List of Paranormal Terms
- A -
Afreet: In Arabic lore, the vengeful spirit of a murdered person which arises from the victim’s shed blood.
Alchemy: The exploration and application of the sciences, particularly chemistry and the pseudo-science of astrology, such as they were understood during the middle ages and early Renaissance period. Alchemists were chiefly dedicated to the worthy pursuit of producing gold from baser metals and various materials.
Alma: Russian wild-man encountered in Siberia and northern China, generally described as being covered in hair and powerfully built, though shorter in stature and more human appearing than the Yeti. Some researchers have suggested that Almas may be descended from Neanderthals (Homo-Neanderthalensis).
Amulet: A symbol with magical significance, which is worn as a pendant or ring.
Angel: “Messenger of God,” a celestial being, benevolent in nature and if viable, appearing in human form, and possessing miraculous abilities such as teleportation, healing powers and knowledge of future events. There have been accounts of angels aiding people in times of crisis throughout the ages, albeit with no real consistency to their ‘modus operandi.’
Anomaly: An occurrence or condition removed from ordinarily understood experience.
Anthropomorphize: The human-eccentric tendency of imposing human perceptions and priorities upon spirits and other-worldly creatures or forces, assuming that all forms of consciousness must be akin to ours on some basic levels. (This is a logical assumption when applied to the survival instinct and perhaps to physical procreation; anything more is merely a guess.)
Apparition: The projection or manifestation of a quasi-physical entity.
Astral Travel: Belief or theory that a person’s spiritual awareness can temporarily detach itself from the physical body, remaining connected by what is called the “silver cord,” and experience things in other locations, time frames or dimensional planes. Some refer to this as “Astral Projection” or “Mind Projection.”
- B -
Baphomet: Demon character supposedly worshiped by the Knights Templar in 14th century France. Some present day practitioners of the black arts regard Baphomet as a “god” of lust and regeneration, or as symbolic of the Devil. See also: Sigil of Baphomet
Banishing: Formal, ceremonial, procedure effected to cast an invisible presence or influence out from an area. This term can refer either to a spiritual cleansing, or the closing of a magical rite, when the invoked powers are dismissed.
Bigfoot: A bulky, hair covered, bipedal humanoid which appears to possess both human and ape-like characteristics. Also known as Sasquatch and Yeti, depending upon locale. Sightings of these creatures have for centuries been widely reported.
Bogey(-Man): A grim spectral figure who delights in menacing mortals with rather gruesome pranks and abductions. Although the lore of this character has degenerated into a familiar device used to threaten rambunctious children, the ‘Bogey’ was formerly soundly dreaded in Celtic regions, and was said to prowl the stretches of fields, marshes, and moors, looking for hikers and travelers who had strayed from their paths.
- C -
Carcosa: A mysterious nether region or outer-world containing the mythical lake called “Hali,” which appears in the fiction of authors Ambroce G. Bierce (“An Inhabitant of Carcosa”) and Robert W. Chambers (“The King in Yellow” : “Cassilda’s Song”). There are students of arcane, mystical lore who believe that Carcosa may truly exist, which is why it is included with this roster of terms.
Chupacabra: Spanish for Goat sucker. In Puerto Rico, for twenty some years, numerous livestock and stray pets have been found with throats torn out, drained of blood and bearing mysterious puncture wounds. On the scene sightings of the creature supposed responsible are exceedingly rare, and descriptions always include “glowing red eyes.” Locale and the absence of distinct tracks rule out either wolverines or monitor lizards, both of which always drag off their prey. The most feasible suggestion is a coyote or feral dog, but again, the behavior doesn’t match. Whatever is the true culprit, Chupacabra has become a popular sensation on the island.
Construct, Psychic: It has been theorized, and experimentation has been conducted to support this premise, that through directed psychic energies a responsive spirit-like entity can be created, continuing for a time to exist independently.
Continuance: Commonly referred to as life-after-death, survival of the psyche post cessation of the biological organism which had generated it.
Cleansing (Psychic): A less ritualized form of exorcism, where-in a dwelling or site is purified and malevolent influences are banished through prayers, spoken as the petitioner moves through the area.
Crop Circles: During the past three centuries, throughout the British Isles but with a particular concentration in the southern region of England, circular impressions spanning sometimes several hundred feet in diameter and often quite intricate in design, have frequently and inexplicably been appearing overnight in wheat and grain fields. Sometimes the source can be traced to hoaxters; sometimes the details do not allow for any satisfactory, mundane explanation. Much documentation, as well as speculation, regarding this topic is available.
Crypto-zoology: The branch of paranormal research which deals with the exploration of legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, lake and sea monsters, thunderbirds, etc. It should be noted that the Giant Squid (the “Kraken”), orangutans (the “Red Men of the Forest”), Komodo Dragons and gigantic Nepalese elephants all were formerly included in the roster of fabled creatures!
Crystal Skulls: Five human skull models, exquisitely crafted in antiquity from solid quartz crystal, have been found in various locations throughout Latin America, the best known of these being the ‘Mitchell-Hedges Skull,’ discovered in 1924 in the Belize Jungle of Boonton by Anna Mitchell-Hedges while on an expedition with her father, and still in her possession in Canada. The others are kept in collections in Guatemala, Texas, the Smithsonian and the British Museum. Mayan legend tells that eight more crystal skulls remain, and that by the time all thirteen are united, mankind will have learned how to extract and decipher the vital information, history and revelations, which they contain.
Cthulhu: A creation of author H.P. Lovecraft and a favorite of horror/science fiction enthusiasts, Cthulhu’ (pronunciation is interpretive) is described as a kind of demon-god from another world, a monstrosity resembling a gigantic squid or octopus who “sleeps and dreams” in his lair at the bottom of the Arctic ocean, biding his time until some foolhardy “disciples” find means to call him to rise and reclaim dominion of the earth. Doubtlessly, some are actually trying!
Demon: Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin, which some believe to be “fallen (from grace) angels.
Doppelganger: German for “Double-goer.” A person’s duplicate or identical counterpart, seen as a result of bi-locational or astral travel. This phenomenon has been overshadowed by the more modern (and viable) concept of cloning, with its speculative ramifications.
Druid: A Celtic priest of the Bronze or Iron Age, trained in healing, divination and astronomy, whose tradition was passed on to successors by oral tradition.
- E -
Ectoplasm: A filmy, quasi-solid substance which supposedly issues from the bodies of mediums (from the mouth, nostrils, eyes, ears, navel or nipples) during trance states. In photographs, this phenomenon seems to resemble soaked muslin fabric. Whether or not it has ever been genuine, curiously, virtually no ectoplasm has been reported in the past fifty years.
Elementals: In magical tradition and ceremony, spirits which govern the four corners of the earth and are associated with, or reside within, the four basic elements. They are called Sylphs (the east, air), Salamanders (the south, fire), Undines (the west, water), and Gnomes (the north, earth).
Empath: An individual who is particularly sensitive to the psychic emanations of his or her surroundings, even to a degree of telepathically receiving and experiencing the emotions of others in their proximity. Obviously, psychic empathy can be regarded as a mixed blessing, and the empath must learn to gain a measure of control over this ability.
Entity: A disembodied “consciousness” commonly referred to as ghost, spirit or (if of an apparently malicious or resentful nature) demon.
E.V.P.: ‘Electronic Voice Phenomena.’ Disembodied “voices” and sounds imprinted on audio recording devices.
Exorcism: Ceremonial expulsion of invading spiritual/demonic entities from a person or dwelling, present in virtually every worldly culture. The Jewish and Catholic Christian faiths each have a formal ‘Rite of Exorcism’ to be conducted by the respective Rabbi or Priest.
Extra-terrestrials: Life forms originating on planets other than our own. This term usually refers to highly advanced visitors from other worlds, who journey to our sphere in space crafts with the probable intention of observing and studying our species.
- F -
Fetch: A spectral double of a living person. See also: Doppelganger and Wraith.
Fetish: Aside from the modern sexual connotation, a fetish is a shamanistic tool in the form of a figurine, animal part or a pouch containing items with magical associations.
Floating Orb: Spherical image, usually translucent white, though sometimes of a reddish or bluish hue, which inexplicably registers on photographic film and videotape, also known as “Globule.”
- G -
Ghost: The image of a person witnessed after his/her death, reflecting the appearance of the living, physical body yet less substantial. These forms often seem to exist in a dream-like state of semi-awareness, at times though not always cognizant of their human observers.
Globule: An anomaly where-in floating, circular forms appear on photographs or videotape, which seem indicative of spirit activity. Globes are a natural containment formation of the meniscus of liquid, as in gas containing bubbles; perhaps the interaction of energy and a quasi-physical substance produced by spiritual manifestations results in a similar effect, the globules being an initial containment of energy. Presently, all we know is that they continue to appear, and extraneous possible causes such as moisture, light refraction or emulsion seepage, etc., have been considered and ruled out.
Golden-rod: A rare anomaly seen in videotape recorded at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as bright, white or yellowish lines rapidly moving across a room. See Also: Globule, Vortex.
Grey: The most frequently reported visitor from an alien world, described as having greyish skin, a bulbous cranium, tapered chin, straight, unmoving, horizontal line for a mouth, slits substituting for a nose, slanted eyes, and a slight body. In some accounts, it has three fingers plus an opposable thumb on each hand. Supposedly, such beings were encountered by Betty and (the late) Barney Hill during their abduction in New Hampshire in September, 1961. See Also: Apparition
- H -
Halloween: ‘The Eve of All Hallows,’ also known by Pagan Celts and Wiccans as ‘Samhain’ (pronounced, ‘Sow’-an’), October 31, the night preceding the Catholic Church’s ‘All Saints Day.’ For a Millennium, in much of Europe and the British Isles, this was held to be the night when departed relatives were especially remembered, and the veil separating the realms of the living and the dead was rendered thinner than usual. Jack-o’ lanterns were placed on stoops and window-sills to frighten off malicious spirits. Halloween is presently celebrated as a night of revels and masquerading, and in Mexico it is part of a traditional annual festival known as ‘El Dia De Los Muertos’ (‘The Day of the Dead’).
Haunting: The manifestation of a ghostly presence, or presences, attached to a specific locale. Hauntings can be categorized into four (usually) distinct types, these being Intelligent (responsive), Poltergeist (likely initiated by pent-up stress on a subconscious level), Residual (replay) and Demonic (non-human origin).
Hex: A magical working, or “spell,” cast to influence a person’s will or fate, most often referring to a curse rather than a blessing or healing.
Hobgoblin: Mischievous sprite (fairy, spirit) who delights in perpetrating pranks upon hapless humans, once widely believed in and dreaded throughout Europe and Celtic regions. (Caution: It is theorized that these diminutive denizens of the netherworld will, upon occasion, interfere in psychic investigations by devices such as misplacing directions and telephone numbers, draining flashlight and camera batteries, and even pulling keys right out of investigators’ pockets!) I assume that anyone who reads the proceeding caution will realize it is farcical!
Homunculus: A form of miniature human supposedly produced (for purposes unknown) in the laboratories of medieval alchemists. See also: Alchemy.
Hypnosis: A state of profound mental focus, actually self-induced although an external agent – a “hypnotist” – often acts as the catalyst, or director, for the subject entering this state. Also known as “Mesmerism” after Franz Anton Mesmer who first popularized this practice (utilizing magnets as his props) during the last two decades of the 18th century. As concerns paranormal investigation, hypnosis is sometimes used as a vehicle for “past lives regression” and memory restoration in suspected (alien?) abduction cases.
- I -
Icon: A rendering or image of particular (often religious) significance.
Imbolc: In the Wiccan calendar, February 2nd is celebrated as the day when winter’s end is in sight, and the return of the sunn’s warmth is anticipated. Also known as Candlemas and the familiar Ground Hog Day.
Incubus: Stemming from medieval lore, a demonic entity capable of sexually arousing and sometimes assaulting human females. Cases of apparent incubus attacks continue to be documented, suggesting a germ of reality behind the myth.
Infestation: Repeated and persistent paranormal phenomena, generally centered around a particular location or person(s). Also known as a haunting.
Influence: An invisible entity of undetermined nature, effecting the inhabitants of a dwelling. This may initially manifest as an inexplicable feeling of uneasiness, then be followed by more definite signs which reveal a haunting.
- J -
Jersey Devil: In the Pine Barrens region of northern New Jersey and New York, for more than two and a half centuries there have been reports of a very strange and singular creature described as having an equine head, glowing, reddish eyes, stork’s legs, forelimbs with claw-bearing paws, a pointed tail and membranous, bat-like wings. It emits a shrill, piercing scream, and has been sighted rifling through garbage, standing in paths and roads, and flying just above the tree tops. One rather indistinct photo of this Jersey Devil has produced, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet recorded its ear-splitting cry.
Kabbalah (also Cabbala): A very ancient and complex system of Jewish mysticism, probably influenced by Assyrian-Babylonian and Macedonian beliefs and existing as the basis of an underground cult during much of the middle ages.
- L -
Lepke: A very unique and interesting type of spiritual manifestation, a ghost which has the appearance of a solid, living person, may even converse with someone, then suddenly vanishes. “We were talking, I turned to face her again, and she was just gone!” Such apparitions are most often reported to have been encountered within, or immediately outside of cemeteries.
Levitation: A phenomenon sometimes encountered in hauntings, particularly with Poltergeists, rare yet credibly reported, where solid objects (including persons) are moved and lifted by an unseen force. The first historically documented occurrence was that of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th century.
Lilith: Devil of Sumerian origin and later included in Hebrew beliefs, believed by Kabbalists to have been the first wife of Adam, later excluded from the Talmud, and held by some occultists to be a vampire goddess and a powerful succubus. See also: Succubus, Vampire.
Lore: Collective beliefs and legendary relating to a subject, as in “vampire lore”.
Lucifer: Name taken from the Latin “luci” (light) and “fere” (to bear), originally a Roman lesser deity, “Son of the Morning,” formerly the name for the planet Venus when observed at dawn, in Christian theology identified with the Devil: arch regent of fallen angels. Lucifer is sometimes called upon in pagan ceremonies and rituals. (See also Satan)
Lurking Enigma: “Lurk” means to furtively move about, and I can think of no more appropriate term to describe this phenomenon – a type of entity which can be visible to human observers, yet appears in distorted, unidentifiable forms. Common traits reported by witnesses include glowing red or silver eyes, dark color (fur or feathers), startling speed and agility, in some cases winged and capable of flight, as with the ‘Jersey Devil.’ Although such nebulous creatures seem to mean us no harm, encounters with them can be terrifying, and provoke much curiosity. As one would expect, they are extremely elusive.
Lycanthrope: A person who projects a frenzied display of their innate savagery for periodic episodes, believing themselves to be overcome by the spirit of a beast.
- M -
Metaphysics: Said to have been instituted by Aristotle, the line of philosophical thought which seeks the “why and wherefore,” the intrinsic meaning of existence and human endeavor.
Miracle: A wondrous and beneficial event, apparently brought about by supernatural/divine agent.
Materialization: A ghost appearing visually, suddenly or gradually, sometimes indistinct, sometimes seemingly quite solid.
Matrixing: The natural tendency for the human mind to interpret sensory input, what is perceived visually, audibly or tactilely, as something familiar or more easily understood and accepted, in effect mentally “filling in the blanks.”
Moon Madness: As the Lunar cycle waxes to its full point, incidents of psychotic behavior, violence and crime seem to escalate. To a lesser degree, the phase of the New Moon seems correlated to a rash of abnormal behavior. Current understanding of human psychology and physiology refutes the observation that our moon can exert significant influence on the human mind, ‘though statistics support it. (Hence the term “lunatic” for crazy person.) Naturally, it is during the nights of the full Moon when cult activities will be at their zenith. Also, there are those pesky werewolves to contend with!
Mumiai: Native American Indian spirit which behaves in the manner of a Poltergeist. See also: Poltergeist.
- N -
Necromancy: The practice of communicating with the dead to obtain knowledge of the future, others’ secrets, etc. An archaic term, the necromancer was said to employ magic spells and conjuration to summon, then banish, the spirits of the dead.
Nexus: The transitional, or joining point connecting physical matter (which, in a sense, is energy condensed) and pure energy, and containing properties of both affinities, i.e. the physical brain producing a mind through its network of dendrites and firing axioms, or the body’s connection to the spirit. The concept of the Nexus is the basis for much conjecture and postulating.
Non-religionist: A materialist, one who embraces no formal religious beliefs; a more descriptive term than atheist or agnostic.
Nosferatu: Slavic, old world term for vampire, meaning “undead.”
- O -
Oracle: A prophet, seer and visionary, especially one of renown. Also, a special device which aids in prognostication, such as a crystal ball. (i.e. “The Mystifying Oracle” of William Fuld’s Ouija Board.)
Ouija (Board): A divining implement consisting of a small, round or more often rectangular platform with letters, numbers and various symbols printed upon it, and a “planchette” which, when the fingers of two participants are lightly placed along its edges, is intended to glide across the smooth surface of the inscribed platform and indicate messages. Conceived of as a parlor game in the wake of popular spiritualism, this is potentially a very dangerous tool for inviting in unpredictable, invasive forces. Experienced researchers vehemently advise against their usage.
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Paranormal: The realm of occurrences and phenomena removed from those to which people are accustomed and comprehend, and presently uncategorized by standard academia.
Parapsychology: The avenue of paranormal studies and research relating chiefly to psychic abilities (e.s.p., telepathy) and spiritual phenomena.
Pentacle/Pentagram: The traditional five-pointed star design, with its interior pentagon delineated, generally representing both spirituality and protection when point “up”; when inverted, it is said to signify diabolism.
Phantom Lights: Sometimes they can be attributed to blue methane flame produced by swamp gas, or electrical discharges in the form of what is termed ball lightning or perhaps even misplaced fireflies. Yet, in other instances, the phenomenon of floating lights observed over water, the edge of woods, , lonely back roads and in the windows of darkened houses just can’t be dismissed by ordinary explanations. These might be globules which coalesce and intensify in luminosity to the point where they become visible in dark surroundings.
Philosopher’s Stone: A wondrous beacon of sublime wisdom and awesome revelation, a powerful conjurer’s device, perhaps even an extraterrestrial gem encoded with unimagined, otherworldly knowledge. For centuries, alchemists, mystics, learned men and seekers of truth quested for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, not really knowing where or even precisely what it was. Once obtained, it would impart the wisdom of the world and of the angels. Should this actually exist and is in someone’s possession, it may well be regarded as one more enigmatic artifact, since it is unlikely to include instructions!
Poltergeist: German for “noisy ghost.” This is an extremely rare occurrence wherein random objects are moved and sounds produced by an unseen force, the sole purpose of which seems to be to draw attention to itself. The phenomenon always involves a specific individual, frequently a child or adolescent.
Possession: Invasion of the human mind by a spiritual or demonic entity, where the invading agent for a span of time, influences or entirely subverts the personality of the human host. It is in these instances that the boundaries of psychology, religion and spiritualism are rendered less distinct.
Precognition: The psychic perception of future events or conditions.
Psychic: Relating to the psyche, of the mind or soul, rather than the mundane. Psychic is the most familiar and bandied-about term encountered in paranormal research (“a psychic,” “psychic investigation,” etc.).
Psychic Vampire: This is a term for individuals who seem to instinctively draw and absorb the psychic energies from others, usually while conversing with (or at) them.
Psychokinesis: A psychic phenomenon where-in objects are remotely imprinted or displaced and moved around, solely by the powers of the mind (psychic force).
- Q -
Quareia: Ceremonial magic or ritual magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic in some cases, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by ceremony and a myriad of necessary accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it. Popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it draws on such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires.
- R -
Radiant Child: The apparition of a child which is seen glowing or surrounded by a bright aura.
Reincarnation: The belief that a person’s soul will, following bodily death, inhabit a new body in a long cycle of rebirths, purportedly for the soul’s evolution through gaining experience.
Residual (Haunting): Psychic imprint of a scene which is repeatedly played out, where the witness of such phenomenon essentially is peering into the past. The ghostly participants of these time-displacements often seem unaware of their living observers.
Retrocognition: The psychic perception of past events or conditions.
- S -
Satan: Hebraic term for “Adversary,” the “Tester” in the Biblical Book of Job, the most familiar name of the Devil, the “Fallen- Angel” and the “Evil One.” Investigators sometimes come across evidence of the activities of Satanic cults, who perform animal sacrifices and apparently believe that desecrations and obscenities are devotions to their dark lord.
Séance: A group effort to contact the spirit world. In standardized format, the lighting of the chamber in which the séance is conducted is subdued, and the participants sit around the table, either holding hands or with hands palm down, flat against the table’s surface and with fingertips touching those of the adjacent partners. A candle generally is set on the center of the table. The appointed director or “medium” addresses the spirit(s) with whom contact is sought, and then it’s “We await a sign…” TAPS Note: We do not endorse the use of séances.
Shade: An entity resembling a once-living being (human or animal).
Shaman: A tribal priest who, following much preparation and rite of initiation, uses the forces of magic to effect healings and divinations.
Shuck: (‘Black Shuck,’ ‘Old Shuck’) A phantom black dog with glowing yellow eyes. Hikers in the British Isles who encounter this spectral creature by lonely roadsides and paths are said to be doomed to die within a year of the sighting. It is from this legend that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drew his inspiration for his Sherlock Holmes adventure, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (1902).
Sidhe: (pronounced Shee) Irish term for Fairy folk, the “little people” who sequester themselves in woodlands and caverns.
Signet: A ring bearing a personal or family emblem.
Silky: A female ghost which is attired in a rustling silk garment (sometimes seen, other times just heard) and performs domestic chores for a household after the occupants have retired for the night.
Spirit: Existence apart from, or transcending, the purely physical; also, the life-force of an organism. A spirit commonly refers to a ghost.
Spirit Rescue: Attempting contact with entities, intended to alleviate the entities’ distress and aid them in the resolution of their conflicts, and in “crossing over” to a higher, spiritual plane.
Spook: Benevolent spirit exclusively of America which comes from the legends of the Red Indians.
Spunkies: The sad spirits of unnamed, un-christened or unbaptized children, believed by old Gaelic and English tradition to wander country roads in search of someone who will name them.
Stigmata: Persons have been observed periodically bleeding from points on their bodies corresponding to the wounds of the Crucifixion. Although the physiological mechanisms which produce this effect are not understood, it is apparently and externalization of religious fervor. Stigmata has been thought to be an indication of sanctity. St. Francis of Assisi was said to have displayed the stigmatic bleeding, and the best documented case is that of Padre Pio (b. 1887, d. 1968).
Succubus: “Female” counterpart of the incubus, a demonic entity said to inspire lust in men (and most inconveniently!), sometimes capable of physically attacking and inflicting injuries (bruises & slashes). Following a nocturnal visitation from a succubus, the human victim will always feel ill and depleted of vitality, and inexplicably “un-clean.”
- T -
Talisman: A design or inscription that is worn, carried or displayed, for the purpose of invoking strength, power, protection or the aid of spirits.
Tash: Irish name for a ghost which can appear in either human or animal form. Also called Thevshi.
Telekinesis: A psychic phenomenon where-in objects are remotely displaced and moved around, solely by the powers of the mind.
Thought Transference: Telepathic transmitting of images and messages from the mind of one person to that of another.
Thunderbird: Prevalent among the American-Indian peoples, particularly the Algonquin and Cheyenne, are legends telling of immense birds, and raging storms that would come in their wake. Interestingly, reported sightings of birds of truly monstrous proportions persist, most frequently through the vicinity of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico. In the Miocene era, approximately eight to ten million years ago, a species of bird, discovered in only 1979 and dubbed “Argentaevis Magnificens,” (which means ‘Magnificent Bird of Argentina’) soared through South American skies, with a wing-span of 25 feet and weighing perhaps 200 lbs.! Just maybe…?
- U -
Ultra-terrestrials: Beings who appear human and visit our plane of existence with some form of message or mission, then inexplicably vanish. Speculation abounds!
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Vampire: A demonic (?) entity in the form of a deceased person, which perpetuates itself by draining the blood or psychic energy of the living.
Voodoo: African magic traditions with a veneer of imposed Catholicism from the new world, taking root in the Caribbean, particularly the dark populous of Haiti. Similarities in origin and practices exist in the beliefs of ‘Obia’ (Jamaica) and ‘Santeria’ (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic).
Vortex: pl. Vortexes or Vortices. An anomaly which sometimes shows up in still photographs taken at the site of a suspected haunting, appearing as a translucent white, tube or funnel shaped mass. Some researchers believe this may be a porthole to the spirit realm. See Also: Golden-rod, Globule
Vorthr: Norse guardian spirit. This name is the source of the word Wraith.
- W -
Warlock: Term originally meant “deceiver” or “one who misleads”; in more modern parlance has become associated with a male witch.
Werewolf: (Old/Middle English word for man =were) A human being capable of transforming into the form of a wolf (or any variety of animals), then back to human; sometimes referred to as a “Shape-Shifter.” See also “Lycanthrope”
Wicca: Witchcraft as a recognized religion, the practitioners of which refer to their system as, “The Old Way” and “The Ancient Religion.” Wiccans in their rituals align themselves with elementals and the earth’s natural magnetic fields, personified by the names of ancient Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian deities.
Witch: Broadly, a practitioner of the magic arts, spec. a woman who employs charms, herbs and incantations to effect the workings of her will. Also, a practitioner of the Wicca craft.
Wizard: A male sorcerer and conjurer who is especially adept and experienced in his craft.
Wraith/Wrayth: The image of a person appearing shortly before or after his or her death; term can also be applied to a ghost. See also: Apparition, Ghost.
Xenobiology: From the Greek word “Xeno” = strange, the observation/speculation of the biology of very uncommon or unverified creatures. This term has usage in the research categories of cryptozoology and otherworldly aliens.
- Y -
Yeti: A legendary creature of Tibet’s Himalayan Mountains region, an anthropoid with both human and ape characteristics, the “Abominable Snow Man.” As with its western counterpart, the Sasquatch or Bigfoot, credible witnesses have reported sightings and numerous tracks have been found, but photographs and purported bodily remnants of the creature remain inconclusive.
- Z -
Zarcanor: A malevolent spirit which attacks people while they’re asleep, inspiring nightmares, and sometimes even inflicting minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and what appear to be finger marks. The name is possibly of Slavic origin.
Zephyr: Spirit born upon, governing, or manifesting as the western wind.
Zombie: Prevalent in Haitian lore, a cadaver disinterred shortly after burial (ere it spoils) and reanimated through the use of Voodoo, its sole purpose thereafter being servitude as a mindless slave. Combine secret pharmaceuticals inducing simulated death with oxygen deprivation in a tomb, then a hasty exhumation in the dark of night, and there emerges the horrid premise behind the myth.
Zoomorphism: Representation of a deity or devil with animal attributes.