Glossary of Paranormal Terms


Afterlife - This term refers to life after death.  It has been found to be used as early as the 1600's and can be used interchangeably with terms such as  "the other side".  This word is very generic in its use and can be found across a variety of cultures.  It is often used in place of specific, religious-based terms.

Anomaly - this term refers to anything that is out of the ordinary or unexplainable.  In paranormal investigations, this term is used to describe an event or piece of evidence that occurs and is outside the norm.  Changes in enviornmental tempatures or EMF Fields, visual experiences that are considered abnormal, or sounds that are considered abnormal can all be described as anomalies.  The occurence of an anomaly is not considered proof of a haunting or of ghost/spirit activity but simply something that is abnormal.  Examples of anomalies are:  unusuals sounds, knocks, taps, pictures with unusual items in them, video of unusual occurences, and enviornmental readings that are outside the norm.

Apparition - This is the rarest of paranormal activity.  An apparition is what is commonly referred to as a "Ghost" or "Spirit" and is the manifestation of either a partial or full appearance of a deceased individual.  An apparition can appear in many forms from a full-bodied person to partial-bodied limbs, hands, feet, face etc., some individuals and paranormal groups also believe that orbs are an apparition.  Apparitions can be seen visually in real-time or seen on video surveilance.  

Asport - This is the term that is used to reference an object that is moved or "teleported" by a spirit from one location to another.


Baselines/Baseline Readings - Prior to beginning an investigation, investigators will conduct a baseline reading of a location.  A baseline reading is taking measurements of a location such as tempature, Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF), radiation, air density and pressure and others to determine what is "normal" for that location.  This information is then logged and during the investigation as well as during the post-investigation review of evidence any changes to the baseline readings can potentially be considered abnormal or paranormal.  Some paranormal investigating groups will also use weather, lunar/solar, and geological data in determining baselines.


Case Study - This term is used when referring to an in-depth study of a particular invidual person or location

Clearing - This term refers to the process of removing ghosts or spirits from a location.

Cold Spots - Cold spots are areas in a location being investigated that are self-contained pockets of significantly colder air.  Cold spots can generally be measured using a tempature-taking device.  It is theorized that these cold spots are pockets of spirit energy attempting to manifest themselves.  For reasons yet to be determined, spiritual energy appears to consume heat in a given area thus creating a spot of cold air.

Collective Apparition - This term is used in reference to the experience of seeing an apparition by multiple individuals simultaneously.  When it can be determined that an apparition is not fraudulent in nature, having multiple individuals experience the same visual apparition can lend more crediblity to activity or evidence.

Crisis Apparition - This term refers to an apparition that is seen while an individual is seriously injured, seriously ill, or near death.


Debunk/Debunked/Debunking - This term is famously heard on paranormal investigative TV shows such as Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures and is used to refer to the process of determining a naturally occurring explanation for paranormal experiences.  An example of debunking is when an individual reports claims of seeing shadows at a particular location and an investigation team is able to determine that those shadows are caused by a naturally occuring event such as vehicle headlights casting shadows through a window.  While the term debunking is used widely in paranormal TV shows, many investigative groups prefer to use the term "explaining paranormal activity" as a more dignified term.

Demon - An entity that is usually referred to as evil in religous contexts.  Demons/Demonic hauntings are extremely rare and most negative activity can be accounted for by a negative spirit and not an actual demonic entity.

Doppelganger - Refers to a spirit that manifests itself to look identical to a living person.   While this phenomena is rare it has been reported at some famously haunted locations such as the Waverly Hill Sanitorium.

Dowsing - This refers to the practice of interpreting the motions of rods, sticks, pendulums or other such equipment.  This type of practice is not one that is used by Apex Paranormal as it is not considered reliable by our group.

Dream Communication - this term refers to communication that is received by an individual while in a dream state from a deceased individual, most often a family member attempting to communicate with the living.  Oftentimes, this communication is reported to occur at the time or very near the time of death and is reported as the deceased trying to communicate to the living that they have passed.


Electro-Magentic Field/EMF - Sometimes referred to as Electro-Magetic Frequency, EMF is a combination of Electro and Magnetic Fields.  Electronic devices give off EMF and high levels can often be found around electronic devices such as power boxes and outlets.  High levels of EMF can cause symptoms similar to what is described as a haunting such hearing noises, feeling uncomfortable, even as far as casusing hallucinations, particularly in individuals who are sensitive to EMF.  EMF can be measured by a number of tools including the Mel Meters used by Apex Paranormal.  It is thought that spirits give off, generate, or absorb EMF and use this in manifesting visually and audibly.  Fluctuations in EMF can be determined to be caused by spirits, while high levels of EMF can cause false experiences of hauntings.  Some fluctuations of EMF does occur in nature and it is important to take all measures to rule out possible naturally occuring EMF before deeming it as evidence of the paranormal.

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) - These are sounds and voices that are not heard audibly in real time but are captured on audio recording equipment.  This is a common phenomena in paranormal investigations and it is thought that spirits can communicate on auditory frequencies that cannot be heard by the human ear but can be captured eletronically.

EMF Meter - This is an electronic device that has been engineered to detect EMF.  EMF Meters are commonly used by paranormal investigators to determine baseline levels as well as fluctuations that may either naturally occur or be paranormal/abnormal.

Entity - This term is commonly used to describe a spirit or ghost, particularly one that is intelligent and interactive.  It can also be used in reference to living beings.

Evidence - This term is used to describe the unexamined, raw data that is collected during a paranormal investigation in  both audio and visual form.  It is also used to reference a specific artifact of data that may contain paranormal activity and when referred to in this manner it is usually catagorized such as "EVP Evidence" or "Video Evidence".

Evidence Review - This is a specific activity that refers to the process of examining raw data collected during a paranormal investigation after the investigation has concluded.  Evidence Review is done to isolate specific artifacts that may contain paranormal activity.

Eyewitness Testimony - Individuals may relate personal experiences they have had a location and share what they have witnessed.  This is not always reliable information in terms of concrete evidence but it does establish areas of a location or a specific person that are higher in reported paranormal activity and can provide a guideline for where and how investigators will conduct their investigation.


False Awakening - This term refers to a state in which an individual believes they are awake but are actually still dreaming.  This can account for some abnormal or paranormal activity that occurs.

Fear Cage - this term was coined by the TAPS investigators, commonly known as the Ghoster Hunters TV show.  It is an area in a building that contains high levels of EMF and may create effects such as uneasy feelings, feeling as if someone is watching them, goose bumps, etc..  A Fear Cage can create sensations of paranormal activity but in actuality has a natural explanation.


Ghost Box - These are also known as a Spirit Box or Frank's Box.  Ghost Box refers to an electronic device that cycles through radio frequencies/stations as various speeds and intervals to create white noise.  Spirits are then theorized to be able to communicate in real time through this white noise, providing direct communication with spirits.

Ghost Hunter - A person that investigations hauntings or claims of the paranormal.  These investigations are conducted to determine whether experiences and activity can be explained by natural/man-made origins or whether they are paranormal.  This term has been popularized by paranormal TV  shows and especially so by the show Ghost Hunters.  Many paranormal groups do not like this term as it can sound campy, the term paranormal investigators is frequently preferred.

Ghost Lights - Mysterious lights that are seen at a distance and are considered unexplainable.  Skeptics will often attribute these lights to natural causes such as methane gas or "swamp gas".  This phenomena has been reported for centuries and has often been associated with negative consequences towards seeing the lights.


Harbinger - This term is used to refer to a spirit that brings warnings of future events.

Hallucination - The perception of sights or sounds that are not actually occurring.

Haunting - The occurrence of paranormal activity such as apparitions, noises, objects moving and other phenomena that occurs over multiple occasions and is witnessed by multiple individuals over an extended period of time.  There are 2 main categories of hauntings 

1.  Intelligent haunting - which refers to a spirit that is residing in a location, has a conscious presence,  and can interact intelligently with the living, the common perception of a Ghost,

2. Residual Haunting - which refers to an imprint of a person or event whose emotions or energy was so strong that it replays over and over.

Hoax - The intentional staging of activity claimed to be paranormal.  Hoaxes are often done to draw attention to a person or location and sometimes to debunk or test paranormal investigators credibility.

Hot Spot - This is an area within a location where paranormal activity is claimed to occur most often or where evidence is captured most frequently and consistently.


Illusion - A perceived experience that is incongruent with reality.

Imprint - Spiritual activity that appears to be non-conscious and occurs repeatedly.


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K2 Meter - A K2 meter is a device that measures EMF and is displayed through a serious of LED lights.  K2 meters gained popularity after being shown on an episode of Ghost Hunters, however, they are being used less frequently by paranormal groups as their sensitivity is enough to pick up the slightest EMF, even those given off by cell phones.  While displaying readings using LED lights is not the most reliable nor accurate data possible.  Apex Paranormal prefers to use EMF meters that display numerical values as these are easier to review and catalog.


Levitation - The lifting or "floating" of objects with no apparent cause or against gravity.

Lucid Dreaming - A state of dreaming in which an individual is consious enough to recognize that they are dreaming and may subsequently be able to control the dream.


Magnetosphere - The naturally occurring magnetic field surrounding the Earth.

Manifestation - The tangible appearance of paranormal activity that can be sensed through sight, sound, smells, or touch.  Manifestations are what investigators look for and attempt to capture and measure in gathering proof/evidence of paranormal activity.

Materialization - The act of something solid appearing out of thin air.  When an apparition appears to an individual it tends to materialize or de-materialize.

Mist - A visual anomaly that can appear in real time or most often in photography and appears as a blanket of either white or black light.  While there is no scientific proof that this phenomena is paranormal related, when it is captured along with additional evidence it lends more crediblity to a mist being paranormal in nature.


Negative Spirit/Entity/Ghost - A negative spirit refers to an entity who's behaviors/interactions with the living world cause negative consequences.  A negative spirit is often misinterpreted as being demonic in nature however just as there are negative people in the world of the living, those individual's spirits may continue to be negative in the spiritual world.


Orbs - Orbs are balls of light or energy that are sometimes seen with the naked eye but most often seen in photographic evidence.  Orbs are a controversial subject in paranormal investigations with some groups giving credence to them being balls of spiritual energy or a manifestation of spirits while other groups feel there are too many natural explanations for orbs such as dust, bugs, precipitation, camera illusions, etc and do not give credence to orbs.  It is Apex Paranormal's general opinion that orbs are not paranormal phenomena and are not considered evidence of the paranormal.


Paranormal - Paranormal refers to anything that is out of the ordinary or not easily explainable.  Paranormal does not always indicate spiritual or ghost activity and simple means anything different from the norm.

Paranormal Group - A group of like-minded individuals that are dedicated to discussing, investigating , and seeking explanations to paranormal activity.

Poltergeist - this comes from the German word for "Noisy Ghost".  Poltergeist activity refers to activity in which objects disappear or move.  Poltergeist activity tends to revolve around a particular individual (usually an adolescent of puberty age) and is thought to be caused by that individual being in an intense emotional state.

Portal - This refers to a theoretical opening in which spirits or entities are able to pass through from the spiritual realm to the living realm.

Possession - The entry of a spirit into the body of a willing or unwilling individual during which that individual's cognitive and motor functions are being controlled by the spirit.

Primary Readings - This term refers to the energy readings initially taken at a location to establish a baseline and to serve as a means of guiding investigations in their investigations.


Radio Voice Phenomena (RVP)- This refers to voices that are captured through radio frequencies, most often through the use of some variety of ITC or Ghost Box.

Residual Energy - Residual energy is believed by paranormal groups to be emotionally charged energy that leaves a residue on physical objects in the near vicinity.  Residual energy is can sometimes be imprinted on items in a location, the location itself, or even natural elements such as limestone.  Residual energy tends to manifest on a loop similar to a tape recorder playing.

Residual Haunting - A Residual haunting is residual energy manifesting and is different from an intelligent haunt in that it does not interact with its enviornment or living individuals.  An example of a residual haunt would be seeing a spirit walking down stairs at about the same time and in the same place.  This type of haunting is not dangerous or interactive and is similar to a movie playing on a loop.


Scientific Method - While paranormal investigating is not an exact science, reputable paranormal groups will employ the scientific method in their investigations.  The basic premise of the scientific method involves making observations, asking questions, developing a hypothesis, conducting experiments, and reporting results.  This process must be regulated to help eliminate bias in an investigation and documentation is vital in regulating and monitoring this process.

Sleep Paralysis - This refers to a phenomena that occurs when an individual awakes during a sleep state and cannot move for a few seconds upon waking.  This is naturally occuring as during certain phases of REM sleep the brain is active and induces a paralysis-like state to keep the body safe from movement.  some individuals will wake during this state and commonly report feeling like they are held down by an unknown force or something supernatural.


Thought Form - This refers to an apparition that is conjured through the power of the human mind.


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Vigil - This term is sometimes used inter-changeably with the term session.  Vigil can reference any organized activity done during an investigation, however,for Apex Paranormal, this refers to a time during an investigation when investigators will sit inside the location without any movement or sound to simply listen and adjust to the sounds of the location to familiarize ourselves with the location.  


Walk-Through - There are 2 types of walk-throughs done on an investigation, a preliminary walk through during which clients are interviewed, activity and hot spots are identified, and decisions are made about both equipment set-up and experiments to conduct during an investigation.  The scond type is an investigative walk-through during which the investigation takes place and pre-determined experiments are conducted to collect evidence.


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