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TOEFL Preparation: Lesson 13 - Ghosts

Target Words 1. astrological

2. divination

3. haunt 4. horror 5. intermediary 6. invoke 7. meditate

8. phantom

9. psychic

10. self-perpetuating

Definitions and Samples

1. astrological adj. Related to the study of the position of stars, the sun, and the planets in the belief that they influence earthly events Every day, Mona read her astrological forecast in the newspaper, and she was careful if the horoscope predicted trouble. Parts of speech astrology n, astrologer n, astrologically adv

2. divination n. Foretelling the future by finding patterns in physical objects In Turkey, women offer divinations by reading the dregs from a coffee cup. Parts of speech divine v

3. haunt v. To continually appear (in the form of a ghost) in the same place or to the same person Some say the ghost of Princess Hilda haunts this castle, appearing as a headless form while she plays the piano. The pictures of children dying in war have haunted me for a long time.

4. horror n. Strong fear mixed with disgust On Halloween night, all the horror movies were rented out. Parts of speech horrify v, horrific adj

5. intermediary n. Acting as an agent between people or things The plaintiff’s lawyer suggested that they hire an intermediary to help them discuss their case. Usage tips Intermediary comes from the Latin words meaning “between the ways.”

6. invoke v. To call on for support In many religions, believers invoke their god by holding out their hands. Parts of speech invocation n

7. meditate v. To reflect; to think quietly and deeply for a long time

Every morning, the monks meditated for three hours in complete silence. Parts of speech meditation n

8. phantom n. A dimly visible form usually thought to be the spirit of a dead person, a sunken ship, etc. Many visitors reported seeing a phantom who appeared around the lake. Usage tips Phantom originates in a word meaning “dream”; like a dream, a phantom leaves an observer wondering whether it’s real or not. 9. psychic adj. Relating to the supposed ability of the human mind to sense things that cannot be observed The governor’s assistant claimed to have unique psychic abilities enabling him to read people’s minds. Parts of speech psychic n, psychically adv

10. self-perpetuating adj. Having the power to renew oneself for an indefinite period of time It is difficult to escape from a lie, as they are often self-perpetuating. Parts of speech self-perpetuation n


For each word, choose the word or phrase that has the most similar meaning.

Choose the correct letter.

  1. divination (a) demand (b) prediction (c) problem (d) route

  2. haunt (a) dry out (b) fail to show up (c) continue to disturb (d) search desperately

  3. meditate (a) clarify (b) expose (c) purge (d) think

  4. invoke (a) call (b) cry (c) inspire (d) reject

  5. psychic (a) empty (b) mental (c) powerful (d) vague

TOEFL Prep II Circle the word that best completes each sentence. 1. The leaders of the religious group are said to have (astrological/psychic) powers that allow them to move objects just by the power of their thoughts.

2. For years after the earthquake, she was disturbed by the (haunting/self-perpetuating) memories of destruction.

3. The boys told their new friend that they had seen (intermediaries/phantoms) in the cemetery at night.

4. During the scuffle, the citizens were prepared to (invoke/meditate) the right of citizen’s arrest because no police officers were present.

5. Her (divination/horror) of the results of their meeting impressed even the nonbelievers.

TOEFL Success

Read the passage to review the vocabulary you have learned. Answer the questions that follow.

Some say that sailors are a superstitious group. Long nights of watching stars predispose them to a belief in astrology. Long periods of isolation lead them to believe in psychic phenomena that others would laugh at. This may explain sailors’ frequent reports of seeing phantom ships. From the Gulf of Mexico, across the Atlantic, and to the South China Sea, sailors often claim that such vessels haunt the seas. One of the most famous stories of ghost ships is the Flying Dutchman, which sailed in 1680 from Amsterdam to Dutch East India under Hendrick Vanderdecken. When the captain ignored the danger warnings of a storm, his ship was smashed and the crew was lost. According to legend, his arrogance invoked the wrath of God, who condemned the lost crew- members to battle the waters off the Cape of Good Hope for eternity. Since then, there have been repeated sightings of the Flying Dutchman, one as recent as 1939. Many sightings of phantom ships occur in areas where vessels are known to have sunk. Sailors can never divine when or where they will next encounter a phantom ship. Rather, most of their sightings occur randomly, only later to bring forth information of a former sea horror. Some say that ghosts aboard a phantom ship are trying to use living sailors as their intermediaries. Still others think that the existence of phantom ships is merely a self-perpetuating myth for bored sailors who are prone to too much idle meditation about the meaning of life and death on the high seas. 1. How would the author explain phantom ships?

a. Their appearance is tied to the stars. b. Sailors at sea have little to do. c. Fog and high waves can distort one’s vision. d. Shipwreck remains haunt oceans around the world.

2. Why does the author mention the Flying Dutchman? a. as the basis of primitive navigation systems b. as an example of a commonly sighted phantom ship

c. as the reason why many sailors have mental problems

d. as an explanation for sightings of phantom ships

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