Conventional explanations for Orb phenomenon

By: ; Date: Fri Mar 30 2018 19:01:00 GMT-0700 (PDT)

Before we get too enmeshed in believing Orb photography just because someone claims it exists, it's worth some time to look into how a camera can be fooled. One wants to be able to definitively say "this picture indicates kind of spirit manifestation", if only because there are plenty of naysayers who automatically claim that any phenomenon they don't understand has to be bogus. If one knows the ways picture taking can go astray, then one can adjust the conditions of orb photography experimentation to avoid those problems. If one can avoid the known problems then you're more likely to be certain of whether the anomalous light appearing in your pictures are honest orbs or just flukes of the light.

The authors of The Orb Project are both experienced scientists, and Klaus Heinemann is a physicist with decades of experience. They claim to have carefully studied the phenomenon and worked out how to avoid creating false images. The ways they discuss to create false orb pictures are:

  • Stray objects that fall in front of the camera. Such as the photographers thumb, a camera strap, etc.
  • Atmospheric conditions like smoke, frosty breath, mist, fog, tiny flying insects
  • Lens flares from light bouncing around inside the lens, this occurs when you're shooting directly into a bright light
  • Bright lights that are out of focus, they tend to smudge out into disks

The "Rods" Hoax discusses this in a related field of UFO pictures and phenomenon. In particular Jose Escamilla had published some pictures he claimed were of an unknown form of life which was visible as "rods" in frames taken from video footage. On deeper analysis they were found to be small flying insects which came out as a blur in the video frames.

It's worth noting that a camera taking a picture is not an instantaneous thing, even though it may seem instantaneous. The shutter opens for a period of time so the camera can capture enough light. If things in the picture are moving fast enough they'll appear as a blur. Sometimes this is done for photographic effect such as this picture, taken at night, with no flash, and a 1 second exposure. That was long enough for the car to completely disappear and leave behind a trail of light.

This next shot demonstrates a form of atmospheric condition. I was in St. Petersburg Russia in late Feb 2007, not exactly the best time to be there but much warmer (at 0C) than it was a couple weeks earlier (-20C). This picture was taken while walking down Nevsky Prospect at night during a snowstorm and demonstrates a couple forms of anomalies.

First this picture demonstrates how a bright out of focus light will blur out to a ball shaped smudge. And the other thing it demonstrates is what objects within the cameras view do. The scene is full of falling snowflakes which form lines twisting and turning based on the wind and the path each flake takes while falling. They're out of focus.

The Truth Behind 'Orbs' is a discussion of how dust floating in the air can appear to be an orb and can show up in pictures. They claim that perhaps all orbs are from dust floating in the air, and they suggest you test this yourself. They also say cameras with short focal length, including most digital cameras, are more susceptible to dust floating in the air. They have designed DEVA - Dust Eliminating Video Apparatus to help reduce or eliminate the effect of dust floating in the air.

Natural Orbs verses Spirit or Ghost Orbs Natural Orbs describes some of the common anomalies which can fool people.

And http://www.ghoststudy.com/main/fakepagepics.html also shows some effects of dust floating in the air, as well as demonstrating the method to test or explore dust floating in the air.

http://www.ghostrescuers.com/uploads/Exploring_Photographic_Anomalies.pdf is an article discussing ways we can be fooled.

http://www.ufopsi.com/articles/orbs.html - Appears to be a skeptic attempting to debunk orb photography. This article dismisses out of hand any possibility it could represent a spirit because they assert it's impossible to recreate in a laboratory, and "there is no proof orbs contain souls".

http://www.paranormalinvestigations.co.uk/photospage1.htm - Is a discussion of orb pictures to assert that orb photographs are merely camera problems.

http://www.phillyparanormal.com/evidencedata.html - Is another list of examples of false orbs.

http://www.ghostscentral.com/orbs.html - Another

http://farshores.org/p03orb12.htm - Appears to be another skeptic dismissing orbs as anything more than dust or bugs floating in the air. This page does include lots of links to other articles.

On Photos of Ghosts and Orbs is an interesting article by Loyd Auerbach, a very experienced paranormal researcher and ghost hunter. His claim is that spirit manifestations do not reflect light, and if they did reflect light we would see them all the time. Therefore since they do not reflect light the only way for a ghost to be seen by a camera is to psychokinetically affect the film or videotape or CCD. However this claim is different from that put forth by Klaus Heinemann and others who claim these orbs only reflect infrared light, and what makes orbs more visible in digital cameras is that digital cameras tend to be sensitive to infrared light.

Ghost Photography: Orbs is an article By Robbin Van Pelt, Professional Photographer/Paranormal Investigator. She does an indepth discussion of orb photography, both for finding authentic orbs as well as the ways anomalous light can show up in pictures which are not authentic spirit manifestations. She offers this list of possible effects:-

  • Dry partical matter such as dust, pollen, insects, etc.
  • Droplets of liquid, moisture
  • Foreign material on the camera lens
  • Foreign material within the camera lens
  • Foreign material within the camera body
  • Pieces of hair hanging down in front of the lens
  • Camera lens covers on strings hanging loose
  • Cobb webs
  • Fingers in the way