PORTMANTREAU

A Lexicon for Skeptical Oulipians and Oulipian Skeptics

Thoughtful readers of paranormal and related writings have often suspected that there is something missing. This document offers one solution.

Visiting Paul A. Harris's Oulipo Page, I was greatly amused to find an Oulipian exercise whose fruits are gathered under the name Poemanteauville. He explains the method thus:

"We imported the practice of [Lewis] Carroll's portmanteau words and added a constraint: add one letter to an existing word to create a portmanteau, and write a definition for it."

Inspired by this, I humbly present my own efforts below, applying the rule to the name itself. Those readers who are easily upset should wander off now.

Please note that any groans caused by this text will be no worse than those caused by researching some of the original terminology.

And, before you ask, I am not Piscean, let alone piscine.

Updated 13 January 2003.



acephalomancy - mindless guesswork.

alecanomancy - taking number of empty beer-cans to be ominous.

alechemy - ancient art of turning gold into beer.

alien cabduction - being taken to their leader by taxi.

amorphogenetic field - area of research yielding indeterminate results.

asstrology - making a donkey of yourself by claiming stars and planets influence individuals' lives.

atheomancy - divination by asking an atheist.

austral body - see sheliolatry.

axionomancy - divining by sheer nerve.

balsham - patently worthless ointment.

bansheep - mysterious shrieking sheep.

barnshee - shrieks from the hayloft.

beelzeburb - satanist parish.

birometer - dowsing instrument made from load of old ballpoints.

blamia - blood-sucking serpent-witch who makes victim feel guilty.

boilocation - unglamorous kind of dowsing.

boneiromancy - divining by dreams about bones.

branshee - ear-piercing breakfast cereal, presumably haunted.

brigot - jailed bigot.

bugbeard - pestiferous facial hair.

bunction - snake-oil.

cabbalsa - finding hidden meanings in bits of corkwood.

camulet - camel lugged around as lucky charm.

carthexis - quantity of energy attached to favoured band-wagon.

castrology - divining Caribbean politics by length of beard, angle of cap, etc.

cauldrone - blather about spells.

cernomancy - divination by particle accelerator.

chadkra - energy centre in a fish.

chairisma - irrational effect of royal throne.

charem - bevy of tealeaf readers.

charpy - tea monster.

chaunting - ghost-bothering.

ch'ip - vital food, complemented by f'ish.

choiromancy - divination by massed singing.

clantrip - trick played on entire sect.

closet encounter - finding skeleton in wardrobe.

codven - gathering of mermaids.

concheomancy - divining by snails.

coneiromancy - divining by dreams about cones.

coracle - divination in or by canoe.

creiki - exclamation of surprise at people's gullibility.

crop circlet - tiny sect still insisting crop circles weren't fabricated.

culpt - group actually found guilty in court of fraudulence, abuse, larceny, murder, etc.

curset - witch's bodice.

dafterlife - botching this existence in vain hope of a sequel.

dapparition - stylish ghoul.

deervish - rotating, possibly rotarian, stag.

deluxsion - parting with wealth for sake of some daft belief.

diableary - eyes of satanist who has been up all day.

diarbolism - use of trees for occult purposes.

dimanetics - dime-store psychology.

dimp - dull-witted demon.

dodgma - evasive doctrinal ploy.

dremon - nocturnal figment.

drowsing - taking so long to admit failure to find underground water that observers doze off.

drupid - druid unable to keep up.

earomatherapy - perfumes for hearing difficulties.

easoteric - not really all that mysterious.

eclairvoyance - ability to see certain cakes hidden in other people's cupboards.

elderitch - uncanny irritation afflicting ogreys.

elmpath - someone mentally attuned to trees, or planks.

extorcism - charging a fortune for mumbo-jumbo.

fade - unfashionable craze.

farble - story of very remote probability.

feetish - lucky or sacred toenail, sock, etc.

fray - threadbare fairy.

fruitartian - one who lives on pastries.

genomancy - predicting future by means of lines and helices.

ghoist - spook easily exposed by lifting of a bedsheet.

glibido - plausible excuse for sexual incontinence.

gluru - cult leader with many adherents.

gnohme - stubborn goblin.

gnuru - holy cowboy.

goblind - imp addicted to wood alcohol.

goblink - impish kiss.

gorgone - absentee monster.

graphoology - study of graphologists.

grimlet - see stablet.

guiromancy - divination by percussion instrument.

gunru - cult leader with own militia.

gurut - failure to change gurus every few years.

hectoplasm - excess flannel.

helixir - potion peddled by twister.

heresay - forbidden rumours.

homeropathy - cure by watching Simpsons.

horsoscope - astrological chart for use at race-track.

howlism - shouting down reductive explanations.

hypenosis - falling under spell of New Wage marketing.

hypervacuity - outstandingly empty doctrine.

imagic - delusion that a spell has been cast.

inchubus - impotent demon.

jainx - unintentional killer of insects, hedgehogs, etc.

jinux - unlucky operating system.

karmageddon - the end of the world, again.

kincubus - male demon rather too closely related.

kwicca - fast-spell outlet.

labracadabra - playing tricks on parapsychologists.

lapporting - unseen extraction of lost object from under skirt during séance.

larchangel - tree spirit.

lavatar - god in or on toilet.

logoncentrism - belief that only the internet exists.

lunicorn - person convinced that UFOs are the only explanation for crop circles, distinguished by conical structure on head.

madept - certifiable guru.

mantrap - repeated slogan designed to hook the unwary.

mashcot - not very lucky remains of a betrodden charm.

merdium - excrementally obnoxious psychic.

meremaids - women pretending to be half-fish.

merme - proliferating belief in mermaids.

metropomancy - divining city by (underground) railway map.

minortaur - inconsequential monster.

miraclue - evidence leading to mundane explanation of extraordinary event.

mystaique - glorification of ancient blunders.

mysth - very vague myth.

mystoic - one indifferent to paranormal shenanigans.

neareid - beach-nymph.

neckromancy - petting between occultists.

New Wage movement - ancient and postmodern techniques for earning a living from the gullible.

noirvana - black outlook.

nosetrum - remedy inspired by Wilhelm Fliess.

noxosphere - global network of poisonous nonsense.

numberology - unfeeling subordination of mathematics to accidents of spelling.

ogrey - venerable giant.

ontomatomancy - divining presence/existence of lycopersicum.

orgoner - victim of Reichian doctrines.

oysteopathy - healing by seafood.

painacea - universal toxin.

palacebo - the royal touch.

panttheism - belief in trousered deity.

pararot - repetitive squawking about mysterious phenomena.

pastral projection - divination by spaghetti-hurling.

pearapsychology - mind-reading with fruit.

pelf - wealthy imp.

penis envoy - gigolo's go-between, pimp.

phailtre - ineffectual potion.

phallucination - excessively gendered interpretation of paranormal phenomena.

phantome - spiritualist book.

phorenologist - one who sees ahead.

phrantom - panicky ghoul.

placeboa - snake-oil cure.

placebot - virtual cure by android.

placebow - comforting effect of doctor's bow-tie.

placebox - medicine chest whose out-of-date contents are still in use.

plaicebo - apparent cure by fish.

plancheatte - rigged ouija board.

polyptheism - squid worship.

ponymancy - divination by/as equine excreta.

pooltergeist - creature held responsible for suspicious cue-ball displacement.

poortent - sign of incompetent fortune-teller.

portmantreau - ragbag of unlikely creeds, groundless behaviours and sundry figments.

prawna - the power of seafood.

preclognition - inkling that someone is going to ask for star signs, followed by their being booted out of the house.

preincarnation - sorry state of not knowing you're born.

premedy - anticipatory placebo.

premoonition - anticipatory lunacy.

priestidigitation - production of weeping statutes, bleeding idols, and so on.

prune - deeply symbolic fruit.

psalmistry - divination by hymn-singing.

psalmon - hymn-singing fish.

pshi - skeptic's variant of pshaw.

psychlic - someone in touch with deceased persons, but only if they're riding bikes.

psychoskinesis - ability of a paranormalist to make one's skin crawl by merely showing up.

pyramind - intellect mummified by crank Egyptology.

quaintessence - kitsch fancy about workings of universe.

quaintum theory - idea that your favourite brand of mysticism is supported by sub-atomic physics, even though science itself is apparently discredited.

rafflatus - inspiration by lottery.

ranteater - predatory skeptic.

readionics - doctrine enabling one to pursue any fad whatsoever.

rectoplasm - exhaustive testimony of psychic experience.

sassquatch - abominably impudent snowman.

saunteria - leisurely magic

scarying - reporting horrific outlook in crystal ball.

scatharsis - upsurge of revulsion caused by scat-singing.

scilentology - art of keeping very quiet about previous convictions.

scrapulimancy - divination using paint cracks in burnt cars.

seeraph - six-winged clairvoyant.

shamman - especially unconvincing sorceror.

shelf-hypnosis - common effect of New Wage bookshop.

sheliolatry - worship of Australian women.

shiatsue - prosecution of masseur.

shylph - coy spirit.

shysteria - mindless enthusiasm for fakes and frauds.

skoan - indigestible New Wage cake.

smyth - maker of figments.

snorcery - soporific magic act.

snortilege - skeptical response to divination.

specktre - miniature ghost.

spoon blending - uncanny ability to convert crystals, dried leaves, hot water and milk into refreshing beverage.

spoonk - haunted spoon.

spyromancy - divination by cloak and dagger.

squintessence - reading so much into things that you can't see straight.

stablet - ancient hypodermic.

stare sign - characteristic look of engrossed amusement at ravings of astrologer.

statanism - belief that government is work of the Devil.

stitchomancy - divination tailored to suit another.

sublimbation - dancing in cellars, clubs, etc.

surfism - devotion to oceanic feeling.

swarmi - especially popular guru.

swimple - medicinal herb gathered from seabed.

swizard - any sorceror.

taboob - mistaken ban, e.g. on insects.

tabook - skeptical work never to be found on New Wage shelves.

taboot - forbidden boot.

talchemy - spending lifetime trying to make gold out of talcum powder.

talismane - lucky hairstyle.

tantram - sudden rage at partner's refusal to indulge new position.

tarbot - fortune-telling fish.

tariot - violent upset over consultation fee.

tearot - claim that tea-leaves are legible.

telempathy - ability to feel sorry for failing mind-readers.

thelurgy - persistent failure of miracle treatments.

tincantation - obscene oath at failure to open sardine can.

toetemism - kissing of guru's feet.

tomen - symbolic experience of dropping large levitation manual on own foot.

train dance - ritualized pacing along platform to conjure up overdue train.

treepanning - whacking tree with pan to release evil spirits, frustration, and so on.

troill - oleaginous goblin.

twitch - sorceress made nervous by presence of show-biz conjuror.

unidentified flaying object - apparition of flagellant.

ursine therapy - drinking bears' piss.

vacupuncture - implosion of dubious therapy under critical scrutiny.

visioneary - imprecise clairvoyant.

voodoom - fate of those pinning hopes on magic.

wartlock - unusually ugly wizard.

wirony - post-everything superciliousness of web-dwelling folk.

wrailth - ghost seen on train.

yogab - premeditated patter.

zealout - guru's bodyguard or flunky.

zenalot - obsessive buddhist.

zentropy - total confusion of order in sushi restaurant.

zoombie - hyperactive zombie.



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