Characteristics of Dust Orbs
Dust orbs and orbs caused by other environmental particles like rain or small insects are the most common. Many people who claim to have captured spirits on camera have actually taken a picture of dust. Dirt and dust particles are present almost everywhere. Simply walking through a carpeted room can stir up a variety of things that appear as specks and spots when photographed.
How do you know if an orb was caused by airborne particles? First off, any photos that were taken during rainfall should be discounted. Rain often shows up on camera as a series of bright circles or smudges, especially when a flash is used, making it impossible to distinguish any other kind of orb. Insects are also easy to identify. Anomalies that have an insect shape or a distinctive blurred wing pattern are most likely the fault of bugs.
Dust orbs can be a little harder to distinguish, but do possess specific characteristics. These orbs often appear fuzzy or blurred and can be quite large. Some have a bright ring around the outer edge, making the center appear dim. Dust orbs also rarely leave any kind of trail; that is, they remain stationary in photographs.
Characteristics of Spirit Orbs
Once you have ruled out atmospheric or environmental interference in your photos, you can begin to consider the possibility of spirit orbs. These orbs are distinctive from dust orbs in several ways. Unlike false orbs, spirit orbs have a substance and light source all their own. They appear solid and are often brighter than dust orbs, and can materialize in a variety of colors.
Another distinctive characteristic of ghost orbs is that they are sometimes captured while in motion. Moving orbs leave a contrail behind the orb itself, and this appears as a streak of light in the final photograph. Some lucky ghost photographers have captured groups of orbs in motion at night. The effect is as spectacular as it is spooky.
The bottom line when evaluating orb photos is that objectivity is necessary. Photos must be assessed with a critical eye in order to determine whether the orbs are genuine or were caused by environmental conditions at the time the picture was taken. If you believe that you've captured an orb on film, find a local paranormal expert or investigative group to look at your photo. Their experience with the paranormal will aid in determining the true nature of the captured orbs.
Palmyra Historical Society
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