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Ghost Glossary S

From The Parapsychology Foundation www.parapsychology.org
S
SCRYING
A technique for obtaining paranormal impressions by staring into a crystal ball, pool of water, coffee grounds, tea leaves and so on, which causes the practitioner to experience images or exteriorized hallucinations. [Variant of descry]
SEANCE
A meeting of one or more persons, generally, but not always, with a medium, for the purpose of eliciting physical phenomena and/or for receiving communications from the deceased; the term has also been used without Spiritualistic connotations, that is, to refer to the purpose of getting together to observe phenomena, without the intent to communicate with the dead. Also called a “sitting” or “session.” [From the French, derived from the Old French seoir, “to sit,” ultimately derived from the Latin sedere, “to sit”]
SECOND SIGHT
Concept used in the Celtic folklore of the supernatural,
and encompassing what would today be referred to as “psychic ability.” Also sometimes called “deuteroscopy.” [From the Greek deuteros, “second,” + skopia, derived from skopein, “to look at”]
SENDER
Less technical expression than “agent,” used to denote the person or subject designated as the “transmitter” of telepathic information. Compare Receiver.
SENSITIVE
A person who frequently experiences extrasensory perception and who can sometimes induce it at will. Compare Medium.
SHAMAN
A tribal medium, witch-doctor, or priest accredited with supernatural powers as originally exemplified by Siberian tribes. [From the German Schamane, derived from the Russian shaman, derived from Tungusic samân]
SHEEP
Term originally used by Gertrude Schmeidler 1943) to describe a subject who does not reject the possibility that extrasensory perception could occur under the conditions of the given experimental situation; this somewhat narrow mean-ing has been extended to refer also, tentatively, to persons who believe that ESP exists as a genuine phenomenon, or even to persons who obtain high scores on various so-called “projective,” “scalar,” or “checklist” measures of belief in (and/or experience of) different sorts of putative psi phenomena. Compare Goat. See also Sheep-Goat Effect. [Taken from the New Testament simile, Matthew 25: 31-33: “But when the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory; and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”]
SUPER-SHEEP (OR WHITE SHEEP)
Term introduced by John Beloff and David Bate (1970) to describe a subject who is sure that their score on a test of
extrasensory perception will be high, by virtue of their own psychic ability.
SHEEP-GOAT EFFECT (SGE)
Term first used by Gertrude Schmeidler to describe the relationship between acceptance of the possibility of extrasensory perception occurring under the given experimental conditions, and the level of scoring actually achieved on that ESP test: subjects who do not reject the possibility (“sheep”) tend to score above chance, those rejecting the possibility (“goats”) at or below chance; the terms “sheep” and “goat” are nowadays often used in a more extended sense, and “sheep-goat effect” may thus refer to any significant scoring difference between these two groups as defined by the experimenter.
SITTER
A person who sits with a medium at a seance and who receives a communication through the medium.
SITTER GROUP
As defined by Kenneth Batcheldor (1984, p. 105), “a small, semi-informal group that seeks to develop paranormal physical phenomena by meeting repeatedly under conditions that resemble those of a Victorian seance. No spiritistic assumptions are made, however, and the phenomena — such as rapping noises and levitation of tables — insofar as they may be paranormal are interpreted in terms of the PK abilities of the sitters.”
SITTING
A session or interview with a medium, generally by an individual or a small number of people, and often for the purpose of obtaining communications from the deceased; also termed a “seance.”
ABSENT (OR PROXY) SITTING
A sitting at which the person desiring to receive a communication via a medium absents themselves from the actual sitting and is represented by another person,
called a “proxy sitter.”
SPIRIT
A discarnate entity.
SPIRIT HYPOTHESIS
The theory that individual consciousness survives the death of the body in the form of a spirit, and that it may be communicated with by living persons, especially via a medium. Compare Survival.
SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY
The photographing of supposed self-portraits of discarnate entities (called “extras”) upon film or photographic plates. Compare Photography, Paranormal.
SPIRITUALISM
Quasi-religious cult based upon the belief that survival of death is a reality, and upon the practice of communicating with deceased persons, usually via a medium.
SPONTANEOUS CASE
A discrete incident of ostensible spontaneous psi.
STIGMATA
Term used to refer to the marks or hæmorrhages which appear spontaneously on the surface of the body in imitation of the wounds believed to have been received by Jesus Christ at the Crucifixion; sometimes observed on the bodies of certain devout individuals, and may also be induced by auto-suggestion or under hypnosis. [Plural of the Greek stigma, “puncture, mark, spot”]
SUBLIMINAL
Term coined by Frederic Myers to refer to events occurring beneath the “threshold” of conscious awareness. [From the Latin sub, “below, under,” + limen (liminus), “threshold”]
SUPERNATURAL
A theological and folkloristic term for paranormal, generally avoided by parapsychologists because of its implication that psi is somehow “outside of” or “over and above” nature.
SUPERSTITION
A belief that a given action can bring good luck or bad luck when there are no rational or generally acceptable grounds for such a belief.
SURVIVAL
Continued existence of the consciousness of the individual person in some form and for at least some time after the destruction of their physical body; life-after-death; not to be considered synonymous with “immortality,” which implies unending existence. See also Reincarnation; Spirit Hypothesis.
SYNCHRONICITY
Term coined by Carl Jung (with Wolfgang Pauli, 1955) to refer to the occurrence of acausal but meaningful coincidences. [From the Greek synchronos, derived from synchronizein, “to be contemporary with,” derived from syn-, “with,” + chronos, “time”]

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