Paranormal Glossary: Ghost Hunting Terms You Should Know

Ghost Hunters Lingo

Just got into the paranormal and not sure where to start? Welcome to our paranormal glossary, where you’ll learn all the paranormal terms and lingo.

We’ve put together a list of paranormal terms in this glossary, there’s occult and supernatural terms that you might come across somewhere in your journey. This glossary contains everything from ghost hunting equipment and techniques, to terms used by psychic mediums, to the technical language you may have picked up on if you have been watching ghost hunts.

Paranormal Terms

1. Apparition

The first term in our paranormal glossary is the apparition. An apparition is literally a ghost or a ghostlike image. It is used to describe the physical embodiment of the spirit of someone or an animal who has passed.

2. Apport

An apport is the alleged paranormal transference of an article from one place to another, or the appearance of an article from an unknown source that is often associated with paranormal or, more specifically, poltergeist activity.

3. EMF Pump

The EMF Pump is a device which contains a magnet on the end of a motor. The spinning magnet created an electromagnetic field, which spirts can absorb the energy from. The theory is that it can increase paranormal activity. Read more on EMF Pumps here

4. Cat Balls

It is common for motion-triggered pet toys to be used in paranormal investigations as trigger objects. The type that is most commonly used is plastic balls that light up and flash.

5. Demon

A demon is a non-human entity that, unlike ghosts and spirits, was never human. Demons have only ever existed as a malevolent energy intent on causing suffering to those that it haunts.

6. Direct Voice Phenomenon

The direct voice phenomenon is the experience of hearing audible voices from a disembodied entity, whether that be spirit or through a medium at a séance.

7. Dowsing Rods

Dowsing rods have been used for centuries, traditionally in an attempt to locate underground water, but are also used in an attempt to communicate with the dead. The L-shaped metal rods are handheld devices and can be used as a trigger object throughout paranormal investigations.

8. Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

EVP is the sound of audible voices that come from a disembodied entity, heard through electronic devices. Usually, they can be heard from sounds through a radio frequency, or imprinted on an audio recording from a paranormal investigation.

9. EMF Meter

An electromagnetic frequency meter is commonplace in most ghost hunting kits. The device records and alerts you to spikes in the surrounding electromagnetic field, showing you a reading through five coloured LED lights.

10. Entity

An entity is an umbrella term for any kind of supernatural or paranormal being. This could be a ghost, spirit, poltergeist or demon.

11. Exorcism

Exorcisms are an ancient ritual which can be both spiritual or religious and aim to evict demons or any other malevolent entity from a person’s body when they have been possessed.

12. Full Spectrum Camera

A full spectrum camera allows you to see the full light spectrum, including light from the infrared and ultraviolet frequencies that the human eye may be unable to see.

13. Laser Grid

A laser pointer or laser pen is frequently used in the paranormal investigation to detect motion in the darkness, especially when filming. The grid-like pattern of dots which spreads across the area allows you to see clearly if anything moves in front of it, as there will be a distortion to the grid.

14. Night Vision

A night vision camera allows you to see at night, as it uses a source of light which is almost infrared. This is often in the form of a light attached to a regular camera, meaning you can use any filming device.

15. Orbs

Some believe that orbs are floating ghost lights which glow in the dark or reflect light enough to be caught on camera.

16. Ouija Board

Ouija boards have been a popular method of interacting with spirits since Victorian times when they gained notoriety. They are usually wooden and have letters, numbers and a yes/no option. Participants each have to place a finger lightly on the planchette, hoping that a spirit will manifest and guide it across the board to spell out words or phrases.

17. REM-Pod

The REM-Pod stands for radiating electromagnetism pod and is named based on its operation and how it radiates an electromagnetic field from an antenna and can detect fluctuations in the field if a conductive material enters it.

18. SLS Camera

SLS stands for Structured Light Sensor. The SLS cameras project an invisible infrared laser grid over a field of view, made up of a large amount (over 1 million) of dots. The camera’s software can detect human figures by detecting limbs and movement, which appears in the form of a green stick man.

19. Astral Projection

Astral projection or astral travel is a term used to describe an intentional out-of-body experience. In the process, you assume the existence of an “astral body” through which consciousness can function separately from the physical body and travel throughout the astral plane.

20. Shadow People

Shadow people are dark, human-like shapes often seen peripherally. These sightings are typically fleeting, adding an eerie mystery to their presence.

21. Poltergeist

Poltergeist, meaning ‘noisy ghost’ in German, refers to a type of supernatural being known for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed.

22. Séance

A séance is a meeting where people attempt to make contact with the dead, usually through a medium who communicates with spirits.

23. Spirit Box

A spirit box is a device used in paranormal research to scan through radio frequencies quickly. It’s believed that spirits can manipulate these frequencies to communicate.

24. Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance is the alleged ability to gain information about an object, person, location, or physical event through extrasensory perception.

25. Psychokinesis

Psychokinesis, or telekinesis, is the supposed ability to move objects or influence physical processes using the mind.

26. Haunting

A haunting refers to a recurring presence of a ghost or supernatural being in a particular location, often characterized by unexplained sounds, sights, or sensations.

27. Cold Spot

Cold spots are sudden, unexplained drops in temperature, often associated with paranormal activity and the presence of spirits.

28. Vortex

In paranormal terms, a vortex is believed to be a gateway or portal to another realm, through which spirits or energy can pass.

29. Parapsychology

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal phenomena, including ESP, telekinesis, and other psychic abilities.

30. Cryptid

A cryptid is a creature whose existence is suggested but not recognized by scientific consensus, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

31. Possession

Possession refers to the belief that a spirit, demon, or other entity can take control of a living person’s body.

32. Infrasound

Infrasound involves sound waves that are below the frequency of human hearing. It’s sometimes thought to be connected to paranormal experiences.

33. Channelling

Channelling is a method of communicating with spirits where a medium purportedly receives messages from the dead.

34. Aura

An aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object, often associated with spiritual or psychic abilities.

35. Telepathy

Telepathy is the purported transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction.

36. White Noise

White noise is a sound containing a blend of all the audible frequencies distributed equally. It is sometimes used in EVP sessions to enhance audio clarity.

37. Ley Lines

Ley lines refer to alignments of various historic structures and landmarks, theorized to be paths of spiritual and magnetic energy.

38. Banshee

In Irish folklore, a banshee is a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house.

39. Reincarnation

Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious belief that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body.

40. Ghost Emoji

A ghost emoji is a graphical symbol depicting a cartoonish ghost, often used to convey a sense of fun, spookiness, or playful mischief. 👻


Completing our paranormal glossary is just the beginning of your spiritual adventure. There is much to learn in the field of paranormal, and we are all still learning and sharing our experiences. Want to learn more about ghosts, and the science behind them? We have a great article about ghosts and the science behind them. For more information, feel free to contact us.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!