In a test of general extrasensory perception, the individual
(human or animal) who looks at the information constituting the target
and who is said to “send” or “transmit” that information to a percipient;
in a test of telepathy, and in cases of spontaneous extrasensory
perception, the individual about whose mental states information is
acquired by a percipient; the term is very occasionally used to refer to
the subject in a test of psychokinesis or the focus in a poltergeist
case. [From the Latin agens (agentis), derived from agere,
“to drive, do”]
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]
ALTERED STATE(S) OF CONSCIOUSNESS (ASC)
Expression popularized by Charles T. Tart which can refer to virtually
any mental state differing from that of the normal waking condition; of
parapsychological interest as possibly psi-conducive states; they
include dreaming, hypnosis, trance, meditation of the yoga or Zen
tradition, the hypnagogic-like state induced by the ganzfeld, and
Term first used by Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones (1982) to indicate
that part of psychology that investigates “anomalistic”
psychological phenomena, that is, phenomena which have tended to be
explained in terms of the paranormal, the supernatural,
magic, or the occult; the term is also meant to include belief in
UFOs, in astrology, and in such creatures as the Loch Ness Monster.
Having the quality of an 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.”
Term coined by J. B. Rhine to refer to psi ability in non-human animals.
[Contraction of “animal psi”]
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")
An entity said to be an exact, quasi-physical replica or “double” of
the individual physical body, which can separate itself from the
physical body, either temporarily, as in dreaming or in the out-of-the-body
experience, or permanently, at the moment of death. Also known as
the “etheric” body. [From the Latin astralis, derived from astrum,
“star,” derived from the Greek astron]
See Astral Projection under Out-of-[the]-Body Experience.
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”]
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.
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]
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.
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
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.”
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
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
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.
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
(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.
See under Apparition.
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.
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”]
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”]
The determination of the nature and circumstances of a diseased
condition by means of extrasensory perception. See also Healing,
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
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.
An apparitional double or counterpart of a living person. See also Astral
Body; Bilocation [German for “doublewalker”]
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
An apparently paranormal dream, inasmuch as some of the dream
details give information about events normally unknowable to the
Aksakof, A. N. (1895). Animisme et spiritisme. Paris: P. G.
Leymarie. (Original work published in 1890 in German in Leipzig.)
Ashby, R. H (1972). Glossary of terms. In The guidebook for the study
of psychical research and parapsychology (pp. 144-157). London:
Batcheldor, K. J. (1984). Contributions to the theory of PK induction
from sitter-group work. Journal of the American Society for Psychical
Research, 78, 105-122.
Beloff, J., & Bate, D. (1970). Research Report for the year 1968-69,
University of Edinburgh Parapsychology Unit. Journal of the Society
for Psychical Research, 45, 297-301.
Braud, W. G. (1978). Allobiofeedback: Immediate feedback for a
psychokinetic influence upon another person's physiology. In W. G. Roll
(Ed.), Research in parapsychology, 1977 (pp. 123-134). Metuchen,
New Jersey: Scarecrow Press.
Buchanan, J. R. (1893). Manual of psychometry. Boston: F. H.
Dale, L., & White, R. A. (1977). Glossary of terms found in the
literature of psychical research and parapsychology. In B. B. Wolman et
al. (Eds.) Handbook of parapsychology (pp. 921-936). New
York: van Nostrand Reinhold.
Dessoir, M. (1889). Die Parapsychologie, Sphinx, 7, 341-344.
Fukurai,T. (1931). Clairvoyance and thoughtography. London:
Hastings, A. (1990). Psi and the phenomena of channeling. In L. A.
Henkel & J. Palmer, (Eds.), Research in parapsychology 1989
(pp. 99-123). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.
Jung, C. G., & Pauli, W. (1955). The interpretation of nature and
the psyche. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Myers, F. W. H. (1903). Human personality and its survival of bodily
death. New York: Longmans, Green.
Nash, C. B. (1978). Appendix II. In Science of psi (pp. 237-249).
Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.
Palmer, J. (1986) Terminological poverty in parapsychology: Two
examples. In D. H. Weiner &. D. I. Radin (Eds.), Research in
parapsychology 1985 (pp.138-141) Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.
Richet, C. (1905). Xénoglossie: L'ecriture automatique en langues étrangères.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 19, 162-194.
Schmeidler, G. R. (1943). Predicting good and bad scores in a
clairvoyance experiment: A preliminary report. Journal of the
American Society for Psychical Research, 37, 103-110.
Targ, R. (1983). Proposed application of associational remote viewing to
oil and natural resource recovery In W. G. Roll, J. Beloff, & R. A.
White (Eds). Research in parapsychology 1982 (pp. 264-266).
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. [Abstract]
Targ, R., & Puthoff, H. ( 1974). Information transmission under
conditions of sensory shielding. Nature, 251, 602-607.
Thalbourne, M. A. (1991a). The psychology of mystical experience. Exceptional
Human Experience, 9, 168-186.
Thalbourne, M. A. (1991b). The psychology of mystical experience. Exceptional
Human Experience, 9, 269.
Thalbourne, M. A. (in press). A Glossary of Terms Used In
New York: Puente Publications.
Vilenskaya, L. (1983). Two views of one book. Psi Research, June,
White, R. A. (1994). Exceptional human experiences: The generic
connection. ASPR Newsletter, 18(3), 1-6.
Wilson, S. C., & Barger, T. X. (1983). The fantasy-prone
personality: Implications for understanding imagery, hypnosis, and
parapsychological phenomena. In A. A. Sheikh (Ed.), Imagery: Current
theory, research, and application (pp. 340-398). New York: Wiley.
Zusne, L., & Jones, W. H. (1982). Anomalistic psychology: A study
of extraordinary phenomena. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum