The “ghost hunting community” is always on the watch for the next piece of technology which, they believe, will somehow crack open the mysteries of the ages. Beginning in the mid 90’s with the proliferation of digital cameras, such as Sony’s Cyber-Shot (1996), this technology seemed to be the earth-shaking revelatory technology ghost hunters had been waiting for. Due to the increase in photographic speed and immediate viewing of photos a strange anomaly began to rear its collective head… the orb.
These strange “balls of light” began to appear everywhere, and in the case of paranormal enthusiasts, mostly in graveyards and haunted buildings. As the “ghost hunting community” began its love affair with the glowing, floating, denizens from the afterworld, a love affair for many that continues to this day, another group of weirdologists threw up their hands and walked away from it. You see, “orbs”, as we now call them had been photographed and investigated for almost 40 years, by UFO researchers.
Back in the early 1950’s UFO researchers had been snapping millions of photos in the hopes of catching a craft from space or the pilots of the alleged crafts. Photos were examined, scrutinized and studied so that any anomaly found in the photo could be used to advance the discussion on extraterrestrial life. Throughout the 50’s. 60’s and 70’s “ships of light,” “glowing aliens,” and “energy scout ships” were randomly photographed and thought to be the heralds of an advanced race. Yet as with most new and startling phenomena photographic analysis and clear-minded thinking eventually revealed these alien images as artifacts created by the camera …not off-world invaders. The UFO community soon removed these camera-created images off the list of worthwhile investigatable phenomena. At the time the UFO community was well versed in cameras, the process of photography and the ability to manipulate photos so very few people were shocked when “pre-orbs” were found to be nothing but dust, dander, moisture and lens flares. Within 10 years the “weird” manifestations would soon reappear under a new name and with updated meaning placed upon them.
As the ownership of digital cameras rose across the world they, of course, found themselves in the hands of ghost investigation groups and paranormal researchers. Because of the fracturing of the communities which investigate different and varying phenomena most ghost hunters had no knowledge that what were now becoming referred to as “orbs” had ever existed. This seemingly new phenomena was on the rise and believed to have never been seen before it investigators believed it must be due to the new technology digital cameras offered. As early at 1999 Dr. Bruce Maccabee wrote a white paper on orbs explaining how they were formed and what they really were. Since Maccabee is a UFOlogist almost no ghost hunters read the paper; most probably still haven’t.
Orbs became, angels, spirit beings, ghosts and almost any other ethereal denizen. hundreds of photos became thousands which became millions and the tide had finally turned from advanced extraterrestrial technology to departed souls. Even today with what is known about how “orbs” are created many people still refuse to believe they are what in most cases they most assuredly are; particulate matter caught in a flash.
As new people enter the field of anomalistic research there is, of course, a learning curve. It took me years and classes on photography to accurately understand how cameras even worked, I still don’t really get it even though I think I understand it. I often tell people to diversify their weirdness in the hopes that they will look at all of the research, discoveries and explanations to all odd phenomena in the hopes that a more well-rounded and deeper understanding of our seemingly-shared reality will make for less bumpier roads to be travelled; because let’s face it, bumpy roads kick up a lot of dust and that dust just might make someone think they’ve caught a ghost…or a UFO.
The Orb Phenomena: http://brumac.8k.com/orb1.html
UFO Bubbles spy on our Planet: Beyond Vol.2, No.5 – 1969
The Inner Circle: Mystic: No. 9 – 1955
The White Sands Incident: Daniel Fry – 1966