There are three unacceptable terms in my professional vocabulary: "belief", "disbelief", and "supernatural". "Belief" is the uncritical acceptance of something you can't prove objectively. "Disbelief" is an a priori rejection without truly examining the facts. "Supernatural" does not in fact exist, since everything in all universes is of necessity natural, whether we understand it or not at any given moment in our time consciousness. Hans Holzer, Ph.D

Acceleration: The speed at which an object is traveling is further increased. The objects travels faster because some force is applied to push or pull the object, making it move more quickly.

Antagonist: An opponent or adversary displaying active opposition or hostility.

Apparition: A visual appearance of a person not actually present, living or deceased. Extensive research shows that apparitions appear most frequently when special anxiety, and the desire to send an urgent message, coincide with the physical extremity of the agent.

Apport: An object materialised from the invisible part of reality.

A priori: Conclusions proceeding investigation and based on theory rather than on actual observation

Atom: The smallest particle that makes up all matter and yet retains the chemical properties of the element.

Apparition: An etheric appearance which suggests the presence of a person, living or dead. Extensive research shows that apparitions appear most frequently when special anxiety, and the desire to send an urgent message, coincide with the physical extremity of the agent.

Automatic Writing: Scripts produced without the control of the conscious self.

Belief: The acceptance of an opinion or statement without evidence or proof. 

Black Hole: A region in space from which no material or light escapes dues to its enormous gravitational force.

Catalepsy: A state in which a person loses consciousness and the power to feel, and the muscles become rigid. A state of body-rigidity during which the normal functions are suspended.

Chemistry: The study of the composition of substances, their effect upon one another and the changes which they undergo. The three main branches of chemistry are organic, inorganic and physical chemistry.

Clairaudience: Literally "clear hearing". A faculty of extra-sensory perception, in which the medium can (ostensibly) hear the spoken words of the unseen etherian (a deceased person).

Clairvoyance: Literally meaning "clear seeing". A faculty of extra-sensory perception in which a person can see and describe distance events or objects.

Communicator: Personality, purportedly of a deceased being, who communicates with living persons, often via a medium.

Control Group: Groups of persons assessed for performance relative to an experimental group, although not subject to (all of) the same procedures.

Cosmology: The scientific study of the nature of the universe including its beginning (origin), structure and development (evolution).

Cross Correspondence: The process of putting together fragmentary items of information, usually obtained from two or more independent mediums, which are initially without significance, but when assembled together convey an intelligent message or make a significant allusion.

Cryptesthesia: A term coined by Charles Richet to describe a "sixth sense" - that is, perception, by means of an unknown mechanism, which produces cognition as an end result. Today this faculty is more commonly expressed by the term extra-sensory perception.

Death: The final cessation of vital functions in an organism.

Debunking: The attempt to falsify preconceived and accepted opinions.

Drop-in Communicator: A deceased communicator who manifests uninvited at a sitting, and whose existence is unknown both to the medium and the sitters at his first experience.

Ectoplasm: A subtle living matter present in the body of a medium, and which is capable of assuming various semi-solid or solid states, which can be, and have been felt, and photographed. Primarily drawn from materialisation mediums, and to a lesser extent non-mediums, to "clothe" deceased, etheric persons. (See also "teleplasm")

Einstein, Albert (1879-1955): A German-born American physicist and mathematician who formulated the Relativity theories in 1905 and 1915 and carried out investigations in thermodynamics and radiation physics. In 1921, he received the Nobel Prize in physics. He became a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, New Jersey, in 1933 after fleeing Nazi Germany.

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): A voice or voices of paranormal origin captured on magnetic tape.

Energy: The capacity to do work. There are various forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, mechanical, electrical, kinetic and potential, but all are expressed in the same unit of measurement, called the joule. 

Etherian: A term used to describe a deceased person residing in the etheric world.

Experimenter Effect: Influence on an experiment apparently due to some aspect, conscious or otherwise, of the experimenter's interaction with his subjects. May include the experimenter's attitude to his experiment, or indeed to the whole field.

Frequency: The number of complete wavelengths passing any given reference point on the line of zero disturbance.

Ganzfeld: Homogeneous environment created for a percipient by playing white noise to him through headphones and also furnished a uniform visual field for him by (for example) wearing translucent goggles.

Gravity: The attractive force that the earth exerts on any body that has mass, tending to cause the body to accelerate towards it. Other planets also exert a force of gravity, but the force is different from that exerted by the earth since it depends on the planet's mass and diameter.

Inertia: The property or characteristic of an object that causes it to resist any change in its state of movement, unless it is being acted upon by some outside force. If no force is present, the object will remain still or continue moving at a particular speed in a straight line. The first of Newton's Laws of Motion says that the mass of an object is directly related to the amount of its resistance to changing its direction of motion, or its inertia.

Laboratory: Any room or building that is especially built or equipped for undertaking scientific experiments, research or chemical manufacture. The study of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, geology and other subjects usually involves some work in a laboratory and each is equipped with special instruments.

Levitation: Lifting and suspension of an object or a person in the air without apparent use of orthodox physical or technological means.

Light: Electromagnetic waves of a particular wavelength which are visible to the human eye. Objects can only be seen if light is reflected from them or given off by them reaches the eye. 

Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC): Usually refers to the communication from ostensible afterlife entities by different electronic means - fax, television etc.

Magnetic field: The region of space in which a magnetic body exerts its force. Magnetic fields are produced by moving charged particles and represents a force with a definite direction.

Materialism: Usually refers to the belief that only those things which can be perceived by the five senses exist. 

Mass: The measure of the quantity of matter that a substance possesses. Mass is measured in grams (g) or kilograms (kg).

Materialisation: The production, by living or deceased persons, of objective, physical masses, in the form of human hands, faces, hair and complete bodies from the invisible substance ectoplasm or teleplasm. 

Matter: Any substance that occupies space and has mass: the material of which the universe is made. It normally exists in the three states of gas, liquid or solid. Plasma is considered to be a forth state but it only exists at very  high temperatures e.g., in stars.

Medium: "In the middle" or "a go-between". A person who appears to have above average "psychic" abilities. Such abilities can be developed to serve as a channel between this world and the next. The faculty of mediumship operates without regard to sex, education, race, or religion. It is not a pathological state, as its development leads to an expansion of original powers.

Metapsychics: A term proposed by Prof. Charles Richet, in France, in 1905, as a name for a science dealing with psychological phenomena which appeared to be due to the activity of intelligent forces independent of the human body, or latent within it.

Mind: The non-physical aspect of man that contains his memories, intellect, affections, etc.

Modus Operandi: The particular way in which a person performs a task or action.

Molecule: The smallest chemical unit of an element or compound that can exist independently. Any molecule consists of atoms bonded together in a fixed ratio, e.g., an oxygen molecule (O2) has two oxygen atoms bonded together and a carbon dioxide molecule (CO2) has two oxygen atoms bonded to one carbon atom. Molecules may contain thousands of atoms.

Momentum: The property of an object defined as the product of its velocity and mass and it is measured in kgm/s. Momentum is related to force as follows: Force = the rate of change of momentum.

Near-Death Experience: The experience of a range of phenomena at the brink of death, such as an out-of-body experience, the feeling of traveling through a tunnel, visions of deceased individuals, a review of one's life, usually followed by a will to return to the physical body, though not always.

Neutron: An uncharged particle that is found in the nucleus of an atom. The mass of the neutron is 1.675 x 10-24g, which is slightly larger than the mass of the proton.

Newton's Laws of Motion: The fundamental laws of mechanics, which describe the effects of force on objects. Developed by Isaac Newton (1643-1727), the famous scientist, the three laws of motion state: First law: any object will remain in a state of rest or constant linear motion provided no unbalanced force acts upon it. Second Law: the rate of change of momentum is proportional to the applied force and occurs in the linear direction in which the force acts. Third Law: every actions has a reaction, which has a force equal in magnitude but opposite in its direction.

Objective/subjective: Objectivity refers to anything which can be scientifically measured or which can be duplicated over time and space e.g. 5+7=12. Subjectivity refers to anything which does not have the substance of science of objectivity e.g. all beliefs, religion, theology, atheism, agnosticism even skepticism - these subjective beliefs are personal beliefs, are subjective beliefs and therefore all subject to complete invalidation.

Oscillation: The regular fluctuation of an object whether by means of a cycle, vibration of rotation. In the case of a simple pendulum, oscillation refers to its regular swinging motion and, when used in connection with electrical circuits oscillation refers to the production of an alternating current.

Periodic Table: An ordered table of all the elements arranged by their atomic numbers, i.e., the number of protons and electrons in an atom. The arrangement means that elements with similar properties are grouped near to each other.

Philosophy: The use of reason and argument in seeking truth and knowledge of reality, especially of the causes and nature of things and of the principles governing existence, the material universe, perception of physical phenomena and human behavior.

Photon: A quantum or packet of energy that is a basic part of all electromagnetic waves.

Physics: The study of matter and energy, and changes in energy without chemical alteration. Physics includes a number of topics such as magnetism, electricity, heat, light and sound. The study of modern physics also included quantum theory, atomic and nuclear physics i.e., subatomic particles and their behavior and the physics of nuclear fission and fusion.

Pressure: The force exerted on the unit area of a surface. The pressure of a gas is equal to the force that its molecules exert on the walls of the containing vessel, divided by the surface area of the vessel.

Proton: A particle that carries a positive charge and is found in the nucleus of every atom. As an atom is electrically neutral, the number of protons equals the number of negatively charged electrons.

Proxy Sittings: A person who participates in a "sťance" on behalf of some other person. This negates the claim of cold-reading. 

Pseudo-sceptic: A person who remains sceptical indefinitely, no matter how voluminous or credible the evidence to the contrary.

Psychic: From the Greek word "psyche" meaning "soul" or "indwelling spirit". The term "psychic" is commonly used to describe so-called supernormal phenomena.

Psychic phenomena: Usually refers to paranormal phenomena such as mediumship, telepathy, out-of-body experiences, near death experiences, etc.

Psychical research: Research into "psychic phenomena" using strict scientific methods and criteria.

Quantum: A discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.

Quantum Mechanics: A mathematical form of quantum theory dealing with the motion and interaction of (especially subatomic) particles and incorporating the concept that these particles can also be regarded as waves.

Radio Waves: A means of communication through space, sending information in the form of sound, pictures and digital data.

Refraction: The bending of, most commonly, a light ray when it travels from one medium to another, e.g., air to water. The refraction occurs at the point where the light passes from one material to another and is caused by the light traveling at different velocities in the different media.

Relativity: The theory derived by Einstein that establishes the concept of a four-dimensional space-time continuum where there is no clear line between three-dimensional space and independent time, hence space and time are considered to be bound together. 

Religion: The belief in a superhuman controlling power, especially in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship.

Scepticism: The modern usage of the word skepticism refers to an active disbelief in any paranormal phenomena. In its true sense, scepticism refers to doubting anything until its alleged existence is proved.

Schrodinger (wave) equation: The basic equation used in wave mechanics which describes the behaviour of a particle in a force field.

Science: A branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematic observation of and experiment with natural phenomena.

Sťance: A group persons who attempt to make contact with the deceased through one or more mediums. Usually accompanied by hymns, pray and a linking-of-hands.

Spiritualism: An officially recognised religion concerned with mediumship, belief in an afterlife and, usually, the recognition and worship of a God.

Subatomic Particles: Particles that make up an atom, i.e., electron and photon.

Survival: Usually referring to the surviving mind, personality or consciousness after physical death.

Telepathy: Paranormal acquisition of information from one mind to another.

Teleplasm: From the Greek "tele", meaning "far" or "at a distance", and from the Greek "plassein" meaning "to mould" or "shape". A teleplasm is something moulded or shaped. It is defined as shapeless cloud-like or semi-fluid substance, present in the body of a psychically gifted person. It can be externalized and solidified into various shapes and forms apparently by the action of the will of the trance-control. Some of the teleplasmic forms may appear crude and even repulsive; others are very beautiful. Teleplasm can appear as fingers, hands, faces, hair, partial and full human bodies. It then disintegrates and disappears and is re-absorbed into the medium's body. It has been seen in its various aspects in red light, and good white light, and has been photographed many times by investigators such as William Crookes, W. J. Crawford, Mme. Bisson, Gustave Geley, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, Eugene Osty, Hans Gerloff, Crandon, Glen Hamilton and others. (See also "ectoplasm")

Thermodynamics: The study of laws affecting processes that involve heat changes and energy transfer. Heat transfer from one body to another; the link between heat and work and changes of state in a fluid all come within the field of thermodynamics, it is the prerequisite to analysis of work by machinery. There are essentially three laws of thermodynamics. The First Law says that heat is a form of energy and is conserved and any work energy produced in a closed system must arise from the conversion of existing energy, i.e., energy cannot be created or destroyed. The Second Law states that the entropy of any closed system cannot decrease and if the system undergoes a reversible process it remains constant, otherwise it increases. The result of this is that heat always flows from a hot body to a cooler one. The Third Law states that absolute zero can never be attained.

Trance: A sleep-like condition, an induced state of unconsciousness. In the true mediumstic trance the medium's own personality is temporarily submerged, and he or she is "taken over" or "invaded" by a trance-personality or trance-control, who speaks, using the medium's voice, or who writes, using the medium's hand and arm. Trance-speech and trance-writing are called trance-automatisms.

Vacuum: In theory, a space in which there is no matter. However, a perfect vacuum is unobtainable and the term describes a gas at a very low pressure.

Velocity: The rate of change of position of an object, that is the speed at which it travels. Velocity (v) is a vector quantity, because it is expressed in both magnitude (size) and direction of travel. The unit of velocity is metres per second (ms-1) and can be calculated using displacement (s) and time elapsed (t) as follows: V = s/t. An object is described as moving with constant velocity when it is travelling along a straight line in equal proportions of distance against time. However, it is more likely that an object's velocity changes with time, in which case the object is said to be accelerating.

Wave: A mechanism of energy transfer through a medium. The origin of the wave is vibrating particles, which store and release energy while their mean position remains constant as it is only the wave that travels. Waves can be classified as being either longitudinal waves, e.g., sound, or transverse waves, e.g., light, depending on the direction of their vibrations.

Wavelength: The distance between two similar and consecutive points on a wave, which have exactly the same displacement value from the rest position (that is, the same amplitude). An example would be the distance between two crests (maximum displacement) or two troughs (maximum displacement). Wavelength is a measure of distance and hence has units of metres (m).

Weight: The gravitational force of attraction exerted by the Earth on an object. The force of attraction exists between all objects, but it is small and the Earth's attraction is much larger. As weight is a force, its unit is the Newton (N). The weight of any object on earth can be calculated using: W = mg where m = mass (kg). g = gravitational constant = 9.8m-2. In everyday use, the term weight really refers to the mass of a person or object.

Xenoglossy: The ability to speak a foreign language - sometimes modern and other times a dead language - fluently while in an altered state of consciousness the person having no knowledge whatsoever of that language when fully conscious.


The International Survivalist Society 2004