SPIRITUALISM      Belief that the souls of the dead can make contact with the living, usually through a medium or during abnormal mental states such as trances. The basis of spiritualism is the conviction that spirit is the essence of life and that it lives on after the body dies. A medium is a person sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world, who may hold meetings known as séances in order to seek messages from spirits. Although this is not widely known, Spiritualism has been a recognized religion in the UK for quite some time.     SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION      Refers to the belief that the human body sometimes burns without an external source of ignition. There is much speculation and controversy regarding SHC, for it is not a proven natural phenomenon. Many theories and hypotheses have attempted to explain how SHC might occur, some of which are grounded in current scientific understanding. One such hypothesis is the "wick effect", in which the clothing of the victim soaks up melted human fat and acts like the wick of a candle. Another possibility is that the clothing is caused to burn by a discharge of static electricity. The likelihood that truly spontaneous human combustion actually takes place is remote, due to the presence of water and the lack of highly flammable compounds and oxygen in the human body.     STIGMATA      Stigmata are the wounds of Christ as reproduced in a human body. Visible stigmata are frequently located in both hands and both feet, and on the right side of the chest, replicating the sites of Christ's wounds, which he showed to the disciples in his post-resurrection appearances (Luke 24: 36-40 and John 20: 19-29).     STONEHENGE      A group of standing stones on Salisbury Plain in southern England. Dating to c. 2000–1800 B.C., the megaliths are enclosed by a circular ditch and embankment that may date to c. 2800. The arrangement of the stones suggests that Stonehenge was used as a religious center and also as an astronomical observatory.     STONE TAPE THEORY      This is the theory that some element of stone walls are capable of recording the scenes that take place around it, imprinted on it either through high emotion or mere repetition. A later event, such as the presence of a person with the appropriate psychic make-up, then triggers a playback of the recording. This results in a haunting.  Contemporarily, the concept was popularized by 1972 Christmas ghost story called The Stone Tape, produced by the BBC.     SUGGESTION       The name given to the psychological process by which one person may guide or influence the thoughts, feelings or behavior of another. The suggestion thus accepted has a powerful effect on both mind and body.     SUPERNATURAL      The supernatural (Latin: super- "above" + natura "nature") pertains to entities, events or powers regarded as beyond nature, in that they cannot be explained from the laws of the natural world. Religious miracles are typical of such “supernatural” manifestations, as are spells and curses, divination, the notion that there is an afterlife for the dead, and innumerable others. Supernatural themes are often associated with magical and occult ideas.     SYNCHRONICITY      A connecting principle, expressing the linkage of events without a cause-and-effect relationship in time. In addition to the normal cause-and-effect connections observed in nature, there appears to be another principle expressed in the simultaneous arrangement or connection of events. A theory of synchronicity was developed by psychotherapist Carl G. Jung and related to certain ESP phenomena. In recent decades the concept has been widely borrowed by occultists in support of their worldview. Also an album by the 1980s band "The Police." (sic)     TABLE TIPPING      A technique commonly used during a seance, whereby participants sit or stand around a table, placing their hands around its circumference with their fingers touching, and encourage the table to move with the assistance of a "paranormal" entity. Many believe that it is simply the participants moving the table themselves by psychokinetic means if not fraudulently.   TALISMAN      An inanimate object which is supposed to possess a supernatural capacity of bestowing benefits or powers on its user. Originally, talismans were usually a disc of metal or stone engraved with astrological or magical figures. In recent centuries, among practitioners of ceremonial magic, talismans inscribed in parchment have been favored.     TELEKINESIS      The power to move something by thinking about it without the application of physical force. The movement of objects, without contact or with only limited contact was frequently observed in séances. The term has more recently been supplanted by psychokinesis or PK.     TELEPATHY      The supposed ability to transmit thoughts directly to the mind of another, or to receive thoughts directly from the mind of another, without any normal causal interaction. The word was formulated in 1882 by Frederic William Henry Myers, English poet, essayist, and a leading founder of the Society for Psychical Research in London.     THE FLYING DUTCHMAN      Sailors in Holland long believed that a Dutch skipper named van Straaten upon his death was condemned as a penalty for his sins to sail for year after year through the seas around the Cape of Storms (an early name for the Cape of Good Hope). Crews returning to the Zudyer Zee (the northern coast of the Netherlands) after sailing in this region used to declare that they had seen van Straaten's mysterious craft and fled from it in terror. The legend is a very old one, although its exact date is not known. The story is found in Dutch, German, and other folklore.     THE GHOST CLUB      One of the original psychical research organizations. It was founded in 1862 by individuals interested in ghost phenomena. Its membership (by invitation only) has included prominent psychical researchers, as well as actors, actresses, authors, and poets. Today the club, which is obsolete as a research organization, holds an annual dinner at which members relate personal experiences concerned with ghosts. Membership is not limited to believers in ghostly phenomena.     THERMAL IMAGING CAMERA      A device that captures images by detecting heat radiation rather than light.     THIRD EYE       The mystical center behind the forehead between the eyes, which is a focus for Oriental mystical meditation. It is known in yoga philosophy as the ajna chakra (center of command) and its activation or opening through meditation is often the preliminary to activation of other chakras. The initial experience of the third eye, the seeming presence of a screen inside the head at the front of the brain, can be had by anyone who simply shuts his eyes and attempts to reach a focus.     THOUGHTOGRAPHY      The main practitioner of thoughtography was the man usually described in the literature as a Chicago bellhop, Ted Serios, whose ability was investigated by Jule Eisenbud. A film would be placed into a camera, then Serios would hold it against his forehead and attempt to imprint on the film an image of the target suggested to him. After extensive testing, with any number of controls, no trickery was detected. It has been suggested that PK was used to affect the emulsion of the film. With film due to become a thing of the past, time for finding a successor to Serios’s crown is running out.     TONGUES (SPEAKING IN)      Utterances approximating words and speech that are nonetheless generally unintelligible, usually produced during states of trance or delirium. The religious interpretation of the phenomenon is that the speaker is possessed by a supernatural spirit, is in conversation with divine beings, or is the channel of a divine proclamation.     TRANCE  An altered state of consciousness, either spontaneous or induced, bearing some resemblance to the ordinary sleep state, but differing from it in certain marked particulars. Among tribal peoples, trance states have been common since ancient times, used by the shaman, medicine man, or other religious practitioners for demonstrations of paranormal knowledge. Such shamans were forerunners of the modern Spiritualist mediums.     TRANCE MEDIUMSHIP      This is a form of mediumship in which the medium enters into a trance of varying depths and is taken over by the spirit guide who proceeds to pass on messages from communicators to the people attending the séance or demonstration, or is taken over by the communicating spirits themselves.     TRIGGER OBJECT        An object placed in a specific location during an investigation in an attempt to capture its movement by paranormal means on video. Such objects are generally placed on a flat surface and have an outline traced around them so that the extent of their movement can be measured.
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