Orbs : Myths and reality a headache for the skeptics
All over the world people are taking pictures and capturing phenomena, but it’s dismissed as being dust or moisture. Sometimes this is actually the case, that moisture and dust is captured and looks like orbs, but in many cases people are capturing phenomena. When a person captures a great picture of an orb say, it’s dismissed rather than investigated. I am saying, lets not be so dismissive out of hand of what the camera “is” picking up, because you can create orbs by throwing dust in the air. What about orbs that coming out of peoples bodies, have amazing light intensities, orbs that move in graceful pattern speeding across a room and slowing down, and accelerating again. It this really a wind or draught moving a piece of dust? What about orbs that are that are not “dust like” in appearance, and they actually go through a person’s body and come out the other side. Can dust or moisture do any of these things?
THAT IS A FACT : They have appeared on camera on command.
THAT IS A FACT : Also appear on video camera in daylight with no flash used, so it’s not just digital camera.
THAT IS A FACT : Have been investigated by Dr Miceal Ledwith, that under controlled conditions showed that orbs are not reflected light but what is known in physics as ”fluoresence”.
THAT IS A FACT : Have been also investigated by Dr Klaus Heinemann PHD of NASA and UCLA, experimental physicist, under controlled conditions using multiple cameras showed that orbs have intelligence when asked to appear on camera under the direction of the photographer. Anyone who doesn't accept that such orbs have been recorded by NASA's Doctors, is simply the uknown missing link that Darwin was looking for.
Maybe i look hard to my critique that i exercise to the enemies of the paranormal activity and orbs, but the fact of erecting shops, by choosing the easy path of rejection, poisoning the minds of the youthful audience they address, with obscurantist views and arguments of elementary school comments, i reach the conclusion that, either they moving maliciously for their deceit, either we are dealing with some kind of ''paranormal ''and dangerous ignorance.
Let me show to you why not all orbs are dust.
Of course not every “orb” captured on camera is an orb. The camera “does not lie” as the old expression goes, but the camera can pickup other anomalies that can certainly look like orbs, and these variances are used by the skeptical community to pass off all orbs, as either being dust, moisture, or pollen grains and so on. I will agree that it is possible to capture dust, moisture, rain drops, snowflakes and other particles, even flying insects.
There are still many paranormal investigation websites that show photos of orbs as evidence of paranormal activity. Orbs can appear in videos (see note below) and still photographs, and some people still claim that they are an early stage of spirit manifestation. We generally disagree. Why is it that these 'orbs' only show up in photographs? You don't actually see them. If they were little bundles of energy floating around, they would be just as visible to the naked human eye as to the camera. Actually, it is often only cameras with a flash positioned close to the lens that show up orbs. If the flash doesn't fire, no orbs. And orb photos are more common with digital cameras than film. This is not because of the digital recording device, but the compact optical design of the cameras, the short focal length and small aperture of the lenses and the close proximity of lens and flash. (Orbs caused by flash are the main subject of this article, but the sun or other light sources in the picture can cause orb-like effects
due to lens flare. These can also appear to be paranormal - see examples.) Orbs caused by flash in compact camera. Yellow area is the area of the flash light. The blue area is the area that lens can see, and the green area is the orb area appearance, because of the dust or moisture reflection.
The reason for this is that the flash illuminates dust particles that are drifting very close to it. These reflect light back into the camera lens, but they are too close to be in focus. A lens sees an out-of-focus point of light as a 'circle of confusion', and the more out of focus it is, the larger the circle. It is the circle-of-confusion image on the film or digital photo that appears as an orb. When the flash is close to the lens, the cone of light that it puts out intersects with the conical shaped coverage of the lens. This overlapping area is where dust particles (or airborne water droplets, tiny insects etc) will become 'orbs'.
Why there are usually no orbs in DSLR photos
Lately I have been using an DSLR digital camera with a large flash that sits up about 20cm above the lens.
In a room where a compact camera photographs orbs (dust), the SLR shows nothing. This is because the dust particles that are close to the flash are actually way above the lens, out of its coverage area. You will also see orbs drifting across in video footage, but usually only when there is a light source (Infra Red or visible) situated close to the video camera lens. In the case of IR surveillance cameras, the IR LEDs surround the lens. These will show up-close dust particles as 'orbs'.
Contributing factors include the JPEG file compression employed by most compact cameras and the application of digital sharpening in the camera. These processes, as well as the optical quality of the lens, enhance colours and patterns "within" the orb, making them seem more than what they are: that is, specular flash reflections of the highlights of airborne droplets.
Dust particles move on air currents, which alter when you open a door and walk into a room or hallway. Human movement stirs up dust. Dust photographs as little bright circles of light on film or digital cameras, when illuminated by light sources close to the camera lens. This explains nearly every 'orb' photo you will ever see. 'Nearly' because we are open minded and regard each new instance of an orb as a separate case. There can be other explanations, such as lens flare, marsh gas, static electrical activity; or other point light sources such as a glowing cigarette, fireflies, glow worms, flashlight reflections etc.
The majority of orbs that appear in photos taken at known paranormal active locations are usually out
of focus particles of dust floating near the camera lens and being illuminated by the flash or other light source. The particles may appear somewhat differently depending on the composition of the dust. To illustrate this fact, the following two pictures were taken under controlled conditions demonstrating an example of dust orbs and moisture orbs. The first photo shows a dust orb.The red arrow points a darker nucleus, the body of the dust particle that reflected the light.
The second picture shows a cluster of moisture orbs.
It is characteristic the appearance of so many orbs close together, exactly like the moist droplets at a misty night.
The following picture (Image1) was taken from the third floor landing. Notice the orb appearing in the doorway of the second floor landing. In this picture we have no reference of distance for this orb. At this point, it could be a paranormal orb or it could be a dust orb.
In the following picture we zoom in to get a closer look. Notice that the orb does not have a darker nucleus like the usual dust orb. Instead it has mottled shading on its surface.
(Image 1 zoom)
In the following picture we increased the contrast to enhance the details of the orb.
Notice the mottled shading of the surface and a brighter halo on the periphery. However, we still have no gauge of distance between the orb and the camera.
(Image 1 zoom & increased contrast )
In the following picture we zoom in to get a closer look. Notice that the orb still retains the same characteristics as in the first image. There is also another orb that appears to be further down the hallway.
But now we can clearly see that the orb is moving towards the door since we notice that a part of it is hidden from the lamp on the ceiling.
In the following picture we increase the contrast
to enhance the details of the orb. Notice it still has mottled shading of the surface and a brighter halo on the periphery. We cannot say for sure that the smaller orb is of paranormal origin, but it does seem to have the halo characteristic similar to the larger orb.
Image 2 zoom
From the photographic evidence presented above we can safely conclude that the orb captured in the photos is most likely of paranormal origin. It is safe to assume that the orb is not self illuminating at a wave length visible to the human eye, and its composition is either a substance or some type of energy field that partially reflects the light from the cameras flash.
The light fixture with the blue bulb hanging below the header is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Comparing the size of the orb to the light fixture the orb appears to be at least five inches in diameter.
Properties and Concepts of Light and Color
Thorough knowledge of the physical nature of light and light perception provides the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of optical measurement techniques. Yet, from a practical point of view there is little necessity to fully understand formation and propagation of light as an electromagnetic wave as long as the reader accepts wavelength as the most important parameter describing the quality of light. The human eye perceives light with different wavelengths as different colors (figure II.1.), as long as the variation of wavelength is limited to the range between 400 nm and 800 nm (1 nm = 1 nanometer = 10-9 m). In the optical range of the electromagnetic spectrum, wavelength is sometimes also given in Ångstrøm (Å= 10-10 m). Outside this range, our eye is insensitive to electromagnetic radiation and thus we have no perception of ultraviolet (UV, below 400 nm) and infrared (IR, above 800 nm) radiation.
Fig. II.1. Monochromatic electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths between 400 nm and 800 nm causes the impression of different colors. Outside this wavelength range, the human eye is insensitive.
The wavelength range of optical radiation
According to DIN 5031, the term "optical radiation" refers to electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range between 100 nm and 1 mm. The terms "light" and "visible radiation" (VIS) refer to the wavelength range between 400 nm and 800 nm, which can be perceived by the human eye. Optical radiation with wavelengths shorter than 400 nm is called ultraviolet (UV) radiation and is further subdivided in UV-A, UV-B and UV-C ranges. Similarly, infrared (IR) radiation covers the wavelength range above 800 nm and is subdivided in IR-A, IR-B and IR-C ranges (DIN 5031, part 7).
Fig. II.2. Wavelength ranges of electromagnetic radiation.
The optical properties of materials are not a constant since they are dependent on many parameters such as:
• thickness of the sample
• surface conditions
• angle of incidence
• the spectral composition of the radiation
• polarization effects.
So, to make a long story short, in ghost hunting we use Infra Red illuminators, and Ultra Violet Illuminators in order to overcome the wavelengths of the visible light, and at distances away of the camera’s lens to make invisible dust particles or even larger particles such as ash.
The lower the wave length in UV light or the higher of the IR light we use, eliminates the possibility to have a dust orb and higher the possibility to record a paranormal orb.
That’s is why a good knowledge of physics and a good equipment gives validity to the findings of an investigator.
Charis Karaliotas MD.