Orbs are probably the most talked about and photographed paranormal subject there is.  I know first hand as this subject crops up all the time during our meetings.  Many a night have our team have discussed (even argued!!) about what they might be?  

I’ve been inundated with questions regarding this subject and have been sent hundreds of photographs asking what these strange lights are.  Hopefully this page will answer some of your questions and I know it will cause more ‘healthy’ debates within our group!

Judging by the number of web sites dedicated to orbs they fascinate many people and yet if you ask any serious paranormal researcher they will dismiss most, if not all, orbs as being dust, insects or some technical oddity produced by your camera. Indeed many of these web sites suggest this.  So WHY do orbs continue to attract so much interest?

One reason must be that they are relatively common and easy to produce. Most of our investigation have captured orbs on camcorder or digital camera.  In fact, for every photograph out there claiming to show a ghost, there must be thousands containing orbs.

Many people have speculated that orbs are ghosts or spirits in some form or other. This seems to have arisen mostly because they have been photographed at so called haunted places.  Such places can be particularly prone to orbs as they may be old and dusty.  Orbs also show up better against a dark background, which is what often occurs during a vigil. However, you can find orbs in photos taken anywhere and at any time of day. Try taking a photograph in your own home or garden and see wahat you find... you may be very surprised.

Are Single Orbs Paranormal?
Single orbs are sometimes seen as 'genuinely paranormal' (since dust orbs are assumed to come in multiples).  They are often particularly bright and large.  It could well be that they are caused by insects rather than dust.  They could occur in those situations where the orb zone is too far from the camera to pick up dust.  Insects are of course much bigger and so may be picked up at a greater distance.  The volume of dust in the air varies all the time.  It is therefore possible that one dust particle may be in front of the camera by chance when density is low.

Orbs on infrared usually move and are often put down to insects.  This is because they move quite rapidly (faster than dust).  However, if a particle of dust is very near the camera lens it will appear to move quickly (in the same way that something closer will seem to move faster than something which is further away).

Infrared video cameras use powerful infrared illumination capable of producing orbs in the same way as a flash with a digital camera.  Being infrared it is invisible to humans so it can be difficult to appreciate just how bright the light source is.  While some orbs seen on infrared video may well be insects, most are probably dust just like on still cameras.

Take a look at this infra red video taken on
the Boot and Slipper Investigation.

You can see dust very clearly BUT there are
a one or two orbs that move in a different
way than that of dust.
Could it be my camera ?
This is the obvious expanation to why we capture orbs on Digital cameras and NOT on Optical cameras. It is basically down to the quality of the OPTICAL zoom on a digital camera and how the image is 'SEEN' and processed by the camera.

Optical Zoom - Is what I like to call true zoom. This function of a camera uses the lens within the camera to draw the image closer. Using the optics of the camera the image is bought forward much the same way as a magnifying glass, binoculars and other such instruments. When using optical zoom quality remains the same and the full resolution of the camera can be used on the zoomed image.

Digital Zoom - Digital zoom on the other hand is not a true form of a zoom function. The image itself doesn't actually come any closer as the optics in the camera stay the same. The way the digital zoom works is much the same way as it does on your PC at home. The idea behind digital zoom is that it takes a portion of the image and expand that image to the full size of the image. What happens here is that the section of image that you are looking at becomes bigger, not closer. The image does look closer because it has been expanded however all that has happened is that the image quality has been reduced.

Here is a link to a video explaining everything about Digital and Optical cameras.

Why are some orbs transparent?
Orbs vary between grey/transparent and white/solid.  If the orb object is intensely illuminated it will appear white and solid. Less well illuminated orbs are transparent.
Why are some orbs coloured?
Usually it's caused by Moiré patterning but also sometimes by chromatic aberration or even refraction (in water orbs only).
Why are some orbs not perfect circles?
There is a typical optical truncation effect at the corners of photos.  In addition, shapes can be affected by interaction with other orbs and by spherical aberration.  Some orbs are diamond-shaped due to the camera.
Link to orb article
Rather than re-create the wheel and show example of various types of orbs taken we have included links here to excellent articles on orbs giving many examples of what we have described above. You can always go to our photo album using the 'Evidence' link above and view just some of the orbs we have taken on our investigations.
 Orb article  2
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