Paranormal Terminology

Hey there! Welcome to our terminology page. I guess you could say that this section was born out of a need for you guys out there to understand just what the heck we’re talking about. There are times when…well, we start spitting out words that cause you guys to make those funny faces. Like “What did he just say?” or “What’s that mean?” Hopefully, this page will help you understand what is being said. It started as a small page with only about 20 terms, but as you can see, it kinda grew into something a bit bigger. That happens a lot around here. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know if there are any terms you’re heard, but don’t see here.

Acheri- According to Indian lore, this is the ghost of a small girl. They live on mountain tops and come into villages to spread diseases, mostly to children. It doe sit by casting its shadow on those it wishes to infect.

Afrit-According to Arabian legend, this is a very dangerous demon. It was once the spirit of a murdered man, who now seeks to avenge his death. The demon’s spirit is suppose to rise up from the body of the murdered man.

Afterlife- Know as the Other Side, the Great Beyond, Heaven, Hell as well as many other names. Basically, it’s the life after this one we’re in now. Every culture on the planet has some idea or belief in an afterlife, and what it is like. Some believe that we are reborn, to lead out another form of life on the planet. Others believe that the next life is much the same as it is now, with the same family life and there is enough for all. There is a belief in tribal systems of the Underworld. The place is under the earth and the spirits of the dead live together in villages. Even though there are many, many different ideas, theories, and beliefs about where we go and what we become when we die…they are are explanations of an afterlife.

Agent- This refers to the ghost or spirit that is seen by someone. It can also be used to describe the force causing a haunting. As in the case of a Poltergeist type situation, it is widely believed that a child at the age of puberty is causing the disturbances through some form of telekinetic projection. In this case, the child is considered the Agent.

All Hallow’s Eve- This was originally a pagan festival of the dead. It was the Celts who started it. Ya see, the Celts had their new year celebration on November 1st, which was called Samhain. That means “end of summer.” This celebrated day was for the Lord of the Dead. Now, it was believed that on the night before November 1st, the mystical vail between the world of the living and the world of the dead was at it’s thinnest. Communication between the living and dead, therefore, was much easier on this night. During the night, the Celts believed that the dead would rise up from their graves to cause a little trouble in the neighborhood. It was also believed that the Lord of the Dead would gather up the lost souls and re-sentence them to either a year in animal form (this was for the ones that were bad) or another year of death (that was for the good boys and girls). The villagers would make offerings to the Lord of the Dead so he’d be a little nicer to the lost souls. The Celts also dressed up in costumes to confuse the spirits. But, after the Christians rose up and started changes things, different cultures had their own twists and finally it has arrived to what we all know it to be today…Halloween.

Amulet – This refers to just about anything one believes to hold some magic power for protection against things like ghosts, demons, or just about any evil there is. Most are made of jewelry, gold, silver or gems. Necklaces with runes carved into them and religious items are considered amulets.

Ancestral Worship– Obviously, this is the worship of one’s ancestors. They are worshiped as deities. Basically, family will put out food and drink for the dead in the belief that the ancestral spirits will bring good fortune to the family and will protect them from evil.

Angels- An angel is spiritual being that does the work of God. They are the “middle-man” between the living and God. The word “Angel” comes from the Greek words angelos, meaning “messenger. This is the primary job of the angel, going back and forth from earth to heaven. They bring prayers up and answers back down. It is also their job to act out the will of God, whether it be to help the living or punish them. Although the ideas that inspired the concept of angels, they are pretty much specific to Christian, Judaism and Islamic religions. They are most often described as very clean and wearing white robes. They have large wings of white feathers and are usually male. Another description is that of the “Mysterious Person.” This is a person who shows up during a crisis situation and offers very good advice to help someone out. After the situation is under control, the Mystery Man is no where to be found. This leads many to the belief that it was an angel who stepped in to help.

Animism- This is the name given to the belief systems of tribal societies around the world. The name was first used by Mr. E.B. Tylor, who is credited with being the founder of modern anthropology. He believed that animism was the most primitive religion on the planet. These beliefs revolve around souls and spirits and how they are connected with the physical body.

Apparitions- The most wanted form of ghost in the paranormal community. Apparitions are the visual representation of a ghost or spirit. There are many different kinds of apparitions, but the most widely known form is that of seeing a figure that appears to be transparent. The truth is, many look as real as you and me. Some have been know to hold conversations with the living, only to disappear suddenly. Many follow curious smells or odd sounds. For example, one might smell a certain perfume float by, then see the retreating form of a woman walking down the hall. Some investigators believe that they are projected images, brought about by the psychic energy stored in the area. Others believe they are the personality of a deceased person and can still interact with the living. According to who you talk to, there can be various types, groups and categories of apparitions. We here stick with the simple explanation. If we see a figure that is transparent, it disappears while we watch it, or it walks through walls and doors…its considered an apparition. Enough said.

Apports– The is the name given to an object that mysteriously appears in the presence of a psychic or medium. This usually happens during a séance and the object appears from thin air or seems to pass right through solid objects, such as walls, doors and windows. It is also known as teleportation. The name comes from the French word “apportex” which means to bring. Apports were a big deal during Spiritualist séances and are a common occurrence in poltergeists. There are many in-depth theories on how these things come to appear, but all of them will give you a headache if we go into them it here.

Arrival cases- This is the appearance of someone in a place other then where the actual person is, usually when the actual person is on their way to that place. Confused? Ok, let’s try to make this simple. Lets say you’re on you way to a party. When you walk through the front door, everyone is staring at you wide-eyed. They tell you that they “saw” you walk in about an hour ago and actually held a conversation with you. All of a sudden, the phantom disappeared and then they saw you (the real you) walk in a few minutes later. That is a description of a classic arrival case. For reasons that we’ll probably never know, a phantom double can manifest ahead of the real person. The real person is never aware of it, nor has any control over it. The double always appears solid and is always taken as the real deal. There are two developing theories concerning this. The first is that it is an OBE (Out-of-Body-Experience) that is able to be perceived by the living. The second is that it could be a small time-space distortion (Star Trek fans will like this) in which an event is duplicated.

Asport- This is the flip side of an apport. This is when an object disappears from the séance circle and telelported to another location. Usually during a séance, the apport became and asport. This opens up a concern of fraud, due to the ability of a slight-of-hand trick producing an object and then making it disappear. Apports and asports were a big deal during séances and was supposedly done with the help of spirits attending the séance.

Astral Body- This is believed to be the spiritual life force of a person. Also refered to as the Soul, it can separate from the physical body and travel about, returning at a later time. Some believe that it is a separate entity from the soul.

Aumakua- According to Hawaiian legend, this is a guardian spirit of the family. They are considered gods that live in all of nature. They are worshipped in return for protection of the family. Aumakua are inherited and can only influence matters concerning the family.

Automatic Writing-Writing that is done while a medium is in an altered state. It is believed that spirits or ghosts are responsible for these writings. The medium supposedly does not know what is being written. This was a popular tool used by mediums during séances.

Automatism- This covers just about anything a spirit or ghost can make a living person do. It also covers any extraordinary talent displayed by a person that they were previously unable to do, such as painting, playing the piano or singing.

Ba- According to Egyptian legend, it is an exalted state of consciousness that seeks heaven. It is the means of travel for the consciousness after the body dies. As with much of the Egyptian mythology, it’s a very complicated idea that is detailed din the Book of the Dead.

Bakechochin- According to Japanese lore, this is a phantom lantern carried around by ghosts. The name itself means haunted lantern. It is the home of ghosts of people who passed away with hate in their hearts. For this reason, they are doomed to haunt the earth for all time.

Banshee- According to Irish and Scottish lore, this is a death omen. It is a female spirit that actually becomes attached to families. To see one means there is a death coming within the family. There are several variations of how the banshee is described. So far, she only cries. A very mournful cry that pretty much gives any who hears it the feeling of impending doom. I haven’t found anything on the wail of the banshee. Perhaps this is just what us D&D players know!

Bardo Thodol- The Tibetan Book of the Dead. This is probably a book that is as well known as the Bible. This is the Idiot’s guide to dying, the afterlife and rebirth. In the Tibetan culture, a high form of Yoga has progressed over the centuries to allow one to not only speed up the process of dying, but to remain aware so as to experience all the afterlife has to offer. There is no known author, although it was first written down in the 8th century AD.

Barghest- according to English legend, this is a phantom hound that inhabits Northern England. It is considered a death omen. It takes on the appearance of a large dog or bear. It is said to shriek when it is invisible.

Battlefield Ghosts- This is a simple one. They are ghosts…found at battlefields! Battlefields are areas of intense emotional energy. So many people die in these areas that it is believed that the build up of energy in a concentrated spot can cause these places to become some of the most haunted areas anywhere. Most of the cases have seem to go toward residual haunting. The last few moments of a soldiers life or the most intense part of the battle are played out over and over again. Although, there are quite a few cases reported that have interaction between us and them. I know of a case in Gettysburg where a re-enactor was given a bullet from another man. When the re-enactor realized that it was a genuine mini-ball, the other man disappeared. To put it bluntly, battlefields are a great place to investigate.

Beans- Who’d have though? Beans have had a lot of meanings in relation to ghosts. In ancient Greece, beans were associated with the transmigration of the soul. The Romans held beans as a sacred item used in many of their rituals of the dead. The Japanese use roasted beans to drive out demons during their new year’s celebration. Many American Indians held rituals and performed dances that revolve around beans.

Bhut- According to Indian legend, this is an evil ghost. Most are the ghosts of men killed by accident, suicide or execution. They do not cast a shadow.

Bilocation- This is much like an Arrival Case or Double. The difference here is that the apparition does not speak and sometimes appears transparent.

Birds- Birds have a slew of meanings in the world of paranormal. They have been death omens, messengers from the gods, the souls of the dead or even the carrier of the souls of the dead. From ancient Greeks and Romans to every other culture in the world, birds have had some sort of spiritual meaning. Crows, ravens and owls are thought to be the death omens if they gather close to a house. A wild bird flying into a house means there is important news coming. Swallows that fly down a chimney were thought to be death omens.

Black Shuck- According to British legend, this is a big phantom dog that is considered a death omen.

Bogey- According to British legend, this is an evil spirit that likes to cause mischief. It is described as big and black. The bogey only works at night.

Book Test- In this test, a medium or psychic is directed by a spirit to a specific passage in a book. These passages usually have some meaning to the medium or the person employing the medium. It was first propose by an actual spirit! Feda, the spirit control Gladys Leonard was the one who started it. Unfortunately, when under scientific scrutiny, the book tests usually fail more then they succeed.

Bridge of Souls- A common theme through many legends. This is the path the souls of the dead travel in order to enter the afterlife. A rainbow is one such example. The Milky Way has been believed to be a river of souls since ancient times. Some tribal systems have mountain paths that represent their entryway to the afterlife.

Broom- Other then witches and Harry Potter, brooms have other meaning in folklore. In Europe and Italy, it is believed that if you put a broom under your pillow it will keep away witches and evil spirits. Stepping over a broomstick is supposed to prevent any disturbances by ghosts. Sweeping the floors is part of a ritual that can exorcise ghosts and spirits from your house.

Buruburu- According to Japanese legend, this is a spirit that hides out in graveyards and forests, posing as an old man or woman. It attacks by attaching itself to the backs of the living and causing a chill to go up and down their spine.

Cabinet- This is pretty much the “cubicle” of the medium performing a séance. It was believed to focus the spiritual energies, allowing the psychic to produce manifestations. The cabinet was first introduced by the Davenport brothers in the 1850’s. According to the legend, the spirit control John King gave the brothers the exact specifications of the cabinet to be used. It was to be made of bird’s-eye maple, seven feet in height, six feet in width and two feet deep. It also needed to stand 18 inches off the floor, resting on three sawhorses. It had three doors that when opened, showed the entire inside of the cabinet. The cabinet was a hit with believers, but fell short with skeptics. They declared it was the perfect tool for fraud.

Cairn- These are piles of stones used as grave markers or memorials. They are believed to help protect  both the living and the dead. They protect the bodies from desecration while keeping the spirit of the dead in the grave.

Calling Ghosts- This is the name given to ghosts who call out names of the living. It is believed that they do this to lure the living to their death.

Candles- Candles have a very wide range of uses in the paranormal. They were used in Egypt to repel evil spirits during religious rituals. Jewish and Christian rituals call for lighting a candle for the dead. In theatre superstitions, one is never to light three candles in a dressing room. A candle that is dim means that there is a ghost near. A burning candle by the bed of a dying person is said to keep away demons. I could go on and on, there are so many.

Caul- This is the thin membrane of amniotic fluid that sometimes remains covering the head of a newborn baby. This is a symbol of luck, protection and to see and speak with ghosts and spirits. It was also believed that it provided protection against drowning. Many were sold as amulets and charms. Many sailors would buy a caul, believing it would protect them from drowning at sea. There is a belief that a caul can reflect the health of its owner. A dry caul says the owner is healthy, while a limp caul signifies the owner is ill.

Chalcedony- A translucent and waxy quartz used by Egyptians to ward off ghosts, sadness and night visions. This is a type of amulet.

Channeling- A popular tool of mediums and psychics for communication with the dead. The medium goes into a trance and is either taken over by a spirit or simply receives messages. Channeling is used for two-way communication between the living and the dead.

Charms- Charms are made up of just about anything you believe will ward off a ghost or evil spirit. Some are simple movements while other require a manual to do. Amulets may be used or required in charms. Things such as throwing salt over your shoulder or hanging a horseshoe over a doorway are all charms.

Churel- According to Indian legend, this is a ghost of woman who died during childbirth or ceremonial impurity. They have reversed feet and no mouths. They sometimes appear as young women to trap men.

Clairvoyance- Sometimes known as ESP, this is a vision of people, places, events and objects that is not visible to anyone but the clairvoyant person. The word comes from the French word for “clear seeing.” People with this ability have been know as prophets and oracles throughout history. In most of the reported cases, the visions are spontaneous and the person has no control over how long the vision will last or how much they get too see.

Control- This is the name given to a spirit who becomes a medium’s guide to the spirit world. During an altered state, the spirit control takes over the body of the medium and can communicate with sitters in the séance circle. All of the well known mediums had a control. During the time that the spirit is in control of the medium’s body, the medium’s “spirit” is either transported to the spirit world or is in a kind of OBE. This has never been really nailed down, so we don’t know where they go…if they go anywhere.

Corpse Candles- According to British legend, these are death omens. These are mysterious lights that resemble candle flames. They bounce over the ground and stop over places where death is soon to arrive.

Cross Correspondences- This is a tough one. Supposedly, this is information transmitted from a spirit or spirits to different mediums that are working in separate places. Most cases involve each medium receiving different parts of a message that must be fit together in order to make any sense. This sounds like a lot of work to get a message out.

Crossroads- Simply put, its where two roads intersect. Many cultures associate these with ghosts, demons and a slew of other paranormal things. Most are superstitions that date back to ancient times.

Cypress- This tree is associated with death and burial. In Egypt, mummy cases were made from cypress. Athenia heroes were buried in coffins made of cypress. These are also planted along the borders of many cemeteries.

Daimon- According to the ancient Greeks, these were spirits that carried messages back and forth between the gods and men. There were good ones who helped humans and evil ones who lead humans down the dark path.

Davenport Brothers- American brothers who produced some of the most famous Seance shows of the 1800’s. Ira and William Davenport are responsible for making the cabinet an essential part of the Seance tools. William died in 1877, while Ira passed away in 1911, but not before meeting Harry Houdini. Harry claimed that Ira had confessed to him that the Davenport brothers were not Spiritualists, as many had thought. Instead, they were extremely skilled conjurers.

Day of the Dead- A holiday celebrated each year to honor the dead. This day involves feasts, special foods, song and dance. This is all done to remember the dead and to please them for another year. This celebration is held in many parts of the world, such as China, Japan, Africa and Mexico.

Dead House- According to British lore, this is a small building located at Railroad stations. Those who died on the railroad property were taken to these houses until proper services could be arranged. The ghosts of the dead that were being held inside would be reported to haunt the area outside the building.

Death Omens- Deep in the folklore of many cultures, Death Omens can take any many forms, such as the appearance of ghosts, the way in which wax drips from a candle, a dog howling, a chair falling over backwards, and even coffin-shaped cinders in a fireplace. Some animals have also been labeled as death omens…Owls, Rooks, Ravens and the most famous of them all…Crows. No matter what form they take, they all mean the same thing…someone is going to die soon.

Deathbed Visions- Experienced close to the time of death, these visions most often are of apparitions. These apparitions are of family and friends, who apparently are their to ease the transition from this world to the next. In experiments, it has been found that about half of these visions last apprx. five minutes in length, with some lasting more then an hour. Deathbed visions, if they are indeed true events, are perhaps evidence that we do not have to experience death alone. Many of us, especially in the Western world, fear death. We hold on to life with both hands, so it seems natural that those friends and family with whom we trust would come back to help ease our fears.

Demons- The word “demon” comes from the Greek term Daimon, meaning “replete with wisdom”. Depending on what culture you look at, a demon can have a different meaning. In Christianity, demons are evil beings who serve the devil. They have only one purpose, to lead man to sin. Ironically, the gods and goddesses of Pagan religions became demons in Christianity. Demons are believed to have the ability to posses the living, taking over their body. It is also believe that demons can be exercised, thus riding the human soul of the evil spirit. It seems that during the Middle ages, demons were blamed for just about everything that went wrong. Positive proof of the existence of these being has not been documented as of yet.

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Dermography- This term describes writings and designs that appear on the skin. This is most often associated with demon possession.

Direct Voice Mediumship- During the days of Seances, this term describes the speaking of a spirit without using the medium. The spirit’s voice is heard originating from empty space somewhere near the medium’s head. Many mediums used a Trumpet or megaphone to allow the spirit to speak freely.

Doppelganger-Also known as a “double”, this is apparently an apparition of a living person. Supposedly, the doppelganger is an exact duplicate of the living person, down to the clothes, hair style and feel. Some believe that these are death omens, while others think that they are an unconscious (or conscious) OBE or even an example of bilocation. Cases show that those who witness a Doppelganger, aren’t even aware of it!

Dreams- All throughout history, dreams have been associated with death, the dead, the future and omens. It is believed that the barrier between the living and the dead is crossable during sleep, allowing the deceased to come back and visit us. Sometimes its to say goodbye, while other times its to bring a warning. Some believe that every dream has a meaning. You can pick up many of these books in any book store. Unfortunately, these books are not trustworthy. Different things mean different things to different people.

Drop-in Communicator- This is a spirit who apparently “drops in” during a seance. The spirit in not known to any who are sitting nor the medium conducting the seance. These spirits may speak in foreign languages, supposedly unknown to the medium. These spirits also leave as quickly as they drop in.

Ectoplasm- This term comes from the Greek words ektos and plasma, which means “exteriorized substance”. It is apperently a substance that excretes from a medium’s body, and then takes such forms as arms, hands or even faces. Although several photos exist of this stuff, none show anything as fantastic as an arm or face. There are no traces of ectoplasm evidence, thus taking credit away from its existence. Another blow to its validity is that made mediums were exposed as frauds by making ectoplasm from soap, gelatins, egg whites and strips of muslin.

Ectoplasmic Mist- Probably the second most photographed form of a spirit. Seen as a “living mist”, it moves about and is sometimes photographed while surrounding people. This mist has been videotaped, and has the ability to effect meters and gauges used by paranormal investigators. When felt, witnesses claim the mist feels cool to the touch and  that there is an “energy” inside them.

Edison, Thomas Alva- Mr. Edison was apparently fascinated with spirit photography. He also believe that spirits could be somehow contacted electronically. In the October 1920 issue of Scientific America, he announced that he was working on a device for two way communication with spirits of the dead. Unfortunately, Mr. Edison died in 1931, before the machines completion. No prototype or plans have been found for his device.

Electromagnetic Fields- When an electrical current travels through the wiring or into an appliance, it produces an electromagnetic field, which consists of the electric field which is always present (even when the appliance is switched off) and the magnetic field which occurs when the power is switch on to the appliance. While it is generally accepted that the electric field is harmless, it is suspected that the magnetic fields can be related to cancer or other health problems. Thus, companies have been quick to offer EMF detection devices to help the average homeowner locate and isolate areas of strong electromagnetic fields.
However, in addition to the EM present because of electrical wiring and appliance, EMF is found in nature as well. The earth itself has a unique magnetic field (referred to as a geomagnetic field) and anyone who has handled a compass is probably well aware of that fact. The earth produces EMFs, mainly in the form of DC (direct current, also called static fields). Electric fields are produced by thunderstorm activity in the atmosphere. Near the ground, the DC electric field averages less than 200 volts per meter (V/m). Much stronger fields, typically about 50,000 V/m, occur directly beneath electrical storms.
Magnetic fields are thought to be produced by electric currents flowing deep within the earth’s molten core. The DC magnetic field averages around 500 milligauss (mG). This number is larger than typical AC electric power magnetic fields, but DC fields do not create currents within humans and animals like AC currents can do.
Factors as subtle as water running against certain geological stratus of rock can also produce electromagnetic fields. The sun’s solar flare activity can also greatly effect the magnetic fields of the earth, as well as cosmic radiation that is able to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. For the purpose of ghost hunting, most of the EM equipment used focuses specifically on the ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) range of less than 60 Hertz and is expressed almost exclusively in terms of milliGauss (mG).

Electromagnetic Field Detector- A device used by ghost hunters and paranormal investigators to detect changes in the electromagnetic fields in the area. A steady reading between 3 and 7 milligauss is usually a good sigh of paranormal activity. Although one must be aware that high readings will usually indicate a natural power source, such as power lines running through the area or water pipes. In a few documented cases, readings have gone as high as 100mg when a spirit has made its presence known. Our advice is to go over the area to be investigated to establish a base reading. Any anomalies should be noted and investigated thoroughly before excepted as paranormal.

Electronic Voice Phenomena- Also known as EVP. This is a method used by ghost hunters and paranormal researchers to captured what they believe to be the voices of the dead. The method includes devices such as cassette recorders, micro-cassette recorders and more recently…digital recorders. The recorders are left alone or place near investigators. When left alone, they are allowed to record for the length of the tape. When done this way, it opens arguments for skeptics who claim that EVPs are nothing more then TV and radio transmissions.
When placed near investigators, questions are usually asked in 10 or 15 minutes sessions. Apprx.. 5 to 10 seconds separate each question, allowing for answers to be recorded. After the session is over, the recording is reviewed for any answers. If answers are found, they are analyzed and the next session is directed accordingly.

Exorcism- The term comes from the Greek exousia, meaning “oath”. It means to put out demons, spirits or any other entities that are possessing a living person or disturbing the household of the living. This can be a conversation between a living person and the demon or a “battle for the soul”, as the Christians believe. Roman Catholics are the only Christians who offer a formal exorcism rite dating back to about 1614. When comparing the different practices, it seems that no one really knows how to exercise these spirits. It seems more like a hit or miss method, depending on the attitude of the demon..or rather the one being “possessed”.

Extrasensory Perception- Also known as ESP. Put forth bluntly, it means getting information about the past, present or future that can’t be obtained by the normal senses. This includes clairvoyance, precognition and telepathy. It is believed that all people experience ESP at different levels, but there are some individuals who possess a heightened ability.

Feasts and Festivals of the Dead- These are celebrations of funeral rites among many tribal communities around the world. The celebration are meant to honor the journey of the dead and also to help the dead on their way.

Folklore- Associated with legends and “old wives tales”. Many of these are actually based on a few “truths”, but these are usually lost in time and mixed up with parts that are not truth. Handed down from generation to generation, the stories get changed and “modified” with each telling.

Fox Sisters- The Fox sisters are credited with the birth of Spiritualism. Margeretta(Maggie), Catherine(Katie) and Leah were born in New York. Their fame began in March of 1849 when the family was being disturbed by nightly noises, believed to be caused by a ghost. The girls developed a system in which they would clap their hands, and the ghost would “rap” back. The press got a hold of it and ran. For many years they traveled the world, performing seances and submitting to scientific testing. In 1888, Maggie and Katie made a public appearance. Maggie denouncenced Spiritualism and declared that all of their work was a fraud.

Gettysburg- Arguably the most famous haunted area in the world. On July 1st to 3rd, 1863 there were more then 51, 000 casualties during this Civil War battle. Because of the massive amount of death in such a short period of time, it is believed to be the most haunted place you can find. There are hundreds of eyewitness accounts about activity in Gettysburg. Places such as the Herr Tavern, the Cashtown Inn, Devil’s Den, The Triangular Field, Old Dorm (Known as Pennsylvania Hall), the Rose Farm and the Jenny Wade House are just a few of the many sites with reported activity.
Every year thousands of tourists visit Gettysburg to go over the history of the battle. For many, they leave with more then they bargained for. Everything from ghostly figures to entire regiments doing the mourning exercises in the fields. If you’re in the Pennsylvania area, be sure to put Gettysburg on your list of sites to see. For more information of the paranormal activity in Gettysburg, check out our Haunted Sites Page or the Ghosts of Gettysburg books by Mark Nesbitt.

Ghost- Also known as an apparition, specter. A ghost is believe to be the energy or soul of a living person. When the living die, this energy is released from physical body and is believed to do one of two things; 1- go on to a higher spiritual place described by one’s religious beliefs or 2- stays behind and lingers on for an unspecified time. Why they stay behind, no one knows for sure. Even many of the famous “psychics” differ on their explanations. some of the more popular theories are as follows; unfinished business, saying goodbye, wrongful death or perhaps to pass on a warning.
As investigators, we know that ghosts can be photographed, videotaped an recorded on audio devices. Although it does seem to be at their choice and not ours. Through research and investigations, we’ve found that ghosts can be detected with other devices at times. Devices such as EMF detectors, thermal scanners, electrostatic detectors and tri-field meters. Ghosts may make themselves visible to the living from time to time, but this usually leads to the same conclusion- the witness runs the other way. We have found that in recent years, people are showing more interest in the paranormal, thus they’re becoming less and less afraid of the unknown. Just about every culture has some kind of belief in ghosts and the afterlife.

Ghost Investigation- The method by which organizations attempt to prove or disprove the existence of paranormal activity in an area. The investigation usually begins with interviews to gather information on the reported activity. After the interviews are finished, a team will go out to the site and conduct measurements to obtain a base reading. Any deviation form the base readings can be noted for future reference. Photos are taken, video is shot and audio recordings are done. All the recorded evidence and the readings are compared and analyzed by the investigators to come to a logical conclusion.
A good investigator has an open mind, but is also skeptical of the findings. The general rule is “Always look for the natural, before accepting the supernatural”. The goal of the investigation is to confirm the existence of paranormal activity, and then attempt to find out why the activity is taking place. If activity is found to be of natural causes, it is the investigators obligation to inform the clients of the nature of these causes.
Many tools are used in the detection and documentation of ghosts. Such devices are the EMF meter, Tri-field meter (a more advanced EMF meter), Geiger counters, Negative Ion counter, Thermal scanners, Thermal Imaging Video, Cameras, Audio Recorders, Night Vision, and the Almighty Pen and Paper. Many factors are noted in reports when conducting an investigation, such as weather, solar flare activity, X-rays activity, moon phases, temperatures and electromagnetic field strength.

Ghost Lights- These lights resemble orbs, but are much larger. They appear in several colors, many times changing from one to another in front of witnesses. Cases are reported all over the world. Ghost lights seem to “haunt” particular areas on a regular basis, sometimes for a few days and sometimes for years. They usually are reported in remote places and are never seen close up, only from a distance. When these lights are confronted by approaching lights or noises, they will disappear.

Ghost Photography (Also Known As Spirit Photography)- This refers to two different times. The first started back in Boston in the year 1861 by William Mumler. He had taken a photo of himself, in which he claimed to have captured an image of a dead person next to him. This was during the rise of Spiritualism, and so Spirit Photography became an instant craze. Most of these photographs showed ghostly faces, with some showing the entire form of the deceased. Most of these photos could be explained away as accidental, or more likely, deliberate double exposures. Eventually, this early form of spirit photography lost its popularity along with Spiritualism.
The modern term is Ghost Photography, which covers the use of film and digital cameras during ghost investigations. During these investigations, photos are taken that at times show anomalies, such as ORBS, ECTOPLASMIC MIST,  and APPARITIONS. Although the new technologies improve the quality of the photos, false images can still occur. Flaws in the film, during the developing process and errors in digital media can be the explanation of many ghosts photos. There is also the ever-present problem of fraud and trickery.

Ghost Seeing- According to certain cultures, people who are born on a specific date or at a specific time of day, will posses psychic abilities. They will be able to see and converse with ghost and spirits, as well as receive information from “other” sources.

Ghost Sickness- A belief that ghosts of the recently departed can cause sickness and even death to the living. This belief is rooted in many primitive cultures, where many preparations are made to assure the dead cannot find their way back to the house in which they had lived.

Grateful Dead- This does not refer to the famous band. It refers to some folklore telling of the spirits of the dead coming back to our world to present gifts or rewards to good and deserving people.

Gray Ladies- These are the ghosts of women who have died a violent death due to love or they died while secluded away from the rest of the world.

Guardian Spirit- Also known as an Angel, Genius or Tutelary Spirit. A spirit that is seen as a protector for a living person, most times from birth to death. The guardian spirit has a tough job, to look after the living by keeping them out of danger and trouble. If something bad does happen, it is usually blamed on the failure of the guardian spirit. One is never really aware of the a guardian spirit, only at times of great need.

Halloween- The BIG day for ghosts and spirits! Originally a pagan festival of the dead that has survived to the present day as the candy day…Halloween. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were thinnest during the time of Samhain, which means “the end of summer”. This festival marked the third and last harvest, which meant it was time to store goods for the coming winter. This festival consisted of fire rituals dedicated to the lord of the dead. The Celts believed that communication between the living and dead was possible at this time. The Lord of the Dead was believed to raise up the souls of the lost for resentencing. It was the custom to make offerings of wine and food to the Lord of the Dead, so that he would be more favorable to the lost souls. Some offerings were made for the dead themselves, for the Celts believed they came back to refresh themselves. The Celts would dress up in clever disguises to fool the spirits into passing them by. Huge bonfires were also lit and sacrifices of horses and cats were made to the Sun god.
Eventually, the Christians got in and like many things, they screwed it up. They figured that it would be easier to draw followers of pagan religions if they incorporated the established holy days into Christianity. But, they made a few changes…you knew they would. Instead of sacrifices, the church promoted prayers. Wine and food offerings were substituted by soul cakes (Little square rolls), which were given away to the poor. The church let the people still wear disguises, but it was strictly to honor deceased saints, not to scare away spirits. The Irish would go around door to door and collect money, fruits and foods in preparation for this holiday.
Soon, all of these practices were combined into a routine of men and boys who would go door to door singing for ale and food. Later on, this routine transformed into the popular practice of “trick-or-treating” that we know today.

Haunting- Described as the constant occurrence of paranormal activity in a specific location. Most cases will involve the appearance of apparitions or strange lights, abnormal noises, cold spots and odd odors that are attributed to ghosts. The activity repeats itself over and over, anywhere from days to years. The area of the haunting is either the former residence of the ghost or a place in which the deceased had frequented during their life. In simple terms, if something is called “haunted”, then it is believe to have a ghost or two within.
Not only buildings and areas are haunted; objects can be as well. Cases have been reported involving haunted beds, mirrors and even a Civil War mini-ball. Spirits or ghosts either had favored the object so or simply spent their last moments with the object. This is the reasoning behind many cases where a haunting actually moves with a family, from house to house. There are objects known as Screaming Skulls, which are real skulls that will emit horrible screams when removed from their proper place.
Hauntings sometimes do not involve apparitions at all. In several cases, objects are hurled about and strange rappings fill the house with all sorts of noises. These are known as Poltergeist hauntings. Some of these type of hauntings have claims of abuse towards the living, although no positive proof has come forth.
Hauntings can occur for many reasons. We have several theories posted on this website that can explain some of these reasons. Some hauntings occur without any known reason. These type can last for centuries…or stop in a few days.

Home Circles- Also known as a Home Sitting. This is what a Seance is called when it is performed in a household. As with any seance, the soul purpose was to communicate with the dead. The people who attempt a Home Circle usually sit around a table. Hands are placed on the table, flat or everyone holds each other’s hands. A medium usually directs the seance, calling on the spirits of the dead for whom those present wanted to converse with. Home Circles were used primarily by Spiritualists, a religious cult born from the revelations of the Fox sisters. Circles and Seances have fallen out of popularity due to many exposed cases of fraud.

Houdini, Harry- 1874-1926. The very famous escape artist and illusionist. He was also known for his obsession in exposing Spiritualist as frauds, merely being an illusionists as himself. For this, harry was not the most loved man to the Spiritualists. Houdini loved his mother very much, and when she died, he tried every medium he could contact in a vain attempt to reach her. After many, many tries…he was only met with failure. This is what is believed to have started his obsession with debunking Spiritualist mediums.

Hypnosis- With its ability to enhance the power of suggestion, hypnosis has been found effective for a variety of problems that hinge on emotions, habits, and even the body’s involuntary responses. It can help recall details of specific events, including the sighting of apparitions or other paranormal events. It has also been suggested that hypnosis can allow a person to be open-minded, although there has yet to be any experiments done to prove or disprove this theory.

Incubus- Believed to be a demon possing as a handsome man who goes about molesting women. Incubi are believed to be sterile, so they can not have children through human women.

Instrumental Transcommunication- This is the term for using electronic equipment to receive messages and images from spirits. The goal here is to open a two-way communication with the world of the dead. Unlike EVPs, that usually produces short responses, Instrumental Transcommunication is looking for something more like a telephone conversation.

Legends- Stories passed down for generations, usually with a good deal of historical information, with a bit of fantasy. “Local Legends” are the most famous, with many dealing with a Gravity Hill, in which when you stop at the bottom of the hill and put the car in neutral, it will be “pushed” up the hill. The reason, as the legend goes, is small children were killed here when their car stalled. The “children” push the car out of the way. People even add that if you spread baby powder on the back of the car, you’ll get small handprints. Some legends are based on facts, but somehow get twisted down the line. Be careful when following any type of legend.

Levitation- The raising of an object or person into the air without any visible natural means. Levitation is a popular event during seances, hauntings, meditative trances and possessions. Levitation is a major part of Poltergeist activity, with objects being moved about and thrown around. During the rise of Spiritualism, the levitation of objects was an important part of the Home Circle or Seance, table tilting being the most popular.

Magic- Also known as Conjuring. Practiced by many ancient and tribal cultures. Modern day Wicca followers use spells much like Christians use prayer. Both play on the idea of an alteration of events by paranormal means. Magic is thought to be an energy that can be manipulated to do one’s bidding. In most cases, this is more trickery then anything else.

Materialization- The term used to describe the formation of faces, hands or entire figures by a medium, seemingly out of nothing. This was that BIG feat for any medium during a seance. The first reported full figure materialization was in 1850, when the figure of Spirit Control John King was seen in the false of a gun going off.

Mediumship- The ability to receive information in ways other then the normal five senses, mostly from spirits, ghosts and other entities. A more modern term heard is “psychic”, which seem to have popped up just about everywhere. Psychics claim to get impression, see apparitions and “see” events that happened in the past. The problem with mediums is that its extremely difficult to verify many of their claims. Only a handful will submit to scientific analysis while the rest shy away from any serious inquiry. ANother problem is that many have different versions of the afterlife, even while each claims to know the “truth”.

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Meteors- The ancient Romans believe that every living person had a star. When someone died, their star was believed to fall from the sky in the form of a meteor. In several cultures, it is believed that meteors are the souls of murdered men.

Mirrors- There are many superstitions surrounding mirrors, and most involve losing the soul. The Russians believed that mirrors were created by Satan, to draw out the souls of the living. Primitive cultures also believe that all reflective surfaces should be covered to prevent the return of the spirits of the recently departed. Some say that if you look into a mirror at night or by candle light…that you’ll see ghosts or the devil. There is also the classic superstition that breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck.

Moon- The moon has often been associated with spirits of the dead. The ancient Greeks believed that the moon was the middle point between Earth and Heaven. They believed that spirits going to and from Heaven, stopped at the moon. Those on their way out, stopped to have their souls purified before entering the afterlife. The spirits on their way back to Earth, through reincarnation, would go right to the face of the moon to receive new physical bodies. If you read the ancient Hindu texts, called the Upanishads, the souls of the enlightened people went to the moon  after they died to await reincarnation. It also says that enlightened souls who are freed from the power of reincarnation, actually go to the sun.
Recent research has determined that the phases of moon has had some effect on our readings. Whether it is a “boost” to the spiritual energy or the gravitational effects the moon has on our brains, the actual effects are not known for certain. It is most likely the moon’s  magnetic field that intensifies the paranormal activity at haunted locations.

Moving Coffin- There have been several cases of heavy, lead coffins being tossed around in a sealed vault. The coffins are scattered about by some powerful force. When the coffins are put back in their proper places and sealed back in, they are found in disarray a few days later. No explanations have been put forth to satisfactorley solve the cases.

Near-death Experience- Also known as NDE. The term was first used by Dr. Raymond Moody sometime in the 1970s. These experiences are much the same as an OBE, or Out of Body Experience, the difference being that this happens when the individual is, or believes they are, close to death. Those who experience the phenomena report the feeling of flying or floating above their body, the loss of pain and the feeling of peace, a tunnel with a light at the end and even the sightings of apparitions of family and friends dressed in robes of glowing white. These experiences can last for a few minutes to more then an hour.

Necromancy- Also known as Dark Magic. This is described as the conjuring and controlling of the dead. It is believed that through this ancient practice, the one who practices necromancy can use the summoned spirit to find hidden treasures, cast spells on others, learn about the future and even hurt other living beings. A recently deceased body can be re-animated, known as a Zombie. The catholic church considers necromancy “the agency of evil spirits”.

Newspaper Test- A test given to people who claim to be a medium. The object is for the medium to predict items that will appear in a newspaper that has yet to be published. The test was introduced by Feda, the spirit control of Gladys Leonard in 1919.

Odors- Although it may sound a bit weird, ghosts do sometimes make their presence known by an odor. Some cases that involve apparent violent paranormal activity have reported the odor of rotten flesh. Many hotels, B&Bs and Inns will tell of stories where guests have detected a certain perfume or cologne, and attributing it to the ghost of some long dead guest. Strange odors are not proof positive of paranormal activity, but it could be an indication.

Orbs- A phenomena associated with ghosts. Orbs appear in video and on film. They appear as colored balls of light that free float in the air. Colors range from white and blue to green and gold. Orbs, when they have been observed, have demonstrated intelligent interaction between us and them. For example, one of our team has watched an orb through the use of a night-vision scope. The orb appeared to be “playing” with the infra-red light.
Orbs are believed to be the representation of one spirit. No one is sure if this is a stage or the actual form of a ghost. Although many apparitions have been caught on film, many witnesses report that when they have taken a photograph of it, the only image to develop was an orb. Orbs are the most common form of spirit photography investigators get. The problem with orbs is the common element of dust. Dust, when caught on film, resemble white orbs. Many steps must be taken before accepting any photographs of orbs.

Ouija Board- Also known as the talking board. The most popular was invented by Elija Bond back in 1892. The word “ouija” comes from the French word oui, and the German word ja…both of which mean yes. This item consists of a flat board with the letters of the alphabet, numbers from 0 to 9, a YES and a NO…all printed on the top. Those who play the game place their fingertips upon a pointer, which then moves “on its own” around the board. Players ask questions and the pointer points to the answers, or spells them out. The game became extremely popular with the rise of Spiritualism, but soon found a more permanent home being associated with the occult. In 1966 the Parker Brothers company began marketing the game as just that…a game for entertainment purposes. Many believe that this board serves as a communication device between the living and the dead. Unfortunately and an often overlooked aspect of this device is that if it truely is a spiritual communication device, the user doesn’t know what is truely on the other side, feeding them information.

Out-of-Body Experience- Also known as an OBE. It is an experience in which the person feels as though they have left their body and is transported to another location, sometimes other then this world. In a percentage of these reported cases, witnesses have described seeing a ghostly image of the living person. Those who experience this event report feeling like physical light or energy, and several describe a silver cord that keeps their astral form connected to their physical body.

Paranormal- This definition really has several different meanings, but they’re all close to each other. Some classify the paranormal as anything to do with ghosts, spirits, demons, angels and poltergeist activity. Others claim that anything that doesn’t fit into the “normal” way the world works, should be considered paranormal. This would include UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, ESP, and telepathy. For our purposes, we look at ghosts, spirits and the like.

Parapsychology- Parapsychology is the scientific and scholarly study of certain unusual events associated with human experience. These experiences have been called “psychic” for want of a better term. What does it mean to study psychic phenomena? A long-held, common-sense assumption is that the worlds of the subjective and objective are completely distinct, with no overlap. Subjective is “here, in the head,” and objective is “there, out in the world.” Parapsychology then is the study of phenomena suggesting that the assumption of a strict separation between subjective and objective may be wrong. Human experience suggests that some phenomena occasionally fall between the cracks, and are not purely subjective nor purely objective. From a scientific perspective, such phenomena are called “anomalous” because they are difficult to explain within current scientific models. In popular usage, the basic parapsychological phenomena are categorized as follows:
Psi : A neutral term for parapsychological phenomena. Psi, psychic, and psychical are synonyms.
Telepathy : Direct mind-to-mind communication.
Precognition: Also called premonition. Obtaining information about future events, where the information could not be inferred through normal means. Many people report dreams that appear to be precognitive.
Clairvoyance : Sometimes called remote viewing; obtaining information about events at remote locations, beyond the reach of the normal senses.
ESP: Extra-sensory perception; a general term for obtaining information about events beyond the reach of the normal senses. This term subsumes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
Psychokinesis : Also called PK; direct mental interaction with physical objects, animate or inanimate.
Bio-PK : Direct mental interactions with living systems.
NDE : Near death experience; an experience reported by those who were revived from nearly dying. Often refers to a core experience that includes feelings of peace, OBE, seeing lights and other phenomena.
OBE : Out-of-body experience; the experience of feeling separated from the body, often accompanied by visual perceptions as though from above the body.
Reincarnation: The belief that we live successive lives, with primarily evidence coming from the apparent recollections of previous lives by very small children.
Haunting : Recurrent phenomena reported to occur in particular locations that include apparitions, sounds, movement of objects, and other effects.
Poltergeist: Large-scale PK phenomena often attributed to spirits, but which are now thought to be due to a living person, frequently an adolescent.

Phone Calls from the Dead- Believe it or not, ghosts sometimes “Reach out and touch someone.” Cases of phone calls from the dead report normal telephone operation to phones which have been disconnected, yet still ring!

Photography- The first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce, using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours. On 4 January 1829 Niépce agreed to go into partnership with Louis Daguerre . Niépce died only four years later, but Daguerre continued to experiment. Soon he had discovered a way of developing photographic plates, a process which greatly reduced the exposure time from eight hours down to half an hour. He also discovered that an image could be made permanent by immersing it in salt. Following a report on this invention by Paul Delaroche , a leading scholar of the day, the French government bought the rights to it in July 1839. Details of the process were made public on 19 August 1839, and Daguerre named it the Daguerreotype. The announcement that the Daguerreotype “requires no knowledge of drawing….” and that “anyone may succeed…. and perform as well as the author of the invention” was greeted with enormous interest, and “Daguerreomania” became a craze overnight. An interesting account of these days is given by a writer called Gaudin , who was present the day that the announcement was made. We owe the name “Photography” to Sir John Herschel , who first used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. (*1) The word is derived from the Greek words for light and writing.
However, not all people welcomed this exciting invention; some pundits viewed in quite sinister terms. A newspaper report in the Leipzig City Advertiser stated: “The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only impossible… but the mere desire alone, the will to do so, is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no man- made machine may fix the image of God. Is it possible that God should have abandoned His eternal principles, and allowed a Frenchman… to give to the world an invention of the Devil?” Hmmm, seems that times never really changes.
Now, photography is used by investigators to document paranormal activity. In recent years, digital photography has become a standard feature on the list of equipment used by researchers in the field. There was, and is, a lot of debate about the credibility of digital cameras vs. regular film. The bottom line is that both have problems that must be identified and overcome by the user, either through education or following guidelines.

Poltergeist- A paranormal phenomena associated with noises, rappings, levitating and thrown objects, as well as other physical manifestations. These events usually come on suddenly and end just as fast. They can last for a few days to a few years. The longer lasting ones seem to occur for a few days each year. Many of these cases have been attributed to a specific person in the household. In most cases, this specific person, known as an agent, is a young child entering the puberty stage of life. It is thought that the agent causes an involuntary type of psychokinesis, causing the disturbances.

Poltergeist- A paranormal phenomena associated with noises, rappings, levitating and thrown objects, as well as other physical manifestations. These events usually come on suddenly and end just as fast. They can last for a few days to a few years. The longer lasting ones seem to occur for a few days each year. Many of these cases have been attributed to a specific person in the household. In most cases, this specific person, known as an agent, is a young child entering the puberty stage of life. It is thought that the agent causes an involuntary type of psychokinesis, causing the disturbances.

Retrocogntion- An event in which a person is displaced in time. They apparently see the past, to either experience something that happened (of which the person has no prior knowledge), or to get accurate information on the events that transpire. This experience happens at random. One only needs to look at a doorway or enter a room and instead of seeing what is there…they see how the scene looked during some time in the past. People and things seem real to the observer, and the event plays out as if it were a dream. The observer does not participate in the event, only watches. These events can last a few seconds to a few minutes and end abruptly. The shorter events can sometimes be passed off as dreams or “daydreaming”, while the longer ones can be extremely frightening and real.

Seance- An event where a group of people sit around a table in an attempt to contact the spirits of the dead. Seances are usually headed by a medium, in which a spirit may chose to communicate through. These rituals were very popular during the rise of Spiritualism. During those times, seances were very dramatic and performed in dark rooms. Unfortunately, many of these events were found to be fraudulent. There is a modern form of the seance, called an EVP session. Investigators do not use candles, hold hands or produce fake globs of ectoplasm. No, modern day investigators employ various meters and devices to detect the presence of ghosts. We still ask questions, but our answers are recorded on several audio recorders.

Shaman- In tribal communities, this man is considered a wizard. He is the guy who sends and receives messages between the living and the dead. He is also the healer of the tribe.

Soul- This is a reference to the life-force within a living creature. Many beliefs usually restrict this reference to humans, not to animals. In most religions, the soul is immortal and cannot be destroyed. Although the soul is eternal, it is believed to have several physical bodies, through reincarnation. In christianity, the soul is created by god at the beginning of life. After the death of the physical body, the souls resides in an afterlife. The Buddhist actually teach that the idea of a soul is a figment of human imagination, and therefore does not go on after the body dies. They do, however, believe in reincarnation. This belief stems from Karma, which is the effect of all actions-good and bad.

Spirit- Spirits are believed to exist in an invisible realm that can only be seen under certain circumstances or by people with special abilities. Unlike ghosts, the term “spirit” is used for demons, angels, fairies, elves and even places. Mountains, woods, lakes, trees and sacred sites are all said to possess a spirit…and in many ancient and indian cultures, this is a living spirit.

Spirit Attachment- Some may consider this possession, but in effect, actually is more like an “add-on”. A spirit attaches itself to a living person and traveling with them from place to place. It is not technically a possession, since they are usually associated with demonic activity. During these cases, no demonic activity is documented.

Spirit Releasement- Used in conjunction with Spirit Attachment. This refers to an exorcism performed without any religious elements. These are performed by people who are not clergy. It seems that most of the individuals performing these rituals have some level of psychic power. They make mental contact with the entity and convince it to go on its way.

Spiritualism- A religious movement during the 19th century that gained popularity from its communications with the dead and evidence of the afterlife. Spiritualism seemed, at the time, to bring science and religion together, to validate claims of communication with the dead. The scientific tests and the many frauds led to the downfall of the movement. The Fox Sisters are accredited with the start of Spiritualism in 1848.

Succubus- A demon that makes itself to be a beautiful female so that it may molest men while they slept.

Survival After Death- The belief that the essence of a human survives well after the physical body dies. Most religions have some form of belief if the afterlife, except for classic Buddhism. They believe that there is no soul.

Teleportation- The transportation of an object or person from one place to another, without the use of normal means. This transportation can be several feet to several hundred miles, and even through walls.

Temperature Fluctuations- Ghosts and spirits have been know to cause a difference in temperature. The most common is the “cold spot.” These cold spots can be anywhere from 5 degrees to 35 degrees. They are confined to small spaces, about 2 to 3 feet and can be tracked as it moves around an area. We have also encountered “hot” spots. These have mostly been on benches and chairs, as if someone had been sitting there and had just gotten up…even though the room had been empty for some time.

Thermal Imaging Camera- An expensive item that works much like a regular video camera, except that it shows images in temperature. The color red for hot and blue for cold, with variations for differences. This is a great tool for detecting cold or hot spots and being able to track them.

Thermal Scanner- This is a point and shoot temperature gun. It uses an infra-red beam to read temperatures at a distance, thus allowing us to scan an area for temperature fluctuations. Be careful though, heating and air conditioner units can have an effect on these devices, causing you to get many false readings.

Urban Legend- A story that has been told again and again of a supposedly true event, but in reality they are based very loosely on actual fact, if any at all. Some of the most famous include alligators in the sewers, a vanishing hitch-hiker, the boyfriend hanging from a tree over the car, crybaby bridge and the almighty gravity hill. These are cute for entertainment, but are usually nothing more then that.

Vampire- A mythological creature of the night. Vampires are the living dead, a corpse that has risen from the dead. Some cultures believe they are demons , while others think they are ghosts that rise from their graves at night to feed. Through all of the legends, vampires must feed on human blood to survive. They have abnormal strength and are not hurt by normal means. The vampire is killed by wood through the heart or by sunlight. Hollywood has made this creature of myth a pop culture icon.

Winchester Mystery House- Another famous haunted site. This is a 160 room mansion located in California. Sarah Winchester, wife of William Winchester, the son of the man who developed the Winchester repeating rifle, built this huge place. After William died, Sarah retreated to her home in New Haven, Conneticuit home. Since she had always had an interest in the paranormal, she got sucked into the rise of Spiritualism. She went through many mediums in her attempt to contact her late husband. Many failed, but then she met Adam Coons, who told Sarah that she was under the influence of a curse. She was to be haunted by the ghosts of all those who were killed by the Winchester rifle…unless she made amends to them. Adam instructed her to sell her home and move out west, where the spirit of her husband would find a place for them, and the ghosts to live. Sarah found a small, 8 room dwelling on 44 acres of land in the Santa Clara Valley. According to legend, when Sarah found the property in 1884, she heard a voice say “This is it”. Sarah bought the place and began a remodeling project that would last 38 years! There was no floor plan or blue prints…only the guidance of the spirits. Many workers were on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They often had to destroy work they had just done, only to do it over again a different way. In all, there are 160 rooms, 2000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases and several secret rooms and passageways. Sarah spent 5.5 million over the course of the 38 years, and the house was never finished!
Activity in the house included the sounds of footsteps, whispering, a piano playing, the odor of food cooking and the sight of doorknobs turning by themselves. Apparitions have been witnessed by grounds keepers and camera crews alike.

Witching Hour- Most believe this is the hour from Midnight to 1 AM on nights of a full moon. Its an important time, for witches reportedly draw their strength from the moon. As for how the “witching hour” affects haunting activity, it is believed that most activity occurs between midnight and 3 AM. This is when the majority of buildings and private homes are at their calmest. The workers and/or residents are usually asleep or relaxed. Our guard is down and our senses are more aware of our surroundings, since the normal, everyday distractions are not present.

Zombies– According to Voodoo tradition, it is a person who died and has been raised by a sorcerer. The zombie is a servant to the one who raised him and has no will of its own. Recent research into the phenomena has led investigators to believe this is not really paranormal, but most likely a medical condition. Researchers have found that most zombies are actually poisoned individuals, who are given a “potion” while they are alive. The potion gives the appearance of death, and if made in the right proportions, the person is buried. Later that night, the sorcerer breaks into the grave and retrieves the body. Again, if the potion works the way its supposed to, the “dead” person will come back to life. Sometimes they don’t and sometimes they come back with severe brain damage.

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