UFO   An Unidentified Flying Object, or UFO, is the popular term for any aerial phenomenon that cannot immediately be identified. Some definitions, such as the one used by the USAF, define a UFO as an object unable to be identified after scrutiny, while other definitions define an object as being a UFO from the time it is first reported as being unidentified, even though most eventually turn out to be natural phenomena.     UFO MAGAZINE   UFO, the Magazine is an American magazine devoted to the subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial life. It was founded in 1986 by Vicki C. Ecker and Sherrie Stark, and is now edited by Nancy Birnes. It is the only magazine in print devoted exclusively to UFO phenomena. It provides space for timely items of interest, guest opinions, an archive of past articles from the magazine, and editorials by Ecker, her husband Donald, the magazine's research director, and publisher William J. Birnes.     USO   Used to designate an apparently technological craft of unknown origin seen underwater (or entering or leaving the water). Unidentified Submerged Objects are occasionally reputed to have flown into and out of bodies of water that are choked with heavy ice coverings as if the ice presents no barrier whatsoever. After these reports, large holes have been observed that do not appear marked by catastrophic impact. Some have proposed that these USOs possess the ability to melt ice at speed of transit. Examples of this have occurred in Norway, Sweden and Russia, where these objects have been reported flying into and out of the water in the area.      VAMPIRE   Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings that are renowned for subsisting on human blood or life-force, but in some cases may prey on animals. Although vampires have different characteristics depending on which lore one reads, in most cases, they are described as reanimated corpses who feed by draining and consuming the blood of living beings. The term was popularized in the early 18th century and arose from the folklore of southeastern Europe, particularly the Balkans and Greece.     VIGIL    One or more vigils often form part of the investigative process. They are often, but not exclusively, held at night, partly due to restrictions on access to premises during the working day and partly due to the type of phenomena being investigated. Some phenomena involving light can be difficult to see in daylight. Small teams of investigators are positioned at various sites around the building, preferably within eye contact of other team members. Each vigil is split into ‘watches’, with teams coming off duty and swapping position with other teams at regular intervals. Team members write up notes during the watch, and after the vigil a debriefing session is held in order to cross-check time-tables and other details of any events.     VOODOO   This religion developed from the animistic religions that enslaved West Africans took with them to the New World and to which a sprinkling of Christianity was added. It is still widely practiced in, among other countries, Haiti, where it was only recently recognized as a religion by the government. The religious practices have little connection with the flesh-eating zombies and curses prevalent in horror movies.   VORTEX   An anomaly that appears as a funnel or rope-like image in photographs. These images are sometimes thought to represent ghosts, collections of orbs or gateways which travel to a wormhole in time-space. There has been no substantial scientific evidence to support any of these theories. Many photographs that depict these types of anomalies are actually a stray camera strap or strand of hair that shows up when the photo is developed.     WALK-INS   In 1979 popular New Age author Ruth Montgomery identified an unknown phenomenon that had occurred to a variety of unrelated individuals. They reported that the soul originally inhabiting their body had vacated it so that another could "walk in" and take over. The background of a person claiming to be a walk-in often contains a traumatic, even life-threatening, event through which the person passed to a new, transformed life. Some individuals suffered a medical crisis, often to the point of clinical death and revival.     WARLOCK   A male version of a witch, wizard, magician or conjurer. There is much debate about the real meaning of the word among witches, many of whom find the term that is often applied to a male witch, grossly offensive. The commonest definition of the word can possibly be traced back to the old English or Scottish word, which many centuries ago, had the meaning "oath breaker" or even "traitor". Exactly how the word became associated with witches remains one of speculation. The term "oath breaker" may have been applied to witches as they "broke their oaths with the Christian church".     WEEPING STATUES   A weeping statue is a statue which has been observed to be shedding tears or weeping. Statues weeping tears of a substance which appears to be human blood, oil, and scented liquids have all been reported. Other phenomena are sometimes associated with weeping statues such as miraculous healing, the formation of figures in the tear lines, and the scent of roses. These events are generally observed by Christians. Reported weeping statues are almost exclusively of the Virgin Mary.     WEREWOLF   A human temporarily or permanently transformed into a wolf, from the Anglo-Saxon wer (man) and wulf (wolf). It is a term used in the phenomenon of lycanthropy, which in ancient and medieval times was of very frequent occurrence. It was in Europe, where the wolf was one of the largest carnivorous animals, that the superstition became prevalent. Similar tales in other countries usually introduced bears, tigers, leopards, or other animals.     WHITE NOISE   An acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band. In other words, the signal contains equal power within a fixed bandwidth at any center frequency. White noise draws its name from white light in which the power spectral density of the light is distributed over the visible band in such a way that the eye's three color receptors (cones) are rather equally stimulated.   WICCA   This Old English masculine noun meaning ‘male witch, wizard’ was curiously misinterpreted by Gerald Gardner's followers as an abstract noun meaning ‘witchcraft’, and is now the title of a modern pagan movement which is both religious and magical. It was founded by Gardner in the 1950s, who claimed it was an ancient cult preserved secretly by persecuted but benevolent witches; it combined worship of a horned and phallic god with that of a universal goddess, who is now the chief deity. Wiccans share a belief in the importance of the feminine principle and a deep respect for nature. They practice some form of ritual magic, almost always considered good or constructive. Some are solitary practitioners; others belong to covens.     WITCHCRAFT   A form of sorcery, or the magical manipulation of nature for self-aggrandizement, or for the benefit or harm of a client. This manipulation often involves the use of spirit-helpers, or familiars. Public uses of magic are generally considered beneficial; sorcery, on the other hand, is commonly practiced in private and is usually considered malevolent.     XENONORMAL   A natural phenomenon mistaken to be of "paranormal" origin.      YETI  Also known as the "abominable snowman," the yeti is the mysterious humanoid creature reported by Western sources as early as 1832 as living in the Himalayan Mountains. It became well known following several expeditions to the area in the 1950s. In 1953 England's Sir Edmund Hillary made history by leading an expedition that took him, along with Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, to the top of Mount Everest. On the way up he noticed giant footprints in the snow that were said to belong to an apelike creature. Not only did he not see an actual yeti, alive or dead, but even the relics shown him proved to be something else. A shaggy fur hide came from a Tibetan blue bear; a supposed scalp of a yeti came from a serow. And it was noticed that footprints in the snow, over time, tend to grow much larger than the original foot that made them, thus accounting for the "yeti tracks" he had seen. Hillary returned an unbeliever. YOWIE   Australian equivalent of the yeti, or "Abominable Snowman." The first account of the yowie appeared in 1835 when a Mr. Holman said of his trip to the subcontinent, "The natives are greatly terrified by the sight of a person in a mask calling him 'devil' or Yah-hoo, which signifies evil spirit." By 1840, Australian scientists were debating whether or not the yahoo was an imaginary being or a real, but rare, species. By the 1880s European settlers began to report seeing something that resembled a huge monkey or baboon. Through the first half of the twentieth century occasional reports appeared, almost all from New South Wales and Queensland. Along the way, "yahoo" became "yowie."     ZEN  A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.     ZENER CARDS   A pack of twenty-five cards bearing simple symbols in groups of five of a kind: star, circle, square, cross, and waves, used in parapsychology in testing extrasensory faculty under laboratory conditions. The use of the Zener card pack dates from the work of J. B. Rhine in the Department of Psychology at Duke University, North Carolina, from 1927 onward, first reported in Rhine's Extrasensory Perception, published 1934 by the Boston Society for Psychic Research. The Zener card pack was devised by Karl Zener (1903-1963) of the psychology faculty at Duke University as a means of avoiding preferences for individual playing cards during tests and in order to facilitate evaluation of test scores. Having concluded that parapsychology as pursued by Rhine was a threat to the psychology department, Zener later turned against Rhine and joined with some colleagues in an attempt to have him removed from his faculty position.   ZODIAC   The zodiac, literally the circle of animals, is constituted by the 12 stellar constellations through which the Sun appears to pass in its annual movement through the heavens. The 12 constellations form a belt across the night sky some 8 to 9 degrees on either side of the solar orbit. The Moon and the planets of this solar system also move within that belt. The path of the Sun is called the ecliptic as eclipses occur when the Moon's orbit crosses the Sun's path.   ZOMBIES   The word zombie refers to the ‘living dead’. In folklore zombies are portrayed as innocent victims who are raised in a comatose trance from their graves by malevolent sorcerers, and led to distant farms or villages where they toil indefinitely as slaves. Zombies are recognized by their docile nature, by their glassy empty eyes, and by the evident absence of will, memory, and emotion. Part of their souls may also be captured by the sorcerers. Zombies can only return to the world of the living upon the death of their masters. Accounts are sometimes cited of actual people who have undergone this ordeal, were declared dead, and later turned up at the homes of their kin in various degrees of health. Sources indicate that the word is of African origin. The cadaver or spirit of a deceased person is called Zumbi in the Bonda language, Ndzumbi in Gabon, and Nzambi in Kongo.  
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