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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

These are some of the terms and phrases we use on this site that sometimes people have asked about. This list will be in a constant state of construction as we add new terms and more information. These terms are by no means "official" or absolute academically proper but they are the way we use them in the GHRS, Torontoghosts and Ontarioghosts.


Angel Boards See OUIJA BOARDS.

Apparition Type of ghostly phenomena that is strictly in the visual aspect. "Grey Ladies" and phantoms "seen" walking or gliding are, by our definition here, apparitions.

Auto-Debunker Someone who tries to "debunk" remotely and without field study or work. Usually makes claims without full evidence to support their own "debunking". Usually a tactic used by "non-believers" and so-called sceptics to belittle and more or less bury claims by witnesses and/or people who have experienced something out-of the norm. "Auto-Debunking" is little more than pontification of an untested hypothesis and of little use to the legitimate researcher and/or investigator other than to point out that the "auto-debunker" is not a source of valid information.

Automatic Writing The act of a person using a writing instrument like a Ouija Board. Sometimes used blindfolded and sometimes not, the person let's a force guide their hand to "write out" a message. Automatic writing is said to be using the "living human" to channel the spirit and allow them to communicate. See OUIJA BOARDS.

Channeling In psychic terms, to allow a spirit or ghost to "posses" or use a person or thing to communicate.

Clearing Home(s) The act of eliminating ghostly phenomena from a house/home/site/building.

Cold Spot An area or place that for an unknown reason seems to be cooler than the surrounding areas.

COTET Pronounced Koh-Tett: Acronym - "Corner of the Eye Thing". Common reported phenomena of catching something from the corner of the eye and then having it vanish or not exist.

CSICOP Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal which claims to be a sceptical organization but tends to the "non-believer" / "auto-debunker" / "remote-debunker" / "Sceptdebunker" side of things. They keep most people honest BUT do tend to the negative and can be quite abrasive. See DEBUNKER, NON-BELIEVER, SCEPTDEBUNKER, AUTO-DEBUNKER, REMOTE-DEBUNKER, TRUZZIAN
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud." - C.G.Jung (Addition to a lecture given to the Society for Psychical Research in 1919)


Debunker and Debunk To 'debunk' (in terms of paranormal investigation) is to remove or prove that the report or claim is indeed, not anomalous. To debunk is quite literally to "renove the bunk". A debunker is someone who works towards those goals. Often, we have used a compound term of "Auto-Debunker" or "Remote-Debuker" to describe certain groups or people. These are folks who "debunk" (or try to debunk) reports and events without actual study or field investigation. To remove "bunk" is good... To "debunk" can be good provided your evidence, facts, and data are solid. To "Auto-Debunk" or "Remote-Debunk" is bad and a waste of breath and energy. See NON-BELIEVER, CSICOP, SCEPTDEBUNKER, TRUZZIAN

Editor's Change/Addition: Paranormal research "...is beset by True Believers ('They must be, therefore they are!') and True Unbelievers ('They can't be, therefore they aren't!') Rare are those who pursue evidence wherever it may lead, no matter how the results may square with their cherished hopes and dreams. Ironically, both the TBists and the TUists see themselves as champions of objective analysis and critical thinking, when in fact they are defenders of their respective faiths and, not incidentally, their egos."


Karl Pflock in Saucer Smear



EMF Electro Magnetic Field. Generally it is thought that ghosts emit an electric field and therefore researchers use EMF detectors to try and collect evidence of ghosts. (EMF may not be all it's cracked up to be. See our article on in by clicking here.)

ESP Extra Sensory Perception. (See Psychic and Sensitive.) This describes the possible ability of some people (or sometimes, it is said we all have this ability to a degree,) to have psychic abilities. Some say that this ability is like the senses of touch, smell or sight but remains undeveloped in most people.

ESP Playback Theory on ghost sightings. Some people are "Tuned In" psychically or otherwise and there minds are able to either replay a former historical moment(s) or gain insight into the thoughts of the former person(s) in the room. This explains why some people see ghosts and others don't.

EVP Electronic Voice Phenomena. The audio capture of disembodied voices thought to be those of a ghost or spirit. Recording a voice when there shouldn't be any "physical" interference. Some say this phenomena is ONLY audible on the tapes after playback and usually not audible to the person during recording.
Historically speaking, (other than looking at the fact that Thomas Edison practically invented the phonograph desperately trying to figure out a way for the dead to communicate with the living,) EVPs first came to the fore through Friedrich Jurgenson who, while trying to record birdsongs outside his house in the 1950's, ended up having voices come over his tape as interference. Jurgenson, deciding that it might be "the voices of the dead" tried to record them in a small forest hut near his home.

His first clear EVP from this was a voice in German saying "Friedle, little Friedel, can you hear me?" which apparently could not have come from a "living" person.

From that point, Jurgenson invested a lot of his time into the study of EVPs until he passed away in the late 1980's.


Floater An apparition seen "floating" above an area. (See Apparition)

Free Form Apparition A possible apparition but without real form. Possibly an odd moving mist or blurred figure of an "abnormal" shape.

Fresh Film/Tape As part of a GHRS investigation, all film, audio tapes and video tapes MUST be sealed "fresh" from the store and opened in front of at least one witness before loading it into a machine. This eliminates some possibilities of fraudulent or corrupt images/sounds being misconstrued as something paranormal.

Ghostbuster See "CLEARING HOMES". A person who purports to be able to rid a home or area of ghostly phenomena.

Ghost Enthusiast A person very interested in the topic of ghosts and hauntings who spends part of their time doing what research they can.

Ghost Hunter Term used for someone who is trying to obtain physical evidence of the existence of ghosts.

Ghost Researcher or Investigator In terms of the GHRS, someone who is part folklorist, part historian and part detective when examining ghosts and hauntings. Not as interested in collecting physical evidence or proof, someone who is simply collecting reports and stories dealing with ghosts and hauntings. The only difference between a "Researcher/Investigator" and an "Enthusiast" is the level of study and time expended in pursuit of information.

Ghostly Phenomena Activities or phenomena that can be classified as coming from or being related to a ghost. Things such as phantom footsteps, unexplained sounds, objects moved without human intervention, apparitions, etc. The phenomena usually is related to a haunting but this is not always the case as ghostly phenomena can (apparently) happen almost anywhere to anyone.

GHRS The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society. The "global" group of which Torontoghosts is a member of.

Haunting When ghostly phenomena is seen to match a deceased (or living... see Doppleganger) person or animal matching physical descriptions of activities or aesthetics, then it can be said that "x" person/animal's 'ghost' is "haunting" that particular local.

Historic Repeater A term we use for a "ghost" that seems to be going through the actions of the "former living person" it represents. Repeating it's own history.

"Irregulars" The "regular visitors" of our message board and site. Name taken from Sherlock Holmes' band of children/spies he employed to gather information.

Kayfabe Professional wrestling term used to describe a wrestler's in ring persona. If the wrestler doesn't "break kayfabe", it means he/she has not dropped character. We use this term sometimes to describe individuals and phenomena that doesn't seem to break character.

Known Haunt A site or place that has already been written about or been in the media and is therefore fairly well known.

Logical Event Chain Humans need to rationalize EVERYTHING as a basic logic principal. Therefore, when the illogical happens, the human psyche is programmed to accept the improbable as a solution. For example, if a light burns out that has never burnt out before and on the same night, a tragedy of some sort occurs, it is human nature to try and correlate the instances.

Mag Lite Brand name of flashlight commonly used by our group(s) while on investigations. Sturdy construction and always containing a spare "bulb". The lamps are very strong and very useful in the field. All our "larger" mag lite's have names such as the Enforcer, Persuader, Penetrator and Intruder. Needless to say, these are meant in fun.

Mists Photograph of strange smoke or "mist" that is attributed to ghostly activity. Also called "Fogs". (See the page located by clicking here for more information.)

Moderate Truzzian See "Truzzian".

NDE Near Death Experience. This describes a situation where a person has been determined to be clinically dead and then revived. When the heart stops and brain function ceases but then, by either medical procedures or by "fluke", the patient regains consciousness. The patient is then able to "report" what death was like.

New Age Blanket term meaning anything from "natural medicine" to various spiritual or religious sets. "Ghostology" or the study of ghosts and "Parapsychology" or the study of the paranormal are often lumped into the category of New Age because one often finds books on ghosts, hauntings, UFO, cryptozoology and ESP phenomena dumped into bookstores "New Age Sections" which also cover astrology, crystals and other studies.

Non-Believer Person of a simple mindset. "Ghosts and hauntings do not exist."

OOBE or OBE Out of Body Experience. Not to be confused with NDE (Near Death Experience), an out of body experience is where the person involved feels themselves leaving their physical body and traveling in a "spirit" or non-physical form. People who have experienced an NDE often describe an OOBE as the first part of the process.

Orb Photographic anomaly that resembles a ball of light (or shadow) that seems to defy a natural explanation. These are usually attributed to ghostly activity. (See the page located by clicking here for more information.)

Ouija Boards/Angel Boards Devices marketed for the communication with spirits which involves supposedly involuntary movement of a needle or planchette over letters and numbers to aid in spirit communication with the "living". (Oui - French for Yes, Ja - German for Yes.)
Notes on Ouija boards, we have spoken to several experts and only one group says that Ouija Boards are an "okay" tool and even recommend them to a degree. The rest agree that Ouijas are not good tools and really shouldn't be used... From our own "How To" files, here are the two "schools of thought" on Ouija and Angel Boards...

#1: Ouija's are a dangerous and uncontrollable device that can unleash ANYTHING from the "spirit world" into our realm. Once there, this new entity may control events to such a degree as to screw up any "real" investigation.

#2: Ouija's are a dangerous and thoroughly controllable game mass marketed by Parker Bros. that can either induce your team to conjure up nastiness from their own subconscious that will affect their usefulness on the investigation OR some twit will lead the overzealous to believe something as a joke that isn't true and that will also affect the outcome of your investigation.


Parapsychology Blanket term for the study of paranormal phenomena including ESP, telekinesis, clairvoyance and several other "human" related studies including survival of bodily death.

Pareidolia Definition: pareidolia (payr.eye.DOH.lee.uh) n. The erroneous perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random. (adj. - pareidolic)

Poltergeist German for noisy ghost. Although other people disagree, we lump all "non-apparition, sound an movement only" phenomena into this category. From the gentle sounds of phantom footsteps to the furniture throwing tormentors, poltergeists make up the lion's share of reported phenomena that is sent to us.

Psi Shortened term used for "parapsychology". Often used to discuss more "From the mind" phenomena such as ESP, Psychokenisis and the like.

Psychic Someone who by dint of a "spirit guide" or by there own clairvoyance claim the ability to communicate with spirits.

Psychosomatic Ghost(s) Term used to describe possible entities or sightings of ghosts that seem to possibly be conjured in the witnesses mind rather than via "traditional" ghostly means. Not necessarily a sign of mental illness or even gullability but more along the lines of wishful thinking. Can be used to describe natural phenomena mistaken (and uninvestigated by the witness (or witnesses) as definite proof of phenomena caused by a "ghost" or the "ghost" itself. See THREE DOT SYNDROME

Sceptdebunker or Skeptdebunker (With "K" is the American Spelling) A term coined by UFOlogist Stanton Friedman (slightly altered from it's original "skeptidebunker" as Friedman coined) to describe groups such as CSICOP which are more 'auto-debunkers' than sceptics although they use the term 'sceptic' to describe their efforts.


According to the late Marcello Truzzi, sceptics should be "doubters", not "deniers". Sceptdebunkers tend to deny without study. Sceptdebunkers rarely, if ever, use true investigation or research to validate their point but tend to simply preach their "non-belief" from their self-proclaimed "sceptical" pulpits.
Truzzi (a co-founder of CSICOP who left the group he founded) believed in investigation and using neutral observers in terms of studying the paranormal. Most "sceptdebunkers" rail against this and see those who might try to use science or research to look into paranormal topics as "soft-sceptics" (apparently a derogatory term in "sceptical circles) regardless if these "soft-sceptics" findings disprove claims of the paranormal.
Richard Hall once described these types of sceptics as "egotistical, opinionated, ill-informed data-deniers." Friedman adds that this type of sceptic tends to do their investigation by proclamation rather than any form of real work and legitimate study.


To a sceptdebunker, paranormal phenomena is nothing but frauds, hoaxes, and otherwise pointless stupidity and claims of the paranormal are never (and will never be) substantiated. Their minds are made up... regardless of any evidence to the contrary.


See DEBUNKER, CSICOP, SCEPTIC, TRUE BELIEVER, TRUZZIAN, Marcello Truzzi

From Stan Friedman's website on sceptdebunkers' tactics and thought processes...

"Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up."

"If one can't attack the data, attack the people. It is easier."

"Do one's research by proclamation rather than investigation. It is much easier, and nobody will know the difference anyway."

Sceptic or Skeptic (With "K" is the American Spelling) NOT A NON-BELIEVER, Sceptics are of the "Prove it to me by showing it to me" genre. "Open Minded Sceptics" are often self described as more willing to believe than debunk claims but still requiring proof. A good 'sceptic' should need to see to believe AND need to see NOT to believe.
See SCEPTDEBUNKER, DEBUNKER, CSICOP, TRUE BELIEVER, TRUZZIAN, Marcello Truzzi

Sensitive Similar to psychics, sensitives do not claim the ability to communicate but rather the ability to "sense" the presence of spirits and ghosts.

Sentient Spirit A ghost that seems to be aware of it's surroundings and the people that now occupy it.

Sleep Paralysis Common ailment which can lead to a physical condition that can lead to people misinterpreting certain breathing and muscular symptoms for something much more. Sleep paralysiss' symptoms include the inability to speak or move, pressure on the chest and a feeling of dread followed by usually a "vision" to make all the symptoms justified within the state of being conscious and unconscious. This is not an explanation for all or any ghostly phenomena, but is not entirely uncommon. Sleep Paralysis occurs when the body is between being in "dream sleep" (REM - Rapid Eye Movement) and being awake which is why the symptoms seem very real to the person who has experienced them. This natural phenomena has also been put forward as a possible explanation for other paranormal experiences.

Remote-Debunker Someone who tries to "debunk" remotely and without field study or work. Usually makes claims without full evidence to support their own "debunking". Usually a tactic used by "non-believers" and so-called sceptics to belittle and more or less bury claims by witnesses and/or people who have experienced something out-of the norm. "Remote-Debunking" is little more than pontification of an untested hypothesis and of little use to the legitimate researcher and/or investigator other than to point out that the "remote-debunker" is not a source of valid information.

Telekinesis and Psychokenisis The ability to view remote items and manipulate matter with the mind. In basic terms, the ability to move or "touch" objects through the power of thought.

Three-Dot Syndrome Looking at a photo of almost anything and finding a "face". Corresponding "dots" that seem to make up a nose, eyes, mouth, etc. even though it may not exist. When people try too hard to show the "face in the cloud", one might look into a possibility of three-dot-syndrome. The scientific term is pareidolia.

Troll Term used by Internet Newsgroups and applied not only to our message board but IRL (In Real Life) as well. A "troll" on our message board is usually someone trying to garner attention by either posting rude or fraudulent messages. IRL, a troll is someone who sabotages investigations or mocks those of us trying to study the phenomena. Rule of thumb, these people are looking for attention, "Don't feed the trolls".

True Believer Someone absolutely convinced in the authenticity of ghosts and hauntings and does not require any proof.

Editor's Change/Addition: Paranormal research "...is beset by True Believers ('They must be, therefore they are!') and True Unbelievers ('They can't be, therefore they aren't!') Rare are those who pursue evidence wherever it may lead, no matter how the results may square with their cherished hopes and dreams. Ironically, both the TBists and the TUists see themselves as champions of objective analysis and critical thinking, when in fact they are defenders of their respective faiths and, not incidentally, their egos."

Karl Pflock in Saucer Smear


Truzzian Term coined from the name of the late "Marcello Truzzi" who was a founding member of CSICOP but quit as he believed in examining and proving (or disproving via experimentation) the authenticity of claims of the paranormal. CSICOP does not feel the need to do this and therefore, Truzzi left the organization he helped found and was shunned and generally blasted by the "Scetpdebunkers" for his moderate views. Truzzi was a 'non-believer' of sorts but was more of a true 'sceptic' who doubted things rather than 'soffed' at them. The director of the GHRS, Matthew Didier, now calls himself a "Moderate Truzzian" as he also doubts but leans harder towards the "believer" side than the "non-believer" and believes the only through experimentation and research will any form of acceptance or understanding will begin and this is the only way that 'proof' can be accepted by all. See TRUE BELIEVER, CSICOP, SCEPTIC, SCEPTDEBUNKER, NON-BELIEVER
[Submitted: February 6th, 2003]

Unknown Haunt or Previously Unknown Haunt A site or place that has not already been written about or been in the media and is therefore not known to the general public.


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