The following is a list of ghost hunting definitions to catch you up to speed with hunting ghosts. Anomaly - Something found on a picture, photograph, video or voice recording that has no explainable source.
Apparition - A spirit that is in human form and usually visible to the naked eye; or may appear in a photo undetected originally by the naked eye. Often this anomaly is dressed in period clothing. Very hard to capture on film but many have reported seeing this type of ghost. This is the "Hollywood Type" ghost featured in many movies.
Cameras - Paranormal investigators use both digital and 35mm cameras. Digital cameras are great because they seem more adept at capturing anomalies and give instant results. They are also cheaper to use than film.
Crystal Ball -Used by mediums who are usually in contact with ghosts or spirit helpers. We do not use mediums.
Dowsing Rods - Two rods held out in front of one which cross when paranormal activity is present. For years, dowsing rods have been used to find water for wells, and burial sites. They are an inexpensive tool to help detect areas of paranormal activity for confirmation with photos and other detection devices.
Ectoplasm - - The term used for a smoke-like or fog looking mist that appears in photos but was not discernible by the human eye. This phenomena has been captured in the midst of large groups of people as well.
EMF Meter - A meter for measuring electromagnetic fields. Spirits have been found to interrupt or even create their own electromagnetic fields. Compasses can also be used to detect changes in EMF's. A spike in EMF activity could represent spirit activity and is an excellent tool of the paranormal investigator to locate areas to study and collaborate evidence of the presence of ghosts.
Energy Lights - These show up on photos as colored lights during some manifestations of a haunting. They usually are not visible to the naked eye and can appear in different colors such as red, orange or green.
EVP - "Electronic Voice Phenomenon" is the recording of audio tapes at a suspected haunted site; and although no voices were heard at the time of the recording, unexplained voices may be discovered during playback of the audio tape. Both digital recorder and traditional tape recorders may be used with an external microphone.
Hard Evidence - Any physical evidence that can be backed up scientifically, as opposed to “soft” evidence, which is subjective.
Haunt, Haunted - The word “haunt” basically means “to visit a location frequently.” It carries the root meaning of “bring home,” and “familiarity.” Therefore, we use the word “haunted” to describe a location that is requented by a spirit. It could be the spirit’s home, a place where the person died, a place where the spirit feels trapped for some reason, or just where the spirit feels the most comfortable.
Haunted Object - Objects that have a spirit attached. It is unknown why some objects seem to be haunted. It is speculated that the spirit has some deep emotional attachment to the object, and for reasons of comfort or protection, remains with the object.
Intelligent Haunting - When spirits dwell in a specific area and demonstrate an interaction with those here in the physical realm.
Kinetic Energy - Description for the movement of objects by a ghost. A physical manifestation of an unseen force which may move, throw or even destroy objects. These ghosts are known as "Poltergeists".
Orb - A true orb (if it exists at all) is a rarely observed sphere or ball of light or energy seen with the naked eye and associated with paranormal activity. However, most orbs that are captured in photographs are simply the reflection of airborne dust particles, rain, pollen, or snow. In the vast majority of cases, orbs are paranormally meaningless and do not constitute evidence of paranormal activity.
Motion Sensors and Detectors - Some paranormal investigators use motion detectors to watch for unseen object or infrared (heat) movement.
Plasma/Plasmoid - Moving orbs caught during the time of camera exposure. Orbs have also been filmed moving on video. In photos, they appear as streaking light or as an orb with a tail showing the path of motion. These are also known as "supercharged orbs" in motion.
Poltergeist - German for "noisy ghost." These ghosts manifest in the physical; enough to produce sounds and the movement of objects.
Residual Haunting - When a spirit is seen doing the same thing over and over, many believe this to be simply an energy imprint or residual haunting. In other words, a strong or traumatic event that occurred in some other time, repeating itself over and over. Usually these spirits do not interact with those who see them.
Shadow People /Dark Shadows - Unexplainable dark shadows in photos and video which sometimes may be seen with the naked eye. “Shadow People”, is the term used to describe a particular kind of manifestation. The witness will often just catch a glimpse of something out of his or her peripheral vision. Seeing a Shadow Person is usually a quick event, although there are reports of longer sightings. Some have even claimed that the Shadow Person walked up the wall or along the ceiling. Some have speculated that Shadow People are Inhuman rather than Human spirits.
Skeptical, Skeptic - Means to question. To be skeptical is healthy and implies that the person possesses preconceived notions from the outset and is trying to prove it one particular way regardless of any evidence to the contrary.
Smudging - A ritual purification by smoke, common to most of the native tribes and people of the Americas. It is used by many to cleanse an object, person, or home of negative energies. Smudging is performed by lighting a smudge stick and allowing it to burn for a moment, then gently blowing it out and allowing it to smoke. An ashtray is used to catch any ashes that fall. To smudge a house or building, walk through the various rooms allowing the smoke to reach each part of the room. Some people will also include certain words to make the smudging ceremonial or ritualistic. Items, objects, and people can be smudged by allowing the smoke to envelope the object or person several times. As with all cleansing items, smudging has no power of its own; it only has the power given to it by strong Belief.
Smudge Stick - An herb such as White Sage or Sweet Grass bundled into a thick, round stick, and burned similar to incense. White Sage is thought by many to drive away negative energy and entities, whereas Sweet Grass is thought to attract good energy and spirits. Therefore, White Sage is usually burned before Sweet Grass. Many other herbs are available for various purposes.
Soft Evidence - Soft evidence refers to subjective psychic data as perceived by Sensitives, Mediums, and Intuitives. It cannot be backed up with hard facts.
Thermal Scanners/Thermometers - Used to detect cold or hot spots which can indicate paranormal activity.
Vortex or Vortices - A long streak across a photo that may be caused by a very high-speeding "orb;" some believe vortices are a gateway between both realms (physical and spirit realms). They are usually white in color and may appear as a funnel-shape. Camera straps, human hair, a tree branch, etc., right in front of the camera lens during exposure have been notoriously mistaken for a vortex. It is important to make sure anything that may interfere with your photo is removed from within the front of the camera. Something that produces extraordinary effects, especially in averting or repelling evil.