Saturday, November 12, 2011

Orbs, Dust or Reflections – Which is it?

By Martha Hazzard-Decker



(Authors note – there may be comments in some of the links for videos in this article that may not be the belief of the author or Eye on the Paranormal. The were added to explore a variety of beliefs and theories regarding orbs)

Orbs, Dust or Reflections – Which is it? Now this is the question most investigators and researchers would really like to know. There are many opinions regarding orbs and discussions have even turned ugly between believers and skeptics. Do you know where you stand on the subject? This seems to be a difficult question to answer and beliefs are usually strong as to what makes an orb. The skeptic’s response may come across more plausible than that of a believer. Orbs are easy to replicate during experimentation. Maybe a little too easy and this bothers some believers in the paranormal community.


East Texas Paranormal posted an Orbs Debunked article by Troy Taylor on their website in an effort to help educate those interested in the paranormal. Taylor takes the stance of many researchers and skeptics within this community. Orbs photographs are taken of many things which can include dust, light reflections in the lens, dirt, pollen and son on. Why does it seem to happen in so many declared haunted locations? A possible explanation could be that many of these locations are old dusty buildings, maybe a crowded home full of dust or are in outside locations such as cemeteries. Does the location have to be declared haunted to take the so called orb photograph? Most definitely not since the same conditions occur in a myriad of locations. There are many books written about photography and ghosts. Taylor’s Ghosts on Film from the Haunted Field Guide Series is one example.


There was a recent discussion in a paranormal group regarding orbs. Some of the participants warned the individual that they would probably get “slammed” if questions were asked but the individual was braved and asked away. While the discussion became heated, it was a good exchange of ideas and beliefs where one could say everyone agreed to disagree. Such discussions can be a good thing as it helps educate.


Orbs are not something to bring to the scientific community if an individual expects to be taken seriously as a researcher within that community. Then again, everyone learned during their school years that most of what we know or use, such as electricity or even that the world is round, came from the scientist or researcher, who was laughed out of the scientific community. Skeptics with closed minds can stifle growth and discoveries while the open minded skeptic can be god to have around.


There are many extremely intelligent individuals studying the paranormal. Conversations with them can be mind stimulating and possibly even lead to a new discovery when groups talk instead of shut down communication. YouTube has a plethora of orb videos. Many of them are the videos of, “look at the orbs I captured” and some will try to sway the skeptic into their way of thinking. This video done by Haunted Earth could fall under this classification. On the video the individual attempts to show skeptics that orbs are ghosts or spiritual and intelligent beings. He claims to be in the rooms alone and even stomps on the carpet in an attempt to make orbs for the camera. He gets comfy on the bed after stomping about and shows through panning his video that no orbs are floating around the room so that is probably not what causes orbs. He shows more in the video where orbs show up in the room on demand in the area of the room where he asks the spirit to appear. He’s very polite as he is telling the “orb” where to show itself. The “orb” in the video is suspicious if not only for the fact that there is now video showing what he is doing at the time or if indeed he is alone in the room. He does comment that a skeptic will probably see the orbs and say they were made by a flashlight. A better video of his experiment if it was done as stated would have been to have the entire room captured on video to show nothing has been staged. Otherwise it just appears to be non paranormal, even if the person is well respected in the field. Full disclosure helps.


There are some paranormal researchers who believe, like many, that there are true orbs that can be seen with your eyes and this is what determines it is an orb. Paranormal Research believes this is the case and has offered this video to showcase some of the orbs captured on film. This disclaimer states this is not offered as evidence but as an example of orbs.


Some of the true orb believers say orbs are beings, spirits, ghosts or energy and not mainly dust and particulates. Paulcmuir created Hopi Mythology, Tree Spirits and Orbs a video regarding the study into the “Orb Bar Wave.  They show comparison images between fibroblasts, division, rock art, orbs and creation energy in their study data. The video shows a wide variety of images and how similar they are when viewed. The images are interesting and could lead to quite the discussion between believers and skeptics.

Ghostweb.com posted an article or statement on orbs and states that dust is the most common anomaly photographed by the beginning ghost investigator. The even have a base of over 1,000 photographs of non paranormal orbs for comparison.  They suggest a new investigator shoot about 100 photos of dust, pollen, spores, rain, etc to see what they look like and to establish a baseline for later comparison. Ghostweb.com explains the term orb was coined in 1994 as a term to cover all of the anomalies and was not meant to mean ghosts. Ghostweb.com offers this as their explanation for ghost orbs, “We teach that a spirit is represented in an orb configuration pattern. When the spirit is moving about, its shape is an orb with a contrail, but when it comes to rest, meaning that it is no longer in motion, the spirit energy that is compressed within the orb is released and this spirit energy expands into what we call Ecto-Vapor or Ectoplasm. Often an orb will contain more than one soul and when its spirit energy is released, multiple orbs flow forth from the single orb. The orb may be observed as a small white ball of light shooting through a room and through a wall. When recorded on film, the orb size is often confused because the photo is only 2D and its size is dependent on how far from the lens the orb is when captured by the camera. Spirit orbs are most often confused with similar shaped anomalies that occur in nature, such as dust particles, grass, tree, or weed pollen, moisture, ice crystals, snow flakes, rain drops and other weather related anomalies. Since each area of our world produces different anomalies, it is prudent and necessary that a base line be established prior to any investigations. For example, I use a Sony DSC-T70 digital camera (8.1 megapixel) that treats dust particles as a diamond shaped anomaly while Sharon's Kodak Z650 digital camera (6.0 megapixel) will show that same anomaly in a hexagon shape. Learn how your own camera treats dust or pollen. Ghosts are everywhere, but not captured as clusters of orbs found in most photographs submitted to us. Common sense is very important in ghost research. Conduct investigations sampling natural non-spirit anomalies and see how your camera displays these anomalies.” This information was taken off their site for educational purposes only


It seems the jury is still out as to what orbs may or may not be energy or dust? That is a question which may never be answered, at least not for many years. Just google orbs and there will be thousands of sites to read in an attempt to decide what is an orb. You may come away more confused than ever but knowledge is always power so search away.

10 comments:

Karen said...

Great article, I think that one must know the differences between dust, moisture and so forth before naming it an orb, I also think the orb will probably be one of the most talked about topics in the paranormal field, when I first started as an investigator everything I seen at first was an orb be it dust or moisture, I had to learn and I have had good teachers to teach the difference to me, I am now not so quick to label orbs.

Larry said...

If orbs were energy they would be measurable and NO not with a kII. Plus if you use a dslr type camera with a lens hood you do not capture orbs. Why is this? Because its nothing but foreign material inches from the lens illuminated by the flash. Why didn't many film cameras capture orbs? Look at the size and the location of the flash. Now a modern small film camera will capture orbs. The problem is people want to believe so bad they ignore all the testing that has been done and refuse to do any of their own.

The Significant 'M'other said...

I tend to discount about 99% of Orbs just as mentioned in your writing, there are far too many things they can be attributed to. However, seeing them with a naked eye is another thing. Can't say I've been lucky enough to see one AND capture it in a photo - usually I am too caught up in the moment to think of snapping a pic. As for what I think they are.... not sure. Pretty cool for sure, but hard to call Paranormal without some backup from equipment other than a photo. Cool read, keep it up!! =)

The Significant 'M'other said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry E. Taff, Ph.D. said...

In my professional opinion, 99.99999% of photographed orbs are simply artifacts of the recording system and nothing more. These are very easily reproducible, and consist primarily of particulates of dust, water vapor, etc. The only thing paranormal about these is the viewer's subjective interpretation. However, over the course of my own 43 years of scientific parapsychological research, we've visually observed and photographed numerous luminous anomalies which do not resemble orbs in any way, shape or form. There is definitely something out there worth pursuing. Unfortunately, orbs is not one of them. Before you start making paranormal claims regarding photographed phenomena, it's best to bone up on the history of such and inherent technological shortcomings and limitations of utilized sensors. If one does not know how the physical world around them works, how then can they know what exists beyond it's boundaries? Barry E. Taff, Ph.D.

Haunt Detective said...

My personal belief is that an orb is only an orb if you can see it with your naked eye. Digital cameras are definitely the culprit when it comes to capturing orbs on the image when there was no actual light or energy displayed as the picture was being taken.

Anonymous said...

@Barry E. Taff, Ph.D., I have a question for you regarding this question "If one does not know how the physical world around them works, how then can they know what exists beyond it's boundaries? "

Even if one knows how the physical world around them works, how would that compare to a world (beyond) where there is no established or scientifically proven information?

How would you compare the incomparable?

Anonymous said...

Here is a great video by a group (CPIA) out of upstate NY regarding orbs. Really helps to show visually what could be going on in a very non-paranormal way.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JJh9P9js-k

Anonymous said...

last night at about 2.30 I saw a thing that later on learned is Orb...In my sleep I heart buzzing noise like bas fluorescent tubes do....opened my eyes and saw a liquid like ball with reddish fuzzi edges. inside color was gray blue...it was about a foot and a half above my wife,s chest....inside I saw a woman,s face much looking like my wife, face but younger..the ball was about 10 in. In dia. I woke my wife....she turned the ligh on and the ball faded....I was not scared at all, It actually made me feel somewhat lighter inside...missed the ball...now I am trying to figure out what all that means..nothing bad I hope

Anonymous said...

last night at about 2.30 I saw a thing that later on learned is Orb...In my sleep I heart buzzing noise like bas fluorescent tubes do....opened my eyes and saw a liquid like ball with reddish fuzzi edges. inside color was gray blue...it was about a foot and a half above my wife,s chest....inside I saw a woman,s face much looking like my wife, face but younger..the ball was about 10 in. In dia. I woke my wife....she turned the ligh on and the ball faded....I was not scared at all, It actually made me feel somewhat lighter inside...missed the ball...now I am trying to figure out what all that means..nothing bad I hope

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