A Note About Orbs

As time goes on, my opinion about certain “paranormal anomalies” has changed.  In the beginning, I knew absolutely nothing about photographing, video taping, or recording “ghostly” activity.   Although I’ve taken classes, read books, weeded though countless websites, and done some experimenting of my own, I’m certainly no closer to unraveling the complete truth about what I see in any of the images on this site.

When it comes to paranormal research, orbs seem to be the subject most discussed and the biggest subject of controversy.  For the record, I have no definitive answer as to what they are.  I’m sure some are dust, pollen, or moisture… others may be insects… others something unexplainable.  A lot of websites have eliminated orb photos from their archives.  I’ve kept mine because I’m still not completely convinced that they can all be easily explained away.

Following are some of my personal thoughts on the issue.  Below that I’ve included links to several other websites that provide more useful information on the topic of orbs.  Enjoy.

Dust:  I think this is a very logical explanation for a lot of orb photos however, the following scenario intrigues me: On numerous occasions I’ve set up a stationary camera in a room without a natural or artificial source of air movement and then taken dozens of photos, in rapid succession, of the same spot within a room.  If the “orbs” present are dust and there isn’t a significant flow of air then shouldn’t they be relatively consistent (whether present or not) throughout the series?  Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.  Why the difference?

Haunted or not:  I don’t believe that only certain places are haunted.  If haunted means, “frequented or inhabited by ghosts or other supernatural beings” then I believe almost every place on earth is haunted.  We tend to label a location as haunted only if we experience visible or disturbing paranormal events there.  I tend to believe that most places contain spirits/ghosts but that only a few feel the need to make themselves a nuisance (much like those of us still here on earth).  I don’t discredit any photo, EVP, etc. just because it wasn’t taken in a location known to be “haunted”.

Ghosts vs. Energy vs. Spirit:  To me this is all a simple matter of semantics.   I’m sure professional ghost hunters have a very rigid set of guidelines for what constitutes a “ghost”, “spirit”, or simple “energy” but for simplification I’ve lumped all the above into one category “paranormal anomalies”.  Some people claim that certain orbs aren’t actually ghosts, but spirit energy.  Other people think they’re not spirit energy, but energy that is being transferred from an outside source to the spirit so they can manifest.  The bottom line is: NO ONE knows for sure.  Instead of arguing over what to call them, I prefer to simply retain a more general curiosity about them.

Am I special because orbs show up in the photos I’ve taken:  Someone actually emailed me and asked, “What makes you think you’re so special?  Do you actually think ghosts are going out of their way to follow you just so you can take pictures of them?”  I had to roll my eyes and laugh!!!  As I said above, I believe every inch of earth is probably inhabited by some sort of “ghost” or “spirit” or “energy” so it would stand to reason that if I make an effort to capture them in photos, I probably will.  If I’m wanting to take pictures of people and I stand in front of my house all day I’m pretty sure at some point a human being will pass by — I think the  same goes for “ghosts”.   When I’m out taking “ghost” pictures I usually take literally hundreds of photos at a time.  Sometimes there isn’t anything unusual in a single one.  Other times I’ll get two or three out of a series of 50.  I know it will disappoint a lot of people, but when an orb (or other anomaly) appears in a photo it doesn’t necessarily mean something.  It may just mean that some traveling spirit didn’t see your camera and couldn’t get out of the way before you snapped the picture.

Before and After:  A good friend of mine is a professional photographer.  For years he’s been teasing me about my “ghost” photos.  He loves to say things like, “Maybe if you’d clean your lens you wouldn’t have problems with orbs” and “If you had a professional grade camera you wouldn’t get orbs.  I never get them in my pictures.”  In October he and his wife went to the Stanley Hotel.  In an attempt to prove me wrong he decided to walk around the property and take some pictures. He was sure that he’d find nothing abnormal.  To his surprise, he found a couple of shots that he couldn’t explain.  While taking multiple shots in the hallway on the 4th floor he found two shots that contained orbs.  Since he was taking multiple shots at rapid speed, the orbs (if actually floating dust particles) should have been present in more than one shot; they weren’t. Below are his photos.  I’ve included a few more similar sequential shots in the new “Before and After” page.


Links for other explanations and/or opinions:

The Trouble with Orbs, by Troy Taylor, President of the American Ghost Society



Good technical explanation of how common air-born contaminants can show up as orbs.



Corresponding photos of natural orbs and spirit orbs



Poses answers to some common questions about orbs