Friday, February 11, 2011

Orbs: Photographic Evidence of the Paranormal or Dust Particles?

I like to believe that in death, our souls transform into pure energy and departs from our physical bodies. Imagine being able to explore the universe or check in on our loved ones in an eyeless blink! The possibility that we only get one life and we cease to exist after death, is difficult to cope with. It's only natural that we would hope there's more... and maybe there is. Believing in a spirit world - the idea that the departed are among us, is a belief in the existence of ghosts. Whether you believe in ghosts or don't believe in ghosts, is not the purpose of this article. What you accept as evidence or proof of the spirit world, is the actual subject at hand.

Orbs have been the subject of much debate among paranormal investigators. Unfortunately, lots of people believe that orbs are proof positive of ghosts or spirit energy despite that the notion has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. Orbs are typically small, white in color, circular, semi-transparent blobs in still photographs. There may be one, there may be several per photograph. They are not visible to the naked eye which is why you will not see one until you review the picture you snapped last night. People often believe they see faces, (sometimes recognizable faces) within the orbs. This photographic anomaly has increased in frequency as a result of the use of digital cameras.

So, what are orbs anyway? It appears there are several possibilities. Airborne dust is the most likely culprit, while insects and water vapor/moisture are also very possible. Several conditions must be met before an orb can magically appear in a photograph. Para.Science's investigation
revealed that first, the camera's flash must be used. Second, "Airborne material must be located within a few centimeters of the camera lens and the material must also be within a narrow range of angles relative to the lens center axis for the material to be able to reflect the light from the flash into the lens." Para.Science, through an exhaustive series of tests, was able to debunk this anomaly as paranormal. Despite this proof and many other debunking successes made by other organizations and professionals, people continue to believe that orbs are evidence of the spirit world. Thank you The Discovery Channel, for being one of the few entertainment channels that admits to this silly misconception.

Perpetuating myths does a huge disservice to legitimate scientists who are trying to prove or disprove the existence of an after life. Self-deception doesn't help the psyche. If you are a believer who is seeking the truth, at least have some common sense and practice skepticism, it is your sharpest tool for the job.

Sources: (image borrowed from here)

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