18.02.2019

Glossary

© The Parapsychological Association. All rights reserved.

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 spontaneousextrasensory 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”]  TOP

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 (Hertz, or 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]  TOP

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 theganzfeld, and drug-induced states.  TOP

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, thesupernatural, 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.  TOP

ANOMALOUS

Having the quality of an anomaly.  TOP

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.”  TOP

ANPSI

Term coined by J. B. Rhine to refer to psi ability in non-human animals. [Contraction of “animal psi”]  TOP

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”)  TOP

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 fromastrum, “star,” derived from the Greek astron]  TOP

ASTRAL TRAVEL

See Astral Projection under Out-of-[the]-Body Experience.  TOP

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”]  TOP

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.  TOP

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]  TOP

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.  TOP

CHANCE

The constellation of undefined causal factors which are considered to be irrelevant to the causal relationship under investigation; often spoken of as if it were a single, independent agency; the expression “pure chance” is sometimes used to describe a state characterized by complete unpredictability, that is, an absence of any cause-effect relationships. The term “chance” is frequently a short-hand expression for “mean chance expectation” as in “deviation from chance.”  TOP

CHANNELING

A phenomenon in which, according to Arthur Hastings (1990, p. 99), “a person purports to transmit information or messages directly from a personality or consciousness other than his or her own, usually through automatic writing or trance speaking; this other personality usually claims to be a nonphysical spirit or being.” TOP

CLAIRVOYANCE

Paranormal acquisition of information concerning an object or contemporary physical event; in contrast to telepathy, the information is assumed to derive directly from an external physical source (such as a concealed photograph), and not from the mind of another person; one particular form of extrasensory perception, it is not to be confused with the vulgar interpretation of “clairvoyance” as meaning “knowledge of the future” (for which see Precognition).  TOP

CLAIRVOYANT

As a noun, a person endowed with a special talent for clairvoyance; not to be confused with its colloquial usage meaning “a fortune-teller”; As an adjective, involving or pertaining to clairvoyance.  TOP

COINCIDENCE; IN THE PARANORMAL

Two events are said to constitute a coincidence if they occur in such a way as to strike an observer as being highly related as regards their structure or their “meaning”; to dismiss such an occurrence as a “mere coincidence” is to imply the belief that each event arose as a result of quite independent causal chains (that is, they are “acausal”) and that no further “meaning” or significance is to be found in this fortuitous concurrence; sometimes, however, a sense of impressiveness is engendered by the belief that the concurrence is so very unlikely as to have been the result of “pure chance” that there must be some cause or reason for the concurrence, thus investing the coincidence with a sense of meaningfulness. See also Synchronicity.  TOP

COLD READING

A set of statements purportedly gained by paranormal means but which in fact is wholly based on broadly accurate generalizations and/or on information obtained directly from the person seeking the reading, such as can be gleaned from facial gestures, clues in conversation, and so on.  TOP

CONTROL

(i) A personality purporting to be that of some deceased individual, believed to take control of the medium’s actions and speech during trance, and/or who habitually relays messages from the communicator to the sitter. (ii) In the context of scientific investigation, a control is something (a procedure, condition, object, set of subjects, and so on) which is introduced with the purpose of providing a check on (that is, of “controlling for”) the influence of unwanted factors.  TOP

CRISIS APPARITION

See under Apparition.  TOP

CROSS-CORRESPONDENCES

A highly complex series of independent communications delivered paranormally (and ostensibly from one or more discarnate entities) to two or more geographically separate mediums such that the complete message is not clear until the separate fragments are pieced together into a meaningful whole.  TOP

DEJA VU

French for “already seen,” the feeling or illusion of having previously experienced an event or place actually being encountered for the first time; also called “false memory,” or “memory without recognition,” although the phenomenon could conceivably involve precognitive or clairvoyant information, in which case Frederic Myers gave it the name promnesia. [From the Greek pro, “prior to,” + mnesis,“memory”]  TOP

DERMO-OPTICAL PERCEPTION (DOP)

Term used by G. Razran to refer to the ability to discriminate color and brightness by means of touch. Also known as “skin vision,” “finger vision,” “dermal vision,” “digital sight” [From the Latin digitus, “finger, toe”], or “cutaneous perception” [From the Latin cutis, “skin”]. [From the Greek derma, “skin,” + optikos, “of sight,” derived from opsomai, “I shall see”]  TOP

DIAGNOSIS, PARANORMAL

The determination of the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition by means of extrasensory perception. See also Healing, Psychic.  TOP

DISSOCIATION

A process in which a body of awareness (perceptual, memory, physical) becomes separated or blocked from the main center of consciousness; examples are trance-speaking, automatic writing, amnesia, multiple personality, and so on; thought by some to be a psi-conducive state.  TOP

DIVINATION

Word sometimes used to refer to the acquiring of paranormal information, frequently (but not invariably) by the use of such various practices as tea-leaf reading, palmistry, scrying, the I Ching, Tarot cards and so on.  TOP

DOPPELGANGER

An apparitional double or counterpart of a living person. See also Astral Body;Bilocation [German for “doublewalker”]  TOP

DOWSING

A behavioral automatism in which, generally, a “dowsing rod” (also called a divining rod: often a forked twig but sometimes a pendulum) is employed to locate subterranean water, oil, and so on, or other concealed items by following the direction in which the rod turns in the user’s hands. Some practitioners use their bare hands with no gadget.  TOP

DREAM, VERIDICAL

An apparently paranormal dream, inasmuch as some of the dream details give information about events normally unknowable to the experient.  TOP

ECTOPLASM

Term introduced into parapsychology by Charles Richet to describe the “exteriorized substance” produced out of the bodies of some physical mediums and from whichmaterializations are sometimes formed. [From the Greek ektos, “outside,” + plasma,“something formed or molded”]  TOP

ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH (EEG)

The mechanical device employed in the technique which known aselectroencephalography.  TOP

ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHY

A technique for amplifying and recording the fluctuations in electrical voltage in a living brain using electrodes attached to key positions on the person’s head; this technique has proved to be particularly important for sleep-research (and thus also for research on dream-telepathy), where characteristic brain waves have been identified and related to the successive stages of sleep. [From the Greekenkephalos, “the brain,” derived from en, “within,” + kephale, “the head,” + graphein, “to write”]  TOP

ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA (EVP)

Phenomena first reported by Raymond Bayless and popularized by Konstantin Raudive, consisting of sounds said to be the faint voices of deceased individuals, recorded on previously unused magnetic tapes.  TOP

ESP

See Extrasensory Perception.  TOP

ESP CARDS

A special deck of cards, developed by perceptual psychologist Karl Zener for use by J. B. Rhine in tests of extrasensory perception: a standard pack contains 25 cards, each portraying one of five symbols — circle, cross, square, star or wavy lines. Also called Zener cards.  TOP

EXCEPTIONAL HUMAN EXPERIENCE

Expression coined by Rhea White (see, for example, 1994, p. 5) as “an umbrella term for many types of experience generally considered to be psychic, mystical,encounter-type experiences, death-related experiences, and experiences at the upper end of the normal range, such as creative inspiration, exceptional human performance, as in sports, literary and aesthetic experiences, and the experience of falling in love.”  TOP

EXPERIMENTER EFFECT

An experimental outcome which results not from manipulation of the variable of interest per se, but rather from some aspect of the particular experimenter’s behavior, such as unconscious communication to the subjects, or possibly even a psi-mediated effect working in accord with the experimenter’s desire to confirm some hypothesis.  TOP

EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (ESP)

The acquisition of information about, or response to, an external event, object or influence (mental or physical; past, present or future) otherwise than through any of the known sensory channels; used by J. B. Rhine to embrace such phenomena astelepathy, clairvoyance and precognition; there is some difference of opinion as whether the term ought to be attributed to Rhine, or to Gustav Pagenstecher or Rudolph Tischner, who were using the German equivalent aussersinnliche Wahrehmung as early as the 1920s. [From the Latin extra, “outside of,” + sensory] TOP

FAITH HEALING

See Healing, Psychic.  TOP

FANTASY-PRONENESS

A personality construct first described by Sheryl Wilson and Theodore Barber (1983, p. 340) to refer to a small percentage of the population “who fantasize a large part of the time, [and] who typically ‘see,’ ‘hear,’ ‘smell,’ ‘touch’ and fully experience what they fantasize”; such persons tend to be able to hallucinate voluntarily, to be excellent hypnotic subjects, to have vivid memories of their life experiences, and to report experiencing parapsychological phenomena.  TOP

GANZFELD

Term referring to a special type of environment (or the technique for producing it) consisting of homogenous, unpatterned sensory stimulation: audiovisual ganzfeld may be accomplished by placing translucent hemispheres (for example, halved ping-pong balls) over each eye of the subject, with diffused light (frequently red in hue) projected onto them from an external source, together with the playing of unstructured sounds (such as “white” or “pink” noise) into the ears, and generally with the person in a state of bodily comfort; the consequent deprivation of patterned sensory input is said to be conducive to introspection of inwardly-generated impressions, some of which may be extra-sensory in origin. [From the German for “entire field”]  TOP

MANUAL GANZFELD

The use of the word “manual” refers to the fact that the targetselection is carried out by manual access to computer or random number tables as well as the fact that all the important events in the experiment are recorded by hand. Consequently, the technique has limited safeguards against fraud or data selection compared with theautoganzfeld.  TOP

AUTOGANZFELD

An implementation of the ganzfeld technique in which many of the key procedural details, such as selection and presentation of the targetand the recording of the evaluation of the target-response similarity given by the percipient are fully automated and computerized, the goal being to reduce as far as possible errors and sensory communication on the part of the human participants.  TOP

GELLER EFFECT

The ability to bend metal by paranormal means; named after the Israeli stage performer Uri Geller, who was the first person to claim publicly the metal-bendingability; the term has been largely superseded by “PK-MB,” or, more simply, “metal-bending.” See also Mini-Geller; Psychokinesis.  TOP

GENERAL EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION (GESP)

A non-committal technical term used to refer to instances of extrasensory perception in which the information paranormally acquired may have been derived either from another person’s mind (that is, as telepathy), or from a physical event or state of affairs (that is, as clairvoyance), or even from both sources; experimental parapsychologists rarely use the term “telepathy” because of the difficulty, in tests of so-called telepathy, of excluding the possible operation of clairvoyance.  TOP

GHOST

As popularly used, this term denotes only the apparition of a deceased person, and is not sufficiently precise for use in psychical research. [Ashby, 1972]  TOP

GOAT

Term originally used by Gertrude Schmeidler (1943) to describe a subject who rejects the possibility that extrasensory perception could occur under the conditions of the given experimental situation; this somewhat narrow meaning has been extended to refer also, or alternatively, to persons who do not believe in the existence of ESP in general (that is, under any conditions!), or even to persons who obtain low scores on various so-called “projective,” “scalar” or “checklist” measures of belief in (and/or experience of) different sorts of putative psi phenomena. Compare Sheep. See Sheep-Goat Effect.  TOP

HALLUCINATION

An experience having the same phenomenological characteristics as a sense-perception, and which may lead the experient to suppose the presence of an external physical object as the cause of that experience, but in which, in fact, there is no such object present.  TOP

HAUNTING

The more or less regular occurrence of paranormal phenomena associated with a particular locality (especially a building) and usually attributed to the activities of adiscarnate entity; the phenomena may include apparitions, poltergeist disturbances, cold drafts, sounds of steps and voices, and various odors.  TOP

HEALING, PSYCHIC

Healing apparently brought about by such non-medical means as prayer, the “laying on of hands,” Psychic healing; immersion at a religious shrine, and so on, and inexplicable according to contemporary medical science; not to be confused with merely unconventional medicine.  TOP

HYPNAGOGIC STATE

Term referring to the transitional state of consciousness experienced while falling asleep, sometimes characterized by vivid hallucinations or imagery of varying degrees of bizarreness; sometimes used to refer also to the similar state of awareness experienced during the process of waking up. Compare Hypnopompic State. [From the Greek hypnos, “sleep,” + agogos, “leading”]  TOP

HYPNOPOMPIC STATE

Term coined by Frederic Myers to refer to the transitional state of consciousness experienced while waking from sleep; the term “hypnagogic” is sometimes used to refer to this state also. [From the Greek hypnos, “sleep,” + pompos, “escort, guide”] TOP

HYPNOSIS

A condition or state, commonly resembling sleep, which is accompanied by narrowing of the range of attention, is characterized by marked susceptibility to suggestion, and can be artificially induced.  TOP

INTUITION

Somewhat ill-defined term referring to the faculty of coming to an idea directly, by means other than those of reasoning and intellect, and indeed often outside of all conscious processes; the source of these messages is often said to be in the normal, mundane, unconscious, but it is often also said to be the result of mysticalor paranormal processes. The word sometimes refers to the process, sometimes to the product of intuition. [From the Latin intueri, “to look at, contemplate”]  TOP

JUDGING

The process whereby a rating or a rank-score (that is, “1st,” “2nd,” “3rd,” and so on) is awarded to one or more responses produced (or targets used) in a free-response test of extrasensory perception, in accordance with the degree of correspondence obtaining between them or one or more targets (or responses); also, the attempt to match, under blind conditions, a set of targets with a set of responses.  TOP

KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY

A type of high-voltage, high-frequency photography, developed in the Soviet Union by Semyon Davidovich Kirlian, which records on photographic film the so-called “corona discharge” of an object caused by ionization of the field surrounding that object; it is claimed by some that this process indicates the existence of hitherto unknown radiations or energy fields such as “bioplasma” or the “psychic aura.” TOP

LEVITATION

The raising or suspension of persons or objects into the air without any apparent agency as required by known physical laws of motion and gravity.  TOP

LUCID DREAM

A dream in which the dreamer is conscious of the fact that they are dreaming.  TOP

LUMINOUS PHENOMENA

The paranormal production of light phenomena, generally in the presence of certain physical mediums.  TOP

MACRO-PK

See under Psychokinesis.  TOP

MEDITATION

A broad term embracing a number of techniques for achieving various altered statesof awareness, with some of these altered states resulting in the ecstatic qualities of so-called “peak experience;” most meditative techniques are ways of learning to still the agitation of the mind so that more subtle and valuable aspects of self and reality may be perceived; some techniques involve concentration, in which attention is focused on a particular object and restrained from wandering, while others involve giving one’s total attention to whatever spontaneously happens, with no attempt to control or focus attention.  TOP

MENTALISM

The practice of simulating telepathy, performed for the purpose of entertainment. TOP

METAL-BENDING

See Psychokinetic Metal-bending.  TOP

MICRO-PK

See under Psychokinesis.  TOP

MINI-GELLER

A child or young person who can to some extent duplicate by paranormal means themetal-bending feats of Uri Geller. See also Geller Effect.  TOP

MUSCLE-READING

A phenomena which mimics telepathy, in which a person is able, for example, to find a hidden object by means of physical contact with the person who knows its whereabouts, probably due to subtle muscular cues that the latter provides unconsciously; also known as “Cumberlandism,” after Stuart Cumberland, a nineteenth century practitioner of this art.  TOP

MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE

An experience which, according to Michael A. Thalbourne (1991a, 1991b), consists of a majority of the following features: it tends to be sudden in onset, joyful, and difficult to verbalize; it involves a sense of perceiving the purpose of existence; an insight into “the harmony of things;” a perception of an ultimate unity — of oneness; transcendence of the ego; an utter conviction of immortality; and it tends to be temporary, authoritative and to be attributed supreme value. Some people interpret the mystical experience as an experience of unity with God.  TOP

NDE

See Near-Death Experience.  TOP

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE (NDE)

Term applied to experiences undergone by persons who either seem to be at the point of death (or who are even formally declared dead) but then recover, or who narrowly escape death (as in a motor car accident) without being seriously injured; it has been suggested that there is, upon coming close to death, a “core” NDE made up of certain common elements, such as a feeling of indescribable peace, a sense of being out of one’ s body, a movement into a dark void or down a tunnel, seeing a brilliant light, and entering that light; there may also be reported the experience of so-called “panoramic memory” (the “life review”), the encountering of an “unseen presence,” or being greeted by deceased relatives or religious figures.  TOP

OBE

See Out-of-[the]-Body Experience.  TOP

OCCULT

Term referring to certain reputed sciences and practices such as magic, astrology, witchcraft, sorcery, and so on, involving esoteric knowledge or the employment of mysterious agencies; not to be confused with scientific parapsychology. [From the Latin occultus, “covered over, concealed”]  TOP

OUT-OF-[THE]-BODY EXPERIENCE (OBE, or OOBE)

An experience, either spontaneous or induced, in which one’s center of consciousness seems to be in a spatial location outside of one’s physical body; Celia Green distinguishes two types of such “ecsomatic” [From the Greek ek, “out of,” + soma, “body”] experiences: the “parasomatic” [From the Greek para, “along side of”] in which the person appears to themselves to possess a duplicate body, sometimes connected to the physical body by a “silver cord;” and the “asomatic” [From the Greek a-, “without”] in which they feel themselves to be entirely bodiless; in either case, many experients claim to perceive their physical bodies lying inert, to see and hear people while remaining unperceived themselves, and to perceive objects and events normally beyond the range of their physical senses; of special interest to parapsychologists on account of its alleged connection with clairvoyance,and to students of survival as providing an example of what disembodied existence could be like. The term “OBE” is preferred by parapsychologists for the phenomena also known as “astral projection,” “traveling clairvoyance.” See also Astral Body.[Dale & White, 1977]  TOP

ESP PROJECTION

Term coined by Hornell Hart to refer to a type of OBE in which the person “projecting” their consciousness out of their body actually feels that they are out of their body, may be seen by other people at a distant point, and afterwards reports a veridical description of what he or she observed at that point.  TOP

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]  TOP

PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL

Involving or pertaining to parapsychology or paranormal processes.  TOP

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”]  TOP

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 suggestingreincarnation.  TOP

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 Latinpercipiens (percipientis), derived from percipere, “to receive, understand”]  TOP

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 alsoThoughtography; Spirit Photography.  TOP

PK

See Psychokinesis.  TOP

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”]  TOP

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. CompareRetrocognition. [From the Latin præ-, “prior to,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”]  TOP

PREMONITION

A feeling or impression that something is about to happen, especially something ominous or dire, yet about which no normal information is available. SeePrecognition. [From the Latin præ, “prior to,” + monitio, “warning”]  TOP

 

PSI (Ψ)

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 paranormalprocesses and paranormal causation; the two main categories of psi are psi-gamma (paranormal cognition; extrasensory perception) and 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 tosurvival of death. Some thinkers prefer to use “psi” as a purely descriptive term foranomalous outcomes, as suggested by Palmer (1986, p. l39), who defines it as “a correspondence between the cognitive or physiological activity of an organism and events 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”]  TOP

PSI-CONDUCIVE

Favorable to, or facilitative of, the occurrence of psi, whether it be manifested aspsi-hitting or psi-missing.  TOP

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 chancewere operating; the term is also sometimes used, misleadingly, to refer merely to nonsignificant positive scoring. Hence, “psi-hitter,” a subject who exhibits a tendency to psi-hit. Compare Psi-Missing. [Abbreviated to Ψ H by James Carpenter]  TOP

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 nonsignificant negative scoring. Hence, “psi-misser,” a subject who displays a tendency to psi-miss. Compare Psi-Hitting. [Abbreviated to Ψ M by James Carpenter]  TOP

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.  TOP

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 paranormalevents, 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”]  TOP

PSYCHICAL RESEARCH

The original term for “parapsychology,” still widely used, especially in Britain.  TOP

PSYCHIC ARCHEOLOGY

Archeological research which is pursued with the assistance of a sensitive or other source of paranormal information.  TOP

PSYCHIC HEALING

See Healing, Psychic.  TOP

PSYCHIC PHOTOGRAPHY

See Photography, Paranormal.  TOP

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 Brazilian exponents of this practice, usually using unsterilized knives as scalpels. TOP

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 motion”]  TOP

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.  TOP

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 Greekpsyche, “soul, mind,” + metrein, “to measure”]  TOP

PSYCHOTRONICS

Czech term for “parapsychology” (excluding the study of survival), but embracing certain phenomena that are not now generally accepted as parapsychological. According to (the late) Larissa Vilenskaya (1983, p. 107), the term was first pro-posed 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]  TOP

QUALITATIVE EXPERIMENT

(i) Any test for extrasensory perception which uses target material and forms of response which do not allow a definite probability-value to be attached to the response items made; examples are most free-response tests, tests ofpsychometry, mediumistic utterances, and so on; statistical evaluation of such data must therefore proceed in an indirect fashion, by assigning a probability-value to the matching-performance of a judge; (ii) Any attempt to demonstrate qualitative phenomena. Compare Quantitative Experiment. [Ultimately derived from the Latinqualis, “what kind of?”]  TOP

QUANTITATIVE EXPERIMENT

Any test for psi which uses targets each of which has a specific prescribed value for the probability of its occurrence; such a test therefore allows for direct statistical evaluation of the results obtained. Compare Qualitative Experiment. [Ultimately derived from the Latin quantus, “how great,how much?”]  TOP

RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR (RNG)

An apparatus (typically electronic) incorporating an element (based on such processes as radioactive decay or random “noise”) and capable of generating a random sequence of outputs; used in tests of psi for generating target sequences, and in tests of psychokinesis may itself be the target system which the subject is required to influence, that is, by “biasing” the particular number or event output; a binary RNG has two equally-probable outputs; the term “RNG” is increasingly being used to refer to any system which produces naturally random outputs, such as bouncing dice, radioactive decay, or even, perhaps, the brain.  TOP

READING

The statements made by a sensitive (or as a result of the process of divination) in the course of an attempt to obtain paranormal information or “messages.”  TOP

RECEIVER

An expression which is less technical than “percipient,” used to indicate the subject designated as the “recipient” of telepathic information. Compare Sender.  TOP

RECURRENT SPONTANEOUS PSYCHOKINESIS (RSPK)

Expression coined by William G. Roll to refer to paranormal physical effects which occur repeatedly over a period of time, especially used as a neutral description ofpoltergeist disturbances. See also Psychokinesis.  TOP

REINCARNATION

A form of survival in which the human soul, or some aspects of self, is, after the death of the body, reborn into a new body, this process being repeated throughout many lives. From the Latin re-, “again,” + in-, “into,” + caro (carnis), “flesh”]  TOP

REMOTE VIEWING

A neutral term for general extrasensory perception introduced Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff (1974), especially in the context of an experimental design in which apercipient attempts to describe the surroundings of a geographically distant agent. TOP

ASSOCIATIONAL REMOTE VIEWING (ARV)

As described by Targ (1983), a form of remote viewing in which the area where a desired item might be located is divided up into a finite number of discrete locations; each of the possible locations, or addresses, is associated or linked with a laboratory-based token object or picture (such as of the Golden Gate Bridge); the viewer is then asked to describe the associated target-object, thereby indirectly choosing a particular target-location or address.  TOP

RETROACTIVE PK

Psychokinesis occurring in such a way as to be an instance of retroactive causation; to say that event A was caused by retroactive PK is to say that A would not have happened in the way that it did had it not been for a later PK effort exerted so as to influence it. Sometimes abbreviated to “retro-PK;” also referred to as “backward PK” or “time-displaced PK.”  TOP

RETROCOGNITION

Term coined by Frederic Myers to refer to a form of extrasensory perception in which the target is some past event which could not have been learned or inferred by normal means. Compare Precognition [From the Latin retro, “backward, behind,” + cognitio, “a getting to know”]  TOP

RSPK

See Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis. TOP

SENDER

Less technical expression than “agent,” used to denote the person or subject designated as the “transmitter” of telepathic information. Compare Receiver.  TOP

SENSITIVE

A person who frequently experiences extrasensory perception and who can sometimes induce it at will. Compare Medium.  TOP

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]  TOP

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 meaning 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.  TOP

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.  TOP

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.  TOP

SPONTANEOUS CASE

A discrete incident of ostensible spontaneous psi.  TOP

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”]  TOP

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.  TOP

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 fromsynchronizein, “to be contemporary with,” derived from syn-, “with,” + chronos,“time”]  TOP

TELEPATHY

Term coined by Frederic Myers to refer to the paranormal acquisition of information concerning the thoughts, feelings or activity of another conscious being; the word has superseded earlier expressions such as “thought-transference.” See alsoGeneral Extrasensory Perception. [From the Greek ele, “far away,” + pathein, “to have suffered, been affected by something”]  TOP

LATENT TELEPATHY

An instance of telepathy in which there seems to be a time lag between the agent’s attempt to transmit the target, and thepercipient’s awareness of that target.  TOP

PRECOGNITIVE TELEPATHY

The paranormal acquisition of information concerning the future mental state of another conscious being.  TOP

THOUGHTOGRAPHY

See Photography, Paranormal.  TOP

THOUGHT-TRANSFERENCE

See Telepathy.  TOP

TRANCE

A state of dissociation in which the individual is oblivious to their situation and surroundings, and in which various forms of automatism may be expressed; usually exhibited under hypnotic, mediumistic or shamanistic conditions. [From the Old French transe, “passage,” ultimately derived from the Latin transire, “to go across”] TOP

TRANCE PERSONALITY

See Communicator; Control.  TOP

TRANSLIMINALITY

Term introduced by Michael A. Thalbourne (1991a), meaning literally “the tendency to cross the threshold into awareness.” Persons exhibiting a high degree of transliminality are more likely to believe in, and claim experience of, paranormalphenomena, as well as to report more magical ideation, a more creative personality, more mystical experience, greater religiosity and more fantasy-proneness, as well as a history of experience resembling clinical depression and mania. Therefore, transliminality is defined as “susceptibility to, and awareness of, large volumes of imagery, ideation and emotion — these phenomena being stimulated by subliminal, supraliminal and/or external inputs.” [From the Latin trans, “across, beyond,” + limen (liminis), “threshold”]  TOP

VERIDICAL

Truthful; corresponding to, or conveying fact. [From the Latin veridicus, derived fromverum, “truth” + dicere, “to say”]  TOP

ZENER CARDS

The original name given to the ESP cards; named after the perceptual psychologist Karl Zener, a colleague of Rhine’s, who apparently suggested the symbols to be used on the cards (circle, cross, square, star, and wavy lines).  TOP

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