Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena that are understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.
Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.
Thousands of stories relating to paranormal phenomena are found in popular culture, folklore, and the recollections of individual subjects. In contrast, the scientific community, as referenced in statements made by organizations such as the United States National Science Foundation, maintains that scientific evidence does not support a variety of beliefs that have been characterized as paranormal.
Ghosts and other spiritual entities.
A ghost is a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person. Alternative theories expand on that idea and include belief in the ghosts of deceased animals. Sometimes the term "ghost" is used synonymously with any spirit or demon however in popular usage the term typically refers to a deceased person.
The belief in ghosts as souls of the departed is closely tied to the concept of animism, an ancient belief which attributed souls to everything in nature. Although the human soul was sometimes symbolically or literally depicted in ancient cultures as a bird or other animal, it was widely held that the soul was an exact reproduction of the body in every feature, even down to clothing the person wore.
A widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Anthropologists speculate that this may also stem from early beliefs that ghosts were the person within the person, most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. This belief may have also fostered the metaphorical meaning of "breath" in certain languages, such as the Latin spirit and the Greek pneuma, which by analogy became extended to mean the soul. In the Bible, God is depicted as animating Adam with a breath.
Numerous theories have been proposed by scientists to provide normal explanations for ghost sightings. Although the evidence for ghosts is largely anecdotal, the belief in ghosts throughout history has remained widespread and persistent.