Mystic Miscellany

Welcome to the largest paranormal dictionary on the web!

pagan PAY-guhn – a generic term for one who worships a god/s outside of the mainstream; from one's perspective, somebody who is not of the same religion and is possibly meant in a derogatory way [Latin paganus “villager, civilian (one not enrolled in the army of Christ)”] SYN heathen

paganism – worship of a different god/s; polytheism; notable varieties include Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Germanic, Druid, Norse, Baltic and Wicca SYN heathenry, heathenism, animism, pantheism

palmist – one who interprets the palms of the hands SYN palm reader, chirologist, cheirologist, cheirosophist, hand reader, hand analyst

palmistry – the art of characterization and predicting fate by reading one's palm, a practice going back to ancient Eurasia; according to the Catholic Church, a forbidden act SYN chirology, chiromancy, cheiromancy, cheirosophy, palm reading

Pan – the Greek god of nature and companion of the nymphs; he's depicted as having the hindquarters and horns of a goat with a bearded man's upper body; his Roman counterpart is Faunus and his Rigvedic counterpart is Pushan; the word “panic” is derived from this god [PIE “pasture”]

pan flute – an instrument composed of seven or nine hollow abutting reeds of various lengths; legend says that Pan, the nature god, was chasing after the nymph Syrinx, who had other river nymphs change her into a reed to escape, when he plucked the reeds, not knowing which one was her, and fashioned the instrument after realizing a plaintive sound was created when his breath rushed between them SYN pan pipes, syrinx

panspermia – in science, the idea that amino acids and other building blocks of life formed and spread throughout the universe such that all earthly life and possible alien life forms are related and share a common ancestry

pantheon PAN-thee-on – the totality of any religion's gods [Greek pántheios “of all gods”]

paraclete puh-RAH-clay-teh – the Holy Spirit; one who aids [Greek parakletos “called to help”] SYN Holy Spirit, Comforter

paranormal – outside of normal circumstances [Greek “beyond normal”] SYN supernatural, esoteric, arcane, fortean

Paranormal Lockdown (2016-p) – an American reality TV series that follows Nick Groff (of Ghost Adventures), Katrina Weidman (of Paranormal State) and Rob Saffi as they spend 72 hours straight inside some of America's and England's most haunted locations

Paranormal 911 (2019-p) – a Canadian TV series where first responders and survivors recount a paranormal event in connection with a crisis

Paranormal State (2007-2011) – an American TV series starring Ryan Buell and the Pennsylvania State University Paranormal Research Society as they investigate haunted locales

Paranormal Survivor (2015-p) – a Canadian documentary production in which interviews and reenactments tell allegedly true stories of ghosts and demonic possessions; 45 min. long episodes are streamed through Netflix

Paranormal Witness (2011-2016) – an American documentary series made by a British production company that uses dramatic recreations to tell true stories of hauntings, demonic activity, cryptid encounters and alien abductions

parapsychologist – one who holds a degree in parapsychology; one who investigates paranormal subjects, with or without a degree, and makes attempts at an explanation

parapsychology – the study of various paranormal subjects as they relate to humans and our perception [Greek “study of something beyond the psyche”]

paraskavedekatriaphobia pair-rah-skeh-VAY-deh-kah-TRI-ah-FOH-bee-uh – the fear of Friday the 13th SYN friggatriskaidekaphobia

pareidolia pair-ee-DOH-lee-uh – the common ability and wont to recognize patterns using all the senses even where none truly exist; relevant in parapsychology because paranormal claims can be debunked by looking for evidence of pareidolia exp. the face on Mars, hearing Satanic lyrics when playing a record backwards [Greek paraeidolon “faulty image”] SYN cognition, matrixing

Parsee alt. Parsi – one who follows the disciples of Zoroaster; a fire worshipper [Farsi Parsi “Persian”] SYN Zoroastrian

Jack Parsons (1914-1952) – a Thelemite occultist and the founder of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; an associate of Aleister Crowley AKA Marvel Whiteside Parsons

Pascagoula, MS abduction – on Oct. 11th, 1973, two co-workers, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, were fishing in the Pascagoula R. when an oval-shaped UFO with flashing blue lights approached them and three aliens “froze” them and brought them aboard for a medical exam

past-life recall – the experience of remembering specifics of one's former life and replaying familiar scenes in one's head

past-life regression – the use of hypnosis to recover lost memories of previous lives; critics point to the suggestive questioning on the part of the hypnotist, the inaccuracies of historical facts and the lack of proof of reincarnation as reasons to not engage in such a practice SYN prati-prasav

Patrick Macnee's Ghost Stories (1997) – hosted by Patrick Macnee, a series of six specials covering a good variety of English and American hauntings SYN Ghost Stories: A Paranormal Insight, Ghost Stories, Real Ghost Stories

Patterson-Gimlin footage – a minute long film clip of a walking bigfoot that two cowboys and documentary buffs, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, supposedly disturbed while riding horseback alongside Bluff Creek in CA on Oct. 20th, 1967 SYN Patterson film

Paulding Light – a mystery light that randomly appears almost nightly in a remote valley south of Paulding, MI; explanations for it include various ghost stories, geologic activity, swamp gas from nearby lakes and car headlights SYN Lights of Paulding, Dog Meadow Light

Pazuzu puh-ZOO-zoo alt. Pazuza – the Assyrian king of the demons who brings about famine, drought and locusts; he is depicted as having a man's body with the head of a dog or lion, eagle's talons, two pairs of wings and a scorpion's tail; the demon who possesses Regan MacNeil in the The Exorcist franchise SYN Fazuzu, Zuzu, Zozo, Azazel

pediophobia PEE-dee-oh-FOH-bee-uh – the fear of dolls

pegacorn – a unicorn with wings/a horned pegasus [combination of “pegasus” and “unicorn”] SYN alicorn, winged unicorn, flying unicorn

Pegasus – one of a pair of winged stallions borne of Medusa after being beheaded by Perseus, the other being Chrysaor; the bringer of thunderbolts to Zeus from Mount Olympus

pegasus pl. pegasi – a mythical winged horse that births a spring when it strikes the ground with its hoof [Greek pege “spring, well”]

Pele PAY-lay – in Hawaiian culture, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes; the creator of the Hawaiian Islands who abides within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater; hula dances are often dedicated to her and tell symbolically of her deeds [Hawaiian “molten lava”] SYN Tutu Pele, Madame Pele, Pele-honua-mea, Ka Wahine 'Ai Honua, Goddess of the Hula, She Who Shapes the Sacred Land

Peluda peh-LOO-dah – an acid-spitting beast that terrorized the medieval folk of La Ferté-Bernard, France; it was described as being the size of an ox, having a greenish body, dressed in either quills or hairy stingers on its back (which it could shoot in defense) with the neck, head and tail of a snake and tortoise-like feet [Occitan “hairy”] SYN La Velue, Shaggy Beast, Hairy One

penanggalan alt. penanggal – in Southeast Asian folklore, a magic-dabbling woman whose head detaches from her body, the heart and entrails dangling underneath, and flies about at night seeking the blood of pregnant women and newborn children [Malaysian “detach, remove”] SYN hantu penanggal

pentagram – an upside-down, five-pointed star that symbolizes the face of Satan (with horns); the symbol of Wicca [Greek pentagrammon “five-line”] SYN pentalpha, pentangle, star pentagon
percipient – one who perceives a ghost

Gil Pérez hill PEHR-rez – a guard who was mysteriously transported (raptured) from the Governor's Palace in Manila, Philippines to the Plaza Mayor in Mexico City on Oct. 24th, 1593 and brought news of the assassination of Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas before it could possibly be delivered via the sea

Perm Anomalous Zone – a remote region of Russia known since the 1980's for its unusual qualities such as mystery lights, UFOs, shadow beings, mystery choir singing as well as colored lightning, plant mutations, sound distortions and magnetic disturbances that cause headaches and watches to stop; a densely forested site about 70 sq. km big that is sacred to the Mansi people SYN M-Triangle

Michael A. Persinger (1945-2018) – a professor of psychology at Laurentian University; he advanced the ideas that the temporal lobes are the origin for mystical experiences, geomagnetic activity precedes parapsychological claims, such as ghosts and out-of-body experiences, and tectonic shifts in the Earth's crust cause luminous phenomena that are perceived as UFOs

Petara – the benevolent god of the Ibans of Southeast Asia

Petra – an ancient Nabataean city of carved rock in Jordan that is haunted by djinn SYN Rose City, Rose-Red City, Raqmu

phantasm – a ghostly apparition [Greek phantasma “illusion”] SYN phantom, ghost, spirit, specter, wraith

phantom – a ghostly apparition [shortened form of “phantasm”] SYN phantasm, ghost, spirit, specter, wraith

phantom cat – a ghostly puma; stories of phantom cats tell of them following people who are in the wilderness, sometimes seemingly stalking them, and making their appearance in order to defend them from a threat and so there is no agreement in them being benign or evil

phantom hitchhiker – of urban legend, a full-bodied ghost who thumbs a ride with an unsuspecting driver only to disappear by the time they reach their destination SYN vanishing hitchhiker

phantom pregnancy – following a suspected alien abduction, a pregnancy that a human female detects and has many of the signs for, including a visible bump, morning sickness and positive HcG, but is suddenly not detectable anymore, esp. after another abduction, suggesting the abductors removed the baby, and is as if a pregnancy never took place

phantom smell – a smell which is not really there but is sensed by somebody upon walking into a certain room or place and often reminds that person of somebody who passed away exp. smelling the smoke of a deceased one's favorite brand of cigarettes, their habitual cologne or perfume or their preferred flower

phantom vehicle – whether driven by a ghost or driverless, an incorporeal car that's seen on lonely roads, often near the scene of a tragic accident SYN ghost car

pharmacy – a medical facility where one can buy medicine [Greek pharmakon “magic”]

phasmophobia – the fear of ghosts

phaya naga pl. Naga – a long semi-divine serpent living in the Mekong R. and its estuaries in Laos and Thailand [“Lord of Naga”] SYN phaya nak

phenomenon pl. phenomena – something curious that is observed, often repeatedly [Greek phainomenon “that which appears”] SYN curiosity, mystery

Philadelphia Experiment – an invisibility experiment carried out by the US Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard upon the USS Eldridge about Oct. 28th, 1943; various stories exist – some say the destroyer escort disappeared, disappeared and briefly appeared at Chesapeake Bay in a green mist, went to another dimension where it encountered aliens or traveled ten minutes back in time but almost all versions have the ship reappearing with some crew members physically fused to parts of the hull; there's some inconsistencies with the story and it's generally accepted to be a hoax [1955, in two letters of uncertain origin sent to astronomer Morris K. Jessup]

philosopher's stone – a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into gold or silver, healing all diseases thereby helping humankind achieve immortality, turning common crystals into diamonds and reviving dead plants SYN lapis philosophorum, lapis occultus, lapis noster, chrysopoeia, elixir of life, white stone, delycious stone, antidotus, draco elixir and many others

phoenix FEE-niks pl. phoenixes – a long-living bird of ancient Egyptian mythology that dies in a fiery spectacle and is reborn from the ashes; a bird described by the ancient Greeks as looking something like an eagle, having a tuft of feathers on top of its head, with ruddy and gold plumage and rose-colored talons, which lives for 500 years; an ancient symbol of the cycle of life [Greek phoinix] SYN bennu, chol

Phoenix Lights – a mass UFO sighting over a large swath of AZ on the evening of March 13th, 1996; descriptions of the UFO range from the military flare lights reported on the news to individual accounts of seeing a massive disc above their house to V-shaped UFOs out in the more rural areas

phrenologist fren-NAH-loh-jist – one who engages in phrenology

phrenology fren-NAH-loh-jee – the study of the shape and contours of the head to determine one's mental faculties [Greek “the study of the conformation of the skull”]

Pisces – the twelfth of the Zodiac signs, symbolized by a fish

pixie – a diminutive magical being that traditionally inhabits the moors of Devon and Cornwall and dances and wrestles other pixies throughout the night; a small humanoid being which wears a green covering with a pointed hat and has pointy ears and eyes that taper towards the nose [Swedish pyske; Cornish piskie “little fairy”] SYN pixy, pixi, pizkie, piskie, pigsie

placophobia – the fear of tombstones

planchette – a triangular piece of wood, either with a glass insert or a triangular tip, used in conjunction with a Ouija board in order that any present “spirits” can spell out their messages to the witnesses [French “little board”]

plesiosaur PLEZ-zee-oh-sawr – a species of extinct marine reptile having a narrow head, a big turtle-like soft body, a stubby tail and two pairs of fins and growing to a length of 12 feet; a dinosaur thought to be the same as the Loch Ness monster and other lake monsters [Greek plesiosauros “near-to lizard”]

Pluto – the god of the underworld; the loving husband of Persephone; his Roman equivalent is Dis Pater [Greek Plouton] SYN Hades

pneumatiphobia new-MAT-tih-FOH-bee-uh – the fear of spirits

polong sing. and pl. – of Malaysian folklore, a tiny vampiric spirit conjured by the blood sacrifice of a black magic practitioner and kept in a bottle until such time that its master releases it to harm a specific person [Malay “ghost”]

poltergeist POLL-tuhr-guyst – an unseen ghost or force that makes itself known by physically disturbing one's abode exp. moving, throwing or levitating objects, either pinching, biting, tripping, pulling and pushing people and making loud banging noises [German polterngeist “noisy ghost”]

Pool of Siloam – a rock-cut pool on the southern slope of Old Jerusalem where, according to John 9:1–12, Jesus healed a man born blind; it was discovered by a pipe repair crew in 2004 SYN Breikhat Hashiloah

Nick Pope (1965-p) – a former employee of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) from 1985 to 2006; a ufologist and media commentator, esp. in regards to military defense

Pope Lick Monster – a goat-man that lives underneath a railroad bridge going over Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, KY; featured in Monsters and Mysteries in America, #3.3

portal – a door to another world, time or dimension [Latin porta “door”] SYN gate

Port Arthur – a former penal colony on a peninsula of Tasmania where over a thousand prisoners died and now haunt the locale; they were buried in unmarked graves at nearby Island of the Dead

portent – an indication that something bad is about to happen [Latin portentum “omen”] SYN harbinger
Poseidon poh-SAI-dihn – the god of the sea and protector of seafarers; the son of Cronus and Rhea [Greek “earth-shaker”] SYN Neptune

possession – a nefarious takeover of somebody's body with or without their approval

potion – a drink with magical, healing or poisonous properties exp. a love potion [Latin potio “poisonous drink”] SYN concoction, witch's brew, elixir, draught

poukai POH-kai alt. pouakai, poouakai sing. and pl. – of Māori legend, a large carnivorous bird of New Zealand that eats humans; it's thought to be the Haast's eagle, the largest eagle species ever, which became extinct near 1350 AD [“bird that makes the emu call”]

Poveglia Island poh-VEG-glee-uh AI-lund – a small island south of Venice that is alleged to be one of the most haunted locations in the world; the site of an 18th century checkpoint for travelers in and out of Venice, where tens of thousands died of the black plague, and where a doctor who did experimental lobotomies threw himself from a tower to his death SYN Bloody Island, Island of Madness, Island of Hell

precognition – having knowledge of future events [Latin praecognitio “before acquiring knowledge”] SYN prescience

prediction – a statement about future events exp. a stock market prognosis [Latin praedictio “before-hand saying”] SYN forecast

premonition – a strong feeling that something is about to happen [Latin praemonitio “forewarning”] SYN intuition, presentiment, suspicion, hunch, gut feeling, funny feeling, feeling in one's bones

Project Blue Book – starting in 1952, the third study on UFOs conducted by the USAF in order to determine if they were a threat to national security and to analyze them scientifically

Project Grudge – the second of three UFO studies conducted by the USAF in 1949 and arguably the shortest-lived and most disappointing study of all three

Project Paperclip – a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) to employ hundreds of German engineers and technicians in the US for the purpose of gaining a military advantage over the Soviet Union and putting a man on the moon; so named because a paper clip was attached to those applications who were selected for the project; relevant in paranormal circles because some scientists are believed to have derived inspiration for their inventions from UFOs or even by reverse engineering a crashed UFO SYN Operation Paperclip, Operation Overcast

Project Sign – based out of Wright-Patterson AFB, the first of three UFO studies initiated at the end of 1947 which came about as a result of a large wave of public UFO sightings, mostly starting with Kenneth Arnold's Mt. Rainier sighting

prophecy – a declaration of a forthcoming event; a vision of the future [Greek propheteia “gift of interpreting the will of God”] SYN revelation, forecast

prophet – one who prophesies via a higher being; a representative of god exp. Elijah, Daniel, Ezekiel and Jonah SYN soothsayer

pseudoscience SOO-doh-SAI-ehns – a field that is considered fake and unworthy of pursuit due to faulty reasoning and lack of evidence exp. astrology, demonology, flat earth theory, climate change theory and homeopathy are all considered pseudosciences by some [Greek and Latin “false knowledge”] SYN scientific illiteracy, bad science, junk science

psi sai alt. Ψ – the penultimate Greek letter; shorthand for either the field of psychology or an unknown factor in a psychological experiment; a symbol of parapsychology; the trident of Neptune (who is also Poseidon)

psychedelics SAI-kuh-DELL-liks – a class of drugs that alter one's state of consciousness and may explain otherworldly experiences, such as alien abduction or astral projection exp. LSD, THC, psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca [Greek “mind-revealing”] SYN phanerothymes, entheogenics, shrooms

psychic SAI-kik – one who receives information without help from the senses [Greek psukhikos “pertaining to the mind”] SYN sensitive

psychic detective – a psychic who works in conjunction with law enforcement to help locate missing persons and criminals on the run; the vast majority of police departments do not use the aid of any psychic exp. Phillipe Durant, Debbie Malone, Annette Martin, Allison DuBois

psychic dream – a dream in which one sees things that will take place later SYN veridical dream

psychic staring effect – the unexplained ability of a person to perceive a stare directed at them without seeing evidence of this

psychic vampire – one who gains energy from a living person's body, not through sucking their blood but by absorbing their life force through touch; otherwise, they exhibit the same characteristics as mainstream vampires, such as having fangs, wearing dark clothing and a preference for nighttime

psychokinesis – the ability to move objects by mental effort alone; Jack Houck, Dean Radin, Maureen Caudill and author Michael Crichton claimed to have success at spoon-bending [Greek “mind movement”] SYN PK, telekinesis, mind over matter

psychometry – the ability to garner information about somebody by touching personal possessions [Joseph Rodes Buchanan, 1842] SYN psychometrics, psychoscopy, token-object reading

psychotronics (1) – a specific branch of parapsychology that supposes energy emanates from all living beings and affects matter exp. sliders and yogis exhibit psychotronic abilities [1970's, combination of psycho + a shortened form of electronics]

psychotronics (2) – in the world of conspiracy theories, the ability of government agents to control people by transmitting thoughts into their minds [“mind-transmitting”] SYN mind control

púca POO-kuh alt. puca pl. púcaí – in Celtic mythology, a shape-shifting creature that sometimes appears as some kind of dark-haired animal, like a horse, rabbit, fox or goat, but mostly appears as an anthropomorphic figure with horns and catches lone wanderers at night; the main protagonist in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream [Old Norse puki “nature spirit”; Irish poc “goat”] SYN púka, puka, pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, pwca, bucca

pukwudgie PUCK-wuhj-jee – a thin, benign dwarf-like creature believed to exist in many Native American circles, esp. the Iroquois and the Indians of the New England area, which wears shabby clothes and roams the forest [Irish púca; Welsh pwca “fairy”] SYN bucca

pumawa – in Native American beliefs, a woman who has the ability to morph into a cougar

pyrokinesis – the power of the mind to start fires; it was coined by Stephen King for his novel, Firestarter; it's a misnomer - the term should technically be “telepyrosis” [Greek “fire movement”]


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