About the time I started writing my first article for Acrimony, I realized that although I understood most of the terms dealing with the paranormal, many of them were still a mystery. Thus I thought what better way to ring in the "holiday" season (ie. Halloween) then to briefly acquaint me and you with some of the more common terminology.

Abduction: The kidnapping of an individual or group by an unknown being. Those who are abducted report these beings to be extraterrestrial in nature. During the abduction the abducted is analyzed and sometimes operated upon. Reports have surfaced claiming surgery, collection of fluids or tissues and even implantation of tracking devices.

Alien: A life form from another planet, world, or dimension. A foreign being.

Apparition: A ghost-like figure that is so similar to a human being it is often indistinguishable from a living person.

Aura: Subtle energy field surrounding all living things, including plants, animals, and human beings. Appears as a myriad of colors that follow the shape of the being. Dominant colors or brightness are said to dictate the psychological condition, relative health, or spiritual advancement of the being.

Celestial Being: An advanced spiritual soul that guides others and teaches them the way.

Clairvoyance: The literal translation is clear seeing. It is used to describe a division of Extra Sensory Perception phenomena. The clairvoyant "sees" visions either as actual images or as thoughts.

Close Encounters: A part of the "Hynek Classification System" of "UFO" sightings, the encounters are broken into five categories:

Close Encounter of the First Kind: A UFO seen up close. However; there is no interaction with the surroundings.

Close Encounter of the Second Kind: A UFO seen up close, and physical evidence is noted.

Close Encounter of the Third Kind: A UFO seen up close, and aliens are seen.

Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: Alien abduction.

Close Encounter of the Fifth Kind: Establishes communication between human and alien.

Deja Vu: An overwhelming sense that current events have happened to the individual before.

EEG (electroencephalograph): A scientific method of recording and measuring electrical activity in the human brain.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): The capture of sounds on analog and digital medium that is often unexplained. The most prevalent theories suggest that these recordings are ghosts trying to communicate with the living.

Empath: A person who is sensitive to paranormal events and ghost-like activity.

ESP (Extrasensory Perception): Communication by means other than the physical senses.

Ghost Hunter: A person who explores ghostly phenomenon through research and documentation of alleged cases involving paranormal phenomenon.

Hell Hounds: Ghostly pack of dogs, suspected to be transporters of death.

Levitation: A form of psychokinesis (PK) wherein an object or a being is floated through the air.

Metal Bending: "Psychokinetic" ability to bend metal objects, using the power of the mind alone.

Out-of-body Experience (OBE, OOBE): A fully conscious experience in which a person feels as though he is looking at himself from outside his own body.

Past-Life Regression: A technique where a form of hypnosis is used and a subject is guided to recall events from previous lives.

Poltergeist: An apparition that is associated with mischief, often involving practical jokes and general aggravations.

Psychokinesis (PK): The psychic ability to affect physical events with the mind.

Psychokinetic Energy (PKE): The energy that surrounds psychokinesis.

Reincarnation: A practice that involves a soul migrating through several corporeal existences, the purpose being increased spiritual knowledge.

Talisman: An item such as a necklace or pendant used as a charm, often having spiritual or magical power.

Tarot: A deck of 78 cards used for fortune telling.

Telekinesis: The movement of objects using the mind.

Telepathy: Communication through means other than the five senses. Similar to clairvoyance.

Thoughtography: The paranormal ability to produce images on blank photographic film stock by concentrating on a mental image.

Unidentified Flying Object (UFO): An unexplained object in earth's atmosphere. Most are thought to be of extraterrestrial origin.

Voodoo: A religion with origins in Africa and Christianity, now most prevalent in the Caribbean island nations of Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. "Magical" rites, "trance" states, and spirit "possession" are prominent features of the religion.

Vortices: Ghost hunting term applied to photographic abnormality believed to be an exhibit of the souls of the dead, characterized by appearing as a segmented white chord which arcs through the photograph.

Zombie: A zombie is a soulless corpse resurrected from the dead that feeds off the blood of humans.

This is by no manner all of the terms that are out there, but it does help a little while you are listening to the hustle and bustle of Halloween preparation. Of course don't forget it may even help you to work up a great ghost story to scare lots of miniature ghosts and goblins out of their bulging bags of treats.

Originally published in Acrimony Magazine Issue #3 October 2003