Orbs: Spirits or Natural?
What is an orb?
An orb is a circular anomaly that appears unexpectedly in photographs. Orbs are usually translucent balls of light and will appear as various colors including white, green, blue, yellow, green and pink.
What causes orbs?
This is a very controversial topic in the paranormal world and basically has three answers:
- Natural causes such as dust, pollen, water droplets, etc.
- Energy (not supernatural).
- Supernatural energy such as ghosts or angels.
So, to tackle this issue let's start with the absolute that everyone can agree with: Orbs have natural causes.
Naturally Caused Orbs
It is a fact that orbs are caused by minute objects in the air. Take, for example, this photo:
At first glance, with the numerous orbs, you might think this photograph was taken at some "spiritual gateway." I can say with absolute certainty that it is not. It is taken in my backyard, which has no paranormal activity at all. In this case, the orbs are dust(I used dryer lint to create a very dusty atmosphere).
I created this photograph to help illustrate the controversy regarding orbs. Because orbs are easily faked or misinterpreted, it is easy to understand why they are so often discounted as paranormal activity. After all, how does one eliminate natural causes for the orb when the natural causes are usually not seen with the naked eye? Well, there are a few ways.
Paranormal versus Supernatural Orbs
Supernatural orbs tend to be bright, solitary, and may have a slight trail. Natural orbs tend to travel in groups, be translucent, and usually are lined. You are more likely to get natural orbs with digital cameras and smaller film cameras.
For more information on orbs, check out these articles:
- "Ghost Photography: Orbs" by Robbin Van Pelt
- Orbs: Debunked! by A. Milhorn
- Photographic Analysis: Orbs by Grant Wilson
My Experience with Orbs
As I've said elsewhere on this site, I work as a tour guide for Nashville Ghost Tours. It is on this tour that I have had enormous experience with orbs, especially one orb which seems to follow me on my tour.
This orb first appeared around July of 2008. It appeared in the sky and was caught by two cameras in separate locations. It both picture the orb was so bright that it looked like a full moon, but it was not the moon.
Slowly, over the next few months, the orb seemed to reappear. It is always very bright, sometimes white other times green. Usually, people comment that the orb seems to move back and forth around me. In fact, a number of people have reported seeing the orb moving around me before they take a picture.
I don't have many pictures of the orb, since although people always promise to send them to me, they rarely do. However, I do have a series of pictures that were posted on flickr. To see them, click here.
Other pages on ghost photography:
- Famous Ghost Photographs
- Pareidolia: Psychology Behind Some "Ghost" Images
- Best Practices for Photography on Ghost Tours and Hunts
All material is ©2010 by Darcy Oordt, unless stated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Content cannot be used elsewhere without written permission.