to describe a confined area such as a walk in closet, hallway or basement with very high EMF readings. The combination of being close and confined with in an area of strong EMF often brings out extremely great feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, paranoia and/or uncontrollable fear. When this occurs the best thing is to quickly and calmly leave the area and go to a more open area with lower EMF.

INTELLIGENT HAUNTING (GHOST): This type of a haunting is usually thought to be the spirit of a once living person and has chosen to let its presence be known. The interaction can range from simple to extreme. Starting with simple knocking or lights flickering that you may not even think is paranormal, to objects disappearing and reappearing in unusual places, to unexplained odors, and in the most extreme cases the appearance of full bodied apparitions.

IMPRINT (IMPRINTING): It is theorized that events and strong feelings/emotions can leave a copy or record of themselves on places (tunnels, rooms, fields etc) and objects (furniture, buildings, personal affects etc). Most notably this occurs when a sudden and violent death occurs such as a powerful accident, a murder or other crime, a war or battle area etc. The energy that is left can result in a non-intelligent haunting, usually a residual haunting. In these cases people often report seeing and hearing the same thing over and over like a tape playing, rewinding and playing again. Sometimes the event seems to be recorded on the specific location rather than a building, room or object. There have been cases reported where an imprint haunting has occurred in a building, the building is later totally demolished and a new one built (or the area just left vacant) but the haunting still continues. In the situation of imprinting on an object the haunting can follow the object through several owners. This is often reported with items purchased at a yard sale or flea market.

IR (INFRARED): Infrared light is light from the lower end (long wave length/low frequency) of the electromagnetic spectrum (between the visible light spectrum and microwaves). IR light is not visible to the naked human eye without the use of special equipment. IR is not to be confused with thermal imaging. While IR and thermal energy are both on the short end of the electromagnetic spectrum they are not the same thing. There is evidence that ghosts/spirits and other paranormal entities may be more susceptible to being viewed (including video and image photography) using the IR light spectrum. IR sensors are also often used for measuring temperature and detecting movement.

KINETIC ENERGY: Energy needed to force an object at rest into motion. Objects in motion have kinetic energy. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. As the kinetic energy diminishes it changes into potential energy.

"LIGHTS OUT" INVESTIGATION: A term for a paranormal investigation that takes place indoors at night with all the power to the area turned off. The reason for this is with all the power turned off, its far less likely you'll get false positives with the equipment and also allows for a subdued environment for the ghost to begin its activity.

MANIFESTATION: A spirit is believed to be made of pure energy. When that energy try's to bring itself into our realm, its said to be manifesting itself. This manifestation has been know to cause power drains from equipment, EMF spikes, and cold spots.

MIST: Some people believe a mist is a form of energy created by an entity. There are many theories about what a mist actually is, and some mists have been documented showing some signs of intelligence to them by the way they move. Unfortunately, its still unclear as to what mists actually are.

NECROMANCY (NECROMANCE): The attempt to conjure, summon or raise the dead in order to learn secrets and insights from the spirits. Usually intended to gain personal advantage or fortune over others. The person who is trying to perform the necromancy process is called a Necromancer. This deals heavily into the unsavory realm of magic, spells, and dark/forbidden witchcraft rituals. Can also be attempted with Tarot cards and Ouija boards. Regardless of the process used, necromancy is highly dangerous from the point of view that you are opening a doorway and have no idea what thing may come through and into your life!

NIGHT SHOT: A setting common on hand held video cameras. Originally it was a term used to describe the night vision (total darkness) recording capability of the Sony Handicam series of camcorders. This term has since become synonymous with meaning any night vision/total darkness video camera or recording device regardless of the manufacturer. The night shot feature uses a built-in IR (infra red) illumination source. An external IR illuminator can often be attached for additional viewing range.

NONHUMAN or INHUMAN SPIRIT: An entity (ghost or spirit) that is not the result of a human person that once lived on Earth. This category also includes angels, demons, devils etc. It is not known exactly where these kinds of entities come from but it is reasonably well accepted by the paranormal community these spirits are not from people who had lived on Earth and have since died. Encounters with non-human spirits is rare and usually dramatic. Extra care should always be used if dealing with a potential inhuman spirit!

ORB: Orbs appear to be a form of energy of an unknown origin. An orb can take different shapes. They can also be seen by the naked eye, but most of the time you only get orb sightings in photographs, and on video tape (VHS). They seem to defy gravity and change directions quickly. They seem to also twinkle. The presence of people make them react. They appear both indoors and outdoors. False orbs tend to be transparent and pale white, or blue. Real genuine orbs tend to appear dense or brighter on film. To increase the probability of you getting a photograph of a genuine orb, it is good to take the photograph at the same time as other unusual phenomenon are experienced, such as sharp changes in temperature, and increases in electromagnetic energy. In a genuine orb there is a nucleus. It has concentric circles or bands within. It can be active in visible realm, but more active in infrared. They appear abundantly in supposed haunted locations. Drops of rain, specks of dust, insects, reflections, as well as many other things can be mistaken for orbs.

PARANORMAL: Events above the normal or everyday experiences. Events that can not be readily explained by known conventional reasons and/or commonly accepted science. Not to be confused with Supernatural that implies a deity explanation.

POLTERGEIST: The basic definition for a poltergeist was founded in 1838 in Germany, and it means a disembodied spirit or supernatural force credited with certain malicious or disturbing phenomena. Reports of this phenomena include, unexplainable noises, breaking of household items, windows and doors slamming shut, and also loud rapping.

RESIDUAL HAUNTING:A residual haunting is a paranormal phenomenon that appears to have no intelligence. The energy will appear at the same time, place, and\or weather conditions as if it is a video being played back by some force of nature. You cannot interact with a residual haunting. A residual haunting's energy will appear completely oblivious to its surroundings and will even walk through objects and walls that weren't there at the time of the "recording".

SHADOWS: (Shadow Beings, Shadow Entities) Shadows refer to the possible paranormal apparition which appears as a dark human-form manifestation. We say "possible" paranormal apparition since the true nature of this type of paranormal event is still unknown and the subject of much research.

SUPERNATURAL: Events or happenings generally attributed to the will of a deity. Usually includes the concept of angels, demons/devils, and other G-d-like creatures.

TELEKINESIS (Telekinetic power): The ability to manipulate physical objects using the body’s static electrical charges. Chi is the Asian term for telekinesis. Psychic extension of the person transported through the electrical field surrounding the individual. More commonly known as a persons' ability to move object with just their mind and thoughts.

TOUCHED: The act of experiencing physical contact from a ghost, spirit or other paranormal entity. Can be as simple as a tug in your shirt or pressure on a part of your body to scratches, burns or being pushed/shoved. However, serious physical injury is very rare.

ULTRAVIOLET (UV): Ultraviolet light is light from the upper end (long wave length/low frequency) of the electromagnetic spectrum. As with Infrared light, UV light is normally not visible to the naked human eye without the use of special viewing or photography equipment. Some paranormal investigators have experimented with using UV light to take video of ghosts and other paranormal entities. The results have been indeterminate. Other paranormal investigators have claimed UV light is an effective barrier to block demonic entities.

VORTEX: Vortices, Vortexes: A concentrated yet brief area of high electromagnetic energy often found in photographs taken at paranormally active locations. The often appear as sold (opaque) white or silver tubes, rods, or elongated ovals. They can also appear to be braided like a rope or chain (care has to be take to ensure it is not a rope, chain, camera strap etc). A vortex is not an entity. However, some paranormal researchers believe a vortex is a momentary doorway or portal to another realm that allows entities and other paranormal phenomena to come into our world. Some researchers also believe vortexes are linked to the Earth's own electromagnetic field which at least in part help determine when these portals open/close. It is also believed that some locations are more prone to having active vortices due to the alignment of the Earth's magnetic field and local geological structure.

WHITE NOISE: White noise is the random nondescript static sound produced by various electronic devices. The sound covers and combines all wavelengths and frequencies. In this way it is like the color white which is really a combination of all colors. Hence the name white noise – the combination of all sounds. Examples of common white noise sources are the radio or television static when set to an empty channel, the hum of an electric fan motor and the babbling sound of a fast moving stream or brook.

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