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Parapsychology A to Z

John F. Kihlstrom

University of California, Berkeley

Note: The following entries on parapsychology and related subjects were revised or written for the APA Dictionary of Psychology (2006).  Brackets ({}) enclose terms that are defined elsewhere in this list. 

agent In social psychology, the designation given to the individual who initiates a dyadic or other social interaction, analogous to the grammatical subject of a transitive verb; the object of the agent's action is the patient, analogous to the direct object of a transitive verb. In {parapsychology}, the designation given to the {sender} who instigates the action in {psychokinesis} or {telepathy); the person who is the object of this activity is designated as the {receiver} or {percipient}..

American Society for Psychical Research Scholarly society devoted to the scientific investigation of parapsychological and paranormal phenomena. Initially founded in 1885 by a group including William James, it became a branch of the British {Society for Psychical Research}, and then became an independent organization. Publishes the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (established 1907).

apparition in {spiritualism}, the perceived manifestation of a ghost or spirit.

apport in {spiritualism}, the alleged {supernatural} transport of an object by poltergeists or during a seance.

astral projection in {spiritualism}, a hypothetical psychic phenomenon in which influences from the stars are believed to control the actions, health, personality, and destiny of human beings. Also see {astrology}.

astrology a pseudoscience based on the belief that the movements of the planets and stars influence the lives of individuals and determine the course of events. As one example, Paracelsus applied medications derived from minerals, which were supposed to capture the beneficial magnetic forces emanating from the heavenly bodies. Even today many individuals believe that their horoscope, or map of the heavens at the time of their birth, can be used in determining their personal characteristics, tendencies to particular diseases of mind or body, and liability to good fortune or calamity. There is no evidence for this belief, except perhaps as a {self-fulfilling prophecy}.

augury in {mysticism} and {spiritualism}, the act of divining the future on the basis of omens, portents, or chance events.

aura in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology, subjective sensations that warn the individual of an impending epileptic seizure or migraine attack: strange tastes or odors, colored lights, numbness, weird sounds, feelings of unreality, stomach distress, or deja vu. Individual patients experience their own typical auras, which may or may not give them time to prepare for or abort a seizure. The term is also used in {parapsychology}, {mysticism}, and {spiritualism} to denote halos and emanations that some individuals claim to see.  (A. is a Greek word meaning "breeze.") Also see {epileptic a}.; {migraine a.}; {visual a.}

backward displacement ({parapsychology}) the ostensible phenomenon in {precognition} or postcognition} in which the {percipient's} "call", or guess, actually matches the outcome of the previous {trial} in the series. Compare {forward displacement}.

basic technique (BT) ({parapsychology}) the procedure in studies of {clairvoyance} in which the top card in a deck is removed from the deck (as opposed to being replaced in the deck) after a "call" or guessing {trial}.

biorhythms a pseudoscience based on the belief that every person is biologically programmed by three precise rhythms (physical, emotional, and intellectual), beginning at birth and continuing unaltered until death, and that good and bad days for various activities can be calculated accordingly. As with astrology, the predictions, however, do not differ significantly from chance. Until the term became pre-empted by this fad, biorhythm was a reputable synonym of BIOLOGICAL RHYTHM. See this entry.

BT = Basic Technique

bumps See {phrenology}.

change effect the effect on the physical structure of an object targeted by {psychokinesis}, as in the alleged structural changes to metal in the "spoon-bending" demonstrations of the psychic Uri Geller. (who some refer to as a {charlatan}).

characterology a branch of psychology concerned with character and personality; also, a pseudoscience in which character is "read" by external signs such as hair color.

charlatan in medicine, a "quack" who makes a pretense of medical or scientific knowledge; derogatory term sometimes applied to one who promotes or practices {{parapsychology}}.

cheiromancy see {chiromancy}.

chiromancy in {mysticism} and {spiritualism}, a form of divination in which an individual's character and fortune are read from the mounds and lines on the hand; palmistry; also {cheiromancy}.

chirosophy the pseudoscience of reading hands; see {chiromancy}.

circumthanatology the study of near-death experiences

clairaudience a {parapsychology} term for the alleged ability to hear sounds without use of the ears.

clairvoyance alleged extrasensory perception of external objects or events in the past, present, or future.

clairvoyant dream in {parapsychology}, a dream in which one has clairvoyant experiences.

confederate in research methodology, designation given to an accomplice of the {experimenter}, who may be employed as part of the "cover story" in experiments involving deception; see also {experimenter, subject}.

consistent missing in {parapsychology}, a phenomenon in which a subject's calls or guesses are consistently wrong, or worse than chance expectations.

cross correspondence in {parapsychology}, messages in automatic writing by one medium that are interpreted by another.

cryptesthesia the experience of clairvoyance, clairaudience, or similar forms of paranormal cognition that cannot be associated with any known sensory stimulus.

crystal gazing in {parapsychology}, a  technique in which a  subject is instructed to visualize significant experiences, or produce associations, while staring into a glass ball, light bulb, or mirror.  Crystal gazing is used also by mediums to produce what they claim to be extrasensory perception of events in the lives of their clients. Also called scrying.

crystal healing a pseudoscience which studies the alleged powers of crystals to heal illness; also a pseudoscientific medical practice which uses crystals for this purpose. See also {faith healing}, {psychic healing}.

dabbler in {magic}, person who claims competence in more than one magical technique for controlling nature.

decline effect in {parapsychology}, the phenomenon in which the accuracy of the subject's calls or guesses begins at above-chance levels, and progressively drops to chance levels; see {regression to the mean}.

demand characteristics in research methodology, refers to the totality of cues in the experimental situation that communicates the experimenter's hypothesis to the subject; demand characteristics may threaten the {ecological validity} of a psychological experiment. The term was introduced by M.T. Orne, based on the work of K. Lewin. See also {experimenter bias}.

differential effect in {parapsychology}, the finding of an above-chance difference in performance between two conditions of testing.

divination in {mysticism} and {spiritualism}, a paranormal process in which future events are alleged to be foretold, or hidden knowledge is discovered, by means of (a) a spiritualistic medium's {supernatural} powers, as in crystal-gazing, or (b) augury, that is, the interpretation of omens or portents such as the flight of birds or the entrails of a sacrificed animal.

down through in {parapsychology}, a technique for testing {clairvoyance} in which the subject guesses the order of a stacked deck of cards from top to bottom; see {up through}.

ecological validity in research methodology, refers to the extent to which the results of a laboratory experiment can be generalized to the real world outside the laboratory; the term was introduced by M.T. Orne, based on the work of E. Brunswik. Ecological validity may be threatened by {experimenter bias}, {demand characteristics}, and other sources of methodological artifact.

ectoplasm the outer layer of a cell or of a one-cell organism; also, a {parapsychology} term for a substance said to emanate from a medium's body.

effluvium in {parapsychology}, the ostensible flow of particles that is too subtle to be perceived by ordinary sensory mechanisms; the particles in such a flow.

electrodermal response (EDR) in psychophysiology, changes in the electrical properties (conductance or its obverse, resistance) of the skin as a function of emotional or cognitive activity, such as stress or orienting; these changes, in turn, reflect activity of sweat glands located in the fingers and palms; formerly known as the {galvanic skin reflex or galvanic skin response} (GSR), EDR is the preferred term because GSR implies that the skin itself generates electrical current although skin conductance, while the term "reflex" implies that the physiological change is always automatic in nature.

ESP = {extrasensory perception}.

ESP forced-choice test in {parapsychology}, a technique in which a subject is required to guess which of two or more possibilities is the target; see {ESP free-response test}.

ESP free-response test in {parapsychology}, a technique in which a subject's calls or guesses are not restricted to a predetermined set of targets; see {ESP forced-choice test}.

exorcism the process of driving demons out of the mind by means of certain rites and ceremonies, prayers and incantations. Some individuals believe these evil spirits are the major cause of mental disease or other aberrations.

experimenter in research methodology, designation given to the party who devises the task for the {subject} to perform, and determines the conditions under which the performance will take place; see also {confederate}.

experimenter bias in research methodology, refers to the unintended effects of the experimenter's expectations on the behavior of the subject; demand characteristics may threaten the {ecological validity} of a psychological experiment. The term was introduced by R. Rosenthal. In social psychology, experimenter bias is viewed as an example of the self-fulfilling prophecy (a term introduced by R.K. Merton), part of a wider class of expectancy-confirmation effects observed in social interaction. See also {demand characteristics}.

extrachance in {parapsychology}, test results that depart radically (e.g., one chance in a thousand or one chance in a million) from chance expectations.

extrasensory perception alleged awareness of external events by other means than the known sensory channels. It includes telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and, more loosely, psychokinesis. There is considerable difference of opinion as to the existence of these modalities. Abbrev.: ESP. Also called paranormal cognition.

faith healing in {mysticism} and {spiritualism}, the treatment of physical conditions by means of religious practices, such as prayer. See also {crystal healing}, {psychic healing}.

focusing effect in parapsychological studies of {extrasensory perception} and {psychokinesis}, the ostensible phenomenon in which performance is better for {trial}s in which the target is the object of special attentional focus (perhaps because it has special significance for the {receiver}).

forward displacement in {parapsychology}, the ostensible phenomenon in {precognition} or postcognition} in which the {percipient's} "call", or guess, actually matches the outcome of the next {trial} in the series. Compare {backward displacement}.

galvanic skin reflex / response (GSR) see {electrodermal response}.

Ganzfeld in {parapsychology}, a technique in which the subject is isolated from the sensory environment (e.g., by placing halves of Ping-Pong balls over the eyes and headphones over the ears); from the German meaning "total field".

gematria in numerology, the calculation of the numerical values of letters, rods, and phrases, and using these calculations to explore the relationships between ideas and concepts.

general extrasensory perception (GESP) in {parapsychology}, a paranormal outcome which cannot be attributed specifically to clairvoyance, precognition, postcognition, psychokinesis, telepathy, or some other specific paranormal process; extrasensory perception of any kind.

ghost images "{apparition}s" of disembodied individuals who retain some general bodily characteristics of previously living persons. Ghost images are rarely "observed" by more than one individual despite the presence of others and tend to occur in periods of emotional crisis. A ghost image often includes some implausible physical factors; e.g., the ghost wears clothing, rides a horse, or carries an inanimate object such as a heavy chain.

horoscope in the pseudoscience of astrology a diagram showing the relative position of the planets and the signs of the zodiac at the time of a person's birth or other event, used to infer the person's character and/or to predict the future.

independent phenomena in {parapsychology}, two or more observations, outcomes, or phenomena which appear to be unrelated, but in fact are related.

inhabitance in {parapsychology}, the idea that spirits dwell in nonliving things, or that one person's spirit can exist in another person's body.

Kilner goggles/screen in {parapsychology}, special lenses or screens that ostensibly reveal the "{auras}" emitted by objects.

Kirlian photography in {parapsychology}, a technique which ostensibly records on photographic film the "{aura}" or "life force" emanated by a person or other object.

language ESP in {parapsychology}, the ostensible phenomenon in which subjects are able to make above-chance calls or guesses about targets presented in an unknown foreign language.

lecanomancy a system of divination in which a medium looks into a basin of water and sees visions.  L. has been used in psychoanalytic studies to show relationships between the medium's supposed visions and his dreams and complexes. (The term is derived from the Greek words lekane, "dish, pan," and manteia, "oracle, divination.")

levitation the illusion of ascending into the air without support, that is, in the absence of any known cause. The term is mainly used in relation to dreams and parapsychological phenomena.

magic in anthropology, the practice (common in so-called "primitive" cultures) of manipulating and controlling nature by {supernatural} or {preternatural} means, such as rituals, incantations, and spells. Along with {mysticism} and {spiritualism}, it is the philosophical and religious counterpart to {parapsychology}.

majority vote technique in {parapsychology}, a technique in which the subject makes several calls or guesses about a single target, and the most frequent call is considered the subject's only response.

materialization in {parapsychology}, the alleged production of a body or its parts by supernormal or spiritualistic methods.

medium any agency through which something is achieved, including the air or a wire through which messages are transmitted. In {parapsychology}, a m. is the person who functions as the instrument of alleged communication between the living and the dead.

mental telepathy in {parapsychology}, a redundant term for {telepathy}: all {telepathy}, involving the transmission of knowledge and information from one mind to another without any intervening physical medium, is mental by definition.

metaphysics that part of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of physical reality; see {metapsychics}.

metapsychics in an analogy to {metaphysics}, that part of {parapsychology} that is concerned with the fundamental nature of mind; also in {parapsychology}, a designation given to a people who are exceptionally skilled in one or more paranormal abilities, such as {clairvoyance}, {telepathy}, or {psychokinesis}.

mind-reading a form of purported paranormal perception in which it is alleged an individual has access to the thoughts in the mind of another person by extrasensory means.

mysticism in religion, a spiritual practice intended to reveal hidden truth or wisdom, and unite the practitioner with the divine or the sacred. Along with {magic} and {spiritualism}, it is the philosophical and religious counterpart to {parapsychology}.

necromancy in {parapsychology}, the technique of conjuring the spirits of the dead for the purposes of predicting or influencing future events; sorcery.

numerology a study of the occult meaning of numbers, such as the date of one's birth or figures derived from the letters of one's name, as a means of interpreting their hypothetical influence on one's life and future. N. is sometimes considered a type of {parapsychology}.

observer in {{parapsychology}} experiments, a participant who is neither the designated {sender} or the designated {receiver}.

occult mysterious, incomprehensible, secret, especially as applied to a class of phenomena, or presumptive phenomena, that cannot be explained in either everyday or scientific terms, such as premonitory dreams, telepathic awareness, and clairvoyant communications. See {extrasensory perception}; {parapsychology}; {psi}; {pseudoscience}.

omen in {parapsychology}, an event which serves as a sign, or predictor, of a forthcoming event.

oneiromancy in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, the ostensible technique of divining the future from dreams.

Ouija board a trademark for a {parapsychology} device consisting of a board painted with numbers and letters. A movable pointer, allegedly influenced by {supernatural} forces spells out messages through the hands of the person holding the pointer. The process is often seen as a form of automatic writing. (The term is a contraction of the French and German words for "yes, " oui and ja.)

out-of-body experience in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, a dissociative experience in which the individual imagines that his mind, soul or spirit has left his body and is acting or perceiving on its own. It is a neurologic phenomenon that may occur when death is imminent, and in some cases can be induced by the suggestion of a medium, or "sensitive," or by the use of hallucinogens, notably phencyclidine.

palmistry the pseudoscientific practice of interpreting lines and other skin surface features of the palm as signs of personality traits or for predictions of the individual's future.

parakinesis = {psychokinesis}. Also see {parakinesia}.

paranormal pertaining to any phenomenon that cannot be explained by existing knowledge.

paranormal cognition = {extrasensory perception}.

paranormal phenomena: See {parapsychology}.

parapsychology the systematic study of alleged psychological phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of presently known scientific data or laws, including CLAIRVOYANCE, TELEPATHY, PRECOGNITION, PSYCHOKINESIS, POLTERGEIST, MEDIUM, DOWSING, and other "paranormal" phenomena. See these entries. Also see {extrasensory perception}; {astrology}; {Rhine}.

percipient a person who perceives; also, in {parapsychology}, the alleged recipient of parapsychological messages; also known as the {receiver}. Compare {agent} or {sender}; also {observer}.

phantasmagoria the imagined process of raising or recalling the spirits of the dead.

phrenology a pseudoscience in which mental and character traits are inferred from patterns of {bumps} and depressions in the surface of the skull; modern cognitive neuroscience shares the phrenologists' view that certain mental functions are performed by specialized brain modules or systems, although the neuroscientists' list of these modules, and their locations in the brain, are quite different from those proposed by phrenologists..

PK = {psychokinesis}.

poltergeist an alleged paranormal phenomenon (from German Poltergeist, "noisy ghost") consisting of an unseen person who is believed to occupy a "haunted house," disturbing the peace with such pranks as slamming doors, rapping on walls, upsetting furniture, and breaking crockery. Investigations indicate that these events often are reported in homes where there is a preadolescent child.

position effect in {parapsychology}, the ostensible effect of the position of a target in a temporal series or spatial array on the accuracy of the subject's calls or guesses.

postcognition in {parapsychology}, the experiencing of a past event as if it is occurring in the present; see {precognition}.

precognition the purported foreknowledge of an occurrence or experience, supposedly through nonrational channels. See {parapsychology}; {extrasensory perception} {postcognition}.

prediction the foretelling of future events. In psychological assessment, personality tests and other psychometric instruments are often empirically validated by showing that they can predict subjects' behaviors or other characteristics. In psychiatry it may be possible to predict the general behavior or prognosis of patients whose personality pattern is known, but not their specific behavior, since so many factors are involved. In {parapsychology}, the term is essentially equivalent to PRECOGNITION. See this entry.

preferential effect in {parapsychology}, the ostensible finding that a subject's calls or guesses are more accurate for one set of targets in an experiment (e.g., die faces with high values) than another (e.g., die faces with low values).

preferential matching in {parapsychology}, the technique in which a subject's calls or guesses are evaluated by a judge in terms of their similarity to possible targets; see {ESP free- response test}.

premonitory dreams in {parapsychology}, dreams that give advance notice or warning of some future event.

preternatural in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, term describing phenomena that appear to be inexplicable in terms of known laws of the physical universe, though not necessarily the work of gods, demons, or spirits; compare {supernatural}.

pseudopsychology an approach to psychology that utilizes unscientific or fraudulent methods, e.g., palmistry, {parapsychology}, phrenology, physiognomy, or biorhythm. Also see {pseudoscience}.

pseudoscience a system of theories and methods that claims falsely to be scientific or that is falsely regarded as scientific. For examples and related entries, see {astrology}; {biorhythms}; {characterology}; {clairvoyance; dianetics}; {dowsing}; {exorcism}; {extrasensory perception}; {medium}; {numerology; obscurantism}; {occult}; {orgonomy}; {ouija board}; {out-of-body experience; palmistry}; {parapsychology}; {phrenology}; {physiognomy}; {poltergeist}; {precognition; pseudopsychology}; {psi}; {psychokinesis}; {seance}; {superstition}; {telepathy}.

psi term denoting unspecified mental functions believed to be involved in telepathy and other parapsychological processes which at this time defy scientific explanation. Also, a generic term for the phenomena studied by {parapsychology}, including {extrasensory perception}, {precognition}, and {psychokinesis}. The term is usually explained as an abbreviation of psychic.

psi-hitting in {parapsychology}, term designating performance on a test that is significantly above chance; compare {psi-missing}.

psi-missing in {parapsychology}, term designating performance on a test that is significantly below chance; compare {psi-hitting}.

psychic a general term for all phenomena associated with the mind (Pavlov referred to conditioned responses as "psychic reflexes", because the idea of the physical stimulus evoked the reflexive response); in {parapsychology}, the term refers to immaterial or spiritual forces that operate outside the domain of natural science; also, as a noun, a medium (see {spiritualism}).

psychic healing in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, the treatment of physical conditions by means of parapsychological or spiritualistic means. See also {crystal healing}, {faith healing}.

psychic link in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, the direct connection between one mind and another, not mediated by any sensory channel.

psychic research an alternative term for {parapsychology}.

psychokinesis in {parapsychology}, the alleged ability to control external events and move or change the shape of objects through the power of thought, e.g., to influence the roll of dice or bend a piece of metal by exerting "mind over matter." Abbrev.: PK. Also called telekinesis; parakinesis.

random event generator in {parapsychology}, a device used in research on {psychokinesis}.

receiver in {parapsychology} experiments, the participant who attempts to receiver information transmitted by the {receiver}. See also {percipient}.

Reichenbach phenomenon a field emanating from crystals and other objects, discernable only to certain sensitive individuals, similar to the {aura} ostensibly detected by {Kirlian photography}; thought to be a manifestation of a physical life force called Od, distinct from electricity and magnetism, but similar to the animal magnetism of F.A. Mesmer; the phenomenon was ostensibly discovered by C.L. Reichenbach (1788-1869), an Austrian chemist and metallurgist who also discovered paraffin and creosote.

retrocognition = {postcognition}.

rhabdomancy the practice of divination by rod or wand, as in dowsing (from Greek rhabdos, "rod," and manteia, "divination"). See {dowsing}. [Also spelled rabdomancy]

regression to the mean in research methodology, a statistical artifact in which individuals with extreme scores on some variable tend, upon retesting, to have less extreme scores; the artifact occurs whenever the initial measure is less than perfectly reliable -- which for psychological measurement is all the time. In {parapsychology} research, it can be the source of some claimed effects, such as the {decline effect}.

Rhine cards/deck a standardized set of stimulus materials, similar to a deck of playing cards, designed by J.B. Rhine and K. Zener for use in experiments on {extrasensory perception} and other topics in {parapsychology}}. For more details on these cards and their use in research, see {Zener cards}.

Scientology a pseudoscientific and religious or quasi-religious movement, founded by the science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986); often classified as a "New Religious Movement", sometimes castigated as a cult. Scientology emphasizes the harmful effects of "imprints", essentially memories, of past traumatic experiences; formerly known as Dianetics, a form of psychotherapy practiced by Scientologists, in which interactions with a therapist-like "auditor" and the use of a device called an "E-meter" (essentially a measurement of the {electrodermal response}) lead to a liberated state known as "being Clear". Scientology is also associated with its own cosmology, in which humans are believed to be descended from "thetans" -- immaterial, divine beings who were trapped by the material world.

sciosophy any system of thought that is not supported by scientific methods, e.g., astrology or theology (from Greek skia, hade, shadow").

screened touch matching in {parapsychology}, a technique in which the subject points to indicate his call or guess concerning the top card in a deck held behind a screen; used in demonstrations of {clairvoyance}.

scrying = {crystal gazing}.

second sight in {parapsychology}, the ability to see the future; related to {clairvoyance} and {precognition}; also, in vision science, the term given to the neural system whereby visual signals are carried from "pacemaker" nerve cells in the retina, distinct from rods and cones, which play a role in circadian rhythms such as the sleep-wake cycle.

sender in {parapsychology} experiments, the participant who attempts to transmit information to the {receiver}

sensitive in {parapsychology}, a person who allegedly is capable of receiving supernormal messages or knowledge. As an adjective, the term means easily affected or hurt.

sheep-goat effect in {parapsychology} research, the term coined by G. Schmeidler to characterize the difference in outcomes between believers (the sheep) and the nonbelievers (the goats) in paranormal phenomena.

singles test ({parapsychology}) in research on (psychokinesis}, a technique in which the subject attempts to influence the throw of a single die.

sixth sense in {parapsychology}, {mysticism}, and {spiritualism}, the ostensible sensory modality responsible for mediating the phenomena of {extrasensory perception}. The term is derived from Aristotle, who (in De Anima) distinguished among the five "special senses" (vision, audition, gustation, olfaction, and the tactile sense) and a "common sense" in which information from the special senses was integrated.

Society for Psychical Research British scholarly society, founded in 1882 to promote scientific investigation of parapsychological and paranormal phenomena. Publishes the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (established 1884).

spiritism: See {spiritualism}.

spirit photography in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, the belief, popular in the late 19th century, that the spirits of deceased individuals left imprints on photographs of their loved ones; the first spirit photograph was produced by W. Mumler in 1862; in 1869, Mumler was tried for fraud, and P.T. Barnum testified against him, using the term "humbug" to describe Mumler's activity.

spiritualism the metaphysical belief that the universe is basically nonmaterial, or incorporeal; also, the belief that it is possible to communicate with the deceased through mediums. The latter is sometimes called spiritism. Along with {magic} and {mysticism}, it is the philosophical and religious counterpart to {parapsychology}.

spontaneous human combustion in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, the claim (commonly considered a classic {urban legend}) that the human body can spontaneously burst into flame, without the aid of any external ignition, and burn completely

subject in research methodology, the designation given to the participant in an experiment, whether human or nonhuman animal, who performs a task under conditions set by another participant, designated the {experimenter}. Subjects may also be called "observers", "respondents", or even "informants". The {American Psychological Association} Publication Manual insists that authors of research articles refer to subjects as "participants", but this requirement ignores the fact that there are at least two participants in every psychological experiment -- the experimenter and the subject, for certain, and perhaps a {confederate} and other personnel as well; see also {confederate}, {subject}.

supernatural in {parapsychology} and {spiritualism}, term describing phenomena that appear to depart from or transcend the laws of the physical universe, often taken to be the work of gods, demons, or spirits; compare {preternatural}.

table-tilting/tipping/turning in {spiritualism}, the movements of a table during a {seance}, ostensibly reflecting the efforts of spirits to communicate with the participants; in {parapsychology}, the same movements might be attributed to {psychokinesis}.

target in {parapsychology}, the thoughts or object to which the subject attempts to respond (in tests of {telepathy} or {clairvoyance}), or the object which the subject attempts to influence (in tests on {psychokinesis}).

telegnosis in {parapsychology}, a term for alleged knowledge of distant events without direct communication, as a form of clairvoyance.

telekinesis = {psychokinesis}.

telepathic dream a dream that is allegedly stimulated or influenced by the dream of another person sleeping in the same room.

telepathy the alleged direct communication from mind to mind, in the absence of any known means of transmission. It is a form of EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION. See this entry.

teleplasm in {parapsychology}, a term for a hypothetical substance that emanates from a psychic medium in the form of a human being and is presumably capable of telekinetic activities.

telergy in {parapsychology}, the alleged ability of a {sensitive} individual to convey {paranormal} abilities via {telepathy} to a nearby person.

telesthesia in {parapsychology}, a term for the alleged ability to perceive objects or events beyond the normal range of human perception.

thought transference a form of alleged mental telepathy in which the mental activities of one person are allegedly thought to be transmitted without physical means to the mind of another person.

trial in {parapsychology}, the designation given to any single attempt by a subject to identify (in {clairvoyance} or {telepathy}) or influence (in {psychokinesis}) an object.

up through in {parapsychology}, a technique for testing {clairvoyance} in which the subject guesses the order of a stacked deck of cards from bottom to top; see {down through}.

urban legend in anthropology, incredible stories, usually containing a mix of horror and humor (such as accounts of {spontaneous human combustion}), widely believed to be true but generally poorly documented at best and hoaxes at worst; urban legends differ from myths and folktales in that they usually have a contemporary setting.

veridical hallucinations in {spiritualism}, an {apparition} that is witnessed by more than one person; not quite a contradiction in terms, the apparition is, almost by definition, a hallucination (it is a perception in the absence of a stimulus); but because it is shared by two or more people, the experience is believed to be veridical rather than illusory.

xenoglossy in {parapsychology}, the ostensible ability of a person to speak or write in a language that is entirely unknown to him or her.

Zener cards a standardized set of stimulus materials, similar to a deck of playing cards, designed by J.B. Rhine and K. Zener for use in experiments on {extrasensory perception} (ESP) and other topics in {parapsychology}; also known as {Rhine cards} or the {Rhine deck}. The set consists of 25 cards with printed symbols (star, wavy lines, cross, circle, and square) on them, with five cards in each category. In a test of {telepathy}, a {sender} or {agent} might shuffle the cards and then turn the cards over one at a time to inspect them, while a {receiver} or {percipient} would attempt to read the thoughts of the sender. Such an {ESP forced-choice procedure} constitutes the {basic technique} in parapsychological research. The receiver might also be isolated from environmental stimulation by means of a {Ganzfeld}. An {observer} might also be present in the room, to guard against the effects of {experimenter bias} and other methodological errors, or to perform some other function. Given the five symbols on the deck of cards, a hit rate significantly greater than 20% (1 chance in 5) would be classified as {psi-hitting}; a hit rate significantly less than 20% would be called {psi-missing}. Extremely high ({extrachance}) rates of psi-hitting might be taken as evidence that the receiver was {sensitive}; evidence of {consistent missing} might also be taken as evidence for ESP. If the receiver's call on a particular {trial} matched the outcome of the previous {trial}, this would be evidence of {backward displacement}; if the call matched the outcome of the next trial, this would be evidence of {forward displacement}. If the hit rate were significantly greater on early trials than on later trials, this would be taken as evidence of the {decline effect}. Alternatively, the receiver might be asked to predict the outcome of a future ({precognition}) or previous ({postcognition}) set of trials. If the receiver's calls were more accurate for some targets (e.g., stars) than for others (e.g., crosses), this might be taken as evidence of a {preferential effect}, {focusing effect}. If the rate of psi-hitting were greater for cards placed at a particular spatial location, this would be evidence of a {position effect}. If the rate of psi-hitting were greater when the Ganzfeld was used, compared to when it was not, this would be evidence of a {differential effect} between the two conditions. (Of course, with all these different effects, the likelihood of getting some ESP "effect" in any experimental run increases, which is why statistical analysis of ESP experiments is problematic.) In an experiment on {remote viewing}, the "sender" might be located a considerable distance from the "receiver". In an experiment on {clairvoyance}, the "sender" might attempt to identify the order of the shuffled deck, in the absence of any inspection of the cards by the "sender", proceeding {down through} the deck from the top, or {up through} the deck from the bottom. In an experiment on {psychokinesis}, the "receiver" would actually take the role of "sender", attempt to control the outcome of the shuffle directly. Because {psi-hitting} may be due to the "receiver's" perceiving the contents of the deck directly, and not receiving the thoughts of the "sender", it may be impossible to distinguish {telepathy} from {clairvoyance}. Similarly, because {psi-hitting} may be due to the effect of the "receiver's" thoughts on the outcome of the shuffle, rather than any perception of the deck or the "sender's" thoughts, it may be impossible to distinguish either {telepathy} or {clairvoyance} from {psychokinesis}; in this case, we would speak of {general extrasensory perception}.