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Q&A / Terms and Paranormal Research Terminology
- How can I request an investigation? In order to request an investigation, please see the "investigation request" page and follow the instructions.
- Does SDPRS charge for investigations? No, SDPRS does not charge for investigations. However, we do accept donations.
- Can I observe an investigation? SDPRS occasionally allows observers to come and observe an investigation. If you are from out-of-state or another country and are interested in coming on an investigation, please e-mail Nicole at email@example.com. You can also attend one of our "Spirits of the Adobe" tours at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe.
- What places does SDPRS investigate? SDPRS investigates private residences, businesses and historical sites, including national landmarks.
- Why does a place become haunted? No one absolutely knows why places become haunted. However, there are prevalent theories that can possibly explain why. Some natural sources that might influence a haunting include water, electricity, electromagnetic field, Ley lines, train tracks, antiques, etc. Places that contain a lot of human emotion might explain the origin(s) of a haunting. The specific area that a houses a particular location may have a specific history that could explain paranormal activity.
- Is it an imaginary friend or a ghost? Many young children (ages 2-5) have imaginary friends. Some of these so-called imaginary friends may in fact be a ghost. Signs to look for include change in behavior, sleep pattern or general routine, distraction, talking to oneself, imaginary play, social and emotional changes. If you would like more information about this, please feel free to contact the team. We also offer a presentation called "Children and the Paranormal" that goes in depth on this topic.
- Does SDPRS travel out-of-state for investigations? Yes, SDPRS will occasionally travel out-of-state for investigations. SDPRS primarily serves the following California counties: San Diego, Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange.
- How old do I have to be to join SDPRS? The minimum age requirement for SDPRS membership is 25-years-old. However, we are not currently taking on new members.
- Is SDPRS available for conducting paranormal classes and/or lectures? Yes, SDPRS is available for conducting paranormal classes and/or lectures. Please see our "courses" and "presentations and lectures" pages.
- Does SDPRS endorse the use of Black Magic and Ouija Board use? SDPRS DOES NOT endorse the use of Black Magic and Ouija Board use.
- What are paranormal phenomena? Phenomena are considered paranormal when they fall out of the spectrum of being normal. Additionally, it is very hard to explain and many times, there are no explanations for the existence of paranormal phenomena. SDPRS classifies an occurrence as "supernatural" when it cannot come up with logical or natural explanations for activity.
- What are ghosts? A ghost is basically the survival of human personality and consciousness. When the human body ceases to function, the spirit and personality remain and continues to live. No one really knows for certain what ghosts are or why they are here. There are many theories that may suggest why a ghost remains on our plane of existence as opposed to going “home." For more information, please visit our "paranormal theories" page.
- Signs of paranormal activity There are many signs that a location may indeed have paranormal activity. Some of the common signs include: cold and hot spots, disembodied noises, misplaced objects, poltergeist activity, disruptions in the EMF spectrum, tapping, rapping, knocking, banging, fleeing shadows, apparitional sightings, psychokinetic influences, light anomalies, etc. Some of the the physical signs include: nausea, malaise, headache, fatigue, sleep problems, feeling of being watched, etc. See our “Signs of a Haunting” page for more information.
- Why are ghosts here? To be honest, no one really knows why ghosts exist on our plane of existence. However, there are prevalent theories that may explain why. Many people die a sudden and/or violent death and many times, do not know they are dead. Thus, they continue to carry on life’s duties, often what they were doing at the time of their demise. Other times, ghosts are stuck on earth or choose to remain on our plane of existence due to unfinished business or to carry out a mission. Ghosts sometimes choose to remain here to be at the location they loved and cherished. For non-human entities, it is theorized that they are here to antagonize and/or observe the living.
- Where to find ghosts? Ghosts seem to be attracted to places that have seen or have a lot of powerful emotion. Thus, places such as hospitals, sanatoriums, funeral homes, cemeteries, churches, libraries, wedding halls, amusement parks, theaters, schools, antique stores, etc., tend to have paranormal phenomena. If you or a group of people want to start paranormal investigating, it is crucial to obtain prior permission to investigate!
- What is a vortex? A vortex is defined as having a mass amount of spiritual energy. Vortexes are also thought to have a mass amount of spiritual orbs. Other researchers feel that a vortex is a stage of spirit manifestation as well. A vortex resembles a camera strap or a piece of rope and seems to vibrate with spiritual energy.
- What is an orb? An orb is a sphere of light that contains energy. Some people feel that orbs contain spiritual energy. In this case, it is thought that the so-called spirit orbs may contain faces of those who have died. Orbs are also thought to be a stage of spirit manifestation. Orbs may indicate that energy is prevalent in the environment, whether or not they consist of spiritual energy. Most orbs that show up in photographs are the result of lens flares, dust, moisture and/or bugs. Please see our resource page about orbs for more information.
- What is Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVP? Electronic Voice Phenomena is where ghost voices appear on analog and digital voice recorders. At the time of recording, the ghost voices are not heard; however upon playback of audio, the voice appears on the recorder. EVP is a common technique employed by paranormal investigators. EVP or ENP (electronic noise phenomenon) can consist of words, phrases, footsteps, banging, tapping, rapping, knocking, singing, etc. Class A: An identifiable word or phrase loud enough to be heard without the aid of headphones. Everyone agrees on what is said. Class B: A word or phrase that may not be recognizable by every investigator, but can be heard without the use of headphones. Class C: A word or phrase that is not identifiable and needs to be perceived with the use of headphones; very soft and faint in quality. Class R: R stands for Reversible. Occasionally, if you reverse the audio or segment, an identifiable word or phrase is understood.
- What is the Near Infrared Spectrum? The near infrared spectrum is the spectrum where ghosts are thought to exist. It cannot be seen with the naked eye. Cameras that take pictures in the near infrared spectrum sometimes pick up ghostly images. This is why it is thought that ghosts exist in this part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Are ghosts dangerous? Generally speaking, the majority of ghosts are not dangerous. Occasionally, people have reported being pushed or having their hair pulled, but not to the extent of actually obtaining a physical injury. Some poltergeist activity and of course, VERY RARE demonic-like activity can be dangerous.
- What is a portal? A portal is a passageway between our level of existence and the afterlife. It is a passageway where spirits can travel to and from our plane of existence. Think of it like a bridge connecting two planes. Places that house portals seem to have a lot of paranormal activity.
- What is Instrumental Trans-communication or ITC? ITC is the use of electronic devices, such as spirit boxes, Frank’s Boxes, radios, televisions, computers, audio recorders, etc., to try and communicate with the deceased. ITC is rapidly evolving and many paranormal researchers employ ITC when conducting paranormal investigations. ITC is different than EVP in the sense that it is communicating with the deceased in real time. When ITC is employed, an investigator attempts to communicate with the spirit (two-way communication) in real time; that is, the spirit voices are heard at the time of communication.
- What is the difference between scientific investigating and psychic investigating: Utilizing the scientific method and various types of equipment that seem to be capable of picking up paranormal activity. Some types of equipment consist of: video cameras, still photography cameras, audio equipment, EMF meters, Geiger and ION counters, thermometers, motion sensors, IR thermometers, night vision devices, etc. Psychic investigating is when investigators utilize their sensitive and psychic abilities to pick up paranormal phenomena. Psychic investigators utilize their five senses when conducting a paranormal investigation. Many researchers use sensitives on their investigations as a way to corroborate scientific evidence of paranormal phenomena.
- Personality-retaining/interactive (intelligent) ghosts: ghosts that retain their former earth-bound personalities and exhibit them in the afterlife. These ghosts can include, familial, historical, anonymous personalities; able to interact in a way where the living can sense their presence via the five human senses; show a variety of emotion. Most of these ghosts are harmless.
- Non-interactive/residual ghost: more or less imprints or residual energy, like a tape recorder playing itself over and over; has no concept of time and space. These psychic imprints repeat the same actions over and over, sometimes with relation to an important anniversary or time of year; unaware of the living; it is questionable whether a residual ghost is really a ghost or just a psychic imprint.
- Living ghost: the possible projection of a still living person that appears. This encounter is rare and usually happens with the living ghost is encountering a great deal of danger or turmoil or right before death. This is more or less similar to an OBE (out of body experience) where the subject is alive at the time of appearing to another person, but unaware that he or she did so.
- Crisis apparition: a ghost that appears to a living person at the time of a crisis, usually before the subject’s death.
- Animal ghosts: the survival of personality of animals; due to a pet’s strong bond with its owners, animal ghosts have been known to appear intelligently or residually. Dogs, cats and horses are the most common.
- Inanimate ghosts/time slips: phantom sightings of ships, boats, cars, trains, airplanes, etc. This type of haunting is more along the lines of an imprint or residual type of energy on the environment or that the living person operating these vehicles somehow caused the inanimate ghost to appear.
- Poltergeist (PK): translates to “noisy ghost” in German; usually the psychokinetic work of a human agent who is under unusual amounts of stress. Pubescent teenagers are usually the culprit of PK activity. Signs include: knockings, rappings, tappings, movement of objects of their own volition via the kinetic energy of the human mind. Occasionally, PK events can be caused by an actual ghost and not a human agent.
- Psychokinetic/Telekinetic: The word psychokinetic has actually replaces the word telekinetic. Basically, it is the mind’s ability to move and object and has its place in Poltergeist cases.
- Man-made ghosts: This is similar to a “tulpa” in that a human being creates the ghost from excessive imagination and thought.
- Extra-celestials: another type of intelligent being that does not originate from planet earth but from a different universal dimension. Maybe they once existed as physical entities on another planet or are entities that have always existed in a non-corporeal state or pure energy. Some examples can be: angels, inter-dimensional beings, aliens, Men in Black, malevolent beings, such as fairies, elementals, Djinn etc. These beings may be on a different plane of existence but seek communication with our plane of existence.
- Spirits: a discarnate being that exists in the visible realm. Spirits have spiritually evolved and moved on to a brighter place, but choose to come back to our plane in time of need or desire.
- Elementals, Fairies, Elves, Djinn: Beings that are usually associated with malevolence and trickster personalities. They sometimes appear disguised and take other forms typically associated with a bad smell and bad intentions.
- Orbs: round, opaque balls of light that are captured on film or by the naked eye. Most orbs can be explained away naturally, but orbs can represent paranormal and spiritual energy. The classic signs that an orb is of spiritual nature are: natural exuding brightness, erratic flight pattern, 3-D effect and the presence of a nucleus/facial images in the center.
- Mist/fog: a stage in entity manifestation; typically white, grey or black mists are seen.
- Ectoplasm: a term that originated in the spiritualist movement whereby mediums would exude ectoplasmic substances after channeling a spirit.
- Vortex: A vortex is complete with massive amounts of spiritual energy; a connecting bridge between our plane of existence and the afterlife.
- Partial manifestations: this is an example of when an entity appears with parts of the body missing, such as the limbs, hands, feet.
- Shadow Person: A stage of ghost manifestation whereby the witness sees a dark shadow that resembles a human figure. This is different from the “Shadow People Phenomenon.”
- Classic Shadow People: These entities are mainly concerned with watching human beings; they are non-interactive. They are usually seen as very tall, wearing a black cape and wide brimmed hat or very short in stature. They have been known to have the trickster nature and are sometimes malevolent. It is believed that they originate from another dimension, but tap into our dimension to study us.
- Full manifestation: The Holy Grail of paranormal evidence whereby a ghost is fully manifested and resembles a living human being.
- What is a haunting: a repeated occurrence of paranormal activity in a specific location. The activity may appear in many ways, such as apparitions, sights, sounds, smells and cold spots, etc. Hauntings can last for a long time or just last for a very short time. With a classic haunting, the paranormal activity has to have some sort of historical connection to the location/environment.
- Intelligent Haunting: a haunting that takes place with interactive ghosts and entities.
- Residual Haunting: a replaying of psychic imprints. For example, a Civil War soldier firing a cannon in Gettysburg can be classified as a residual haunt.
- Poltergeist: see types of ghosts
- Portal Hauntings: a portal is where ghosts and spirits can travel to this plane of existence, kind of like a bridge connecting our plane and their plane. Places that are known to be extremely haunted may have portals, such as the RMS Queen Mary. Portals may also be evident in locations with Ley Lines, water sources, railroad tracks, etc.
- Ghost lights/Spook lights: different phenomena than orbs. These can almost always be explained away as a logical phenomenon. Ghost lights are found in areas, such as swamps, mountains and lakes. The scientific theory is that gases are emitted from substances, such as manure or compost, which create the mysterious balls of lights.
- Pareidolia: Psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus, often a photo or sound, being perceived as significant. In other words, the mind’s ability to make order out of what it’s seeing and hearing. A great example of this is seeing faces and designs in clouds and hearing hidden messages in sounds. When reviewing and examining spirit photography, it is always crucial to pay attention to PAREIDOLIA!
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