Ghostly World’s paranormal dictionary was created to highlight common words used in the paranormal field, with terms from spiritualism, ghost hunting, the unknown, cryptozoology,  and more.


Afterlife: [n.] The presence of “life” after death. Also known as “future life.”

Agent: [n.] 1. A person who attempts to communicate information to another in an ESP experiment.
2. The subject in a psychokinesis experiment.
3. The person who is the focus or cause of poltergeist activity.

Alive: [adj.] Having life; not dead/lifeless.

Amorphous: [a.] Lacking a defined form or shape.

Ancient Alien/Astronaut Theory: [n.] The Ancient Alien or Ancient Astronaut Theory suggests that humans were created, assisted, and/or genetically modified in the past by extra terrestrial beings.

Angel: [n.] A good, winged, non-human entity that is aligned with God or a positive energy.

Animal Ghost: [n.] The ghost of an animal, usually a pet.

Anomaly: [n.] 1. Beyond the realm of normalcy or a deviation from typical arrangement or form.
2. An odd or strange situation.

Apparition: [n.] The appearance of a ghost or the deceased.

Apport: [n.] The arrival or disappearance of an object (living, dead, or inanimate) during a spiritualists’ séance or a haunting.

Asport: [n.] The disappearance and reappearance of objects during a spiritualists’ séance or a haunting.

Astral Projection: [n.] When the soul exits the body voluntarily or involuntarily to either the astral plane or a different location on this plane. Also called “outer-body experience” or “O.B.E.”

Atlantis: [n.] A mysterious civilization of lore, speculated to be in the Bermuda Triangle.

Aura: [n.] Energy that surrounds and emanates from all living things.

Automatic Writing: [n.] A phenomenon that involves people writing or drawing without conscious thought, thought to be under the control of an entity.

Automatism: [n.] The event of subconscious communication with the conscious through means such as the ouija board, automatic writing, or pendulum swinging.

Avenger: [n.] Type of ghost looking to right the wrongs of something that happened during their lifetime.


Banshee: [n.] Female Irish spirit who brings warnings of impending deaths (death omen) by screaming. Those who cannot hear her screams are to die.

Benign Spirit: [n.] A ghost that does not inflict harm.

Bermuda Triangle: [n.] Part of the western North Atlantic Ocean where numerous aircraft and ships have disappeared mysteriously. Also known as “The Devil’s Triangle.”

Bigfoot: [n.] A humanoid ape found in legends across the world. Also known as “Sasquatch.”

Bilocation: [n.] Being in or appearing to be in two different locations at the same time.

Boo: [onomatopoeia] Stereotypical noise of a ghost that does not occur in real cases.

Book of the Dead: [n.] Ancient Egyptian funerary text used from around 1550 BC to 50 BC.


Calling Ghost: [n.] A type of ghost that calls out the name or names of the living in order to attract their attention.

Camcorder: [n.] A type of video-recording tool used to capture video evidence of ghosts and/or paranormal activity.

Camera: [n.] A photo-taking and/or video-recording tool used in ghost hunting to capture evidence.

Channeling: [v.] The process used by mediums in efforts to communicate with the dead.

Channeler: [n.] An individual who allows spirits to temporarily possess their body for communication.

Chupacabra: [n.] Spanish for “goat sucker.” Cryptid creature that has been described as being both dog-like and humanoid. It is reported to attack livestock and drain their blood.

Clairaudient: [n.] A psychic with the ability to hear voices and otherwise inaudible sounds to the normal human ear.

Clairsentient: [n.] A psychic with the ability to feel emotions, presences, etc. normally not felt by the average person.

Clairvoyance : [n.] The psychic ability to communicate with spirits, see the future, or collect information through use of the mind.

Clairvoyant: [n.] A psychic with the ability to foresee the future.

Cleansing: [v.] A non-traditional, new-age, or occult form of exorcism utilized to remove spirits, typically not of a religious nature.

Cold Spot: [n.] An area where the temperature is significantly lower than everywhere else that is believed to be caused by the presence of a ghost.

Collective Apparition: [n.] An apparition sighted by multiple witnesses at the same time.

Corpse: [n.] The body of a dead human, usually used in reference to bodies post-decomposition.

Corpse Light: [n.] Mysterious lights seen where paranormal phenomena is occurring.

Coven: [n.] A gathering of witches or vampires.

Crisis Ghost: [n.] A ghost that bears an important message for the living. Their appearance is typically a one-time experience to say a final goodbye or give information to family/friends. Also known as a “crisis apparition.”

Crop Circle: [n.] Large patterns created by the flattening of crops, thought to be of an extra terrestrial origin. Also known as “Crop Formations.”

Cryptid: [n.] A creature or plant whose existence is only suggested, not officially recognized.

Cryptozoology: [n.] The study of cryptid creatures or supposedly extinct animals.

Curse: [n.] A placement of bad luck on a person or item through means of supernatural powers, such as a spell, a prayer, magic, witchcraft, a natural force, God, a spirit, an imprecation, an execration, or otherwise. Also known as “execration.”

Curse of the Pharaohs: [n.] Belief that anyone who disturbs the mummy of an Ancient Egyptian (particularly pharaohs) will be cursed, typically in the form of bad luck, illness, and/or death.

Cyber Ghost: [n.] An abandoned website that continues to accept emails but will never respond. Not a “real” ghost.

Cyclic Ghost: [n.] A ghost that appears on the anniversary of a significant event.


Dead: [adj.] Having once lived and since had their life come to an end.

Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead): [n.] Mexican celebration honoring the dead.

Deceased: [adj.] No longer alive; dead
[n.] The specific dead person and/or persons referred to

Deep Trance Medium: [n.] A psychic who allows a ghost to enter their body so that spirits may communicate through them.

Deja Vu: [n.] The sensation or feeling that one has experienced current events previously.

Dematerialization: [v.] The fading or disappearance of a physical object.

Demon: [n.] An evil/negative nonhuman spirit capable of harming the living, such as through scratches and/or possession; spirits from Hell. In Judeo-Christian terms, they are “fallen angels,” but the term demon also applies to other non-Christian cultures and traditions.

Demonic Haunting: [n.] A haunting involving at least one negative nonhuman (demon) spirit.

Demonic Possession: [n.] The control of an individual by a demonic or negative entity.

Demonologist: [n.] An expert on demonic or nonhuman entities. They may also be able to perform exorcisms.

Devil’s Hound: [n.] Black dogs with piercing red eyes that are said to haunt England.

Dictaphone:[n.] Recording device used in ghost hunting, later replaced by the EVP reader.

Digital Thermometer: [n.] Temperature recording tool used to detect drops in temperature, often caused by ghosts.

Discarnate: [n.] A spirit that exists while lacking a physical body.

Discernment: [n.] The ability to feel or notice something while using the mind and senses.

Disembodied: [adj.] Coming from someone who cannot be seen in a way that may be eerie or frightening.

Disembodied Voice: [n.] A voice that emanates from someone with no physical body.

Divination: [n.] The obtainment of future events and the unknown via outside forces.

Domovoy: [n.] Russian ghost that is said to do housework of it is treated well.

Doppleganger: [n.] German for “double walker”; the identical image of a living person.

Dowsing: [v.] Locating objects, portals, supernatural energy, or water with dowsing or divining rods. Also known as “divining.”

Dragon’s Triangle: [n.] A region of the Pacific ocean near Miyake Island, located south of Japan. Ships have vanished without a trace, and UFOs have been reported over the area as well. It has been dubbed “the Pacific’s Bermuda Triangle.” Also known as “the Devil’s Sea.”

Draugur: [n.] Icelandic word for “ghost.”

Dream: [n.] A sequence of images that appear involuntarily to the mind of somebody who is sleeping, often a mixture of real and imaginary characters, places, and events.

Dropping Temperature: [n.] Coldness produced by a ghost.


Echolalia[n.] When a ghost or spirit repeats what a living person has said.

Ectoplasm: [n.] A substance that emanates from a medium during a trance; often appears as a mist-like or vapor substance; can be seen moving, often faces and other forms can been seen in it. Usually only appears in photographs when paranormal phenomena is taking place.

Electro-Magnetic (Electro-Magnetic Radiation): [n.] Energy said to be produced by ghosts, though not in all cases of electro-magnetics.

Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF): [n.] An electric and magnetic energy that radiates from radio and light waves to gamma and cosmic rays

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): [n.] Voices heard only on EVP recorders or cassette tapes and not to the naked ear; voices of spirits.

Elemental: [n.] A nonhuman spirit with connections to the elements (earth, water, air, fire).

EMF Reader: [n.] Gauge designed to read levels of EMFs. Also known as “EMF detectors.”

Empath: [n.] Someone who is sensitive to paranormal activity, but not quite psychic.

Epitaph: [n.] Words or phrases etched onto a tombstone.

Entity: [n.] Term used to describe paranormal beings, such as ghosts, spirits, demons, elementals, and so on.

Espectro: [n.] Spanish word for “ghost.”

Evocation: [n.] Summoning spirits by means of ritual, gesture, or verse of incantation.

EVP Reader: [n.] Gauge designed to record noises or voices created by ghosts.

Exorcism: [n.] The expulsion of ghosts, spirits, demons, and other entities that are disturbing or possessing a person or a place. Typically performed by a demonologists, priest, shaman, or witch doctor.

Extra Sensory Perception (ESP): [n.] The psychic ability to receive or obtain information about past, present, or future events; includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.

Extraterrestrial: [n.] An object or being originating from a planet other than Earth.

Extraterrestrial Life: [n.] Life that does not originate from Earth, ranging from bacterium to beings more complicated than humans.


Fairy: [n.] A form of spirit, described as “elementals” in alchemy and “ghosts” in Gaelic folklore.

Familiar/Familiar Spirit: [n.] A supernatural entity (animal or humanoid) that assists witches and other magic-practicing individuals.

Fantasma: [n.] Italian and Spanish word for “ghost.”

Flashlight: [n.] Light-bringing tool used in ghost hunts to eliminate use of larger lights.

Full-Bodied Apparition: [n.] The full form of a ghost or spirit.


Gauss Meter: [n.] Tool used by ghost hunters to read electro-magnetic radiation.

Ghost: [n.] Soul, life essence, or energy of the deceased.

Ghost Box: [n.] Tool used for communicating to ghosts in a more ‘live’ way than EVPs.

Ghost Hunter: [n.] An individual who studies and looks for ghosts, often times working to rid a location of harmful/bothersome spirits.

Ghost Lights: [n.] Larger and brighter versions or orbs.

Ghost Month: [n.] Chinese celebration in which ghosts are said to come to Earth to visit loved ones.

Ghost Ship: [n.] The apparition of a ship that has been known to have disappeared or wrecked in the past; apparition of a ship that warns of pending disaster. Also known as a “ghost vessel.”

Ghost Town: [n.] An abandoned town lacking inhabitants that is not necessarily haunted.

Ghost Train: [n.] Apparitions of trains that are not physically there.

Ghostly: [n.] Ghost-like; mystic; having traits of a ghost.

Ghoul: [n.] A violent ghos,t or undead zombie-like creature found in graveyards or as servants to vampires. In Arabian culture, ghouls are demon shapeshifters that appear as animals and lead travelers to their deaths in the desert.

Globule: [n.] A larger glob version of an orb.

Grave: [n.] Place in which a body is buried.

Graveyard: [n.] Place in which the dead are buried.

Gui: [n.] Chinese word for “ghost.”


Halloween: [n.] Americanized holiday that originated from Ireland as “All Hallows Eve”; celebrated to protect children from demons.

Haunted: [adj.] Location with lingering soul(s); place that has paranormal activity.

Haunted House: [n.] Home that is haunted by a ghost/ghosts; a theme park attraction used for scaring purposes.

Haunters: [n.] Ghosts who are attached to a place, often emotionally.

Haunting: [n.] Paranormal phenomena including apparitions, unexplained sounds, smells, and other sensations, and odd occurrences involving a dead person.

Hindu Ghosts: [n.] Indian ghosts who died violently and didn’t get a proper burial.

Hoax: [n.] An act intended to trick people into believing something is real when it is not.


Immortal: [adj.] Incapable of dying; someone who died and came back as the undead to live forever.

Imprint: [n.] The idea that a highly emotional situation can leave a copy of themselves upon this plane of existence and replay them over and over again, such as in the case of a residual haunting.

Incubus: [n.] A male-formed demonic or negative entity capable of seducing, sexually arousing, and/or assaulting women in their sleep.

Independent Verification: [n.] Multiple experiences from different individuals who did not have any prior knowledge of paranormal occurrences.

Indirect Voice: [n.] Mediumistic phenomenon in which the discarnate entity appears to speak using the vocal apparatus of the medium.

Infestation: [n.] Repeated and persistent paranormal phenomena or multiple ghosts/spirits in a haunting.

Inhuman Spirit: [n.] A spirit that is not of a human.

Insubstantiality: [adj.] Lack of physical substance.

Intelligent Haunting: [n.] Haunting and paranormal activity caused by an intelligent or conscious spirit.

Invocation: [n.] The summoning of spirits.

Ion Field: [n.] Charged particles that ghosts can reverse the charge of.

Isipoki: [n.] South African word for “ghost.”


Jinn: [n.] Saudi Arabian word for “ghost.”


Keelung Ghost Day Festival: [n.] Taiwanese celebration for ghosts.

Kizuka: [n.] Kenyan word for ghost.


Lechuza: [n.] Mexican urban legend of a female spirit or witch who turns into a giant owl.

Levitation: [n.] The lifting of a person or object into the air without any visible means.

Light Trance Medium: [n.] When a medium or person communicates with ghosts by entering a trance.

Lycanthropy: [n.] When someone transforms into a wolf/werewolf.


Macro-PK: [n.] Psychokinetic effects that can be directly observed rather than only inferred from statistical analysis.

Malevolent: [adj.] A harmful, dangerous and/or evil ghost.

Malicious: [adj.] Spirits who destroy or damage things of personal or financial value for the sake of causing harm.

Manifestation: [n.] When a spirit takes form; an indication that something is present, real, or exists.

Manifesting: [v.] When the mind makes something happen.

Maori Ghosts: [n.] New Zealand ghosts who speak only to magicians in whistles and squeaks.

Materialization: [n.] The formation of a visible and physical form of a spirit.

Matrixing: [n.] The minds attempt to create images as something else when they are not.

Measurement: [n.] Recording of temperature or electromagnetic field changes.

Medium: [n.] Psychic practitioner; someone who serves as the bridge between our world and the spirit world.

Metaphysics: [n.] The study of what is beyond the laws of physics.

Message-Bringers: [n.] Ghosts who bring messages, such as someone’s death, someone needing help, or something that will happen.

Mischief-Makers: [n.] Ghosts who are playful in their hauntings, formally referred to as poltergeists.

Mist: [n.] Foggy white patch in front of or behind objects.

Mortal: [n.] A living being that will be born, live, and die.

Multo: [n.] Phillipino word for “ghost.”

Mummy: [n.] An intentionally or unintentionally preserved body of a human or animal.

Murder: [n.] Act of killing an individual/multiple people intentionally (excluding kills on a battlefield).


Near-Death Experience (NDE): [n.] An experience in which someone was pronounced dead or very close to death, but was still alive.

Necromancy: [n.] The practice of communicating with the dead in order to obtain knowledge of the future, others’ secrets, etc.

Night Terror: [n.] A terrifying nightmare or unexplained nocturnal occurrence.


Obambo: [n.] African ghost; spirit of someone who died and did not receive a proper burial.

Observation: [n.] Watching/witnessing paranormal activity; noting things about an occurrence.

Obsession: [n.] The initial way a demonic entity gains control of a victim, by making the subject obsessed with the entity.

Occultism: [n.] Esoteric systems of belief and practice that assume the existence of mysterious forces and entities.

Occult Science: [n.] The systematic research into or formulation of occult concepts. Some aspects are legitimately scientific.

Orbs: [n.] Small, pale globes of light containing the soul of the deceased or essence of a nonhuman entity. Believed to be the easiest way for ghosts and spirits to manifest themselves. Also called “energy orbs,” “spirit orbs,” and “ghost orbs.”

Ouija Board: [n.] Board used to contact spirits that is typically used in seances.

Out-of-Body Experience (OBE): [n.] When the soul temporarily leaves the body voluntarily or involuntarily.

Outward Manifestation: [n.] The physical manifestation of paranormal activity.


Paranormal: [n.] Unable to be explained or understood in terms of scientific knowledge.

Parapsychology: [n.] The study of supposed mental phenomena that cannot be explained by known psychological or scientific principles, e.g. extrasensory perception and telepathy.

Parapsychologists: [n.] Individuals who study parapsychology; ghost hunters (see ‘Parapsychology’).

Pendulum: [n.] Used for divination or to communicate with the other side. Typically made from crystal or stone and suspended from a chain.

Phantom: [n.] An apparition or spirit that exists only as energy.

Phantomania: [n.] The paralysis that occurs when one is under attack by supernatural or preternatural forces. Also known as sleep paralysis.

Phantom Dogs: [n.] Ghost dogs of superstition.

Phenomena: [n.] More than one event or occurrence that cannot be explained by traditional science.

Phenomenon: [n.] An event or occurrence that cannot be explained by traditional science.

Phi Ta Khan Festival: [n.] Thailand’s ghost festival.

Physical Mediumship: [n.] Spirit communication using both the physical energy and consciousness of the medium.

Planchette: [n.] A triangular instrument that is used as a pointer to answer questions on the Ouija Board.

Poltergeist: [n.] German word meaning “noisy spirit”; activity is often times playful and like that of a prankster and wrongly thought of as being caused by an evil spirit.

Possession: [n.] When a person’s body is taken over by a spirit, often times a demonic one.

Prayer: [n.] Religious means of ridding of ghosts

Precognition: [n.] Knowledge of pending future events.

Premonition: [n.] Vision; feeling or warning about future events.

Progression Hypnotherapy: [n.] Visiting past lives through hypnosis.

PSI: [n.] Psychic power or ability.

Psychic: [n.] A person claiming or believed to have extraordinary sensitivity to nonphysical or supernatural forces.

Psychic Attack: [n.] An attack that can either be mental or physical by a spirit.

Psychic Vampire: [n.] A person or entity who feeds off of the “life force” of living creatures.

Psychokinesis: [n.] The ability to move objects using only one’s mind.


Reincarnation: [n.] The belief in which a part of a person’s soul survives death and can be reborn in a new body in the future.

Repetition: [n.] Same occurrences produced by a ghost or haunting over and over again.

Replay Ghost: [n.] Ghosts who replay a point in their lives, and often do not interact in the living.

Residual Haunting: [n.] A psychic imprint of a scene that repeats itself; there is no interaction between the dead and the living.

Retroactive Psycho Kinesis: [n.] Paranormal influence that an agent can have on an experiment after it has been completed.

Retro Cognition: [n.] Paranormal knowledge of past events.


Sage: [n.] An herb that is burned to rid of ghosts.

Salt: [n.] A mineral believed to block out ghosts when it is scattered.

Seance: [n.] A meeting where a spiritualist attempts to receive communications from the spirits of the dead.

Sensitive: [n.] An individual who can see or feel ghosts and other entities. Can also be a broad term for psychics, mediums, and clairvoyants.

Shojo: [n.] A type of Japanese ghost said to haunt the ocean and are friendly to the living.

Silk: [n.] A material said to protect the wearer from spirits.

Sixth Sense: [n.] Psychic or empathic abilities beyond the five physical senses.

Shaman: [n.] An intermediary between our world and the spirit world; healers of the soul.

Shape Shifting: [n.] Being able to change one’s physical form (e.g. werewolves).

Sleep Paralysis: [n.] A sensation of being awake but unable to move. Also known as “Old Hag Syndrome.”

Soul: [n.] The complex of human attributes that manifests as consciousness, thought, feeling, and will, regarded as distinct from the physical body.

Specter: [n.] A ghost, spirit, or apparition. Also spelled “spectre.”

Spettro: [n.] The Italian word for ghost.

Spirit: [n.] Any entity that was never human, such as an angel, a demon, elementals, or other gods. Can also be used as a general term for ghost.

Spirit Guide: [n.] A spirit or ghost that watches over the living and guides them, like a guardian angel.

Spirit Message: [n.] A spoken, written, or coded message from ghosts.

Spirit World: [n.] The general dimension or plane of existence for ghosts and spirits.

Spirit Photography: [n.] Photographs of ghosts.

Spiritualism: [n.] Religion based strongly upon the paranormal, death, and subsequent afterlife.

Spogelse: [n.] The Danish word for ghost.

Spontaneous Human Combustion: [n.] When a human being suddenly bursts into flames with no known reason.

Stigmata: [n.] Mysterious wounds and/or markings found on a person’s body that correspond with the wounds of Jesus Christ.

Strasidlo: [n.] The Czech Republican word for ghost.

Subliminal Perception: [n.] Perceiving while lacking conscious awareness.

Succubus: [n.] A female-formed demonic or negative entity that inspires lust in men by seducing and/or assaulting them in their sleep.

Supernatural: [n.] Relating to or attributed to phenomena that cannot be explained by natural laws.

Superstition: [n.] Legend. An embellished tale, often passed down through the generations.


Table Tipping: [n.] An old technique of communicating with ghosts by moving a table.

Taibhse: [n.] The Irish word for “ghost.”

Telekinesis: [n.] The ability to move objects around solely by the power of the mind.

Telepathy: [n.] The ability to communicate mind-to-mind opposed to verbally.

Teleportation: [n.] Paranormal transportation of objects or people to a different place.

Time Slip: [n.] When a person or people experience a different point in time in the same place.

Tombstone: [n.] A grave marker (see “Grave”).

Trance Mediumship: [n.] When a medium shares their energy with a spirit through a trance.

Translucent: [adj.] Clear, possible to see through.

Time slip : When an individual or individuals experience a different point in time, usually in the same place.


U.F.O.: [n.] An unidentified flying object.

U.S.O.: [n.] An unidentified submerged object.

Undead: [n.] In fiction, people or other beings who are technically dead but still exist, move, and interact with the living in a physical form, such as vampires or zombies.

Urban Legend: [n.] Not necessarily true, but not necessarily false, either. A story that originates as story told by one person to another and grows into a large rumor.


Vampire: [n.] An undead person or being that feeds off of the life essence (typically blood) of living creatures.

Verification: [n.] Other witnesses or evidence to prove that an experience occurred.

Vision: [n.] A dream that foretells a future event, such as good fortune, an accident, impending doom, or death.

Voodoo: [n.] The practice of black magic, originating from slaves brought to Haiti in the 16th century as a way to conceal their African beliefs. It spread into the New Orleans area. It is a combination of beliefs/practices from West Africa, Arawakian religious beliefs, and Roman Catholic Christianity.  Also known as “Vodou.”

Vortex: [n.] A white or colorful, cloud-shaped wisp that looks like a small tornado. Considered to be a doorway to the spirit world.


Werewolf: [n.] A person with the ability to shape-shift into a wolf/anthropomorphic wolf-like being.

White Noise: [n.] A combination of all audible frequencies.

Will-O’-The-Wisps: [n.] Ghost lights, scientists believe them to be burning gasses. Also known as “Jack-O’-Lanterns.”

Witch Doctor: [n.] A person who cures or protects others against witchcraft.

Wormhole: [n.] A shortcut or bridge through spacetime.

Wraith: [n.] The ghost of a sorcerer who was unable to save himself with his spells.


Xenoglossy: [n.] The ability to speak and/or write in a language not known to the person speaking and/or writing it.


Yuurei: [n.] Japanese word for “ghost,” meaning “dim soul.” Also spelled “Yurei.”


Zombie: [n.] 1. A corpse reanimated by a voodoo practitioner.
2. In popular culture, often created by a virus or exposure to radiation.

Zweem: [n.] Dutch word for “ghost.”