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Ghostly Glossary P

From The Parapsychology Foundation www.parapsychology.org
P
PARANORMAL
Term applied to any phenomenon which in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible on current scientific assumptions; often used as a synonym for “psychic,” “parapsychological,” “attibutable to psi,” or even “miraculous” (although shorn of religious overtones). [From the Greek para, “beside, beyond,” + normal]
PARAPHYSICS
Pertaining to paraphysics; synonym for “psychokinetic.”
PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL
Involving or pertaining to parapsychology or paranormal processes.
PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Term coined in German by Max Dessoir (1889) and adopted by J. B. Rhine in English to refer to the scientific study of paranormal or ostensibly paranormal phenomena, that is, psi; except in Britain, the term has largely superseded the older expression “psychical research;” used by some to refer to the experimental approach to the field. [From the Greek para, “beside, beyond,” + psychology, derived from the Greek psyche, “soul, mind,” + logos “rational discussion”]
PAST-LIFE REGRESSION
A process in which a hypnotized person is mentally “taken back” (or “regressed”) by the hypnotist to one or more apparent previous life-times, thus suggesting reincarnation.
PERCIPIENT
Broadly speaking, someone who perceives or who has a perception-like experience, in particular, the person who experiences or “receives” an extrasensory influence or impression; also one who is tested for ESP ability. Compare Agent. [From the Latin percipiens (percipientis), derived from percipere, “to receive, understand”]
PHANTASM
Any hallucinatory sensory impression, whatever sense may happen to be affected. See also Apparition; Hallucination. [From the Greek phantasma, “appearance, image, phantom”] [Nash, 1978]
PHOTOGRAPHY, PARANORMAL
The paranormal production of images on photographic film; also known as “thoughtography,” a term used to describe the experiments of Tomokichi Fukurai (1931) but adopted by Jule Eisenbud to describe the phenomena produced by Ted Serios, as if mental images were “projected” onto the film. See also Thoughtography; Spirit Photography.
PK
See Psychokinesis.
POLTERGEIST
A disturbance characterized by bizarre physical effects of paranormal origin, suggesting mischievous or destructive intent: these phenomena include the unexplained movement or breakage of objects, loud raps, the lighting of fires, and occasionally personal injury to people; in contrast to a haunting, the phenomena often seem to depend upon the presence of a particular living individual, called the “focus,” frequently an adolescent or child; and apparitions are rarely seen. [German: literally, “noisy ghost”]
POSSESSION
The complete control, by an ostensible discarnate entity, of the body of a living person.
POST-MORTEM COMMUNICATION
A communication or message said to be from a deceased to a living person, usually delivered through a medium.
PRECOGNITION
A form of extrasensory perception in which the target is some future event that cannot be deduced from normally known data in the present. Compare Retrocognition. [From the Latin præ-, “prior to,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”]
PREMONITION
A feeling or impression that something is about to happen, especially something ominous or dire, yet about which no normal information is available. See Precognition. [From the Latin præ, “prior to,” + monitio, “warning”]
PSI (?)
A general blanket term, proposed by B. P. Wiesner and seconded by R. H. Thouless (1942), and used either as a noun or adjective to identify paranormal processes and paranormal causation; the two main categories of psi are psi-gamma (paranormal cognition; extrasensory perception)aand psi-kappa (paranormal action; psychokinesis), although the purpose of the term “psi” is to suggest that they might simply be different aspects of a single process, rather than distinct and essentially different processes. Strictly speaking “psi” also applies to survival of death. Some thinkers prefer to use “psi” as a purely descriptive term for anomalous outcomes, as suggested by Palmer (1986, p. l39), who defines it as “a correspondence between the cognitive or physiological activity of an organism and vents in its external environment that is anomalous with respect to generally accepted basic limiting principles of nature such as those articulated by C. D. Broad.” [From the Greek, psi, twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet; from the Greek psyche, “mind, soul”]
PSI-CONDUCIVE
Favorable to, or facilitative of, the occurrence of psi, whether it be manifested as psi-hitting or psi-missing.
PSI-HITTING
The use of psi in such a way that the target at which the subject is aiming is “hit” (that is, correctly responded to, in a test of extrasensory perception; or influenced, in a test of psychokinesis), more frequently than would be expected if only chance were operating; the term is also sometimes used, misleadingly, to refer merely to non-significant positive scoring. Hence, “psi-hitter,” a subject who exhibits a tendency to psi-hit. Compare Psi-Missing. [Abbreviated to ? H by James Carpenter]
PSI-MISSING
The use of psi in such a way that the target at which the subject is aiming is “missed” (that is, responded to incorrectly, in a test of extrasensory perception; or influenced in a direction contrary to aim, in a test of psychokinesis) more frequently than would be expected if only chance were operating; the term is also sometimes used, misleadingly, to refer simply to non-significant negative scoring. Hence, “psi-misser,” a subject who displays a tendency to psi-miss. Compare Psi-Hitting. [Abbreviated to ? M by James Carpenter]
PSI PHENOMENON
Any event which results from, or is an instance of, the operation of psi; examples are the forms of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.
PSYCHIC(AL)
As a noun, “psychic” refers to an individual who possesses psi ability of some kind and to a relatively high degree; as an adjective, it is nowadays applied to paranormal events, abilities, research, and so on, and thus means “concerning or involving psi,” or “parapsychological.” [From the Greek psychikos, “of the soul, mental,” derived from psyche, “soul, mind”]
PSYCHICAL RESEARCH
The original term for “parapsychology,” still widely used, especially in Britain.
PSYCHIC ARCHEOLOGY
Archeological research which is pursued with the assistance of a sensitive or other source of paranormal information.
PSYCHIC SURGERY
A form of psychic healing practiced particularly in the Philippines, in which diseased tissue are said to be removed without the use of surgical instruments, and bleeding, infection, and the like, are inhibited paranormally. The term is also used of surgery in which the surgeon operates while in a trance, as performed by J. Arigo and other Brasilian exponents of this pratice, usu-ally using unsterilized knives as scalpels.
PSYCHOKINESIS
Paranormal action; term coined by Henry Holt and adopted by J. B. Rhine to refer to the direct influence of mind on a physical system that cannot be entirely accounted for by the mediation of any known physical energy. See also Psi-Kappa under Psi; Retroactive PK; Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis. [From the Greek psyche, “mind, soul,” + kinesis, “a moving, disturbance,” derived from kinein, “to set in]
PSYCHOKINETIC METAL-BENDING (PK-MB)
A psychokinetic effect in which metallic objects such as keys, cutlery and so on are subjected to more or less permanent deformation or other structural change.
PSYCHOMETRY
Term coined by Joseph Rodes Buchanan (1893)to refer to the practice in which sensitives hold an object in their hands and obtain paranormal information about the object or its owner; owing to the confusion with a psychological term, “psychometry” has in recent years been superseded by “token-object reading.” [From the Greek psyche, “soul, mind,” + metrein, “to measure”]
PSYCHOTRONICS
Czech term for “parapsychology” (excluding the study of survival), but embracing certain phenomena that are not now generally accepted as parapsychological. According to Larissa Vilenskaya (1983, p. 107), the term was first proposed with the analogy of “bionics” in mind, to refer to “ the field dealing with the construction of devices capable of enhancing and/or reproducing certain psi phenomena (such as psychokinesis in the case of ‘psychotronic generators’ developed by Robert Pavlita) and later embraced some other phenomena.” [Dale & White, 1977]

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