Someone who doesn't conform to mainstream religions but prefers to follow a more polytheistic religion. Often the word is
used in a derogative manner to describe someone who has no religion, a non-Christian, a hedonist, heathen or a Neo-Pagan.
The term is also used derogatively to describe idolaters and persons who worship false gods. However, the term has assumed a
new meaning among the practitioners of witchcraft and magic and those who worship nature.
A controversial discipline of paranormal research related to psychic abilities, such as telepathy and extrasensory perception,
and spiritual phenomena. Term was coined in German by Max Dessoir (1889) and adopted by J. B. Rhine in English to refer to
the scientific study of paranormal or ostensibly paranormal phenomena.
Term applied to any phenomenon which in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible on
current scientific assumptions.
Steven Goldstein first coined the term Pareidolia (payr.eye.DOH.lee.uh) in 1994 to describe a psychological phenomenon
that involves vague and random stimulus, usually visual or auditory, that is perceived as being significant. Examples of this are
mirages, seeing animals, symbols or faces in clouds and in the paranormal arena, in orbs. Pareidolia is a blend of the prefix
"para" which means something faulty or wrong and "eidolon" which is a phantom-like or ghostly image.
Thought to be universes that exist alongside that of our own. They could be very similar in nature to our universe or they
could in fact be very different. For example somewhere out there in a different time, place or space, Germany won the second
world war or the North Pole was hot! Although it may appear to be a curious notion, there is some scientific evidence to suggest
that the idea may be closer to fact. Quantum Theory, which successfully describes the world of the atom, shows us that
everything may not be as it first seems. A nice example of this, is when one single atom has been shown to exist in many places
A process in which a hypnotized person is mentally “taken back” (or “regressed”) by the hypnotist to one or more apparent
previous life-times, thus suggesting reincarnation.
An experimental ghost created by Iris M. Owen and members of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research, Canada, who
wanted to test the connections between living individuals and paranormal phenomena. In September 1972, the Toronto
experimenters began meditating on "Philip," a deliberately created ghost with a personal history, idiosyncratic characteristics,
and even an appearance consciously worked out by the group. Within only a few weeks, the group elicited raps from the table
and communications from "Philip".
A divination device. Small pendulums are often used in dowsing and related divination systems instead of divining-rods.
Questions can be asked, and the clockwise or anticlockwise rotation of the pendulum gives an answer, rather like the raps in
Term generally used for a shifting series of imaginary or fantastic images as seen in a dream or fevered imagination.
A planchette is a triangular or heart-shaped board supported by castors which moves to spell out messages, or answer
questions. Paranormal advocates believe that the planchette is moved by some extra-normal force. The most common use of
the planchette is with a Ouija or spirit board. In this instance, it is sometimes referred to as an "indicator" or "pointer".
The name of unexplained rappings, noises, and similar disturbances. The term poltergeist (Polter Geist, or rattling ghost) is
indicative of the character of these "beings." It is believed poltergeists rarely cause serious physical injury, but can cause much
damage by breaking fragile objects and occasionally setting fire to pieces of furniture or clothing. Supposedly a person may be
pulled out of bed or levitated.
A phenomenon reported by members of religions which believe that evil spirits can take over the body of a person and
attempt to dominate the person in various ways. There are several degrees of possession, according to traditional Christian
belief, reflecting the seriousness of the case. In this modern age priests are more reluctant than they once were to declare a
person to be possessed and will carefully examine the sufferer before coming to any decision on his status. Exorcism is
nowadays rarely carried out by the mainstream churches, but newspapers still publish horror stories of exorcisms that went
wrong and harmed the sufferer. These are most often carried out by smaller, independent churches, sometimes with an
admixture of animist beliefs.
The paranormal ability to foresee events before they happen, and before there is normal evidence that they are going to
A paranormal impression warning of a future event. Premonitions may range from vague feelings of disquiet, suggestive of
impending disaster, to actual hallucinations, visual or auditory. Dreams are frequent vehicles of premonitions, either direct or
Prominent British psychical researcher. Price was born January 17, 1881, and was educated at London and Shropshire. At
the age of fifteen, he conducted his first scientific investigation of poltergeist phenomena, staying until midnight in a reputed
haunted house with photographic equipment. Price also attracted attention for his investigation of Borley Rectory, Essex, "The
Most Haunted House in England". Price published many books and pamphlets concerning his research and other experiences
in the Spiritualist and occult community. After his death, Price was accused (probably falsely) by fellow psychical researchers of
helping out or faking some of the Borley Rectory phenomena.
Something that is foretold by or as if by supernatural means. In pre-modern society, prophets appeared both informally as
gifted individuals with a sudden prophetic insight or as functionaries identical with what Western scholars in the nineteenth and
twentieth century called witchdoctors, priests or shaman.
The term Psychic is commonly used in popular culture to refer to someone with the ability to perceive things hidden from
traditional senses through means of extra-sensory perception. The term is also used to refer to theatrical performers who use
techniques such as prestidigitation and cold reading to produce the appearance of having such abilities. People said to be
sensitive to, or able to use, psychic forces are referred to as being psychics.
A medium, who may or may not have artistic training or skills, produces a portrait under the influence of a spirit. Sometimes
the subject is the spirit themselves, sometimes a spirit guide.
Many mediums have claimed over the years to have provided information to police forces to assist in manhunts or the
location of murder victims, but few police forces admit to having received such help. Some psychic detectives seem to have
genuinely worked with the police, while others have been exposed as making fraudulent claims of involvement in cases. In
some cases, too, help offered leads nowhere or produces false leads that waste police time.
Scientific inquiry into the facts and reports of paranormal and mediumistic phenomena. Psychical research's first concern
has been to establish the occurrence of the claimed events. If such events are not due to obvious mundane causes, including
fraud, observational error, or the laws of chance, the next stage of the inquiry is to establish a reason for their
occurrence—whether known natural laws are sufficient to explain them or whether there is reason to assume action by an
The ability to move objects at a distance by mental power. The term "psychokinesis" or "PK" was proposed by psychologist
J. B. Rhine and his associates at the Psychology Department, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, in 1934 in relation to
experiments with influencing the fall of dice by mental concentration.
Term coined by Joseph Rodes Buchanan (1893) to refer to the practice in which sensitives hold an object in their hands and
obtain paranormal information about the object or its owner.
A research method that relies less on numbers and statistics but more on interviews, observations, small numbers of
questionnaires, focus groups, subjective reports and case studies.
A research method that relies less on interviews, observations, small numbers of questionnaires, focus groups, subjective
reports and case studies but is much more focused on the collection and analysis of numerical data and statistics.
William Rand, prominent teacher of the Reiki system of healing and founder of the Center for Reiki Training in suburban
Detroit, Michigan, was a professional astrologer and hypnotherapist living in Hawaii in the 1970s at the time that the existence
of the Reiki healing system became known.
Pseudonym of stage magician James Randall Zwinge who has developed what amounts to a second vocation as a co-
founder and leading spokesperson of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and
debunker of both psychics and their paranormal claims and religious claims of supernatural occurrences.
These noises may accompany a haunting, but are also one of the phenomena traditionally associated with the early
Spiritualistic experiments of the mid-1800s. Using different numbers of raps for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ was a common way of getting a
communicator to respond to the questions put by the medium during séances.
Reiki is a form of therapy that uses simple hands-on, no-touch, and visualization techniques, with the goal of improving the
flow of life energy in a person. Reiki (pronounced ray-key) means "universal life energy" in Japanese, and Reiki practitioners are
trained to detect and alleviate problems of energy flow on the physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Reiki touch therapy is
used in much the same way to achieve similar effects that traditional massage therapy is used—to relieve stress and pain, and
to improve the symptoms of various health conditions.
The statements made by a sensitive (or as a result of the process of divination) in the course of an attempt to obtain
paranormal information or “messages.”
Reincarnation is the belief that a human soul is reborn in another body an indeterminate time after its death. It is accepted as
fact by members of some religions, e.g. in Hindu tradition, where a number of western authors have carried out investigations
into cases where a child has recognized places or members of a ‘previous’ family. In Tibetan Buddhism priests travel far and
wide to identify the child in which the soul of a past lama has reincarnated. Eastern tradition has influenced other belief systems
in the west, and a surprising number of people now believe in reincarnation, to which support is lent by hypnotic regression into
The rapid, periodic, jerky movement of the eyes during certain stages of the sleep cycle when dreaming takes place. Initials
stand for "rapid eye movement," a physical phenomenon during which the most active, visually rich, and bizarre dreaming
The ability, generally after considerable training and practice, to see a remote object that has been selected as a target by a
third party. During the Cold War the USA and the USSR spent large amounts of money training potential remote viewers to spy
on each other’s military facilities. Some successes were reported by the US projects, but these are generally regarded as
inadequate returns for the amount of effort put in.
Probably the most common type of haunting: this is best described as an imprint on the environment. A moment in time,
imprinted into the atmosphere of a specific location: playing out roles and situations over and over again for varying periods of
time. The "entity" shows no indication of awareness of its surroundings or those present, but appears to be a "re-play" of an
event or action that occurred in their lives. Such hauntings are not necessarily restricted to visual phenomena, but my also
include (or be limited to) auditory or olfactory phenomena.
Term used in psychical research and parapsychology to indicate a form of extrasensory perception in which the subject
obtains knowledge of some event in the past by paranormal cognition.
Rhine Research Center
The Rhine Research Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to parapsychological research and education. Established as
the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man in 1962 by J. B. Rhine and renamed in 1995, the RRC comprises two
subsidiaries: The Institute for Parapsychology and Parapsychology Press. As the designated successor to Rhine's famous Duke
University Parapsychology Laboratory, the institute maintains access to all records and other properties acquired by that
laboratory during its three decades at Duke.
Roll, a prominent parapsychologist, was born on July 3, 1926, in Bremen, Germany. He grew up in Denmark and studied at
the University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1949) and at Oxford University, England (B.Litt, 1960; M.Litt., 1961). While in
England, he was president of the Oxford University Society for Psychical Research (1952-57). His Oxford researches covered
the effects of hypnosis and the correlation of ESP with personality traits. He also authored more than 100 scholarly papers on
parapsychological topics, edited eleven volumes of research in parapsychology for the Parapsychology Association, and
authored thirteen books.
In southwestern British Columbia, on southern Vancouver and nearby islands, live some five hundred speakers of
Halkomelem, a Central Salish language in the Salish language family. And there is also said to be, somewhere in the mountains
and woods known to the Halkomelem, a creature called in their language Sasquatch, or "hairy man." The name Sasquatch
made its English-language appearance in an article in the Canadian magazine Maclean's in 1929. Since then it has spread far
beyond the Halkomelem, so that today it is often used as the generic name for the "bigfoot" of North America. Around the world,
other names for elusive wild men include Tibetan yeti, Mongolian almas, Chinese yeren, Vietnamese ngui rung, Sumatran orang
pendek, and Australian yowie.
Worship of Satan, or the devil, the personality or principle regarded in the Judeo-Christian tradition as embodying absolute
evil, in complete antithesis to God. Cults associated with satanism have been documented, however sketchily, back to the 17th
century. Their central feature is the black mass, a corrupted and inverted rendition of the Christian Eucharist.
A major structure of Spiritualism, the séance is a gathering of a small group of individuals who sit together to obtain
paranormal manifestations or establish communication with the dead. At least one member of the group is usually a medium or
at least possessed of some mediumistic powers.
The term "sensitive," often interchangeable with "psychic," refers to a person with psychic powers, but eschews
communication with the dead. Sensitives ordinarily believe that their psychic abilities are a natural ability that they possess to a
greater degree than most, either through natural endowment or a process of psychic development.
An entity that manifests itself as a dark form. The phenomena of the shadow person is still subject to speculation within the
paranormal community. Whether these "beings" are human or non-human in nature has yet to be determined, but it is
speculated that both forms exist to some degree. They appear to move quickly and have been reported to pass through solid
objects, i.e. walls.
A shaman is a person with exceptional powers over nature. A person who uses magic to cure the sick, divine the unknown,
or control events. Both men and women can be shamans. They are the magicians or "medicine people" of primitive tribes, with
powers of healing, prophecy, or paranormal phenomena. The term is thought to derive from Tungus shaman and Sanskrit
sramana (ascetic). As distinct from priests, shamans have no ritualistic knowledge, but operate rather as occult adepts. Their
primary ability, at least in their Siberian setting, was the power of astral travel. The gift of shamanism is often a hereditary
function, and its nature is communicated orally from one shaman to another.
Co-founder of the Skeptics Society, one of the major organizations debunking what it considers pseudoscientific claims,
especially of a psychic or occult nature, was born on September 8, 1954, in Glendale, California. He attended Pepperdine
University, where he majored in psychology. He later received an M.A. in experimental psychology from California State
University-Fullerton and a Ph.D. in the history of science from the Claremont Graduate School (1991).
At various moments in history and in times of great stress, suffering, and persecution, reports of paranormal signs (believed
to portend great events) frequently emerged. Under these conditions it was not unusual for ecstatic states to become epidemic,
prophecies to be uttered, and unusual physical phenomena to appear. Many of these reports appear to be a mixture of mis-
observation of mundane if unusual occurrences and hallucinations.
A power of perception seemingly independent of the five senses; keen intuition. More recently the sixth sense has been
given prominence as Charles Richet's comprehensive term for the phenomena of telepathy, clairvoyance, psychometry,
premonition, prediction, crystal gazing, and phantasmal appearances. They were, in Richet's view, manifestations of a new
unknown sense that perceives the vibrations of reality.
A word, formula, or incantation believed to have magical powers. The spell can be used for evil or good ends; if evil, it is a
technique of sorcery. Many authorities believe that the spell was the precursor of prayer. In Teutonic lore, the spell was a form of
exercising occult power and was sometimes used to summon the spirits of departed heroes to give prophetic utterances. Once
cast, the spell was supposed to remain in force until broken by a counter-spell or exorcism.
That which is believed to be the principle of conscious life and the vital principle in humans. The English word "spirit" comes
from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath", but also "soul, courage, vigor".
In Spiritualism, a spirit guide is an advanced soul who has passed to the Other Side and helps a person still in this world. A
non-psychic person may not be aware that he or she is being watched over or guided, but a medium may be able to sense the
The production of photographs on which alleged spirit forms are visible. When the plate or film is developed there sometimes
appears, in addition to the likeness of the sitters at a séance, a shape resembling more or less distinctly the human form, which
at the moment of exposure was imperceptible to normal vision.
Belief that the souls of the dead can make contact with the living, usually through a medium or during abnormal mental
states such as trances. The basis of spiritualism is the conviction that spirit is the essence of life and that it lives on after the
body dies. A medium is a person sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world, who may hold meetings known as séances in order
to seek messages from spirits. Although this is not widely known, Spiritualism has been a recognized religion in the UK for quite
Spontaneous Human Combustion
Refers to the belief that the human body sometimes burns without an external source of ignition. There is much speculation
and controversy regarding SHC, for it is not a proven natural phenomenon. Many theories and hypotheses have attempted to
explain how SHC might occur, some of which are grounded in current scientific understanding. One such hypothesis is the "wick
effect", in which the clothing of the victim soaks up melted human fat and acts like the wick of a candle. Another possibility is
that the clothing is caused to burn by a discharge of static electricity. The likelihood that truly spontaneous human combustion
actually takes place is remote, due to the presence of water and the lack of highly flammable compounds and oxygen in the
Stigmata are the wounds of Christ as reproduced in a human body. Visible stigmata are frequently located in both hands and
both feet, and on the right side of the chest, replicating the sites of Christ's wounds, which he showed to the disciples in his
post-resurrection appearances (Luke 24: 36-40 and John 20: 19-29).