Apocalypse: A Greek word translated approximately to mean “disclosure of things previously hidden,” it is a term most often applied to the end of the world, the dawn of a new world or the revelation before mankind’s final judgment.
Bolide: Informally defined as an exploding meteor that resembles a bright fireball.
Cryptozoology: The study and pursuit of cryptids, creatures traditionally considered mythical, folkloric or previously extinct. Example: Bigfoot, chupacabra, Loch Ness Monster.
Disembodied Voice: A voice or noise that lacks an explainable source.
Elemental: Supernatural nature spirits that include fairies, trolls and banshees.
EVP: The abbreviation for “electronic voice phenomena,” which refers to noises of a paranormal nature that cannot be heard with the human ear, but are recorded by electronic devices.
Ghost: Typically refers to the soul of a deceased human (or animal) that continues to exist in some form on an earthly plane without “crossing over.”
Inhuman Entity: A supernatural being -- such as a demon or jinn -- that did not begin its existence in human form.
Intelligent Haunting: Activity resulting from an aware ghost or spirit that interacts with its environment.
Mayan Long Count Calendar: The basis for the doomsday predictions, which is a nonrepeating calendar with “baktun” cycles of about 400 years -- with the 13th ending, and the 14th beginning, on December 21, 2012.
Orb: An often translucent, circular anomaly (or “ball of light”) seen in photography -- and sometimes with the naked eye -- that may be, depending on your theory, a bug, speck of dust, reflection, moisture or spirit energy.
Paranormal: Literally, “above normal,” it refers to anything outside or beyond current scientific explanation.
Paranormal Pop Culture: Term given to paranormal-themed movies, TV shows, comic books, video games, music and literature; also known as “entertainment of the unexplained.”
Paranormal Tourism: The niche within the travel industry where tourists attend paranormal-themed conventions and festivals, investigate famously haunted locations (or camp out to search for Bigfoot or UFOs), and join ghost tours or haunted pub crawls through cities.
Pareidolia: Also known as “matrixing,” it is the brain’s perception of a meaningful pattern within random sounds or images.
Possession: The state where an entity inhabits and exerts a level of control over a living thing or object.
Prepper: An apocalyptically-minded individual preparing themselves for survival during an imminent societal or global change and, likely, disaster.
Preternatural: Instead of being connected to the spiritual realm, like supernatural matters, the preternatural applies to things that are of the natural world but currently unexplained.
Residual Haunting: Repetitive paranormal activity resulting from the energy imprint of a person or event in time.
Shadow Person: A commonly-reported inky black humanoid entity that moves fast, it is often spotted out of the corner of the eye and has been interpreted to be anything from a ghost or demon, to alien, time traveler or inter-dimensional being.
Spirit: As opposed to a ghost (see above), a spirit is normally the soul of the deceased that has crossed over, and exists in a spiritual or metaphysical plane.
Supernatural: Typically referring to spiritual or religious matters, the laws of nature do not apply to this realm.
UFO: Abbreviation for “unidentified flying object” which does not necessarily apply to extraterrestrial or secret governmental crafts, but can be anything unknown spotted in the sky.
Zombie: The classic version is a mindless, frequently violent, product of supernatural magic or pharmacology while the modern incarnation is a reanimated human corpse infected with an unexplained contagion that is relentless and aggressive.