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AGENERATE, Kardec's term for apparition.

AMANUENSES, one who takes dictation. Many channels refer to themselves as an amanuenses for their spirit source.

APPARITIONS, paranormal appearances suggesting the real presence of someone distant or dead, or reminding of the latter's continuity of existence. The perception is visual, mostly spontaneous, but sometimes it may be experimentally induced. The state of the percipient may be normal (waking or dream state) or abnormal. See APPARITIONS.

AFTER DEATH COMMUNICATIONS, messages from the departed whose intent is normally to comfort the bereaved or bring closure to unfinished business.

APPORTS, arrival of various objects through an apparent penetration of matter. This is one of the most baffling phenomena of spiritualism. The objects differ in size, may be both inanimate and living and appear none the worse for their strange journey. See APPORTS


ASPORTS, the reverse of apport phenomena: the disappearance of objects from the seance room through the barriers of intervening matter and their appearance at another spot. See ASPORTS.

ASTRAL BODY, See Double.

AUTOMATISM, movements, or sensations, not controlled by the conscious self. which may mimic the characteristic habits or acts of another consciousness. See AUTOMATISM.

AUTOMATIC WRITING, written or typed scripts produced without the control of the conscious self. It is the most common form of mediumship, the source of innumerable cases of self-delusion, and at the same time one of the highest and most valuable spiritual gifts. See AUTOMATIC WRITING.

AUTOMATIC DRAWING AND PAINTING, attempts at artistic expression without control of the conscious self. The phenomenon belongs to the same category as automatic writing but neither necessarily involves the other. See AUTOMATIC DRAWING AND PAINTING.

AUTOMATIC SPEAKING--excitation of the vocal chords without the volition of the conscious self. The speech bursts forth impulsively whether the medium is in trance or in the waking state. In the latter case, and in partial trance, the medium may understand the contents of the communication even if it comes in a language unknown to him. See AUTOMATIC SPEAKING.

BOOK TESTS, experiments to exclude the working of telepathy in mediumistic communications. In answer to questions or for reasons of personal relevance the communicator indicates a certain book upon a certain shelf in the home of the sitter and gives the text on a certain page. See BOOK TESTS.

CABINET, curtain enclosed space in which mediums claim to condense the psychic energy which is necessary for physical manifestations. See CABINET.

CAMP MEETINGS or assemblies, as they have been later called, last throughout the Summer season. Many mediums take up their residence in the grounds. Lily Dale in New York is a leading camp visited by thousands of people each year.

CAODAISM is the 1926 invention of Ngo Minh Chieu, a Vietnamese civil servant with a strong belief in mysticism. For years, Chieu conducted seances in which he received revelations from spirits of prominent figures who seemed determined to continue their teachings despite their deaths. After four years of personal enlightenment through these spiritual encounters, Chieu presented the messages of his revelations to the public as tenets of a new religion. Ministers of this religion act as mediums. See

CHANNNELING is the flow of intelligent energy from subtle dimensions to this one.That energy can be used for healing, communication or other purposes. Some channelers receive it by a process such as automatic writing. Others go into an altered state and are able to hear clairaudiently or speak from a trance state or by a process called direct voice mediumship. In some cases the person channeling, called the channel, is tapping into the highest level of their own psyche, in others beings or energy coalitions from other dimensions provide the information. Those channels whose source is extraterrestrial are usually called contactees. See COMMUNICATIONS.

CHANNELER OR MEDIUM, an intermediary for communication between the material and spirit world. See CHANNELER.

CLAIRAUDIENCE, clear hearing of voices subconsciously generated and externalized in auditory perception, or of objective voices so much below the normally audible vibratory scale as to be imperceivable by auditory hyperaesthesia. See CLAIRAUDIENCE.

CLAIRVOYANCE, "a paranormal mode of perception, which results in a visual image being presented to the conscious mind. The perception may be of objects or scenes, or forms distant in space, or in time, past or future. See CLAIRVOYANCE.

CONTACTEE, someone who has had contact with off-planet beings, especially continuing mental contact. The first published contactee was George Adamski. He described personal meetings he had with aliens that looked much like humans. They took him aboard their ship and he wrote a detailed account of his experiences. Things have changed quite a bit since that beginning in the early fifties. Many people tell us that they have telepathic communcation with off planet beings or channel them. They have often seen unusual craft, but they have not necessarily been taken aboard or met face to face. Nowadays someone like Adamski would probably be called an experiencer or a participant if he went willingly and an abductee if he didn't. Many spiritual books have been published that are attributed to off-planet guides. The language and concerns can be difficult to distinguish from earlier channeled material.

CONTROL - the operator on the other side in charge of seance proceedings. This operator may also be called a "guide," and generally the term implies enduring attendance by a distinct and continuous personality to use the entranced medium's body, to deliver direct or relayed messages to sitters. See CONTROL.

CROSS-CORRESPONDENCE, concordant automatism, a scheme allegedly originated by the spirit of F. W. H. Myers to eliminate the hypothesis of telepathy from spirit communications. A set of related messages may be received through various mediums about the same time in places as far apart as India, New York, and London. See CROSS-CORRESPONDENCE.

CROSS-REFERENCE, simultaneous delivery of spirit messages through different mediums with a request to forward them to the right person. The idea, originated by the communicators, is to disprove the working of the medium's subconscious mind. See CROSS-REFERENCE .

DERMOGRAPHY, skin writing; a phenomenon of the stigmatic class, with one essential difference: the real stigmatic writings last for months, years or throughout a lifetime, whereas skin writing disappears in a few minutes or in a few hours at the most. See DERMOGRAPHY.

DIRECT DRAWING AND PAINTING, a development of automatic drawing and painting in which the hand of the automatist is not made use of, and sometimes even drawing and painting materials are dispensed with, the sketch being precipitated in the darkness in a time which is usually too short for normal execution. See DIRECT DRAWING AND PAINTING.

DIRECT VOICE, an isolated voice in space without visible source of agency. It issues mostly from a trumpet which sails about the seance room in the dark and appears to serve as a condenser. With an increase of power the trumpet may be dispensed with and the voice may be heard from the center of the floor or from any part of the room. See DIRECT VOICE.

DIRECT WRITING, a development of automatic writing, produced without visible physical contact with the medium and sometimes without writing material. That contact, in an invisible form, may exist is a justified inference from the oft observed synchronized motions of the medium's hands. See DIRECT WRITING.

DISCARNATE or DISINCARNATE ENTITY: an intelligence that is disembodied as contrasted with an incarnated one.

DOUBLE, etheric counterpart of the physical body which, when out of coincidence, may temporarily move about in space in comparative freedom and appear in various degrees of density to others. The belief in the existence of the double, or astral body, is age old, its acceptance as a working hypothesis solves many a puzzling problem in psychical research.

ECTOPLASM (from the Greek ektos and plasma: exteriorized substance), a mysterious protoplasmic substance streaming out of the body of mediums by the manipulation of which, either by the subconscious self or by discarnate intelligences, phenomena of a super-physical order, including partial and complete materializations, are produced. See ECTOPLASM.

ELONGATION of the human body, a comparatively rare but by no means modern psychical phenomenon. The Neo-Platonists observed it in the case of certain obsessed men. Jamblichus, writing on Divination, said: "The person of the subject has been known to dilate and tower to supernormal height. See ELONGATION.

EMANATIONS, unknown to physical science, which sensitives may perceive or which the human body emits form a growing chapter of psychical research. Their importance is indicated by the phenomena of psychometry and dowsing. See EMANATIONS.

EVIL SPIRITS, there are many intelligent entities in the higher and lower spheres which may not be of human origin or may not be benevolent. But the evil spirits, commonly spoken of, are the spirits of bad men who inhabit the lower spheres from which, either owing to the special locality to which they are earth-bound, or the attraction of bad, immoral sitters, they may easily reach the medium. See EVIL SPIRITS.

EXTERIORIZATION OF MOTRICITY: action of the medium's motor force outside the periphery of his body. It is offered as an explanation of telekinesis. Evidence for the theory was furnished by the curious synchronisation which was noticed between Eusapia Paladino's movements and her physical phenomena. The extinguishing and relighting of a lamp, for instance, corresponded with a slight movement of the index finger. See EXTERIORIZATION OF MOTRICITY.

EXTERIORIZATION OF SENSITIVITY: sensory power of the medium outside the periphery of his body. The phenomenon lies on the confines of hypnotic and psychical phenomena. Approaching his hypnotic subject with a pointed instrument he found him sensitive a short distance from the skin. The distance at which the sensation was perceived and the range of the sensitive surface varied with the nervous sensibility of the subject on an average from one to ten centimeters. See EXTERIORIZATION OF SENSITIVITY.

FLUIDIC BODY OR ENVELOPE, Kardec's term for astral body or Double. Substituting the phrase astral fluid for universal fluid and word ectoplasm for animalized fluid when reading Kardec often helps bring this older terminology into modern context.

FRAUD, the greatest element of danger in psychical research, is now fairly well understood and guarded against. From the time of the Hydesville phenomena hardly any medium has been able to escape accusations of cheating and more or less compromising exposures. See FRAUD.

GHOST, a deceased person or its image appearing to the living. It is a popular term which does not include apparitions of the living. See Apparitions, Double.

GLOTTOLOGUES, mediums speaking in unknown tongues. See Xenoglossis.

GLOSSOLALIA, speaking in pseudo-tongues. See Xenoglossis.

GUIDE, a continual, benevolent, protective supermundane influence. The term is more comprehensive than "control" as the latter may apply to any chance communicator who gets through. See Control.

GUIDING SPIRITS, or guardian angels, their alleged existence escapes experimental verification. According to seance room communications everyone has guiding spirits and they are nearly always relations of their charges. They have risen to a high spiritual level in the Beyond. See GUIDING SPIRITS.

HALLUCINATION, "Perceptions are lacking, but which can only by a distinct reflection be recognized as lacking, the objective basis which they suggest." If the sensory perception coincides with an objective occurrence or counterpart the hallucination is called veridical, truth-telling. Such is, according to the materialistic conception, the phantasm of the dying. If the apparition is seen by several people at the same time the case is collective veridical hallucination. See HALLUCINATION.

HOME, DANIEL DUNGLAS (1833-1886), the greatest physical medium in the history of modern spiritualism. There was a certain mystery about his parentage. According to his own footnote in Incidents of My Life his father was a natural son of Alexander, the tenth Earl of Home. Through his mother he was descended from a Highland family in which the traditional gift of second sight had been preserved. See HOME, DANIEL DUNGLAS.

HYPERAESTHESIA, superacuity of the normal senses. It is frequently noticed with hysterics. They may feel a piece of wire on their hands as heavy as a bar of iron. In its phenomenal appearance hyperaesthesia is often difficult to distinguish from telepathy or clairvoyance. Theoretically the dividing line is that hyperaesthesia is a peripheral perception while telepathy or clairvoyance is a central perception. See HYPERAESTHESIA.

HYPNOTISM, "an empirical development of sleep (Myers); a peculiar state of consciousness, artificially induced, which liberates subconscious powers in the subject, puts him en rapport with the hypnotiser, makes him accept and meticulously execute any of his suggestions, whether hypnotic or post-hypnotic, which do not conflict with deeper instincts of self-preservation and morality, and produces strange physiological effects as anaesthesia and the remarkable control over organic processes of the body." See HYPNOTISM.

IDENTITY of spirit communicators is a comparatively recent problem. In olden times every spirit voice was considered the voice of God or of the devil. The prophets communed with God. Mediums commune with spirits. God could not be asked to prove his identity, the spirits have to. But John the Apostle said: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." See IDENTITY.

IDEOPLASM, another term for ectoplasm. It conveys the additional idea that the substance may be moulded, by the operators, into any shape to express ideas of the medium or of the sitters.

IGNIS FATUUS; luminous appearance in marshy places or cemeteries. Science attributes it to gaseous emanations; superstition to spirits. Stainton Moses often claimed to have seen lights in cemeteries or in places where sudden death occurred.

IMMORTALITY is no problem of psychical research. It is only Concerned with survival as a matter of inference from intelligent psychic phenomena. It does not attempt to answer the question whether survival means continued existence through. eternity or for a limited period.

IMPERSONATION, See Personation.

INDEPENDENT writing, drawing, painting and voice. See, Direct.

INFLUENCE in mediumistic terminology is equivalent to spirits. Mrs. Piper applied it to objects which, by virtues of association of ideas, or magnetism of the late owner, helped her to establish communication with the deceased. The presence of such objects, she declared, helped her to clear the ideas of the communicators.

INNER VISION is independent of space, objective existence and optical laws. The simplest type of inner vision is presented by memory images, waking dreams, and imagination images. The latter type may attain such an intensity as to emerge spontaneously and reach the pitch of hallucination. Hallucination is the widest extent of inner vision. Dreams represent the primary type. See INNER VISION.

INNER VOICE, an auditive sensation covered, whether subjective or objective, by the term Clairaudience. However, clairaudience is conceived of as a purely mental phenomenon, whereas the inner voice has an outside source which is clearly distinguishable from thoughts originated in one's own mind.

INSPIRATION, a psychic state in which one becomes susceptible to creative spiritual influence or, to a varying degree, unwittingly lends oneself as an instrument for through-flowing ideas. See INSPIRATION.

INTUITION, that sense of faculty in the human mind by which man knows (or may know) facts of which he would otherwise not be cognizant-facts which might not be apparent to him through process of reason or so-called scientific proof. See INTUITION.

KARDEC, ALLAN (1804-1869), the Father of Spiritism in France. His real name was Hypolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits' Book), which expounded a new theory of human life and destiny, was published in 1856. In 1864 he published Le Livre des Mediums. In it the unpublished portion of the earlier scripts are said to have been liberally used. His next books were: The Gospel as Explained by Spirits, 1864, Heaven and Hell, 1865, Genesis, 1867, Experimental Spiritism and Spiritualist Philosophy. See KARDEC, ALLAN.

LUCIDITY, a faculty by which supernormal knowledge may be obtained. It is a collective term for the phenomena of clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, premonitions, etc.

LUMINOUS PHENOMENA are of frequent occurrence in physical mediumship. On rare occasions they are witnessed in apparent independence of mediumistic conditions. The chronicles of religious revivals are full of instances of transcendental light. See LUMINOUS PHENOMENA.

MASTERS, a term adopted in theosophical literature to designate those human beings further progressed on the evolutionary pathway than the general run of humanity, from which are drawn the saviors of humanity and the founders of the world-religions. Also known by the Sanskrit term mahatma, "great self". Beings named as masters by various channels who write for them include: Buddha, Chohan, Djwhal Khul, El Morya, Hilarion, Jesus/Sananda, Kuthumi, Lanto, Lao-tzu, The Maha Chohan, Maitreya, Mary, Mohammed, Nada, St. Germain, St. Paul, Portia, Quan Yin, Sanat Kumara, Serapis Bey

MATERIALIZATION, appearance of temporary, more or less organized substances in various degrees of solidification and possessing human physical characteristics: limbs, faces, eyes, heads, full figures, shaped for a temporary existence out of ectoplasm (See) by an unknown agency. See MATERIALIZATION.

MATTER passing through matter, as a seance-room phenomenon is well known and has been frequently recorded. It is involved in the marvel of apports and transportation of the human body and its observation under test conditions would help towards the recognition of these greater phenomena. See MATTER.

MEDIUM, see Channeler

MEDIUMSHIP, see Channeling

METHETHERIAL, a term coined by Myers, meaning: beyond the ether, the transcendental world in which the spirits exist.

METAGNOMY, knowledge acquired through cryptesthesia, i.e., without the use of our five senses.

MIND READING, see Telepathy.

MOSES, WILLIAM STAINTON, (1839-92) remarkable English medium, religious teacher and author. He was ordained as a Minister of the Church of England by Bishop Wilberforce. See MOSES, WILLIAM STAINTON.

MOTRICITY exteriorised, See Exteriorization.

MOULDS, psychic, See Plastics.

MOVEMENT with contact, which is insufficient to explain it (parakinesis), or movement without obvious, perceptible or normal contact (telekinesis) is the most frequent seance room phenomenon and is, in its apparent simplicity, one of the widest import as behind the displacement of objects and various other mechanical effects an invisible intelligent entity manifests, performs complicated operations and exercises a directive influence over mysteriously generated and frequently tremendous forces. See MOVEMENT.



MUSIC, as a supernormal phenomenon is most impressive when it is independent of seance room conditions and mediums. In religious revivals and in some experiences around the beds of the dying we find two distinct groups of its occurrence. See MUSIC.

NATURE LANGUAGE. See: Xenoglossis.

NEURYPNOLOGY, Braid's first term for hypnotism.

NEWSPAPER TESTS, ingenious experiments devised by seance-room communicators to exclude telepathy as an explanation. The method of the communicators was to give in the afternoon names and dates that were to be published in certain columns of next day's Times, or, if so requested, in coming issues of magazines. See NEWSPAPER TESTS.

OBJECTIVE PHENOMENA, as distinguished from subjective ones, is another classification for physical and mental phenomena. See: Spiritualism.

OBSESSION in psychical research, obsession is an invasion of the living by a discarnate spirit, tending to a complete displacement of normal personality for purposes of selfish gratification which is more or less permanent. The difference between mediumship and obsession is not in principle but in purpose, in duration and in effect. Also see POSSESSION and OBSESSION.

OCCULTISM, a philosophical system of theories and practices on, and for the attainment of, the higher powers of mind and spirit. Its practical side connects with psychical phenomena.

OUIJA BOARD - listed separately here with other devices.

OVERSHADOWING, a voluntary cooperative process in which another consciousness temporarily enters and works through a persons body. The implication is that of a highly evolved being bringing forth valued teachings.

PARAKINESIS, movement of objects with contact which, however, is insufficient to explain it. See: Movement.

PARAPSYCHIC PHENOMENA, a term coined by Boirac for "all phenomena produced in living beings or as a result of their action, which do not seem capable of being entirely explained by already known natural laws and forces." According to Boirac the term "psychical is not satisfactory because it is synonymous with mental." The prefix "para" denotes that it relates to exceptional, abnormal paradoxical phenomena. The term found general acceptance in Germany. See PARAPSYCHIC PHENOMENA.

PERISPIRIT, Allan Kardec's term for the spirit body, astral body, fluidic body.

PERSONALITY means (1) the sum of the characteristics which make up physical and mental being, including appearance, manners, habits, tastes and moral character; (2) the characteristics that distinguish one person from another (this is equivalent to individuality); (3) the capacity for having mental states, i.e., possessing a stream of consciousness (Hyslop). For psychical researchers this last definition is of primary importance. The question of survival cannot be decided until the continuance of personality as a stream of consciousness is proved. See PERSONALITY.

PERSONATION, portrayal of foreign personalities by a temporary assumption of their bodily and mental characteristics. It is a frequent psychical phenomenon and differs from trance possession in that it does not necessarily involve a loss of consciousness and personal identity. See PERSONATION.

PHONE-VOYANCE, psychic television, discovered as a special form of clairvoyance, by Vincent N. Turvey in 1905. It implies four things: Psychic vision, physical contact, the wires and instruments of a telephone company and simultaneity of clairvoyance with physical contact. The phenomenon is superior to physical television, as Turvey often described things which the listener at the other end of the telephone wire did not know. See PHONE-VOYANCE.

PLANETARY TRAVELS in trance form a romantic chapter in spiritualistic communications. Descriptions through inner vision or spirit enlightenment of conditions and life on the planets were first given by Swedenborg. See PLANETARY TRAVELS.

PLASTICS, supernormally obtained, divide into two groups: imprints and moulds. The first may be produced in any soft, yielding substance or on smoked or chemically treated surfaces; for the second, melted paraffin is employed. See PLASTICS.

PNEUMATOGRAPHERS, See Direct writing mediums.


POSSESSION-a developed form of motor automatism in which the personality of the automatist is substituted by another, as a rule by a discarnate spirit. The possessing personality aims to establish communication through the organism of the entranced medium with this world by writing or speech. Also see POSSESSION and OBSESSION.

PSYCHE Greek for soul.

PSYCHIC (1) denoting, as an adjective, the supernormal character of certain phenomena, (2) meaning, as a noun, medium. Flammarion was the first to use it as a French term in France, Serjeant Cox was the first to suggest it in England.

PSYCHIC FORCE. It was discovered by inquirers into spiritualism at an early stage that the human organism is in some mysterious way bound up with the seance room phenomena. A force was observed beyond the periphery of the body, with no physical contact. Observable effects include:



PSYCHIC LIGHTS, See: Luminous Phenomena.

PSYCHIC MOULDS, See: Plastics.




PSYCHODE, Prof. Thury's term for ectoplasm.

PSYCHOGRAPH, the script obtained by spirit photographers on the sensitive plate.

PSYCHOGRAPHY, the term used by Stainton Moses to denote all forms of direct writing.

PSYCHOPHONE, a term suggested by James Coates for direct voice communications.

PSYCHOPLASM, another term for ectoplasm.

PSYCHORRHAGIC DIATHESIS, Myers' theory for phantasmal appearances, a psychic faculty of detaching elements of personality and transforming by them a certain part of space into a phantasmogenetic centre. In this centre, in a manner not material or optical, the phantasm of the psychorrhagist appears and may become collectively visible. (See Apparitions).

PSYCHIC PHOTOGRAPHS, furnish impressive proof of a variety of supernormal manifestations. Numerous experiments have been conducted to register on the sensitive plates emanations of the human body, a phenomenon on the borderline of the normal and supernormal and to prove the existence of N. rays, digital effluvium, ectoplasmic flow, aura, astral body and thought waves. See PSYCHIC PHOTOGRAPHS.

PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, a scientific inquiry into the facts and causes of mediumistic phenomena. Its first concern is to establish the occurrence of the claimed facts. If they are not due to fraud, observational error, the laws of chancel i.e., if they are found to occur, the next stage of the inquiry is to establish the reason of their occurrence, whether the known natural laws are sufficient to explain them or whether there is reason to suppose the action of unknown forces. See PSYCHICAL RESEARCH.


RAPS, percussive sounds of varying intensity without visible, known or normal agency, a simple phenomenon of tremendous import. Prof. Richet writes in Thirty Years of Psychical Research: "The reality of these raps is of primary importance, and this phenomenon carries the implication of the whole of metapsychics. Also see encyclopedia entries for RAPS and SOUNDS.

REINCARNATION, the return to corporeal life of beings who have passed over and spent a period of existence in the Beyond. It is the fundamental doctrine of French spiritism and of theosophy. See REINCARNATION.

RESCUE CIRCLES of spiritualists, formed for the purpose of "waking up" the dead and freeing them from their earthbound state, are based on the idea that earthbound spirits are too gross to be reached by the influence of higher spirits from the other side. See RESCUE CIRCLES.

REVIVALS, outbreaks of religious mass enthusiasm, inspired by fervor or persecution. They are usually accompanied by a variety of psychic manifestations, luminous phenomena (See), aerial music, gift of healing, gift of tongues and prophecy. See REVIVALS.

SEANCE, sitting for the purpose of obtaining supernormal manifestations or establishing communication with the dead. For success the presence of a medium is required. The sitters need not have psychic powers. The phenomena are stronger if they have. See SEANCE.

SECOND SIGHT, supernormal perception at a distance in time and space; a traditional psychic faculty in certain families in certain countries, especially in Scotland. See SECOND SIGHT.

SENSITIVE, a person with psychic powers, without the ability to establish communication with the departed. A sensitive is not a medium and a medium may not be a sensitive but a mere instrument. Sensitives may excel in psychometry, telepathy, clairvoyance, ordinary and medical, they may foresee the future, find lost objects and give accurate character delineations. Yet they would not claim an external source.

SITTERS, the attendees at a seance.

SIXTH SENSE, the theory of its existence as a convenient explanation of transcendental phenomena was first put forward in the era of animal magnetism by Tardy de Montravel. He considered the sixth sense as the source and sum of all our partial senses. See SIXTH SENSE.

SKIN WRITING. See: Dermography.

SKOTOGRAPH (dark-writing, Greek) the term proposed by Miss Felicia Scatcherd for psychographs, spirit writing on the photographic plate in an unopened packet, and similar effects. See SKOTOGRAPH.

SOMNAMBULE, a somnambulic subject.

SOMNAMBULISM, a state of sleep, or half-waking trance, spontaneously or artificially induced in which subconscious faculties take the place of normal consciousness and direct the body in the performance of erratic (sleep walking) or highly intellectual actions (solving problems). The personality , itself, in some cases, seems very wise and exhibits supernormal powers. See SOMNAMBULISM.

SOUL, the term is used in two senses: it indicates the ego and the spirit-body. In ancient writings man is described as a triune being: body, soul and spirit. According to this the soul is just as much an envelope, animated by the spirit, as the physical body is an envelope for the soul. At death the soul withdraws and continues to function in the spiritual world. Astral body and soul are almost equivalent terms. Occult teachings, however, speak of five bodies of differing degrees of refinement which will be cast away in time just as the physical body is left behind. See SOUL.

SPECTRAL FLAMES, supernormal lights seen in cemeteries, around churches, etc. See: Luminous Phenomena.

SPIRIT, variously defined as the inmost principle, the divine particle, the vital essence, the inherent actuating element in life. it manifests through association with protoplasm and dwells in the astral body, also called the soul, which in turn is the connecting link between the spirit and the physical body. At death the connection is severed and the spirit will find no ordinary means of manifestation. See SPIRIT.

SPIRIT BODY, See: Double.

SPIRIT CHILDREN, children who passed over and, according to trance accounts, are growing to maturity on the other side. Child mediums often claim spirit children as their playmates. See SPIRIT CHILDREN.


SPIRIT DRAPERY. See: Materialization.

SPIRIT HANDS. See: Materialization.


SPIRIT HYPOTHESIS, the theory that the intelligence which directs the phenomena of the medium is a disembodied spirit. It is the only simple theory that covers every phase of manifestations. It is also the one which is being consistently put forward by the invisible communicators. See SPIRIT HYPOTHESIS.

SPIRIT INTERVENTION to find lost wills, other papers, objects of importance or to track down murderers has been often recorded.

SPIRIT LIGHTS. See: Luminous Phenomena.


SPIRIT WRITINGS, the official Library of Congress subject classification used to catalog spirit communications in the United States. This influence, then, carries down to Books In Print which is then used by book sellers.

SPIRITISM, the French equivalent of the English "spiritualism." It is associated with Allan Kardec's doctrine of reincarnation which does not figure in spiritualism. The latter term, as used on the Continent, denotes a religio -philosophical belief, opposed to materialism and having different psychological characteristics so that one-as Prof. Flournoy confesses himself to be - may be a spiritist without being a spiritualist and vice versa. Flournoy believes that a spiritual world exists and that we live after the apparent destruction of the body but he would not admit the possibility of the experimental demonstration of the very same tenet.

SPIRITOID, Boirac's term for messages which originate in the subconscious mind and appear in a dramatic and personalised form. It was adopted by Lombroso and Flournoy.

SPIRITUAL HEALING, mediums may channel energy as well as words. Many trendy sounding phrases have come into use such as energy healing, aura cleansing, energy balancing, and more lately, DNA clearing or reprogramming.

SPIRITUALISM, according to the definition adopted by the National Spiritualist Association of America, "is the Science, Philosophy and Religion of continuous life, based upon the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship, with those who live in the Spirit World. Spiritualism is a science because it investigates, analyses and classifies facts and manifestations ' demonstrated from the spirit side of life. Spiritualism is a philosophy because it studies the laws of nature both on the seen and unseen sides of life and bases its conclusions upon present observed facts. It accepts statements of observed facts of past ages and conclusions drawn therefrom, when sustained by reason and by results of observed facts of the present day. Spiritualism is a religion because it strives to understand and to comply with the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Laws of Nature which are the laws of God." See SPIRITUALISM.

SPIRITUALIST, "one who has proven for himself, or has accepted as proven on adequate evidence, the fact that death does not kill the spirit." (Stainton Moses).

STIGMATA---says Prof. Richet-----"may and do often appear on hysterical persons, bearing predetermined forms and shapes, under the influence either of a strong moral emotion, or of religious delirium. These are facts which have been thoroughly and scientifically established, and they only prove the power of the action of the brain upon the circulatory processes and upon the trophism of the skin." See STIGMATA.

SUBJECTIVE PHENOMENA, as distinguished from objective is another classification for physical and mental phenomena. See: Spiritualism.

SUBLIMINAL, a term first used by A. H. Pierce of Harvard University for sensations beneath the threshold of consciousness, too feeble to be individually recognized. Myers extended the meaning to cover all that takes place beneath the threshold: sensations, thoughts, emotions which seldom emerge in conscious form. See SUBLIMINAL.

SUGGESTION, another name for the power of ideas, so far as they prove efficacious over belief and conduct." (William James.) According to Myers the power is exercised by the subliminal self. He defined suggestion as a "successful appeal to the subliminal self." Its workings are best evidenced in hypnotic experiments. It may cause and cure diseases, and bad habits, remove inhibitions, improve deficiencies of character, stimulate the imagination, vivify the senses and heighten intellectual powers. See SUGGESTION.

SUMMERLAND, the spirits' land of bliss, so named by Andrew Jackson Davis, identical with the Plane of Illusion of "Myers" (The Road to Immortality, by Miss Cummins) and with the Maya (Creative Thought) of the Upanishads.

SUPERNATURAL, an occurrence in violation of the laws of nature. Spiritualism contends that the phenomena of the seance room are ruled by as yet unknown laws and rejects the term.

SUPERNORMAL, the term substituted in spiritualism for supernatural. It was coined by F. W. H. Myers and was applied to phenomena which are beyond what usually happens-beyond, that is, in the sense of suggesting unknown physical laws. While supernormal phenomena point to new powers, abnormal phenomena indicate the degeneration of powers already acquired.

SURVIVAL, continued possession of personality after the change called death. It is the fundamental doctrine of spiritualism and main object of investigation, though in an indirect manner, of psychical research. See SURVIVAL.

SYMBOLISM, metapsychical, "cases in which, by subconscious or mediumistic methods, an idea is expressed by means of hallucinatory perceptions, or ideographic representations, or forms of language differing from the ideas to be transmitted, but capable of suggesting them indirectly or conventionally.

TABLE TURNING, the simplest and crudest form of communication with the subconscious self or with extraneous intelligences. As "mensa divinatoriae" tables were used for purposes of divination in antiquity. See TABLE TURNING.

TELEKINESIS, movement of objects without obvious, perceptible, or normal movement. See: Movement.

TELEPATHY, the word was coined by F. W. H. Myers in 1882 as the outcome of his joint investigation with Gurney, Sidgwick and Prof. Barrett into the possibilities of thought transference. It was meant as a name for a fact: "a coincidence between two person's thoughts which requires a causal explanation," and it was defined as "transmission of thought independently of the recognized channels of sense." Also see encyclopedia entries for TELEPATHY and THOUGHT-TRANSFERENCE.

TELEPLASM, another term for ectoplasm.

TELERGY, Myers' term for the force or its mode of action which is manifest in telepathy and perhaps in other supernormal operations.

TELESOMATIC, Aksakof's term for materialization..

TEMPERATURE CHANGES in the seance room, See: Winds.

THOUGHTFORMS, their existence is definitely claimed by occult science and there is interesting evidence to consider it an important experimental problem of psychical research. See THOUGHTFORMS.

THOUGHT-READING, thought transference from the reverse aspect. The agent attempts to picture the content of the subject's mind instead of impressing it with his own idea. The higher forms of thought reading are covered by telepathy. See THOUGHT-READING.

TOUCHES. Tactual sensations represent an allied phenomenon to the movement of objects. They are always intentional as the movement of objects is characterised by perfect localisation. Sitters are never hit by accident however swift the motion may be, and the touch is always meant for the one who receives it. See TOUCHES.

TRANCE, a condition of apparent sleep or unconsciousness, with marked physiological characteristics, in which the body of the subject is liable to possession. The true nature of trance is unknown. Much can be learned from subjective experiences. See TRANCE.

TRANSFIGURATION, metamorphic power of the medium to assume bodily characteristics of deceased people for their representation. See TRANSFIGURATION.

TRANSPOSITION OF THE SENSES was first noticed by Tardy de Montravel who described how his somnambule could see with the pit of his stomach. Petetin found the senses of taste, smell and hearing also wandering from the pit of the stomach to the tip of the fingers and of the toes.

TRANSPORTATION of human bodies through closed doors and over a distance is a comparatively rare but fairly well authenticated occurrence. It is a composite phenomenon between levitation and apports, and according to the testimony of the Bible by no means new in human experience. See TRANSPORTATION.

TRUMPET, of cardboard or aluminium, for the manifestation of direct voice. Weak or inexperienced spirits often have to make use of the trumpet to magnify the voice.

TYPTER (from the Greek tupto, I strike). - One who has the power of producing typtology; a rapping or tipping medium.

TYPTOLOGY. - Language of raps or tilts; a mode of spirit-communication. Alphabetical typtology is the designation of letters (or cyphers) by raps or tilts.


VISITANTS, spirits. See: Apparitions.

VITAL FORCE. See: Emanations and Psychic Force.

WATSEKA WONDER, The, one of the most remarkable cases of continued spirit control. The story as detailed in a pamphlet by Dr. E. W. Stevens titled The Watseka Wonder. See WATSEKA WONDER.

WINDS, breezes, currents of air, cooling of temperature, is a well-observed seance room phenomenon. The means by which the effects are brought about is unknown and it is an open speculation whether they serve a direct purpose or are by-products only. See WINDS.

XENOGLOSSIS, speaking in tongues unknown to the medium. According to certain classifications the term should cover writing in tongues and glossolalia should be employed for speaking them. See XENOGLOSSIS.
For an extensive historic treatment of famous mediums, research associations and researchers plus extended discussions of many of the topics listed here see the full free download of Fodors Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science
Selected entries on spirit communications are also archived on our site.
Other useful definitions can be found here and here

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