SPIRIT ORBS- PHOTOGRAPHIC ANOMALIES, NOT GHOSTS
The site will never publish Orb photographs; they are not spirits of the dead.
Until the late 90’s pictures claiming to be those of ghosts, were extremely rare, occasionally actual apparitions sometimes strange mists, or in most cases just haunted locations with no actual ghosts at all. These pictures were 35mm prints or slides, right up until the advent of digital cameras. You also didn’t get people claiming that they physically saw anything resembling Orbs, either through a camera lens or with their own eyes. Contrary to popular belief the resolution of 35mm film negatives was, and except in the case of high end digital cameras still is, far greater then digital cameras. They could actually pick up more detail and yet, they didn’t pick spirit Orbs. Also in the late 90’s came the internet, and with the internet paranormal research groups set up websites. With websites you need to provide people something to look at. As the sites are about ghosts, you need pictures of ghosts, but actual pictures of ghosts are exceedingly rare. What are not rare are pictures of Orbs. The constantly repeated “99% of Orbs can be explained but there are 1% that can’t be” theory is no defense. 100% of Orbs have nothing to do with ghosts. There isn’t even 1% proof that Orbs are paranormal. Even if they are balls of energy as some claim, they are only relevant if people can provide proof of a link between them and spirits of the dead, they haven’t. People are frequently claiming that Orbs become spirit’s and yet where are the accounts of this actually occurring. They are unheard of. So the entire claim is flawed from the beginning.
” Spirit Orbs are the 21st century equivalent of taking photographs of people running around dressed in bed sheets and calling them ghosts .”
Since the advent of digital cameras literally thousands of photographs have been taken of small circles of light taken at supposedly haunted places that are referred to as spirit Orbs. Orbs have a variety of causes, but none of them have been proven to be paranormal. Their both caused by internal conditions such as dirt on the C.C.D (charge coupled device) and external conditions such as light, moisture, and dust. There is always dust present, there is always moisture present and there is always an external light source. Every time you move you stir up dust, standing still when you take the picture isn’t suddenly going to stop all the dust that’s already moving in and around the lens. When you take a picture, your nose and mouth, is normally a few inches from the camera lens. Every time you breath in and out you stir up dust, and expel moisture. If it is that difficult to distinguish between so called genuine and fake Orbs, why are they consistently being sited as being evidence of the paranormal, despite such a high level of doubt as to their validity? This just provides ammunition to an already skeptical public. It has been claimed that there is a structural difference between a Orb created by dust or moisture and one that is paranormal in origin. This implies that a dust or moisture orb only has one shape or form and if you can dismiss this then by default the Orb is paranormal. This is not the case, no specs of dust are identical and neither are all drops of moisture so you can have literally thousands of variants that you need to be able to dismiss before you can make a claim that they are paranormal. People haven’t. Ultimately you can not debunk an Orb, because there has never been any proof that they have anything other then a non paranormal origin to begin with.
In paranormal research spirit Orbs are only of relevance if it has been proved that they are the spirits of the dead as is claimed. The only evidence is the claims of psychics that say orbs appear at the same time as they sense a presence, or their association with a haunted place, this is not evidence. Even if they don’t have a natural explanation unless they can be definitively linked to ghosts, or spirits they are irrelevant. Even you are not directly stating that an Orb is a ghost, the fact that you are a posting a picture of one on a website which is devoted purely to “ghost hunting”, is by the process of association implying that it is. Look at the vast majority of pictures in ghost books, on the web and on TV shows and how many of them are actual apparitions and how many are orbs. As currently this seems to be the most prominent “evidence” presented of proof of the paranormal, people should be extremely sure of what they are, and if their not they shouldn’t be relied on. O.R.B.S, (Objects Rarely Being Supernatural)
The following are some of the key reasons for Orbs; none of them can be attributed to being the first manifestation of a spirit.
Spirit Orbs have been referred to as the first manifestation of the dead/spirits/ghosts etc, and if that is the case, why do the never go beyond this first manifestation. Much like the mythology that has grown around the Ouija board rather then question them people have allowed the myth to grow. One of the reasons for this is while pictures of actual apparitions are exceedingly rare, going to a haunted location and capturing a picture of an Orb is not. You go to a haunted location with the hope that you will see and photograph a ghost or that something paranormal will occur. Orbs are a easy way of fulfilling that wish, but not a way the stands up to any scrutiny. It’s disappointing to admit you traveled several hours to spend a cold unpleasant night in a damp graveyard and got nothing. But an orb picture provides an accompanying ghost story, but one which has as much substance as the story a fisherman that doesn’t catch anything but tells everyone, about “the one that got away”. There is a phenomenon called pareidolia, a psychological term for the mind’s obsession with finding patterns in essentially random objects, from clouds to wood grain. This is the same process that can cause people to believe they see non existent pictures of the Virgin Mary, and also faces in Orbs. None of the major camera manufactures state that Orbs are paranormal, Nikon point to what amounts to a defect in their own cameras. Why would a camera manufacturer openly admit to a defect in their equipment unless it was a genuine defect that they couldn’t ignore. Fuji one of the major film manufactures also has a detailed explanation on their website as to how orbs are created, and again the reason is not paranormal.
People take pictures of locations that aren’t haunted all the time, and they still get orbs, but because the places aren’t associated with a haunting they don’t end up being referred to as ghosts. It’s just an association with ghosts that makes them paranormal, if they appeared in a picture taken at the beach, or one you took of a local sporting event you wouldn’t automatically say they are paranormal, and in the majority of cases you would simply put it down to the photographic error that it is.
Low end cameras
Due to prohibitive costs 95% of digital cameras used on investigations are the compact, low to mid range type with the flash built into the camera and lower amount of mega pixels. It is very rare that a high end S.L.R (single lens reflex) camera with a removable lens and an external flash are used. But because an internal flash is so close to the camera lens, when the flash is used it can bounce back light on the nearest particles, and because these are so close they will be out of focus which will also give them a three dimensional effect which will register as orbs in the camera. You will also find that low to mid range cameras are far more susceptible to lens flare. It is only the high end more expensive cameras that have less impurity’s in the glass and are coated with anti glare elements that can eliminate these many of these non paranormal light refraction’s. If you switch from a low end to a top of the range professional level camera, with a separate flash gun and detachable lens you will find the amount of Orbs you get are vastly diminished. This in itself indicates that Spirit Orbs are related to camera limitations not the paranormal. The higher range cameras are actually more sensitive to picking up genuine phenomena, but less sensitive to picture defects.
External light sources
People often claim that when they took a Orb picture there was no external light source so that the orb couldn’t be caused by a reflection of light. Even if you are in a pitch black room and don’t use a flash but an infra red light source, there is still the possibility of refracted light causing orbs. Just because you can’t actually see infra red light, does not overcome the problem, it is still an external light source. Digital cameras also use an infra red light beam to focus, regardless of its day or nighttime, and this can reflect on dust particles to create orbs even in broad daylight. But how many times have you ever taken a picture in true total darkness. The moon and the stars are external light sources; even your illuminated L.E.D camera menu is an external light source.
Dirt on the C.C.D (Charge coupled device)
Another of the major causes of Orbs is when the C.C.D gets dirty, this can occur even if the camera is ceiled. The C.C.D is a light sensitive integrated circuit in a camera that stores and then displays data as an electrical charge to produce a picture. A drop of moisture can dry in a circular shape and then appear when the picture is taken. It will not appear every time which may lead people to believe that it cant be dirt, but this is not the case. It really depends on the background the picture is taken against. If the background was white you may not notice the “Orb” at all, but if it was a dark background you may notice it right away. Pictures will often be taken against a variety of backgrounds which may give the impression that the “Orb” is appearing and disappearing but it is always there, it is just not visible.
If its captured on 2 or more cameras it must be genuine
No, not the case. All it means is that two cameras picked up the same non paranormal, piece of dust etc. Don’t forget that the particles the cause orbs can be seen from different angles. Two or more cameras could take a picture of a person at the same time, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about that, so they could quite easily pick up the same bit of dust, light reflection etc.
Diamond shaped Spirit Orbs
The diaphragm is the part of a camera that opens and closes to let in light onto the focal point of a camera. Most of these are round; however some of these are diamond shaped. When combined with lens flare which is when light reflects at angles through a lens instead of shining directly onto the back-plate, this can reflect circular shaped balls of light or with a diamond diaphragm, ones that appear to be diamond shaped. These reflections can and are photographed, and if the location happens to be a haunted one then claimed as evidence of the paranormal because they are not the traditionally shaped orbs which are round.
Orbs that appear to be hidden behind a object
When natural light bounces back from a reflective surface it can appear as a circle. A direct light from a torch is circular, as is the center of the beam from an external light on a video camera. This will create a visible round light source similar to an Orb that can physically go behind an object and be photographed. When an Orb is created as a result of reflected light from a flashgun it appears to white. If part of the orb is photographed against an object that is also white, but another part is against a darker background it can create the illusion that it has in fact passed behind a solid object implying that it has physical properties. But in fact all it is doing is “bleeding” into the white background, because there is no contrast between the two objects, it hasn’t passed behind anything. Part of it simply isn’t picked up on the photograph. Of course a piece of dust or a drop of moisture can also physically pass behind an object as it is being photographed. Although most orbs are created as a result of being photographed near to the lens they can also occur when the particle is far enough away to pass behind something in the distance.
One picture had nothing, the next picture had an Orb
Taking one picture that shows an orb and then one right after that doesn’t isn’t an indication that it is paranormal. The atmosphere, the camera location and the light all constantly change in a fraction of a second as can the aperture and shutter speed of a camera. The only way to eliminate external influences, is in a pitch black hermetically ceiled room, where there are no variable external causes. But as “ghost photographs” are never taken under those conditions the only thing that makes them paranormal is the person’s belief that they are, and the association with the location. Dust, and moisture droplets move, and if their in one position on the first photograph its quite possible that they wont be in the same position in the next and that they will be out of camera range. It’s no different to taking a picture of any moving object. What happens if you took a picture of a bird sitting in a tree and before you could take a second one, it flew away, that proves nothing as to the validity of the bird. Orb pictures depend on a variety of factors, including moisture, external light, temperature, and location of the dust particles in relation to the camera position. It can be one or a combination of several of these factors that create these images. You may take a picture on a more obviously dust filled location such as a building site, and get no Orb pictures, and then take another one in a seemingly clean environment such as inside an office. This doesn’t prove that spirit Orbs are not caused by dust or moisture all it proves is that one or more of these variables are not present.
Dust particles are not always round, then can have flat or uneven surfaces, as a result the way the light reflects from them and can cause Orbs, may be constant or extremely random depending on what surface is towards the camera and what speed the particle is travelling at. This can also give the appearance that the orbs are “flashing” on and off under the infra red of a night vision camera, when all that is happening is that a reflective surface is alternating at random with another side of the particle that doesn’t catch the light and it appears that the orb is pulsating. By the same token the reflective surface of an Orb may also remain at a constant angle towards a light source creating the opposite effect.
The moving Orb
There are many pictures in which the Orb appears to a trail behind it, people claim this is because it is moving at high speed. But this same effect can also occur if the camera is moved when you took the picture. Many of these Orb pictures are taken in low lighting conditions; this means that the aperture is usually opened close to its maximum and with a slow shutter speed. It is very rare that paranormal investigators use a tripod when they take pictures and under these conditions it is quite likely that camera shake can occur. Even with a flash the shutter speed is normally synchronized at a slower speed at around 1/60 of a second. If a light source is off camera, the flash can freeze the picture taken of the area directly in front of it, but if it is not synchronized with the shutter it will create a light trail because the shutter will remain open. This accounts for the many times people will claim that there was no direct light in camera range. There doesn’t have to be a direct light, a distant or even weak light source barely visible to the human eye such as the stray beam from a flashlight can cause the shutter to open and the light to blur. And when does anyone ever go on a paranormal investigation at night without a flashlight ?
Another scenario which can cause an Orb to appear to leave a motion trail is again related to the use of a flash and uniquely because the trail appears to be behind an Orb that is heading upwards, people claim this can’t be moisture because of the direction of travel. However they are incorrect. If a moisture Orb is headed in a downward direction what can happen is that when the flash initially triggers the light will pick up the outline of the Orb in the strongest part of its beam. But in the fraction of a second that intensity of the flash fades away it can also pick up an increasingly less defined version of the same Orb as it continues on its path. This gives the illusion that there is a tail behind an Orb travelling in an upward direction, however it is just the same Orb travelling in a downward direction whose features are less defined and progressively more transparent.
The three dimensional Orb
There are not unique variations of spirit Orbs of which some are paranormal and some or not. All of the so called paranormal ones can be attributed to natural or man-made causes. It is claimed that genuine orbs have a three dimensional effect, but this can be caused by dust or moisture being photographed out of focus, causing the edges to appear to be slightly raised. Auto focusing systems are notoriously inaccurate in total darkness, and an off focus Orb picture will actually create a blur around their edges. Even trying to manually focus in semi darkness is going to be extremely difficult.
Most Orbs are white but some are colored which some people take as an indication that they are paranormal, but moisture and water droplets are a major cause of Orbs, and don’t forget that is what rainbows are composed of. The process, by which colors appear in water droplets, is called dispersion, and when photographed with a digital camera, this can create different colored Orbs. Dispersion causes white light, which consists of all possible colors to break up into different components, whereby the light travels from one medium such as air to another such as water. The different colors of light reflect at slightly different angles, so if you take a picture in a certain direction from which a particular predominate color light comes from, you get a photograph of an Orb that color.
Impure construction of lenses and lack of anti-glare coating can also create a prism effect in a camera lens that will create colored Orbs. The color purple is particularly common due to the magnesium fluoride coating on the optics.This occurs mostly in low to mid range cameras which are currently the preferred type used in paranormal research due to the prohibitive costs of better more reliable models.
When a bright light such as one from a flashgun reflects upon moisture or water droplets, both a major cause of Orbs, this can make them appear to have a faint glow. Water reflects light to a greater extent then dust, and against a dark background this makes them appear brighter. Most Orb pictures are taken in low light, or at nighttime, but its not that these glowing Orbs only appear at night time in haunted locations it’s only that they become noticeable, as a result of this reflected light not because they generate any light themselves. Sunlight shining through moisture or water droplets can also account for the rare occasions that orbs are photographed during the daytime. Also what may make one Orb appear to glow while another one in the same picture may not is the distance of the dust particle in relation to the flash. The flash automatically adjusts its intensity to give more light to the object furthest away from the lens, and so in comparison one orb may appear to glow in relation to another.
People claim that some Orbs are so big that they can’t be dust moisture or insects because of their size. But it’s how near or far an object is to the camera that gives it its perspective. The effective range of a flash is several feet, most dust particles are caught directly in front of the camera where as the object that the camera is focused on will be in the distance. So you have a small object close to the lens and a large object much further away. In comparison this makes the nearest object appear much larger then the farthest one. Claims of huge orbs glowing in the sky are actually small orbs a few inches from the camera lens glowing in the light of the flash. You will get different size orbs, when specs of dust or moisture are photographed at varying distances from the lens.
There are cases of Orb photographs being taken while at the same time a temperature drop has occurred or there is a fluctuation in electro magnetic fields, verified by an E.M.F meter or a thermometer. This is claimed to be scientific corroboration of proof that Orbs are in fact some form of paranormal energy. But if this was the case then why don’t you get orb pictures, every time there is an extreme fluctuation in these readings. You don’t. And more importantly what about the dozens of other pictures that you may have taken of Orbs and got no temperature drop or E.M.F readings. This is not a case of getting pictures of Orb; it’s just a case of taking pictures until you get the outcome you want. But for the pictures to have any validity you need to take into account the amount of pictures, and the amount of energy and temperature fluctuations that don’t produce any results. Failure to do so mean any outcome can be attributed to the law of averages, nothing more. The major flaw with the claims of collaborative evidence is that as the Orbs are not visible at the time a picture was taken how could you possibly take a temperature or E.M.F reading of them. Both E.M.F meters and ambient thermometers that measure air not surface temperature have an effective range of only a few feet. As it is claimed that Orbs are not caused by particles directly in front of the lens then that means they could be anywhere within the cameras field of vision which could be up to several hundred yards and well beyond the range of detection.
Unusual picture conditions
Most photographs are taken either indoors with the lights on or outside during daylight. Of the percentage of people that take photographs outside at night or indoors at night with all the lights off, probably 70% of them are ghost hunters. There really isn’t a comparative section of people to compare the results with, of photographs taken at non-haunted locations, during such conditions. Because of the lack of comparison there is nothing to use as reference and therefore people can choose to attribute the results of their own photographs, primarily Orbs, to be paranormal. But how do we know if people taking photographs at locations that weren’t supposed to be haunted don’t get the same results ?
But just in the same way people assume a wedding photographer takes pictures of weddings, they assume the pictures they take as paranormal investigators must be of the paranormal. This is just a case of evidence by association, but doesn’t provide any proof that they are anything other then of a man-made origin.
I saw an Orb with my own eyes
Some people claim to have seen spirit Orbs with the naked eye, but even if this is the case this still doesn’t make them to be of a paranormal nature. Many of the people making these claims are paranormal investigators, and as a result the conditions they see these Orbs under are in darkness or low light. If you are looking at a flashgun when it triggers you will indeed see circles of light before your eyes for several seconds after the initial flash, sometimes for minutes afterwards. In low indoor lighting conditions if you look at bright light and then against a dark background you may get the same effect. Ball lightning or sparks generated by static electricity may also account for many of these sightings. It has become far more common to claim to have seen an Orb since the advent of digital cameras, but If orbs are real and therefore have existed prior to the invention of digital photography the amount of times they are seen with the naked eye should bare no relation to the frequency that they appear in photographs. But this is just another example of people conforming to what they are supposed to have seen, not what they have seen. And for those that are faced with the fact that any defense they make in support of the validity of Orb photographs can be discounted with a far more believable and logical explanation, their last line of defense is simply just to lie and say they saw an Orb with their own eyes in the belief that this somehow makes their argument valid.
Floaters, are caused by small flecks of protein or dirt trapped in the gel that lines the back of the eye cavity, that causes “spots before the eyes”. They can also result from deterioration of this gel, also known as vitreous gel, as people age, or suffer eye injuries. Parts of the eye tend to be less optically clear than the surrounding areas and in the proper lighting cause a shadow to fall on the retina. You then see the shadow as a spot. Since it is inside your eye the spot will move whenever you move your eye will try to focus on it.
Methane gas, can cause streaks of glowing light when it com-busts as it drifts into the atmosphere. It can be caused as a result of decaying bacteria or vegetation found in marsh land, and also as a result of rotting bodies. As graveyards are a popular location with paranormal investigators, a freshly buried body could create small pockets of glowing light that would be visible enough to be seen and photographed.
Ball lightning is a rare type of slow moving sphere shaped lightning that can move through walls, or down chimneys. It can just float in one location or move slowly around a room. It may appear and quickly disappear or remain visible for several minutes. Just like any form of lightning it is not always accompanied by thunder, and its point of origin could be many miles away. It will glow and can pulsate and may range in size anywhere from a few centimeters to as much as a foot in diameter.
This may account for some of people’s claims that they have seen Orbs with the naked eye, but Ball lightning could also account for the rare occasion that Orbs register on E.M.F meters, as it is a concentrated energy source.
Psychics and Spirit Orbs
There are many claims by mediums that they can point to a location ask a spirit to manifest, and then take a picture that will have an Orb in it. In this instance Orbs being paranormal are just as a result of an association with someone that claims to have paranormal abilities. Would people assume they were paranormal if it was a lifeguard getting them on pictures taken at the beach, instead of a medium having them appear on pictures taken at a haunted house? When 20 or 30 pictures are taken then when one has an Orb on it, these mediums or psychics will claim that the spirit responded to their request to “give them a sign”. But if you asked them for a sign and you have 1 orb picture and 29 with no orbs on it, the spirit didn’t respond and it isn’t one. All you have done is keep taking pictures until you get the desired result, which is completely different from actually getting a verified response. Anyone could go into the same location, ask the spirits to show themselves and eventually get a Orb picture if you took enough of them, that doesn’t make them psychic and that doesn’t make Orbs paranormal.
Orbs Debunked- Troy Taylor – Prairie Ghosts
False Evidence Of Paranormal Activity – Long Island Paranormal Investigators
Spirit Photo Hoaxes – Our Curious World
Enough With The Orbs Already – About Entertainment
What Is The Scientific Explanation Of Orbs – Skeptics – Stack Exchange
Ghost Photos, A Close Look At The Paranormal – Live Science