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Ghostly Glossary A-B

We have received many questions about the terminology in the paranormal field. We are going to start a ghostly glossary for you.
AGENT
In a test of general extrasensory perception, the individual (human or animal) who looks at the information constituting the target and who is said to “send” or “transmit” that information to a percipient; in a test of telepathy, and in cases of spontaneous extrasensory perception, the individual about whose mental states information is acquired by a percipient; the term is very occasionally used to refer to the subject in a test of psychokinesis or the focus in a poltergeist case. [From the Latin agens (agentis), derived from agere, “to drive, do”]
ALPHA
In the context of brain science: a distinctive brain-rhythm or brain-wave which occurs mainly in the occipital region of the cortex, and which is correlated, on the psychological level, with feelings of drowsiness, relaxation and disengaged attention on the part of the subject; it is of relatively high amplitude, and has a frequency range of between 8 and 13 Hz (cycles per second); of parapsychological interest as a possible physiological indicator of a psi-conducive condition in the subject. [From the Greek alpha, first letter of the Greek alphabet]
ALTERED STATE(S) OF CONSCIOUSNESS (ASC)
Expression popularized by Charles T. Tart which can refer to virtually any mental state differing from that of the normal waking condition; of parapsychological interest as possibly psi-conducive states; they include dreaming, hypnosis, trance, meditation of the yoga or Zen tradition, the hypnagogic-like state induced by the ganzfeld, and drug-induced states.
ANOMALISTIC PSYCHOLOGY
Term first used by Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones (1982) to indicate that part of psychology that investigates “anomalistic” psychological phenomena, that is, phenomena which have tended to be explained in terms of the paranormal, the supernatural, magic, or the occult; the term is also meant to include belief in UFOs, in astrology, and in such creatures as the Loch Ness Monster.
ANOMALOUS
Having the quality of an anomaly.
ANOMALY
Neutral term applied to a phenomenon which implies that the phenomenon is unexpected according to conventional scientific knowledge, but which does not commit the user to any particular type of explanation; sometimes sometimes preferred to “paranormal.”
ANPSI
Term coined by J. B. Rhine to refer to psi ability in non-human animals. [Contraction of “animal psi”]
APPARITION
An experience usually visual but sometimes in other sense-modalities in which there appears to be present a person or animal (deceased or living) and even inanimate objects such as carriages and other things, who/which is in fact out of the sensory range of the experient; often associated with spontaneous extrasensory perception, for example, in connection with an agent who is dying or undergoing some other crisis (in which case, it is likely to be termed a “crisis apparition,” or in connection with haunting (in which case, it is likely to be referred to in non-technical contexts as a “ghost”)
APPORT
A physical object which has been paranormally transported into a closed space or container, suggesting the passage of “matter through matter,” that is, through intervening solid material objects. [From the Latin apportare, “to carry to (a place)”]
ASTRAL BODY
An entity said to be an exact, quasi-physical replica or “double” of the individual physical body, which can separate itself from the physical body, either temporarily, as in dreaming or in the out-of-the-body experience, or permanently, at the moment of death. Also known as the “etheric” body. [From the Latin astralis, derived from astrum, “star,” derived from the Greek astron]
ASTRAL TRAVEL
See Astral Projection under Out-of-[the]-Body Experience.
AURA
A field of subtle, multicolored, luminous radiations said to surround living bodies as a halo or cocoon; the term is occasionally used to refer to the normal electromagnetic field forces surrounding the body. [Latin, from the Greek,“breath of air”]
AUTOMATIC WRITING
A motor automatism in which a person’s hand writes meaningful statements, but without the writer consciously premeditating the content of what is produced.
AUTOMATISM
Any complex sensory or motor activity the details of which are carried out by a person without their conscious awareness or volition, thus constituting instances of dissociation; examples of sensory automatisms are certain visual and auditory hallucinations; examples of motor automatisms are sleep-walking, trance-utterances and automatic writing.
BILOCATION
The phenomenon in which a person’s body is seen in two different geographical locations at the same time; also, according to Myers (1903), the sensation of being in two different places at once, namely, where one’s organism is, and a place distant from it, involving some degree of perception (whether veridical or not) of the distant scene.
BIOFEEDBACK
A technique which enables a person to monitor on-going changes in one of their own physiological processes; as a result of such information, the individual may be able to acquire some degree of control in regulating internal processes normally outside the range of voluntary influence; of parapsychological interest mainly in connection with altered states of consciousness and with the possibility of controlling the incidence of the alpha brain-rhythm.
ALLOBIOFEEDBACK
Term used by William G. Braud (1978) to denote the situation in which one subject, A, is attempting to influence, psychokinetically, the physiological processes of another person, B, aided by biofeedback to A concerning those processes in B. [From the Greek allos, “other,” + bios, “life,” + feedback]
BIO-PK
Term used to refer to psychokinetic effects brought about on living systems; examples of such effects would be the paranormal speeding up or slowing down of the sprouting of seeds or of the growth of bacteria, the resuscitation of anæsthetized mice, and so on; may also include psychosomatic effects; symbolized “PK-LT” (“psychokinesis on living targets”) by J. B. Rhine; modern researchers refer to it as DMILS, or direct mental influence on living systems.
BOOK TEST
A test for survival sometimes conducted during a sitting in an attempt to exclude telepathy between medium and sitter as an explanation for the information paranormally acquired by the medium: the communicator is requested to transmit a message referring to topics on specified pages of a book that the medium could not have normally seen. (As a noun), the overt response made by the percipient in guessing the target; in a test of extrasensory perception; (as a verb), to make a response or call.

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