What exactly are these strange spheres known as orbs that show up mysteriously in photographs? They are rarely seen by the naked eye and usually show up only after the photo is developed. Paranormal investigators love them! Some, but not all, photographers downright despise them!

It was thought by ancient and medieval astronomers that these concentric transparent spheres travelled around the earth carrying celestial bodies. Many people today believe that orbs carry the essence of a spirit body while others see them as nature spirits. They come in all sizes and colors, some glow and appear to have an aura of energy around them while others show up as transparent spheres. Some orbs, according to the experts, are more real than others.

Orb hovers near person who recently
lost a close family member (Photo courtesy of Katie)

Orbs that are visible to the eye definitely indicate that something paranormal in nature is going on. Theresa from the North Country Church of Spiritualism tells this story: One afternoon my husband and I were sitting in our living room watching television. Above our television is a large clock and though there was no storm present outside, suddenly through the living room wall, just right of the clock, a sphere of light appeared. It was about the size of a soccer ball and just hovered there for about 15-20 seconds. I just froze. Not in fear mind you but in awe. It was clear yet had bright white lights inside; you might call them little lightening bolts for lack of a better term. As quick as it came it left the same way through the wall. At the very same time my husband turned toward me as I did to him and said “Did you see that?” I did have the house investigated shortly thereafter and found that a Native American male watches over our home.

Keep in mind that groupings of what appear to be orbs in a photo, are likely due to dust particles. According to www.ghostmag.com, as much as 50-90 percent of photos claiming to have orbs in them are due to conditions at the time of the flash; conditions such as dust particles, insects, and moisture on the camera lens. It is the unexplainable orbs that show up in photos that could be paranormal-related. When determining whether your orb photo is the real deal, here are some strong indicators that suggest an authentic orb:

Moira cemetery
Photo courtesy of Terry Francis

A circular-like globe with definite color

Bright orbs as opposed to dull or faded

Bright orbs that give off a pulsating effect or aura around them

The orb shows a slight trail

White or grey disk-like orbs with markings (often found at religious/spiritual places)

Orb with markings
Courtesy of Terry Francis

The consensus among the experts is that real orbs are difficult to prove while fake orbs can easily be explained away. And many believe that digital cameras are part of the problem. Yet, I have been taking tons of photos with my digital camera for a couple of years now, indoors and outdoors, without cleaning the lens first or checking for moisture, etc, and I have not turned up one single orb – real or fake – in any of my photos. But I will keep on trying! What say you photographers out there: are orbs just nasty little critters, or is there some unexplainable, mystical element to them?

A special thanks to Terry Francis and Katie for providing the photos that appear in this post.