Parapsychology is the study of behaviors, events or perceptions that are outside of what most would traditionally accept a human can perceive. In other words, it evaluates such things that may be considered sixth sense abilities, like mental telepathy, medium abilities, psychometry, and telekinesis. These abilities taken together are called psi or paranormal abilities. Para is a prefix that translates to "above and beyond," and thus paranormal can be described as things above and beyond what is considered normal in mainstream scientific thought.
Most of parapsychology can be viewed as an attempt to study paranormal events or abilities. Some feel this is not true science, since it is seldom possible to practice parapsychology adhering to regular scientific methods. Others complain that work in parapsychology is simply too subjective, and there are few ways to make it objective and truly scientific. No studies based in parapsychology have been considered verifiable, since the results of most studies cannot be duplicated, which is considered a hallmark of scientific testing.
Parapsychology does not tend to concern itself with things like aliens, the verity of astrology or whether or not witchcraft works. It is an attempt to find and describe things that are unusual and outside the realm of traditional experience. There are many subjects which a parapsychologist might undertake to study. Some of the more publicly accepted studies have evaluated things like out of body or near death experience.
Many associate parapsychology with the idea of hauntings and poltergeists. It is true that some parapsychologists may attempt to investigate allegations of such, but not every person studying parapsychology is a potential “ghostbuster.” Others are more interested in evaluating human abilities that are outside the normal range, and might evaluate or attempt to test a person’s ability to read minds, to communicate mind to mind (telepathy) without speech, to predict the future, or to move objects with their minds. There are a vast range of supposed human abilities which have never been scientifically proven to exist, and yet are of extensive interest in parapsychology.